Okay, I'm being overly dramatic here, but putting on make-up did play a part in alerting me to the fact that I needed medical attention... and sooner rather than later.
Last Thursday morning while Mike and I were taking our daily walk, I remarked that I might be getting a toothache. Except I really couldn't pinpoint it in my mouth, and maybe it was my jaw. Or maybe it was my ear? And my left eye was watering non-stop, driving me crazy (short trip).
I didn't think much of it, though. When we got home, Mike showered and left to see a client; I scoured the job postings (what else is new). I
finally took a shower in the afternoon and when I was putting
on my eyeliner, I noticed that I couldn't close my left eye properly. Then I panicked when I
realized that eye WASN'T BLINKING! Then when I was putting on
lipstick, I saw that my mouth was uneven. I remembered how the day before I thought
one eyebrow was higher than the other, but I just dismissed that as
over-scrutinizing my face in the mirror (you know me).
Of course, I jumped to the
conclusion that I was either having a stroke or a brain
tumor--malignant, no doubt. As I've told you before, I'm no hypochondriac, but I will admit to being an alarmist. A mild
headache is not the remnants of a hangover, but an undiscovered brain
tumor. A bad cold? Walking pneumonia. I once marched myself to Urgent
Care and demanded that the physician on duty investigate the possibility
that my stiff neck was a severe case of meningitis. He rolled his eyes
and murmured something under his breath about hating the goddamn
I called Mike with, "Honey, can you come home?" in my fake "Stay calm, everything's okay" voice and then called my primary care doc. I relayed my symptoms to whomever answered the phone; she called back about 15 minutes later saying the doctor said to go to the ER. (Really, he couldn't call me himself?) While I waited for Mike, I plugged my symptoms into the goddamn Internet and concluded I'd gotten
myself a case of Bell's Palsy, named after Sir Charles Bell, a 19th
century Scottish surgeon who was the first to describe the condition.
Turns out I was right. The doc in the ER put me on Prednisone for a few days, so hopefully that'll help. Thankfully, it's a mild case--you'd never notice if I didn't point it out, which I've been doing to Mike a hundred times a day. Fortunately (or unfortunately, for Mike), my mouth is only minimally affected. I've been reading accounts of people who can't eat or drink without drooling. That has to suck.
At this point, I'm several days into it, and it's more of an annoyance than anything. The pain in my jaw was gone the next day, and supposedly the other symptoms should go away in another week or so. But my eye is a real problem; I'm still not blinking as it should since the
eye closes only a little, and it waters so much I can barely see out of
it, which is a pain. It's hard to drive (and I'm a crappy driver in the best of conditions). At night I have to tape it shut so it doesn't dry
up while I sleep.
As I said, it's just an annoyance. Lots of people go through much worse, and this is probably as bad as it will get, since the low point seems to occur within the first 72 hours. But still, I can't say I see any real improvement and I'm getting frustrated. The other night after fucking around
with my eye all day, I barked to Mike, "I'm gonna tape my eye shut and go open a
beer!" I can honestly say that's the first I've ever muttered those
The biggest lesson learned through this experience is DON'T IGNORE WARNING SIGNS! The doc in the ER said it was better that we caught it early so I could start right on the Prednisone. My beloved husband probably would have waited till his face slid into his chest; like most men, he goes for medical care only to stop my nagging. But sometimes you have to act, that's all there is to it.
I have to say, I'm kind of wondering why my primary doc couldn't have figured this out himself instead of sending me to the ER. Even the pharmacist at Walgreen's seemed to wonder that, too. Maybe I called him too close to closing time? Unlike my dermatologist, Dr. Lionel Handler, whom I LOVE, I don't feel it for this guy. Any recommendations for a good primary care doc from you Vegas readers?
Speaking of pharmacists... they know their stuff. Don't be afraid to pick their brains. (That's how I know it's okay to have a beer.) Seriously, they don't get the credit they deserve. Pharmacists are awesome.
Finally, God forbid, but if you ever need to visit an ER in Vegas, I highly suggest St. Rose Siena Hospital on Eastern Ave. in Henderson. Excellent treatment all around.
Thank GOD this didn't happen two weeks before when I had my big show. Seriously, I would have freaked! And at least it didn't mess up our weekend in LA, either. So if something like this had to happen, the timing is actually okay. I'm lying low, hanging out at the pool, reading, and taking a few online courses on www.Lynda.com so I can beef up my resume a little. I'm missing a couple of nighttime activities, but what can I do? This, too, shall pass.