Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bell's Palsy

This week has been a trial for me...last Saturday night I had a really bad headache, possibly the worse I've ever had. I went to bed early in hopes of it going away. When I woke up Sunday morning I still had the headache, Chris was good and let me sleep in a bit. When I did get up he was getting ready for church and I was talking to him. I smiled and he asked me what was wrong with my face. I told him it felt a little numb. I was getting concerned, but not too bad, until I tried to brush my teeth. You know that feeling after you go to the dentist and he tells you to spit, but all you can do is let it drool out of the side of your mouth? That's all I could do. So, we packed the kids up and went into Lethbridge to the emergency room (I won't go to the Urgent Care in Picture Butte, I'm a nurse and I know better).
The trip into town was long and scary for me, I had no control over the left side of my face and all I could think about was that I was having a stroke. Once we got to emerg they took me straight back (because the symptoms were of a stroke). The nurse took my vitals and did all that she could, then sent Dr. Kwan back. Dr. Kwan was great! Here I was, crying like a baby, and he reasured me that he was going to figure out what was wrong. When he found out I work in ICU he said, "you really are thinking the worst possible thing, aren't you?" Yes, I was! He reasured me that it was most likely Bell's Palsy, NOT a stroke. He did call Dr. Wynder in to reasure me (he's the neurologist in Lethbridge). and Dr. Wynder told me the same thing.
What is Bell's Palsy? basically, it's inflammation of the facial nerve, it tries to get out of a tiny hole in the skull and the pressure causes facial paralysis. they think it's caused by a virus (possibly herpes simplex, cold sores) and common in pregnancy (women are 3 times more likely to get it while pregnant, but they don't know why). it usually goes away after 10 days to a few weeks, but can become chronic. (jean cretien has chronic bell's palsy). i still can't control the left side of my mouth (can't spit, smile, and so many more things). my eye won't close all the way, so it's super dry (lots of eye drops and I tape it closed at night) and just generally annoying. i've got some pain from where the nerve tries to come through, but that is getting better. Now my facial muscles are starting to hurt (I don't know if that is normal). I've heard that acupuncture can help and someone suggested one in Lethbridge to me today, so I'm thinking about trying that. (It's not like I've got much to lose).
As for pictures, no way. I feel like a dork and can tell that people are wondering what's wrong with my face. I don't mind people asking, but I hate the look when they don't.


Michelle said...

Natalia, We are praying for you and hope that you recover from this. I have always admired you for your deal-with-it attitude. It seems that no matter what life throws at you, you take it in stride and deal with it the best you can. I wish I was more like you in that department. I love you!

Sarah C said...

Aww... Hugs! I hope it gets better and goes away really... REALLY soon!