Alright, you're all getting a
They call it Bell's palsy. Basically, the muscles on the right side of my head just aren't working, their common nerve non-functional. The three areas primarily affected by it are:
1) My forehead - I can't raise that eyebrow. I know, whoopdee-shit, but wait, it gets
2) My eye - I can't shut it all the way. That's worse than one can realize. As I've come to learn, it dries out in short order unless I use eyedrops or remember to "blink" it manually. At night, I will need to literally tape my eye shut and wear a patch, lest it become damaged permanently.
3) My mouth - I can't operate that half of my lips. I have quickly come to realize just how much is done with the lips instinctually; apart from the obvious inability to smile, it turns out that quite a lot of the processes of eating and drinking use the lips in ways difficult to describe or even notice until they stop working. Even with a straw, I'm likely to dribble if I don't use my tongue to stop it up after sipping.
So how did this happen? Well, they don't know for certain yet, but they have an educated guess - shingles. About three days ago, I got the sensation something was in my right ear, as if I'd been in a sealed car too long and needed to swallow to clear it, only it wasn't clearing. Looking inside the ear didn't find anything, nor did a cotton swab. The day before yesterday, the skin around the ear began to occasionally tingle, or even sting. Yesterday, the ear turned red and hard. The plan to make a doctor's appointment first thing Monday was rapidly scrapped in favor of a trip to the emergency room when I woke up this morning to find half my face didn't work. I literally woke up with the paralysis, with no sign of it when I'd turned in. The ear was (and still is) very swollen and appears to have blisters. Apparently that aforementioned nerve is, like, right there.
My hearing has also started being affected, with certain sounds coming through as strangely tinny. I asked my mother to confirm that I'm really 34, not 84.
They have me on a steroid to get the swelling down and an antiviral to get the ear infection to back off. There's also a blood test in the works to see if I have Lyme disease. I'll keep you posted as to how it goes, but right now it's still very much "IT'S IN MY EAR AND I WANT IT OUT". - ZM