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Sudden weakness of the face - Jim's Bell's Palsy story

Developing Bell's Palsy - follow Jim's story one morning when things didn't appear as they usually would!

Bells Palsy - Face of a man of african origin, showing weakness on the right side of the face - the right eye and mouth are drooping.
Weakness on the right side of the face from Bells Palsy. Note the droop in the R eye and corner of the mouth on the right side.

Part I - "How It Started"

Jim woke up that morning feeling strange. He touched his right cheek and ear where he felt a little pain. 

As he walked to the toilet, he kept rubbing at it thinking he’d bumped it the previous day.

He relieved himself and moved to the sink to start brushing his teeth, thinking of the busy day ahead.

 And, then looked at himself again in the glass. His face seemed a bit ‘lopsided’, drooping, even!

He tried a smile but instead of the usual even grin he took for granted, a crooked half grimace greeted him back.

And his eye - what the...?

His
right eye seemed to be drooping and as he blinked at himself in the
mirror it seemed the eye belonged to someone else and was not behaving
like it’s mate.

Panic set in! Was this a stroke?

Had he hit his head worse than he thought playing football last week?


Part 2 - "It seemed to Get Worse"

As Jim tried to brush his teeth, things seemed to get worse.

Opening his mouth properly was difficult and as he filled his mouth with water to rinse, it dribbled out from the left side.

'No, this was serious - I need to have this checked out ASAP'; he thought to himself.

His right eye was watering a lot and it felt difficult to keep a steady gaze and drive.

Luckily, he’d used a small local clinic about 10 minutes walk from his flat before and the doctors there were quite good.

As he walked down the road he thought he felt a few stares.

But, it wasn't till the cheeky bike man waiting for a fare called out to him - ‘Haa; Oga - wetin* do your face?!’; drawing the attention of others to him that he realised quite just how strange he looked.

*wetin - pidgin English for 'what'

Ignoring the bike man, he proceeded to the clinic which, thankfully, was already open.


Part 3 - "Getting Some Help"

At the reception he was told: 'The doctor is already seeing patients and it’s about 1 hour to wait'.
'But the nurse will see you in a few minutes'.

The nurse assured him his blood pressure and other observations were ok.

She asked him to stand and keep both arms up while she watched him for a few seconds.

Then, she looked carefully at his face and made a few notes.

He started to feel even more unwell and he blurted out: ‘is it a stroke?’

Calmly she answered: 'Please don’t panic. I’ll get the Doctor to see you straight away.’

He sat in the triage room, waiting; heart pounding.

Even though the place looked quiet, and sterile, inside he was a mass of swirling thoughts.

It just then occurred to him to call his older brother - and was about fishing out his phone when the doctor arrived.

This doctor he'd not met before and he was straight to the point:


Part 4 - "Finally, some answers"

'Hello. I understand you’ve had trouble with your face this morning'.

He asked a lot of questions looking at his face intently throughout.

Then the examination started - he was asked to open and close his eyes a few times, smile (?), and blow out his cheeks.

Next, the doctor got him to stand, walk, kick and push.

All the while his eye kept watering and his head was pounding - added to his rumbling stomach from hunger and anxiety, he was surprised he could still stand upright.

'Ok Jim, it looks like you’ve developed what’s called Bell’s palsy - it’s not a life-threatening condition and it’s not a stroke.

'With the right treatment, we will get you back to normal soon'.

'Bell’s what'?

The doctor proceeded to explain to Jim what it was and more - and you can use the link here to learn exactly what he was told.

As for Jim, he is resting and recovering - this scare has made him a lot more conscious of his health.

Key take away - seek medical advice as soon as you develop unusual symptoms. Delays or advice from the wrong quarter can lead to complications. Try not to panic.

So that's how it worked for Jim. Have you any experience or questions on nerve problems?

Do let us know in the comments.

More Reading:

Editing by AskAwayHealth Team

Disclaimer

All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly through info@askawayhealth.org

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