Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How make-up saved my life

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 Internet.

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 words.

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.

15 comments:

R. Jacob said...

your blogging family is here for you!
hugs

Julie said...

Wowza. I had a boss with that once and his right side pretty much just slid down his face. It was so sad to see, and it took MONTHS to get better. Thank God you caught this fast!!!!!!!!!!

lightning36 said...

Wow -- glad you got to medical help right away. Let's hope this problem does not last too long.

The harsh reality is that those of us who are more, uhh, "mature," need to pay attention to our body. Sometimes it is harder for the men, as we usually are loath to seek medical help unless we fear bleeding out or some similar drastic consequence.

I had a mild heart attack almost one year ago. Before I went to the convenient care center, I thought to myself "I might be having a stroke or a heart attack." Men. lol

Anyway -- best wishes for a quick 100% recovery.

Tender Heart Bear said...

Keep a positive attitude. We are all here for you and we are all praying for a real fast recovery. I will keep the positive vibes coming your way and just for you!

~Coach said...

Quite a story - I hope that you get well very soon!!

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Thanks, all! I so appreciate your well wishes. I'm really fine--just annoyed. You know me...

Liz said...

I'm glad you caught it early. Don't get too frustrated that you don't see improvement quickly. Many drugs (steriods included) take a long time to work. They have to "gang up" on your body (as was explained to me many years ago) and sometimes symptoms don't improve for a while. Certainly not as fast as we'd like them to.
I'm glad you can have beer with Prednisone!

Gina D. said...

That's so scary. I'm so glad you caught it early! I'm sorry you had to deal with it at all! Hopefully you'll be back to your sparkling-self in no time--and at least you can still have a beer or two!

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Thanks, Liz. I'm actually off the Prednisone now, so I guess it's just a matter of time. Patience is not my strong point... :)

Vegas Linda Lou said...

No kidding, Gina! XOXO

Memphis MOJO said...

Ditto what others said: Get better soon!

Donna B. said...

So glad you are an ACTION person and don't allow any moss to grow....so glad you have a good prognosis from catching it so early. I miss you. We are so busy with too much company, some trips and back and forth to CA. Love you and miss you....

forjenssake said...

Aww babe. I'm so sorry to hear about this and hope you recover fully in no time. Thank goodness they discovered what it was though, I've had plenty of goddamn good for nothing doctor's in my life and I mutter under my breath to them all the time, when I'm not causing a scene that is. Well, at least you can get some jokes out of this. Just tell people you got a bad batch of Botox. You felt like if you were going to do an impression of Joan Rivers, that was the best place to start. Haha. Love you and seriously, I hope you get back to as close as your normal as possible.

Mellodee said...

I hope you are one of the ones with a good outcome. My hubs was diagnosed with Bell's about two years ago and has tried everything....Prednisone, physical thereapy, nerve stimulators, acupuncture, various medications. Nothing has helped. He is marginally better, but still has the drooping, watering eye. His jaw and cheek bother him every few days. He says he can't taste food very well anymore. And his eyelid does not completely close. It isn't life threatening but it sure is a pain in the derriere!

BTW they send you to the ER to be sure it ISN'T a stroke which cannot be determined without tests.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

You'd think, Mellodee, but the only tests they did in the ER were "follow my finger" and weight resistant assessments. Nothing like an MRI or anything that my doc couldn't have done in his office.