Saturday, March 26, 2016

Hells bells (palsy).

Well, what the fuck. If this my life?

I woke up yesterday with a numb mouth. I thought I slept on my face weird, and went back to bed. When I woke up I had lost all control of the right side of my face. If I try and sip water, it falls out of the right side of my mouth. I tried to eat toast and couldn't properly bite into it, or taste it. My right eye doesn't close. And when I smile, only half of my face moves.

I called Info Santé (which is a free health-care question line, answered by registered nurses) and the nurse asked me some questions and had me test some other muscle functioning. I could grip my hands, and the paralysis seemed to only be of the face, but the nurse recommended I go to the closest emergency room.

Initially, I was worried about a stroke, I was worried about being permanently "disfigured," I was worried about not being able to drink coffee in coffee shops, bite into a tomato sandwich or you know, smile ever again. I have this lopsided smile that seems sarcastic and shitty at best.

So we headed to the ER, where I went through triage and was coded as a Priority 3. I ended up getting in there at about 4:00 pm, I saw a nurse, did some muscle tests,  an EKG and a blood pressure test. Turns out, I didn't have to take a blood test because 24 hours earlier (more on that later) I had been to my local CLSC (a community-based health centre) for another medical test, so they happened to have those blood samples on-site. I was given a bracelet and a wait number. After that, it was a long wait. I was re-evaluated once, to see if my stats changed, and then continued to wait.

I saw a doctor around midnight. She did further tests. She said it seemed to be Bell's palsy. She said in most cases it resolves itself within a month or two. It can go away in as little as a week. She also said it can be permanent (like with Jean Chretien) and there can be long-lasting after affects, that maybe only I would notice. And so I left there around 1 in the morning shaken and exhausted.

Today, I've been resting and just kind of a mess. I've texted some friends, since yesterday the only people who knew I was in the ER were my mother, brother and my friend S. I texted her then called her once I was through the triage process. Her mother is actually partially paralysed due to a malpractice at her birth (the woman birthing her wanted to wait for the doctor so she "pushed her back in" and broke her fucking neck).

I explained what was going on with my face, and said it was great to have this happen right before my work review - which is this week. I'll be eye-patched and slurring, so here's to hoping that plays in my favour for getting a fucking living wage.

I don't look forward to going to work on Monday. I'll need to wear my eye patch and explain to my boss and co-workers what's going on. What a shit show.

Not even two months ago it was vertigo! Now it's fucking Bell's palsy! What the goddamn fuck! Before that it was my mom's global amnesia! All of this in the last 4 months!

Is this what happens once you hit your 30's?

The last time I went to see Dr. Rishi, I mentioned this bump I have at the top of my shoulders at the base of my neck. It's known as a buffalo hump. He said it's in line with something called Cushing's syndrome, which I then looked up, and for which I have 90% of the symptoms. It's eery. Down to the big'ol moon face.

So, he had given me a prescription to go for a blood test, and do a 24-hour urine cortisol test. So, Thursday of this week I got up earlier and went in for the blood test and got the giant pee-pee jug. No joke. Giant.



So, before I could even complete those tests I got Bell's. The thing is, Cushing's deals with cortisol levels, and the test I was suppose to do does as well. So I guess I have to wait to be off the cortisol to then test my cortisol levels.

I left a message with Dr. Rishi, it's easter weekend, so he'll be back in on Tuesday. I said I had been in the ER and that I was diagnosed with Bell's palsy, and that I had questions about my urine test and stuff. Hopefully he'll call me quick on Tuesday.

I would hate for the cortisol derivative I'm taking to fuck with me even more if I do in fact have Cushing's.

Part of me was hopeful the urine/cortisol testing would bring back the Cushing's diagnosis so I can at least feel justified in my having lived with, and experienced these symptoms for real. At least I'd have an answer. Maybe I could look into treatment.

Well, there's a reason I haven't written much about it or mentioned it to most of my friends, I'm afraid of being too hopeful. I don't want to set myself up for disappointment.

All of this has been side-tracked of course, by my facial paralysis.

I face-timed with my brother, which was a great distraction.


Happily I got more supportive messages from my friends.







A couple of friends in particular were kind of on-the-nose about how I was feeling. Really in the "what the fuck" "are you fucking for real" vein. I guess having them reflect that back to me was nice, like, it's not just me, it's been a rough 4 months.

Feeling vindicated in how you feel is a comfort.

I'm lucky, I have some good friends.

It's taken me most of the day to just work around to sitting down and writing. Yesterday was rough. Today I have good moments and bad moments. I'm mainly with my mother, and she was with me since the hospital so there's no discovery of it for her. But going out, and not being able to smile at people, and being impaired in my speech is hard. 

It's still early days, so those around me are pushing that it's likely temporary. I hope it is. When I think about never being able to smile again, it's a lot. 

One day at a fucking time. 

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