Wednesday, July 11, 2007

For whom the Bell's toll

Or, as our mothers always said,

"Always wear good (and clean) underwear everyday. You never know when someone will see it."

As we know, men don't really do sick well. So after awhile, women really start to lose compassion when a runny nose equates laying on the couch for days watching as much sports or natural disasters as possible.

He had a relatively miserable cold for about 4 days starting last Tuesday. Medicine wasn't really touching it, even the symptoms it does usually make feel better. I, of course, suggested going to the doctor as he might now have a sinus infection.

I seem to remember scoffing at the suggestion.

The other problem with my suggestion is my colds usually do amount to sinus infections. He never believes me, but the doctor always confirms them for me. I don't enjoy taking antibiotics. I took a ton of them as a kid and it is a wonder they work on me now. Precisely, one of the reasons I started doing the Nettie pot as suggested by Dr. Oz on Oprah. I get to see the show maybe once every 2 weeks and was lucky to catch Dr. Oz one day.


About 3 days ago, he was complaining about his eyes being funny and there being a weird numbness across his face. Symptoms which I have had whenever I have a bad sinus infection. So, I suggested the Nettie pot and again, go to the doctor.

On Monday night, he came home late after dinner with a friend. We were just getting home from VBS. With a huge load of groceries. And our 13 yr old baby-sitter who was spending the night. To say chaos control preceded personal needs is an understatement.


He mentioned that something weird was going on. His eye was really bothering him. His lips felt numb. And he could hardly chew his food.

I am sure this meat, potatoes, and ice cream man was thinking stroke.

He did have a very slight droop of his right eyelid if you looked hard. But the most noticeable thing was that he could not pucker the right side of his mouth.

At this point, I know you are thinking, "GO TO THE ER!"

He had already made an appt. with his regular doctor for Thursday to investigate and go ahead with his annual check up. And his symptoms were not pronounced enough for extreme worry. And believe me, he would not have sacrificed his sleep to go to the ER at 9:30 pm. He did mention the words "Bell's Palsy" and I knew there was a possibility, but instead he did the Nettie pot and went to bed.

At work yesterday, around 2:30, my office manager brought me my cell phone and said you need to call Curtis.

He actually felt the need to go to the ER and I needed to go get him because he had carpooled that day. So, I headed to go get him while simultaneously cancelling swim lessons and arranging for the kids with P.

We arrived at an ER close to home around 3:30 pm. Intake was quick and we got to a room quick. Here is where you need to keep in mind why good and clean underwear is indeed important at all times!

The nurses were great. Of course, they took blood, got one arm ready in case an IV was needed, and hooked up the EKG. And ordered an MRI and CT scan if needed after the doctor saw him. In these cases, they usually want to rule out a stroke or tumor.

Pretty quickly, the doctor felt like it was a classic case of Bell's Palsy but wanted to do the CT scan to rule out anything. Blood work and MRI were cancelled. And it was obvious just by looking at him at this point. The pictures from my cell phone don't really do it justice. I need to take some of the eyebrow raising and smiling once my phone recharges.

You can see the flatter right side with the lopsided mouth.

His right eye is wider because it won't blink or close without a lot of effort.

After the CT was normal, Dr. Z discussed it some more with us. It could take 2 days or 2 months to return to normal. Eye injury and eye dryness are the biggest concerns at this point. It could get worse before it gets better. He will have to use eye drops and tape his eye shut at night. He will also take a round of anti-viral medication because it has been found to minimize symptoms and reduce healing time in a strong number of studies with people. While they don't really really know the cause, the strongest case seems to be viral related.

I included a link to a great kids' website ( has a really nice explanation of Bell's Palsy. It is written for kids but I think it does a nice job in simple terms. An interesting thing, increased sensitivity to loud noises can occur because one of the inner ear bones that dampens loud noises and protects our ears for us is affected by the temporary nerve damage. By the way, this is peripheral nerve damage, not central nerve damage as with a stroke.

We left the ER around 7 pm which I think was pretty good. It was a relatively painless experience. If you discount the needles, bandage tape, and ripping electrodes (and chest hair) off.

No restrictions, other than taking precaution with his eye.

And before you start feeling too sorry for him and have no sympathy for me.

His biggest concerns?

That no other body parts are affected and how he would effectively consume beer while fishing at the lake with his buddies this weekend.

Priorities people!



Jenna said...

So sorry! Hope he is better soon!!!

Can he still kiss you ;-)

Rachel said...

Oh Stacey, how awful! I hope he gets to feeling better soon. We will be praying for a speedy recovery so he can GO fishing as soon as possible.

Shannon said...

I'm not sure he should go fishing this weekend if he has been sick on the couch all week...He probably has a lot of housework he needs to be catching up on if he feels that good!