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.

Did you get the “extended warranty?”

There is never, ever a dull moment in our house. Sometimes there are tears, and sometimes there is a whole lot of laughter.

Yesterday I signed for a package for middle child. I had no idea what I was signing for, but since she signs for my mail, I figured I would return the favour, saving her a trip to the post office. Well little did I know what was in the long, rectangular shaped box – I couldn’t even fathom a guess, I would just have to wait until she returned home from running errands. I did send her a text telling her mail had arrived for her from China. She responded with not Turkey? Turkey, I say? Her reply “nvm” (never mind, for those of you who aren’t up-to-date on texting shortcuts).

About an hour or so later, as hubby and I are in the kitchen preparing for dinner, middle child returns home, and I give her the “package”. Being so ever curious, I ask what she has ordered. Well, as she bursts out laughing, she tells me it’s a “Bluetooth vibrator”. OMFG! You mean, I signed for a Bluetooth vibrator? Geez, laughter, lots and lots of laughter from all three of us. She goes on to explain how she was with her friends, a few drinks too many, on Amazon, and lo and behold the Bluetooth vibrator caught her attention, and well she is almost 25 and doesn’t have a boyfriend at this current time. Plus, she said her friend bought one too, then she reminded me about the vibrator she found in my dresser drawer. Oops.

Of course dad jokingly asks “did you get the extended warranty?” ROTFLMAO!

Note: A healthy sex life is a good thing, and more importantly if you can talk to your kids about sex, you have a great relationship.

Trying something new

On the advice of my friend Suzanne, I’m tried something new today.  What did I do different? First I took my rarely used bicycle out of the shed, secured my helmet, and rode off to the local mall. Well I actually had to turn around at the corner and go back home, the back tire was deflated. Unlock gate, unlock house, route in jar of numerous keys for shed key, find key ring with numerous keys – forcing me to try one of many again to unlock shed, find tire pump, pump like mad woman so nozzle can fall off tire thingamajig numerous times, finally re-inflate tire, return pump to shed, lock shed, return keys to house, lock house, lock gate, ride off into sunset to mall.

Finally on my way, I debate riding on the sidewalk (which is illegal) vs the road. Decide on the road, only to almost get taken out by driver who obviously hates bike riders. After my near death experience I arrived at the mall. I go to the Bulk Barn to buy some steel-cut oats (one has to stay regular healthy), and dog treats. Eventually I grab a coffee and breakfast so I can sit down and write. In truth, I went to the mall for the sole intention of writing. It seems sitting at my computer lately just draws blanks.

These past three weeks have been a whirlwind of activity at our house with Suzanne visiting. I have played the tourist with her, as we toured the RGB (Royal Botanical Gardens), The Hamilton Farmer’s Market, Cootes Paradise, Lindsay Ontario, Aylmer Ontario, Port Dover Ontario, and Niagara Falls Ontario. On bad chronic pain days for me, Suzanne went out on her own walking – and boy can that woman walk, 14 kilometres one day alone! (Note: Suzanne came over quite aware, that there would be days, she would have to go it alone while I rested). Middle child graciously did fill in for me a number of times, taking Suzanne to the mall, and for a walk at Albion Falls.

The visit to Aylmer and Port Dover (where our grandmother used to live) was on the invitation of my sister, who was interested in checking out some handmade Mennonite dining room tables. Afterwards, she thought it would be nice to have lunch on the beach in Port Dover. So on a very raining Saturday, my sister drove into town to pick us up. With umbrella’s on hand (I borrowed my husband one and only, supposedly favourite umbrella, which was later turned inside out, and left broken by an extremely strong wind gust, that amazingly left me unscathed (did he ask me that – Nooo!)) Anyways, the furniture was gorgeous, though nothing was purchased, except of course slippers by me, that middle child keeps trying to steal (payback for hubby’s umbrella?)

It seemed the rain was not going to let up, nevertheless it did not put a damper on our lunch, the scene reminded my Wales-born friend of home.

Picture of the rain hitting the restaurant window.
Before you ask, I have no idea why the restaurant decided to plant palm trees on the beach.