Subject Paralysis

Aug 1, 2003

I’m doing ok. I’m doing alright. I’m glad to hear that your friend recovered nicely. No, I’m not better yet. I still can’t raise an eyebrow. I still can’t smile.

Many well wishes have come my way in the last two weeks as both friends and family hear about the Bell’s Palsy which afflicts me. I appreciate them. I really do. It’s nice to be loved. It’s nice to see that people care. I truly don’t deserve the kind words I’ve received.

That said, it certainly seems like I’m stuck in a rut. I spend a lot of time discussing both my mug and the mugs of others. I understand the curiousity. It’s hard to describe. It’s hard to explain. Just what does a person look like who can’t control one side of their face? You can tell when people really look at you.

It may or may not help that my contact with the outside world in the last two weeks has been limited. I haven’t been spending time crossing things off my schedule but I haven’t been making plans either. Church softball, my normal Sunday excursion, is a no, no. My partially blinking eye makes it difficult and I’d rather not risk any injury (look there’s a fly ball). Other events, particularly ones that involve eating, are not things I’m anxious to set up.

I’ll make two exceptions to that this weekend, one on both sides of the fence. I’ve decided to skip the annual work picnic. I’d like to go. I’d love to show off my quickly growing boy. I’m not, however, incredibly comfortable with socializing or community eating right now. Doing the two in concert would be torture to both sides of my face. You could call it avoidance. You can worry about symptoms of depression if you really want. I’m taking a different view. It just doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to me. Besides, it looks like it will rain. I won’t miss it next year.

On the other hand, the wife and I are heading out to dinner and movie so I’m not sworn off the entire world quite yet. We are going to make another run at seeing Finding Nemo, although American Wedding has a good opportunity to snag our discretionary dollars as well. Hopefully we’ll eat some place that serves soft foods.

For those who don’t know, I started physical therapy this week. The therapy itself consists of both facial and oral exercises. I make wierd faces at the mirror and contort my face while repeating certain words. The faces are all the more strange when you take into account that only only my right side has any interest in participating. They do seem to help. The left side can feel odd, wormy, or tight in the hours afterwards. Any feeling over there is a good thing.

The whole idea of physical therapy is to accelerate the recovery process. Bell’s Palsy supposedly just comes back on its own. It comes back slowly, though. I’m hoping those frustrating hours in front of the mirror pay off. If nothing else, I’m learning to control the right side a lot better. Someday, I’ll be able to fake it on both sides.

For all those who have called, emailed, sent me cards, visited, or left an encouraging comment, thanks. I’m making it through this. Sometimes it is hard to forget, though. My Bell’s Palsy is something I cannot escape. You could say that it’s written all over my face.

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