One of the things that I think is most jarring with the onset of Bell’s palsy is the complete surprise of it… Quite honestly, I had never even heard of this condition until I was sitting in the ER room, and was told that it was the strongest possible candidate for what was happening to me.
Waking up with a frozen face is scary. Very scary. You wonder what could possibly be happening, and then your next thought is immediately of the future. How long will this last? Will the conditions worsen? What AM I facing exactly? All whirling around in my head. Aren’t we interesting… you know, us, the human race? We fret and worry about whats happening now, and then after we process that we find something to be anxious over for the future…. so much, so overwhelming!
In addition to the many other symptoms Bell’s tags onto your body, sleeplessness was quite the overcomer! (Not to mention steroids for sure aren’t a sleeping aid…..) This symptom adds to the fatigue stuff already going on and makes you, for lack of better words, OH-SO-TIRED. Hang in there my friend, you will sleep again! That day will come, and you will celebrate the next morning when you awaken and realize you finally had a regular night’s amount of snoozeland! Please do a morning dance… it makes it soooo worth it. 😉
My five sons, ranging from 3-13 aged during this time period, were my biggest encouragement, and definitely always giving me reasons to smile inside. From pretty much day one they loved the fact that I wore an eye patch. The eye patch especially was handy in the first few weeks to keep sand and other debris away when outdoors, since the eye would not close at all. Somehow this eye patch gave credibility to me as a tough guy. I’m kinda small framed, and somehow I’m guessing I don’t appear to be the toughest kid on the block… but this eye patch made me a pirate, or a roughie. I dunno. But, they loved it… and they kept me grinning over that fact, and their lively comments.
Now I can’t speak of this story and not tell you some ways that they loved me beautifully, and will still brings tears to this mom’s eyes as I think of these young guys and their tenderness … For one, as I have previously told you guys, I broke my wrist a few weeks after onset, and this further disabled me from normal tasks — leaving me with no way to wash my hair and cover my eye. My boys not only washed my hair in the sink and dried it… they even catered to my vanity and attempted *cough* to flat-iron it for me because of my vain request. (This was short-lived when I smelled something burning…… haha.) They never once complained of the hair-washing task, but offered to help with this and even made it quite the game.
After about day 45 I began some physical therapy that was graciously given to me as a gift by a dear friend. This therapy included exercises for me to work through with her at the rehab office, and then also at home. In addition I had the electrical stimulation treatment that the therapist performed once a week. (Can I say a wee little “ouch?!”) One other thing that the therapist recommended was three times a day home facial massage techniques. My son Jonathan learned these techniques and so sweetly administered to my face. This process was a bit painful at times, and I cannot begin to tell you how tender he was — he would watch carefully to see if I would wince from the pain, making the attempt to then change the muscle he was massaging. He studied techniques on his own online, researching to see methods he could learn and improve.
All of my boy tribe constantly helped with dishes, sweeping, and tried to make my daily load a bit lighter. Some days they even tried to have a quiet home for the possibility of a nap! Kisses, hugs, and flowers picked from outdoors were given regularly… I am so overwhelmed by love that I don’t deserve, but cherish!
When I remember these stories surrounding my Bell’s experience, I think about the fact that some days for us all we can feel lonely, dark, and difficult… but look to the light! There is relief. Find those little joys in your life, and treasure them. Don’t concentrate on the bad stuff… there will always be bad stuff on this earth… but fill your thoughts with gratitude for the beauty you have. It’s there. Dance in the rain. Know the storm will pass. But don’t waste all your “now” waiting on tomorrow to be better. Look up, look around and enjoy the gifts that keep us moving forward… and then see how you can share the same with others.
My video journal that I am posting pieces from was actually made for my mom. Since we were living in Grand Cayman and she was unable to come to me at the time I made these to keep her updated. She is also the one who urged me to share it with others for encouragement. And, just so’s you know.. My mom is my hero. This is day 57 for me: