When I was 32, I was driving down south for work & heard a ringing in my ear and had a slight earache. I didn’t think much of it. All was good as I got to my hotel room, but the next morning something odd happened. Something was off. My mouth was doing this weird “Elvis” thing when I tried to press my lips together. “Had my lips always done that & I just didn’t notice before?” I felt fine & wasn’t to alarmed but decided to cut my work trip short and go see my doctor. I remember joking with the receptionist as I was calling for the appointment because I didn’t know how to describe my symptoms. “Uhm – my mouth is doing this funny thing when I press my lips together? Heck – I don’t know. Put down Funky mouth.”
As I was driving back, my face started to feel weird & my right eye kept on watering. My doctor wasn’t in so I saw someone else. She did a “real quick” check of my reflexes, looked at my face and said, “Yep – Bell’s Palsy.” I immediately started crying…
I knew exactly what Bell’s Palsy was. When I was younger, I remember on of the DJ’s at the club I use to go to had it. The poor guy looked like a stroke victim. Christ -“Is that what I have to look forward to?”
She advised me that we were in good shape because we caught it within the first 24 hours and started meds immediately. The quicker you catch it, the better your odds of full recovery. The right side of my face was getting more and more numb by the minute. I told her to remind me of what this feels like if I ever want to get botox in the future.
I went home & did the regiment. Tape eye shut at night to prevent over drying & I diligently rubbed my mom’s homemade “goo,” on the right side of my face. Her German background & love for all herbs & teas, gave her the gift of making these wonderful concoctions. Those first couple of days I would look in the mirror & just cry, wondering if my face would ever go back to normal. After about 3 weeks the swelling was down and I was at about 90%. I felt much better knowing that I wasn’t doomed to a life of looking like the female, “Stalone,” but I never regained 100%.
Most people can’t see it. It mostly comes out when I’m really tired or sometimes in pictures, but that’s ok because my left eye was a bit lazy- so as far as I’m concerned it evened everything out. In my late 30’s I started to notice that the left side of my face had less, lines. I’m blessed with some good genes so I don’t have a ton of wrinkles, but I can see gravity starting to take things down. I remember thinking, “Damn – this is the longest lasting botox ever!”
At 43, I can feel the muscles weaker on the right side, so at night when I’m watching TV, I take my “sleeping eye mask,” and cover the “left side” of my face. Hopefully training the muscles on the “right,” to work better. I know doctors can inject the left side with “actual botox,” and even my face out, but I already know what it’s like to have your face paralyzed, so I’ll take a pass.
Now if you want to cut-it & pull it back in a couple of years…I got no problem with that.