Me trying to smile.
It’s a strange thing. It began yesterday with an odd taste in my mouth. Or, rather a lack of taste. At the time I just felt like my mouth was oily and seemed to taste nasty. It happens sometimes. You eat something and it doesn’t sit well on your stomach and the next day you have this awful taste in your mouth. But it didn’t go away and everything tasted awful or just not much taste at all, no matter what I ate.
By the end of the day yesterday I was feeling some numbness and experiencing lagging movement in my face. By the next morning, I simply couldn’t move the right side of my face at all. Normally this would be a sign of serious concern. A stroke or similar problem, but strokes are characterized by pain and confusion and a lack of feeling and coordination in the hands. All that happened was that the right half of my face got progressively less responsive.
Bell’s Palsy has no known cause, as yet. Doctors believe it may be caused by swelling around the nerves that run behind the ear and into the face, which can be caused by a number of things including viruses, stress and depression. It is a diagnosis of elimination, meaning that when they have eliminated all the other things it could be, this is what they call it.
Even without treatment, most sufferers begin to recover in about ten days to two weeks and are fully recovered within a few months. Early treatment with steroids has been shown to help shorten the recovery time. Muscular exercise of the face is suggested to aid in keeping the muscles in shape and lessen the impact on the nerves and help reduce error in nerve regrowth. Besides nerve damage, the main worry is for the eye on the paralyzed side. Because that side cannot blink, the eye can potentially dry out, which can cause damage to sight. Lubricating eye drops can be used to keep the eye moist and it is suggested that the eye be taped shut with gauze pads and medical tape at night for protection and ease of sleep.
Hopefully this will be informative and helpful for anyone else out there who gets this. For further information here is the Wikipedia article. I also suggest seeking out a doctor, because the symptoms for Bell’s Palsy are very similar to several life-threatening disorders, and should be taken seriously.