Bell’s Palsy Diary: Part 2 of 3

Bell’s Palsy: Day 3

Landlord’s wife: “Don’t worry about it or it’ll get worse! You’ve got a lovely figure so no one will notice your face.”

Colleague laughed – I would have.

Students laughed – I would have.

The karmic kickback of having been a relentlessly piss-taking arsehole throughout my adolescence hitting me square in the metaphorical testicles.

I felt crushed.

Lovely, kind, friendly and thorough British Dr prescribes what he informs me is an extremely high dose of steroids, which might help safeguard against long term nerve impairment. Grades me a 3 out of 5 for severity, the first time in my life I have ever joyfully embraced an assessment of mediocrity. Warns me the drugs will make me ravenously hungry (bang goes the waistline which landlord’s wife had assured me was offsetting my disfigured face) and potentially cause manically high mood swings (I obviously responded to this with a characteristic and unoriginal quip about “oooh that would be quite nice actually, chortle chortle, nudge nudge, wink wink – inasmuch as it’s possible to wink when only one eye closes anyway). Only when I got home did I gain any self awareness and realise that perhaps doctors whose religious piety mean they refuse all payment (but very gratefully accept tin of biscuits) aren’t that into references to uni days spent smashing back amphetamines. Chalk it up, yet another learning experience.

Get home and decide I definitely don’t want to take the steroids, something about terrified fear of side effects, insomnia, panicked breathing, low mood, weight gain – basically my 4 daily nemesis even with a fully functional face. Spend a while haranguing trusted adults for opinions and then decide to smash them back. Within 30 seconds convinced I’m having heart palpitations and starving to death. Spray half a bottle of artificial tears all over my face and mouth and whack a cotton pad over my eye, securing it in place with micropore, the daily application and removal of which will leave me with a perfect circle of missing skin, which is a bonus. (One of the biggest dangers of BP is your eye drying out, which I have all too vivid memory of the pain of from comatose sleeping with eyes open after drinking half a bottle of smirnoff mixed with Happy Shopper brand cherryade at Tom and Rhian’s house party back in 2008 – holla!!) Lie down in bed an hour later and feel like I’m coming up. Watch half a documentary about Louis Theroux meeting someone with lots of tigers, fall fast asleep whilst breathing completely normally.

 

Bell’s Palsy: Day 4

Spirits lifted by very subtle return of some sensation in my tongue. I’m chugging back litres of soda water just to keep checking and confirming it’s there, focusing on the very slight sensation of fizzing on the right hand side of my tongue, in much the same manner as when you’ve got a scab up your nose you repeatedly touch it just to make sure it’s still there.

Enjoy being able to ever so slightly more strongly enjoy the full bodied, acrid taste bouquet of a steaming mug of Nescafe Red Cup.

Go and teach a class and don’t really care if they think I look weird, I point it out for the benefit of the students who missed my awkward explanation yesterday. Today it doesn’t stop me talking, probably not ideal as I’m supposed to be teaching them english so it’s a good idea to let them get a word in edgeways from time to time, but whatever.

Fix moto puncture = 3,000 riel (75 American cents)

Pharmacy  = 2,000 riel for 40 steroid tablets.

Get home and have conversation with landlord about how he’s just spent 64.5 dollars on school books for his daughter for half a term. Mad economy.

Have to go out to avoid cleaner, who we’ve recently given a pay rise in acknowledgement of her hard work and in an attempt to offset the fact I studied post-colonialism quite a bit at uni, yet still employ a local to complete self-care tasks for me in exchange for a very small amount of money.

Evening – teach again, starts off OK but by the end of 2 hours I realise I’ve forgotten to manually blink and my Palsy eye is now bone dry and aching. I feel FUCKED. Decide to cancel the next day’s classes, email boss and stay in bed next day.

 

Bell’s Palsy: Day 5

Stayed in bed. all. day. long.

Bess fren Sam sends messages about celebs with BP, including Angelina Jolie. We just have SO much in common. Angelina and me, I mean, not me and Sam. Me and Sam have nothing in common, that’s why she likes me, I show her what her life could have been like if she had no aspirations or determination.

 

Bell’s Palsy: Day 6

Child and father out all. day. long. I feel ON TOP OF THE WORLD. This is the most rest I’ve had in, without exaggeration, 3 years. I feel completely different. I can hear my own thoughts. I piss out a fucking fluent, coherent and articulate, easy, free flowing written fing which satisfyingly articulates an internal conversation i’ve been having for 18 months. It feels insanely satisfying to have been able to see a process through, from thought to execution, without interruption. Such a complete luxury.

Honestly feel like I’ve been on a fucking cruise after these 3 days off duty. So much so that I forget to give a shit about my fucked up face.

Nescafe Red Cup

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