Half of my brother’s face became paralyzed – Bell’s Palsy

This past Friday was supposed to be a grand day, a lunch date was planned with a friend I see twice yearly, but then at 7:56 AM things changed dramatically, when I received a text from my brother.

My brother Jim: “Hi guys, I am at emergency no worries Just getting myself checked.  My left side of face is all numb as is the eye…cannot blink. And hard to eat as numb as well and headache. I am thinking Bell’s Palsy at least that is what Web MD said”

Me: “WTF”

My brother Jim: “But face looks a little dropped on left side”

Me: “Maybe a stroke”

My brother Jim: “Well I am getting it checked so hopefully not”

Me: “Your other sister and I are coming, don’t bother saying no”

My brother Jim: “Ok no problem not sure what is wrong. Just saw a nurse they say they will see me soon. At hospital on …..”

I immediately phone my sister, ask if she received the text message, and tell her we are going. Our brother has a fourteen year old daughter, and I think if it is a stroke, well we need to be there, especially since he lost his wife to cancer, which left him as the only parent of their daughter. Now he lives an hour away, and I am worried.

I phone our eldest daughter who lives, and works close by my brother. I didn’t really want to explain the issue, but I have to remind myself she is twenty-nine, and more than capable of handling such information. She explains she is less than a ten minute walk to the hospital, and will go right over.

As I am waiting for my sister to pick-me-up, I apprise my husband, who has just arrived home from a night shift, of the situation. Then our son, who is in Hungary calls, I have no choice but to tell him, as he can read me like a book, he says he will call his other sister to explain the situation.

As we drive to the next city, I am googling Bell’s Palsy trying not to think of the worst, (we are also bitching to each other about how he took the time to Google before driving himself to the hospital, plus was he nuts, he may have been having a stroke, and really should have called an ambulance for himself!). Both of us know we will give him shit when we see him.

It’s morning rush hour, so even with avoiding the traffic congestion, it takes us an hour to arrive at the hospital. I start texting my daughter, surprised to find out they are already finished with seeing the doctor, and are in the parking lot. We meet up with the two of them, our brother’s eye is patched, he cannot blink, the left side of his face is obviously drooping, he has a little difficulty with speaking, he is drooling, he cannot really chew on the left-side he says, half of his face is paralyzed.

He explains to us, that the night before, he face felt somewhat weird but he didn’t really think much about it, until he awoke in the morning, and the left-side of his face was paralyzed. At which point he Googled his symptoms. “You took the time to Google!” My sister, lit into him! The eldest is trying to speak over my sister, stating she already yelled at him quite well. My sister doesn’t stop, imploring to him that he is a “single parent” and he has to think first of his daughter.

After he was ‘taking to task’, we talk about Bell’s Palsy, and how odd that it just strikes out of nowhere, and what is the treatment. The doctor patched his left eye, prescribed a Corticosteroid for him in order to reduce the swelling of the facial nerve, and was told to pick up eye drops. With not being able to blink, the eye easily dries out, which of course will cause more issues. He also suggested to practice physical therapy, thus exercising the left-side of his face. We also told him to phone his family doctor for follow-up because this is serious.

We said our goodbyes, with our finger’s crossed the Bell’s Palsy would not be permanent.

The next day I phoned my brother to see if there was any change in his symptoms – there wasn’t, and asked how the conversation went when he told his daughter what was happening – he said she handled it quite well.

Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy (Mayo Clinic):

    • Rapid onset of mild weakness to total paralysis on one side of your face — occurring within hours to days
    • Facial droop and difficulty making facial expressions, such as closing your eye or smiling
    • Drooling
    • Pain around the jaw or in or behind your ear on the affected side
    • Increased sensitivity to sound on the affected side
    • Headache
    • A decrease in your ability to taste
    • Changes in the amount of tears and saliva you produce

In rare cases, Bell’s palsy can affect the nerves on both sides of your face.

Note: Please do not “Google” your symptoms if you suspect something serious, any sort of paralysis, you may be having a stroke, call the emergency number for your area.

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The Trauma of Sexual Assault

Listening to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford recall her sexual assault has been nothing short of traumatising for me all over again, but I listen, I tweet, hoping there are other women out there with her strength that will come forward and speak out.

I’ve been sexually assaulted three times. The second was the most damaging to me, and it happened over thirty-five years ago. I can recall every minute of it, what he was wearing, where his hands were, how he took his penis out of his pants, caressed himself until he ejaculated about three feet from my face, thinking I was asleep.

He may not have physically touched me, but he got deep into my brain, so deep that till this day, it will creep into my mind when my best friend’s husband hugs me, regardless of how safe I know he is (I did tell him years ago, when I would do anything to avoid the hug, just the thought of another man, besides my husband touching me, sent me into panic mode).

It would creep into my mind when our girls were little, I would explain to them as best as I could (age appropriate) that it was not okay for another man to do this or that.

It would and still does occasionally creep into my mind during the most intimate times with my husband. I have to gather all of my strength to somehow put it back into that closet and triple lock the door.

I will never get over the trauma of the assault, I will only find new locks for the door. I look back and wish I had had the courage to press charges, all I can do now is fully support those who have been sexually assaulted, raped, violated, in hopes that one day it will end.

I believe

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2 showers, 2 buckets of ice equalled $100 dollars

Days six and seven had us driving from West Hawk Lake Campground to Winnipeg, Manitoba then Shady Oaks RV Resort and Campground just off of highway one.

Matt in front of Winnipeg signWinnipeg was our only city destination, our son, who had visited the city a year ago, recommended we make a stop at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. We spent the first half of the day exploring each floor of the museum. The architecture is modern, almost construction like on the inside, with a centre ramp to each floor. As you ride up the elevator, one side displays the inside of the museum while the other offers views of the Red River and Assiniboine River.Canadian Museum for Human RightsAll Human Beings are born free and Equal
Human Rights obviously differ from country to country, but as the sign above states “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. Sadly though even in present time, this is not the case for all.  The museum gives you a history of human rights, not just in Canada, but the world.  Visitors may find some of the displays quite distressing, yet one should try to remember how far we have come in fighting for rights of others.

After the museum, we spent some time exploring the area, walking along the rivers.Pelican fishing Pelican flies off with fishEarlier in the day, we had asked middle child to find us a hotel near the museum that would not break the bank.  Neither Matt nor I are fans of hotels, preferring to sleep in a tent with our fifteen inch air mattress. When we arrived at the hotel, there was hesitation in our minds immediately, but both of us were exhausted from the long day, in need of showers, and I wanted to do some of our laundry. I was first to have a shower while Matt brought in more of our belongings, and went for ice to fill our cooler. Terrified of bringing home bed bugs, I continued to inspect the room while Matt had his shower. I then noticed that the box spring of the bed was wrapped in a plastic covering (ripped in the corners) which instantly sent warning signals to my brain.

As Matt went to fill the ice bucket again, I scoured the internet for information on which hotels had been noted for critters running around, and not to my surprise this hotel was listed. The minute he returned, both of us spoke simultaneously stating “we’re leaving”. Apparently while he was retrieving ice, an individual horked a wad of phlegm in the stairwell only a few feet in front of him!

We still had to wait for our laundry to finish, in the meantime though, Matt put our belongings back in the car. Once it was finished, we went to the front desk to check out, and since we had been in the room for approximately three hours, the woman at the desk stated she would have to charge us $100 dollars and change.  At this point Matt and I did not care, we paid the bill, and practically ran to our vehicle across the street where it was parked in a parkade. Parking was not included with the hotel, and naturally the machine decided to have a hissy fit by spitting out our twenty-dollar bill over and over again (I did not want to insert our credit card into the machine, as I was afraid it would eat it). While Matt set off to find someone to pay, I had a view of the front entrance, and watched as Security physically threw out what appeared to be a prostitute, as her friend/pimp held her purse/bag a few feet away from her.

Back on highway one, we just drove, having no idea where we were going to stay for the night. The nearby provincial parks were day use only, so we drove and drove. Finally we saw a sign for ‘Shady Oaks RV Resort and Campground’ just past Portage la Prairie. This was mainly a campground for RV’s, but there were a few spots for tents at the very back of the lot, surrounded by trees, giving us some privacy.Shady Oaks RV Resort and Campground

After setting up our tent, I went on a hunt for drinkable water. As I walked around the campground, I found it quite astonishing the number of RV’s at this place, minutes from the highway, with no beach, just a pool surrounded by high wooden walls and not a tree in sight. The washroom and showers were so old, some of the bolts holding the toilets to the floor were loose, so every time you sat down, you were unsure if it would actually tip over. Overall, the woman who ran the place was very nice, and the night only cost us $20.

Next Buffalo Pound Provincial Park to meet a blogging friend of mine.

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