About Face

Sep 5, 2003

I attended my final physical therapy appointment last Wednesday. I’m not entirely cured of my Bell’s Palsy but I’m close. A while ago, my doctor told me that no one would be able to tell I was sick by Labor Day. That prediction turned out to be true.

Some nagging effects remain but they are constrained to small things. I’m not worried about blinking. I’m focused on getting my bottom lip up to speed. I no longer slur my speech. My toothy smile only has only a little bit to go. Generally, it is now hard to notice. Unless I strain to show folks my problem, they’d likely never know there was one. For that, I’m extremely grateful.

I’m not grateful, however, that I have not been given a free pass with regard to the silly exercises I do day in and day out. I’ve promised to continue my funny faces for another month. It will be a long, face-tortured month.

It’s not that I hate them that intensely. This past weekend, while vacationing with some good friends, they were actually a lot of fun. I wasn’t juiced with the prospect of performing my fanciful art in front of an audience but I could understand their curiosity. So, we made a deal: they could watch but they must also participate. Imagine a group of folks making silly faces at each other. Add alcohol and stir. A daily chore turned out to be a fun evening activity.

I have an appointment with the neurologist next week. I fear that I’ll be stuck in the face with buzzing needles again but I’m still encouraged. This visit would fall under the heading of follow-up, a title that I very much welcome.

I wanted to note how thankful I am to my physical therapist, who took time out of her busy schedule to help out someone with really crappy health insurance. Bell’s Palsy is a funny affliction, where healing occurs at a slow pace, normally without any treatment whatsoever. Because of that, I’m unsure of exactly how much physical therapy has helped. However, I’m convinced that I spoke clearly sooner because of the effort. I’m convinced that my eating habits returned to normal earlier because of her help. I’m sure that the healing process was accelerated. For that, there’s a lot of thanks to go around.

In fact, I plan to make sure some flowers go her way this coming week. The wife will likely be the delivery girl. I’ve already wrote the note I intend to include. I hope it brightens her day.

Thanks for your time and patience. You, quite literally, put a smile on my face.
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