I woke up on a Saturday morning in February

I felt a searing pain in my left ear and jaw. It felt like a hot knife stuck in my cheek. My jaw felt strange when I chewed, and I started wondering if it was not a “tempo-mandibular joint” condition- I immediately decided I need to see my physio after the weekend to fix my stiff jaw.

I struggled to eat.The food kept on moving into all the wrong place. I took painkillers. Twice. But the pain persisted.

24 hours later

During the Sunday morning church service I struggled to read. My left eye felt irritated and dry, and the blurry letters made my eyes strain. By the end of the service, my mouth was drooping and I could hear my words coming out of my mouth all funny. And my head still hurt a lot.

Something was wrong. Something felt very wrong.

I hurried to my car. I tried to pull faces in the mirror.

I saw a lop sided smile… I could not wrinkle my nose. I tried to close my eyes, but my left eyelid just refused to close completely. My face was paralyzed on the left side. I cried.

I drove myself to the doctor’s rooms close by. And by a stroke of pure luck they had an opening for me within 30 minutes.

Bell’s Palsy

Dr made the diagnosis and prescribed anti-viral medication, cortisone and strong painkillers. He also referred my to an “ear nose and throat specialist”.

I felt exhausted.  I slept for the rest of the day- with an eye patch  to prevent drying of the eye. I soon learned that I needed a small face cloth under my face to keep my pillow drool-free. And when I ate, my left index finger pushed my lip up so I did not spill food and drink down the left side of my chin.

I looked like a drooling pirate. Eyepatch, drooling and messy eating. And I sounded drunk. My words were someone else’s words.

I felt alone. And scared.

(to be continued)