Nine months ago my step-daughter Louise got married. It was also the first reported sighting of my Bell’s palsy.
Theres no cure. Treatments out there aren’t able to demonstrate that they actually work. It will, supposedly, go away on its own. But at nine months old my nerve damage is, it seems, in the most severe 5% of cases.
For those who haven’t followed my story and don’t know the illness, the right side of my face dropped. My lip became inactive on that side, causing drinks to spill out and an inability to smile. My nostril slipped, causing nosebleeds. My eye became unable to close or blink. Causing drynes, soreness and occasional dislike of light. Speech became lisp filled unless I supported my lip with my hand.
After a few weeks, I regained a little ability to smile. Left side remained in full flow. Right side lips raised slightly, quivering. But after six months that quivering recovery went overnight. My smile became a diagonal line again. My eye became even sorer. I lost most of the hearing in my right ear. The regular nose bleeds continue. The hope of recovery forgotten.
I don’t think I’ve ever been a pretty boy. Otherwise the impact of this would probably be devastating. But I’m fed up with it. I want to be able to blink. I want the light sensitivity to go away. I want to be able to sneeze without fearing for my eyeball. I want to be able to smile without looking like some sort of deformed zombie. I want to be able to speak without impediment.
Yesterday I bought it a present. Double width tape to hold my eyelid down at night. This protects the cornea against infection. For the last few months I’ve been using 1.25cm wide tape. From now on I’m a 2.5cm man. It feels slightly more secure.
I just want it all to go away. But perhaps it never will.