I had Bells Palsy four years ago, those who didn’t know at the time, wouldn’t know now. At the time, it was frightening, frustrating and according to my children, a “funny face”.
We had gone out for a family meal the day before when I noticed that I had a slight ear ache and my bottom lip was tingling. I assumed that the ear ache was just an ear ache and the bottom lip was perhaps a reaction to something that I’d eaten – to me the lip felt swollen as well as tingling,
The next day, the ear ache (just in one ear) was far worse and every sound seemed to be amplified. Closing the oven door – for example – sounded like a great crescendo at the end of a classical music piece. Lip still tingling, speech now slurring. I had been meant to look after (a then) 14 month old baby – he was ill – and I remember talking on the phone to his parents thinking “I hope they don’t think I’m drunk”!
By the next day, drooping mouth and eye on the side with the ear ache and speech very affected. At first I panicked, thinking “stroke” but once I had checked that arms were not affected and done some research on the internet (good old Google), I had realised it was Bells Palsy. This was a Saturday and I was able to reassure Hubbie that a) it was not a stroke and b) it could wait until normal Doctor’s surgery on the Monday. I did not fancy spending the day in A&E with two young children!
Monday duly came and the doctor was very impressed that I could go in and say (albeit with a slur) that I thought I had Bells Palsy. He looked inside my affected ear and there were loads of little blisters apparently, caused by a virus. This had caused the nerves in the left hand side of my face to shut down.
Steriods prescribed and told to rest. Not easy with two young children and minded children. Drinking liquids had to be done through a straw. Eating was messy!! The only thing I found I could manage was mashed potato and peas.Sunglasses were worn on school runs and shopping trips.
There were no reassurances that it would go completely nor that it would not reoccur. Thankfully, after three weeks, the symptoms did go and I no longer had my “funny face”. My internal test that I was getting better was whether I could say “peppa pig” properly. I was so relieved when I could!
No further episodes have happened since then – I’m lucky – but when I’m tired I do notice that the affected eye is definitely more tired and that side of my face feels more tired. When that happens I say “peppa pig” out loud just to check all is ok.