Saturday, 27 June 2015

Bells Palsy - other wise known as wonky chomp!

What a week (and a bit). Everything I had planned to do over the last couple of weeks has been turned up on its head when I woke last Wednesday to find that my face didn't work.

I got up as normal, just after 6 am and went downstairs to make coffee and breakfast. I had glanced in the bathroom mirror, but hadn't really noticed anything as my eyes were rather blurry - normal for first thing in the morning.

While I was making coffee I kind of thought that my face felt a bit odd, like I was pouting all the time, but I took the drinks and my bowl of cereal back upstairs and sat on the bed to eat. It was only when the milk started running out of my mouth I really knew that something wasn't right. I woke my hubby with the words - "I think there's something wrong with my face."

He jumped out of bed and rushed me off to the hospital to be checked out. They had just changed the A and E system and we ended up at the new emergency hospital that had only opened the day before. Bells Palsy is diagnosed by elimiating other more serious conditions first. So I was duly checked to see if I had had a stroke or TIA, but after blood tests, CT scan and ECG came back clear I was given steroids to take, a presciption for eye drops and sent home.

At the time I didn't really think I had had any warning signs, but looking back I had noticed the muscles in my eye flickering the night before and I had the most killer headache before going to bed.
Initially I didn't have much pain apart from a pain behind my right ear - the side which is affected.

Bells Palsy afects the cranial nerve that works the muscles of the face. It's not known exactle what causues it, but some research suggests a dormant virus, which inflames the nerve, and prevents it from sending messages to the muscles in the face. It almost always effects just one side of the face, making it appear droopy.

Initially I went back to work the next day, but only managed half a day both Thursday and Friday. Just speaking was a huge effort and pronouncing words with p and b sounds very tricky - and still is. I was drained and found I needed a lot more rest than I'd given myself. As with any virus or injury rest helps the body fight back and recover!

Straight Face

Eyes closed
raised eyebrows
So what symptoms did I notice.

1. The first thing I noticed was my mouth not working properly. Smiling looks more like and elvis sneer. This makes it difficult to eat and drink. I use a straw to drink and food needs to be in bite size pieces. eating a whole piece of toast or piece of fruit is almost impossible. Speaking means slurred speech and is very tiring as I try to make myself understood.

2. My Eye doesn't close and I can't blink. This means that the eye is at risk of damage as blinking allows the eye to keep itself lubricated and free from damage. I have sustained some minor scratches to my cornea, this is painful and means that my eyesight on the right side is blurry. I use the prescribed eye drops at least every hour and apply a gel at night and tape my eye shut to protect it while I sleep. Sunglasses also help as I can't squint in bright light.

3. Killer headache. Just behind my right ear - this has come and gone over the week, but tends to flare up when I've over done it or am tired.

4. Hypersensitive hearing. The hearing on the right side is super sensitive. Loud noises really do echo in my head. Just the kids being too loud hurts.

5. Taste has changed - I have a slightly metallic taste on my tongue. In face it's more like i've eaten Shechuan pepper and have a slightly numb tongue with a hint of aniseed.

6. I feel like the side of my head has been hit with a bat. Along the hair line, from my cheekbone to temple and the top of my eye socket feels bruised. I presume this is the swelling of the nerve that is causing it. It hurts and I want it to go away soon.

So what am I doing to aid recovery. On the advice from my GP I have taken some time off work to rest, but hope to be back at work towards the end of the week. I am hoping as we near 2 weeks after diagnosis that I will start to see some improvement in speech and being able to close my eye. This will help greatly when I return to work. But I know it could take longer! I have had a check up at the local eye clinic and will have a follow up appt. in a couple of weeks to check on my eye.
I am eating as well as I can. Enjoying a beer or two and trying to rest my face as much as possible. Progress could be slow and it may take up to a year to fully recover. Hope to be able to play my flute/ sax well before then!

Its safe to say everyone has been really kind and supportive. This could go on for some time! However, my family have decided that I should now be called wonky chomp - I think there's some dog chew called this!  Typical!


  1. How awful for you, we never know what's around the corner, we can never envisage things like this happening, even knowing that there are warning signs how often do we take any real notice of a headache or flicky eye, we normally put things like that down to doing too much, watching too much tv or the kids playing up. Now is the time to rest and do everything the Doc's tell you to do. Sending hugs your way.
    Jan x

  2. Oh wow, I bet this really shook you up. I was ok a few weeks ago and then in hospital the next day! So scary!! sending hugs too..

  3. Ouch! I've just read this post, as I've neglected the web community lately and missed this one when you published it. I noticed your mouth was crooked a bit on the pics so I started reading backwards trying to find out what happened.
    I hope the pain is gone by now. Do you still have difficulties when eating and talking? How is the recovery process going?
    I do hope you'll recover soon!

  4. I just found this post and did notice in your "Sinead" post a bit of crookedness but didn't give it much thought. I know this can be difficult. My husband had a severe case and it took quite a while to get over it. His eye was more affected than his speech but both were bad. His eye literally was falling out of the socket and my handsome husband looked downright scary. I wondered if I would ever get back the guy I married. In time I did and all is well but it was quite a journey. He had to bandage his eye and wear a patch most of the time. People thought he looked rather dapper with his patch!

    The way my hubby found out was when my best friend arrived at the house to pick something up and I was at work. He hadn't looked in the mirror yet. My friend of course thought he had a stroke and took him to the hospital. She called me first and I met her there. He did not look good but ended up getting stuffed with massive steroids and sent home the next day.

    You just never know what life will throw at you. You seem to be weathering it well and I hope your recovery is quick and simple.

    1. Thanks Bunny, I'm glad everything got better for your hubby. I am making progress, but it seems to be quite slow - but then i am rather impatient. My eye does bother me more than my mouth, but I am starting to see improvements now i'm 5 weeks in. hope it wont be too long now.


I'd love to hear your views, so come and share.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...