Monday, February 28, 2011

Showing My Face

It's true that when I first came down with Bell's Palsy (14 days ago!), I felt like crawling in a hole. I wanted to climb into bed and not get up until I was back to normal, if, indeed, I ever DID recover fully. I did have that option, and I seriously considered it. Dr. B. told me I didn't have to work any more. My job has always been a little extra something on the side, not really necessary to the maintenance of our family. I could have gotten someone else to teach my Primary class, and I didn't even have to let my online friends know about it. There were several reasons I decided to "show my face."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bell's Palsy Photo Shoot

The other night my friend saw my Bell's Palsy photos here; and she said, "Honey, you could have at LEAST combed your hair!" So I pulled myself together, and had my daughter do a photo shoot in the back yard. I'm glad I had these done. Hopefully  it will soon all be a distant memory, and I'll only have these to remind me that I really couldn't move one whole side of my face.

I have to say that these are the best online photos I've seen of a Bell's palsy patient -- including the ones of George Clooney!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sweet Painfulness

I'm starting to feel more pain in my face and especially right around my ear. It hasn't been too bad, because it feels sort of like when you work out a lot and the next day your muscles are sore. It feels like a good pain to have. But right at night when I'm trying to go to sleep it gets a little too intense, so it bothers me. I'm hoping that it means the nerve is trying to heal. I also had some more little tremors.

I read somewhere

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Priesthood Blessing and Rationalism

I think my face looks a little bit better today, but maybe it's just because I've stopped wailing and crying over it so much. Amazing how the puffiness tends to go down when that happens! I can't notice any movement or improvement, though.

I found that it is WAY easier to torture myself and punish my body than it is to merely rest. Today I spent quite a while in the pool perfecting my flip turn. I swam a nice slow mile yesterday and today, and figured out how to flip with a mouth full of water. Since my mouth won't form a seal,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Progression and Treatment of Bell's Palsy

I want to document how I am treating this condition and how it progresses, so I'm just going to throw it up in this post. I will add to it periodically.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hiding Behind the Hymn Book

You really are invisible when you teach Primary. I was never so glad of the fact as I was this week. We got to Church just as the opening song was being sung, and sat in the overflow. No one noticed me, and I went right to my Primary class after Sacrament Meeting. I took the first few minutes to explain to the kids (11-year-olds) why my face might look a little strange, and told them that hopefully it was temporary and they could pray for me if they wanted. Then we launched right in to the lesson. Near the end of class we had brownies to celebrate the 12-year-old birthday of a boy who is THRILLED to be getting the priesthood. Then I went home a little early, leaving my class to their own devices in Sharing Time. I don't think I permanently scarred any of them.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fight or Float?

My supervisor has persuaded me to teach Saturday swim lessons, since there is no one else available to do the parent/infant classes. I'm going to take a 2 week break on the weekday classes. The session started today, though; so I found myself having to explain to a whole new crop of parents why I look so strange and my speech is a bit blurred. They take it well, I seem upbeat and in control, but it kills me inside.

After the lessons, I taught myself to swim with a paralyzed face. It is not so easy.

Just Another Wal-Mart Lovely

Friday: My first grocery shopping expedition since BP. I put on my big, big sunglasses and my game face. I drove my son to school. Then, since I was out, and we had no food in the fridge, and we had a paycheck in the bank, I stopped by WalMart. No shopping list, but I'd just pick up a few things.

First I got the essentials: toilet paper, shampoo, laundry soap. I looked for some sheer white curtain panels, but no luck. I smelled all the candles. I tried on 5 tops, sizes small, medium, large, x-large and xx large. I ended up being the same size I always am. I started in on the food. We needed staples, school lunches, a week's worth of dinners. I did fine on staples. I got through eggs, milk, bread, cereal. When it came to school lunches I started buying things I usually don't allow my kids to eat. Pudding cups, oatmeal pies, nutty bars, all prepackaged and junky and easy-looking. Then I randomly selected things to go into the cart. Feta cheese (with no idea what I was going to do with it). Blueberries. Chocolate frosting. Five loaves of day-old sliced Italian bread for 96c each. I was exhausted, I had to leave, NOW, and I still didn't have anything for dinners. I threw 5 packages of frozen burritos in the cart and checked out. The bill was $375.

When I got to the car, I put my seatbelt on. I drove home with my hand over that eye, under the sunglasses.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Solemn Vow in Jeopardy

When I finished having my 8 children, I had gained a bit of weight! One summer day I had a difficult time when getting ready to take the kiddos to the pool. I love water sports more than anything. I adore swimming, sailing, water skiing, kayaking, sailing, whitewater canoeing, anything in and around the water. But that day I didn't want to appear in public in a bathing suit. It took some courage to put it on, and I made a promise to myself at that moment. I made a solemn vow that I would never let my appearance stop me from doing something I loved.

A Lovely Sight

I'm still deep in the throes of self-absorption. There's a lot that I want to thrash out, but I'll have to do it a little at a time.

By the time I got my CT scan results and blood work and the doctor had given me the OK to go back to work, I had only missed one day (Tuesday). I was so emotionally exhausted I wasn't sure I was ready to go back, but I felt guilty because no one was really available to teach my swim lessons. Wednesday I was scheduled for lifeguarding from 12 to 3 at the therapy pool and then lessons from 3 to 6:30. My daughter said that you couldn't really tell by looking at me that anything was wrong. So I tried it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Will Rage

The phrase on the site on Bell's Palsy that grabbed me the most was this:

Friends, family and doctors often have no true concept of how deeply the patient's sense of self and self-esteem is affected. 
I know there are a lot of people who are suffering worse than I am. I'm not in pain, my life isn't threatened, I have every hope for recovery. But yes, my sense of self has been affected. And this is the place I'm going to say all those things I shouldn't be thinking, shouldn't be saying. I'm going to cry and rage and get it all out.

You can read it and say something, if you want -- or not.
I don't really care.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thorn in the Flesh

Bell's Palsy.

There, it's out. You might have an inkling of how difficult this is for me. I've had a phobia about aging that's grown steadily the past few years. I rage against it, I ignore it, I try to put it off. Fortuitously, my medical history has been sound. If I ever do get a cold, I treat it with Vitamin C and a brisk jog. I don't admit to backaches. I've only been to the hospital for wisdom teeth and childbirth -- and several of my children were born at home.

So on Monday when I suddenly noticed that half my face was paralyzed, I freaked out. I didn't want to entertain the word "stroke." That was something that happened to old people, and I wouldn't let it happen to me. "Maybe I'm just tired," I thought, "and if I go to sleep, in the morning it will be better."