Normally I would write about the Ohio and Texas primaries today, but the goalposts didn’t move much, so I’ll let it slide. Although somebody really needs to talk about the Saturday Night Life effect one of these days. But I’ve got other fish to fry right now.
It started last night. I was doing a newsroom live shot and my left eye was blinking furiously, but my right eye stayed completely open
. It looked quite freaky. Afterwards I noticed that I was unable to completely shut my right eye.
When I awoke this morning, the whole right side of my face was pretty much paralyzed. Toothpaste dripped out of my mouth as I tried to brush my teeth. Attempts to smile resulted in an odd looking facial contortion worthy of The Penguin
. Furthermore, my right ear was extremely sensitive to sound and all food I attempted to eat tasted like cardboard.
Idiot that I am, I actually showed up to work today. My boss said, “How are you doing today?”
I answered, “I think the right side of my face is paralyzed.”
“Then what are you doing here? Go to a doctor.”
I turned around and walked out the door, and thus ended my shortest day of work in recent memory.
A few hours later I was in a doctor’s office. She told me I had Bell’s Palsy
. Bell’s Palsy is an inflammation of the facial nerve that leaves portions of the face paralyzed. The diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy is basically the medical equivalent of shrugged shoulders. They do a bunch of tests, and if they can’t prove any other cause, you’ve got Bell’s Palsy. Nobody knows what causes it. Nobody knows how to cure it. And it most likely will just go away even if you do nothing.
So I left the doctor’s office with a prescription for some powerful steroids and some tape. The drugs are to try to get the nerve less irritated, and the tape is for my eye. Really, my eye. I can’t shut my eye, and that can damage it when I sleep. So now I have to tape it shut before I go to bed. For further protection, I have to wear sunglasses anytime I go outside and, wait for it, wear safety glasses
at all other times.
Oh I do cut a rather ridiculous character right now. I’m wandering around in public, drooling, while wearing safety glasses. And there’s all this crap on my face. That happened while trying to eat at my local Subway Sandwich location earlier today.
Eating is extremely hard when you have access to only half your mouth. Food kept on getting stuck in the paralyzed side. I actually had to dig huge uneaten chunks of the sandwich out of my mouth with my fingers. It was completely disgusting. Then there was the issue of the mayo. It kept getting smeared all over my face as I tried to eat. The whole time I kept praying nobody in the store recognized me.
But let’s move on to the steroids for a moment. They have a lot of side effects, but none of them include playing left field for the San Francisco Giants
. That’s a different kind of steroids, I’m afraid.
Nope these steroids make you sleepless and insane
. With today’s sandwich, I washed down eight
of these steroid pills. I’m told they may make me manic, or depressed. I’m likely to lose sleep and be aggressive and quick to anger. Did I mention fat? A lot of people who take this drug begin having an insatiable appetite. One guy gained 60 pounds during treatment. I'm hoping to get the rare side effect of what's described as a severe case of "extreme sense of well being."
Apart from drugs and silly glasses, I have to start doing facial exercises. I’m still looking for directions on what exactly I’m supposed to do, but I’m told it involves making a lot of silly faces. I’m hoping to invite one of our news photographers over while I do these exercises and turn them into a moving sweeps piece
called “My Left Face: Matthew Workman’s Heroic Recovery From Bell’s Palsy.” (My right face is the one that’s paralyzed, but the title sounds better this way.)
Being diagnosed with a palsy raises many issues. First off, I never really pictured myself as a “palsy” kind of guy. Palsies seem so Old Testament. Furthermore, having a partially paralyzed face means that the classic schoolyard taunt, “your face is broken,” is actually medically accurate for me right now.
I’ve done a little snooping online, and found that George Clooney suffered from Bell’s Palsy while in junior high (it earned him the nickname “Frankenstein”). So perhaps a side effect of this illness will be excessive handsomeness. Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
also had the palsy… so the illness clearly has different effects on different people.
The most comforting thing about all this is that all symptoms usually go away in a week or two. So this odd state of affairs won’t go on forever… hopefully. In the meantime, if you see a drooling man wearing safety glasses while acting aggressively and making weird facial gestures, be kind to him. He’s had a rough week.
Labels: Bell's Palsy, handsomeness, modern medicine