idonotlikepeas: (Sad)
( Dec. 11th, 2011 11:04 am)
I already posted about this on Twitter (and thereby Facebook), but I know some of you guys don't read those, plus I wanted to get all the details down. And then I put it off, but I need to stop doing that.

Okay. Last Tuesday I had an earache. The kids have had a cold so I figured I was getting that. Wednesday it was worse, and in the evening my tongue felt funny, like it had a coat on it. Thursday morning, when I woke up, the right side of my face felt sluggish and thick. I was having trouble doing anything with it. I didn't realize how bad it had gotten until my wife got home from her morning dentist's appointment and I tried to talk to her about it; I sounded like mushmouth because I couldn't get the right side of my mouth to move properly.

We called the doctor's office around noon, but nobody would be available until four. I didn't want to wait that long, so we went to the ER. After the usual poking and prodding I got my diagnosis: Bell's Palsy. What this means, in summary, is that some swelling tissue on the side of my head is impinging on my facial nerve, causing paralysis of the side of my face. (The right side, in my case.) This can be caused by a number of things, but sometimes it just happens and the mechanism is not well understood.

The ER doc prescribed me Amoxicillin in case I had a bacterial ear infection that was causing the swelling, and Valtrex, an anti-Herpes drug, for no particular reason. Apparently this is often done in these cases, although it hasn't been shown to have any real effects. I'm taking it anyway because if there's even a chance it will work I'm willing to try it, and two doctors and a pharmacist have assured me it's relatively harmless, and I know and trust two of those people.

The next morning the paralysis was actually a bit worse, so my primary care doctor added on a corticosteroid called Prednisone (to reduce the swelling - this is noted online as being the most effective treatment for this condition) and Prilosec (to combat stomach issues caused by same). She did this, bless her heart, from her vacation in Florida after taking a call from us on her cell, and told us we should call her back if anything got worse.

So that's what's up with me right now. Half my face doesn't work. The prognosis is basically unknown. A lot of cases of this go away (up to 85%), but upon digging into it it turns out that "go away" means that some of the functionality comes back. It might not be 100%, but at this point I'd take it. Some people take a long time to recover; one of my co-workers had it in high school for two months. Some people never do; Jean Chretien, former prime minister of Canada, lost the use of the left side of his face permanently. (A good line from that Wikipedia entry: he's "One politician who didn't talk out of both sides of his mouth".) So I'm just taking my various pills and hoping for the best right now. My wife has been an enormous help through all this, I have to say, both emotionally and in terms of the actual physical details. I don't know how I would be dealing with this without her.

I'm going to go into a bit more detail now, but I'll put it behind a cut for those of you who don't want to get into it, since it might be a bit more information than you wanted.

Read more... )

And that's it. There's nothing to be done about it that we aren't doing already, so it's just a matter of trying to keep it together and seeing what happens. How's everyone else doing?


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