Bell’s Palsy Diary: Part 3 of 3

Bell’s Palsy: Day 7

Husband at work, child at Yay’s.  (Child) comes back all sassy, jumps in neighbour’s paddling pool, remembers to get out for a pee (!!!!!) and we both have Skype chat with Uncle Ro while she basks in the murky, fly filled water.

Great chat with Ro – filters helped facilitate conversational ease as in place of awkward silent gaps there was constant narration regarding cat on head, disco glasses etc. Gave him tour of house, and apropos of absolutely nothing he mentioned he’d read my blog [about our dead Dad] and I said I didn’t know he could read. We left it at that.

Indi then tells me she wants a bowl of soup, chunky please and to watch Lion King. THIS WAS WILD. “Mummy can you put some music on please I NEED to dance”, proceeds to request a series of songs, a specific outfit, and tears up the tiles.

Bedtime brilliant. Husband home pissed, domestic bliss.

Getting nice feedback / the Dad blog seems to be touching some stuff for some people. That feels good, to connect with people.

I’m a bit bored to be honest and fancy a drink.

Slight cabin fever.

Clean the bathroom because I really like the cleaner as a person but the bathroom is not really clean.

 

Bell’s Palsy: Day 8 

They say a change is as good as a rest.

To be honest with you I have seen very little in the way of sense come out of anything “they” say.

A rest is as good as a rest.

I have now not left the house for 3 days.

I have worn the same t-shirt and slept in it every day and night for 3 days.

Alongside the Palsy lopsidedness, my skin has taken on a kind of sallow, yellow, waxy death mask complexion.

I have been outside for literally 30 minutes yesterday to watch Indi sit in the neighbour’s paddling pool.

And I feel. so. good.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I sometimes (always) feel like I’ve been awake for 3 years.

Parental tiredness is the most tired cliche in the book of things they say about being tired when you have a kid.

But it’s so true. 

Of course i’ve slept in the last 3 years, but there’s something about the quality of sleep as a parent that’s so fundamentally different from actual sleep. A constant awareness, listening, never letting yourself fall into deep sleep, always ready to be on.

There is no such thing as too much rest. It’s impossible to be too well rested. Just like brilliant volunteer Michael Falconer used to tell me at work in England, “Bonny, there’s no such thing as Holidays Anonymous”. There’s sloth, but that’s something else, that’s not rest that’s lethargy.

At this moment I honestly feel GRATEFUL that I got this stupid face disorder, it’s almost like my body got fed up of listening to me boasting about surviving on so little sleep, so fed up of me dragging my mind through the fog of every sleep deprived day, and said right twat, if you’re not going to listen to me, I’m going to smack you round the face with it. Literally.

If it wasn’t for this wonky face, I would still be pushing on, running on empty, miserable. It’s impossible to feel up when you’re completely depleted. I feel like a different person now, I feel more like actual me. Did I mention that I’M SO WELL RESTED.

…..

And so, just like that, I simultaneously couldn’t be bothered to write every day and turned into one of those fortunate bastards who everyone with a new Bell’s Palsy diagnosis is sure they will never be, and was back to about 70% normal face within 8 days and 90% normal within two weeks. I had thought I’d made a full recovery, but now (6ish months on) I recognise I plateaued at about 90%, still experiencing a certain tightness in the mouth on the affected side. When I smile, I feel the point at which it stops, a frustrating half a centimetre or so from where it wants to spread. And I honestly do. not. give. a. single. solitary. shit. It’s annoying if I focus attention on it so, somewhat uncharacteristically, I don’t. Anyway, it’s hard differentiate natural facial non-symmetry from traces of BP, so why bother?

If you’ve got Bell’s Palsy, give yourself credit for how distressing it can feel to suddenly lose control of your face, but comfort yourself with the knowledge that it’s not in any way life threatening. I highly recommend getting in touch with someone else who you actually know who’s had it. I posted a Facebook request for anyone with experience of it to contact me privately – this was hugely reassuring, I was able to ask a wonderful woman who I hadn’t seen since high school all my questions, rather than continue getting lost in the confusing and endless rabbit hole of Google. It was her sage advice which led me to launch myself into an unprecedented period of total rest, despite the medical evidence that Bell’s Palsy doesn’t make you unfit for work. The sudden effects of the condition were shocking and upsetting, and time to rest and come to terms with my facial paralysis gave me the strength I needed to be able to stand up in front of a room full of students again. Thank you, Sian.

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