Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bells What?

Yesterday was really scary. I noticed since the day before yesterday (on Monday) that when I laughed, the left side of my face went higher. But I didn't really bother and just thought it was odd that I had never noticed before. Well, the next morning, I brushed my teeth and noticed that I could only spit to my left. I looked in the mirror, and literally my mouth only functioned on the left. I'm not a stranger to this feeling because my mouth has been numbed before for cavities and pulling out teeth, but um, let's just say I haven't seen a dentist recently. Also, when I tried to raise my eyebrows my left functioned normally but the right was a lot weaker. A little panic ensued, I went to my mom and she didn't really notice but she looked worried. I had had tooth ache in my right teeth for a few weeks and I assumed it was a cavity, so my mom said it might be infected and it's numbing out the rest of the right side of my face.

I went to school still a bit apprehensive but feeling assured that that was the problem. I talked to people about it, and my friends just sort of laughed at me and said they didn't notice. But I also kind of covered my mouth when I laughed hard because I could really feel only the left side going up. I also noticed that when someone yelled it was abnormally loud in my right ear. The same ear was kind of weird the night before as well. Ugh, it was very confusing but I didn't totally freak out, not even close, because 1. I had no idea what the fuck it could possibly be so I guess I was just numb to the whole thing and 2. I assumed it was probably just a problem with my tooth.

Right after school I went with my dad to a dentist my mom found through her friend. My parents fight with all of my dentists for some reason, so this is my third one, not counting elementary school. He was a weirdo and this might be pathetic but I don't like that it's a guy- he was kind of creepy and would stare a bit too intensely into my eyes. Not cool, not cool. he would also lay his hand on my shoulder and make contact too much and stuff and when his hand was in my mouth he lay his arm on my boob. I care verrry much about my personal space so that's just not cool. He is also obsessed with Israel and only plays Israeli music throughout the whole place- he also had a hearty conversation with my dad about their Israeli past and tried to force me to go with Birthright there even though I lived there, hello. But this is all beside the point.

I told him I thought I had a cavity and he asked when it hurts, and I said, well, pretty much constantly- a low pain. He looked confused- turns out cavities only hurt when you eat something cold or something. Whoops. Panic bubbles up inside again. He finds no cavities, infections- nothing whatsoever. I get frustrated when he tells me that everyone has some asymmetry in their face (ugh, I know that, but I think I know my face well enough to figure when it's acting pretty strange!). We went to schedule a tooth cleaning and I started getting teary eyed because I had no idea wtf was wrong with me. My dad told me I could go in the car and I had a kind of mini hyperventilating/crying attack. My dad came and told me to go back because there's a dentist that also studied nerves. he was much nicer, Australian, and he told me to do all kinds of stuff like follow a light with my eyes and scrunch my face. It was pretty damn obvious that my right side was extremely weak. I could scrunch my left eye but my right eye would only close. He said, yup- you have Bell's Palsy. I freaked the fuck out inside- my heart rate probably increased 100x- because I was not expecting some kind of fancy diagnosis. And I had only heard the word "palsy" a few times and could not associate what it was exactly but I thought it was definitely some kind of disease or something. He said I should go to my doctor, blah blah. So nothing whatsoever to do with my teeth.

Long story short, we ended up waiting at an emergency room at a hospital for hours and leaving late at night. they also said it was Bell's Palsy and they were all reeally nice- they calmed me down a lot. I found out it was a problem with the 7th nerve in the right side of my face, which connects the ear, nose, mouth, eye- all of that. It also makes the ear more sensitive, which is why my friend's yell sounded so loud in my ear. Possibly I had some kind of virus or something and it severed the nerve, so now it has to heal. It is most likely temporary, and will probably heal in more or less a month. The worse possible thing to happen now is permanent damage to my right eye because it doesn't close as fast as the left and it also only lightly closes so it does not have normal reflex. It's bad if it gets dried out or dust goes in. So I had to get fake tear drops- basically just eye drops- and apply frequently. I also got some perscriptions- antiviral pills and-get this- steroids. I have to take them 5 times a day for 10 days. ugh, so weird. Apparently it's for inflammation. I don't know... I just don't want to turn into a man.

But everything is fine now, I guess. It could have been SO much worse so I'm actually very glad this turned out as it has. It seemed so foreign and, believe it or not, my pathetic self was already thinking about possible death on the way to the emergency room because that was listed as one of the possible consequences on Wikipedia (I looked it up at home right after the Australian dentist mentioned the name). But it's Wikipedia for God's sake. So everything is fine. One thing I have definitely learned from this is to appreciate when I'm healthy and, just, to appreciate everything. Things can be so much worse. I saw all the people in the emergency room and I was just like, man. That is trouble. No one is beyond catching diseases, and they are so much worse than minor drama in life. I assumed (without really thinking about it) that I'll never get this sort of stuff, and then bam. That's how it felt. Life is just so damned fleeting, and precious.

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