Bell's Palsy

Reply Wed 29 Aug, 2012 09:26 pm
Anyone ever have this quite unique condition?

I was diagnosed with it today after getting the following symptoms:
Lost taste sensations on left side of tongue
Lost the upper range of my voice
Had a serious neck ache on left side
lost sensation on left side of my lips

So, went over to my local heath-mart and found out my regular dr was on vacation. Went to urgent care because frankly, I thought I might be having a stroke (which is quite common for people to think with Bell's Palsy.).

They got me right in, looked my over, did some tests and said I had Bell's Palsy, and not a stroke (whew!).

Turns out a single nerve controls the whole side of your face. It is inflamed or otherwise irritated causing this.

Now, my whole left side of my face is nearly paralyzed. When I blink, my left eye doesn't actually blink and when I spit, I can't purse the left side of my mouth. When I smile, only right side actually smiles.

They gave me a megadose of Prednisone and an anti-viral drug (could be a symptom of lyme disease and also herpes, chickenpox and shingles causes it.) I don't think I have any of those. Seriously though, I had to take 8 prednisone pills today, 8 tomorrow, then 7, then 6 etc...

It's a very unique feeling not being able to move half your face.
Reply Wed 29 Aug, 2012 09:30 pm
I never heard of it, but hope your relief is justified. Does it sound like a temporary condition?
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Reply Wed 29 Aug, 2012 09:31 pm
That's rough. I hope you get over it 100% and soon.
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Reply Wed 29 Aug, 2012 09:32 pm
Oh, Mac. Thank you for even telling us.

I'm not the best researcher here but others are good at it.

Please don't get so depressed that you lose contact with us.

Much as we argue, we love you. Hang in.
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Reply Wed 29 Aug, 2012 09:49 pm
that is a lot of steroid.

you might ask about possible side effects...

good luck.
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Reply Wed 29 Aug, 2012 10:07 pm
mcg :
sorry to hear you have bell's palsy .
i'm sure you have all the medical facts available - if not , let us know .
i know several elderly people that suffer from bell's palsy , and they seem to be able to adjust and live a fairly normal life .
i was on prednisone several years ago .
it caused ENORMOUS constipation !!!
drink PLENTY of fluids and eat LOTS prunes-figs-bran etc .
make sure you keep the system going .
let us know how you are doing on occasion .
best wishes - speedy recovery !
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Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 03:30 am
My dad had Bell's palsy when I was a kid. I don't remember it lasting very long and it didn't have any long term effects.
Hope you're all better soon.
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Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 03:31 am
That is a bugger of a thing to happen. Nasty experience. Hope you are better soon.

I have a work colleague who had it, which is how I know what a downer it is.
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Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 05:06 am
Just adding my good thoughts for you.

I was on Prednisone for a while when they were tossing various things at my hearing loss and seeing if anything would help. That's a high dose alright.

Hope that whatever the cause it fades....
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Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 06:07 am
Sorry to see that you're ill. Though quite alarming at first, with luck and proper treatment, it can be a fairly benign illness.


I've had Bell's Palsy. I recall that it lasted about 4-5 weeks, in my case, Prednisone took care of the inflammation as it reduced the swelling in the nerve. Some minor cases even go away in their own after 10 days after the onset. However it's imperative to be cautious about protecting the affected eye with a patch to keep the cornea from irritation on the non-blinking side.

In the majority of cases, it is a temporary illness with a highly likely prognosis of complete recovery. Think of it as a virus in the nerve (7th cranial verve). This nerve controls one side of the face, eyelid, facial muscles, lips, mouth.

You may have had initially an earache or low-grade fever. I'd been told that cab drivers get it a lot as they're constantly exposed to breezes and a/c blowing on their ear. However, it appears to be a virus or an inflammation affecting that one nerve on one side of the face and head.

Some people are prone to it and have the misfortune of having it revisit them in the future, but the majority get it once and never again. It's important to have it treated soon and it seems prednisone is still the best way to reduce the symptoms while the body rids itself of the virus.

Patching and artificial teardrops in the eye are an essential as the eyelid will not blink and can be subject to irritiation. Also, as you noticed, your lip muscles on one side are in neutral so your smile will be lopsided for a few weeks. Getting lots of rest, as though you had the flu, is a wise idea.

During the time I was afflicted, I also received an additional treatment. I saw a practitioner who used a small medical TENS unit on the affected nerve area. It was programmed to apply some random electrical stimulations which helped the muscles and the nerve to recover 100% and left zero residual symptoms. Here's the link on the TENS device:


My smile muscles and eyelid went back to 100% soon after the illness ended. Depending on the severity of the imflammation, some people are not so lucky and end up with a crooked smile or lazy eyelid. Every now and then even 20 yrs later, one of my eyelids closes a little slowly. That is the only residual effect.

I wish you a speedy and complete recovery.
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Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 06:39 am
Thanks all. It is my understanding and Ragman agrees that it is temporary so that is good.

I spent most of last night chasing around my daughter saying "Arrr! I've got de Palsy!" and watching her run off through the house screaming.

Tried doing the tape my eye shut think last night and that didn't go well. I may try a sleep mask tonight.
Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 06:48 am
Yikes. I'm sorry you're going through that. I wish you a speedy recovery.

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Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 06:53 am
Nooo! Patch the eye at night and all day if you can handle that. Don't try taping it shut. Also you should see your regular doctor, too.

Good luck on scaring and marring your child's mental health. That trick should be good for about 5 yrs of of psychotherapy in her future. Evil or Very Mad
Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 06:55 am
Really? Eyepatch all day? Ugh.

My Doc is on vacation til 9/4. Figures he'd take time off during my crisis!
Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 06:59 am
Seriously...patch it 24/7 and get artificial tears and use them. Most likely someone is filling in for your physician while he is on vacation. Don't wait 'til he comes back. I'm not trying to alarm you but...

At the least, speak with your pharmacist about artificial tears and the symptoms and/or see another docotor. The precautions you take right now may prevent damaging your cornea. Also look into the TENS unit. Although this is not permanent...it can leave some residual stuff if you don't treat it as suggested.

Pls check the links I provided and read through them thoroughly.
Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 07:03 am
I haven't had it - have worked with people who've had it and friends of the family had it as a result of shingles. Most people have a complete uncomplicated recovery. Do take good care of your eye - if you don't have a patch for day use - do you have sunglasses you can wear?

Get an appointment with your regular g.p. to follow-up.

Hydrate hydrate hydrate.


Applying moist heat. Putting a washcloth soaked in warm water on your face several times a day may help relieve pain.

There can be complications so you want to make sure that you're really paying attention to the symptoms.

I'm glad you went in to urgent care right away.
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Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 07:21 am
Ai yi yi. Well, thank God it wasn't a stroke. And it sounds like you're getting good care (and terrifying your daughter; always a good thing Wink).

So, no upper voice register? I am thinking Barry White. Please tell me this is so.

PS Hugs. Seriously, I hope you get all better soon. And beat the Rappin' Rednecks! Smile
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Joe Nation
Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 07:54 am
I once worked with someone who contracted Bell's Palsy.

Yes. Eyepatch. Buy several good ones and keep them very clean.
Artificial tears are a good idea.
Do not change your dosage.
Do not skip a dose.

(I can't believe the clinic didn't tell you all these things.)

It was two weeks to the day when her face just returned to normal as if nothing happened. It's been twenty years and no recurrence.

Be well.
Joe(and stop scaring the **** out of your kid!)Nation Laughing
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Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 08:51 am
PBS's Sewing with Nancy host, Nancy Zieman, has had it for many many years. Her fans have witnessed the slow progression of it and she has to explain many times that she has not had a stroke, that she is perfectly healthy except for the Bell's Palsy.


Zieman has Bell's Palsy and is open about her condition, having written about it, been interviewed by journalists, and hosting a segment on TV show with medical professsionals. She jokingly refers to herself as the "Poster Child for Bell's Palsy."

Here's a recent post from her blog about her condition:



Perhaps the question that most of you want to ask me, but are afraid to do so, has nothing to do with fabric and thread. The topic—my face! Obviously, I’m not symmetrical. My eye and mouth on my right side have a partial paralysis called Bell’s Palsy—it happened (due to an ear infection) when I was a toddler; I was just over one year old.

During the 1950’s the treatment was to “wait it out–it will get better.” A high percentage of people recover from this paralysis. I wasn’t so lucky.


Being a public figure with a facial paralysis has prompted many people to write and ask questions when a friend or loved-one is stricken with a comparable paralysis. Sometime I kiddingly say to my staff that I’m the Bell’s Palsy Poster Child. I’m happy to hold this self-imposed job.

One of my suggestions when contacted by a viewer is to contact a Neuromuscular Retraining Clinic; I went through retraining treatments in the 90’s. Since I’m not qualified to give medical advice—isn’t that a good thing—I recently invited Dr. Justin Sattin, Neurologist and Medical Director of the UW Health Comprehensive Stroke Program, to be my guest for a Nancy’s Corner segment on Sewing With Nancy. Dr. Sattin explained the differences between the onset of a stroke and Bell’s Palsy, plus treatment options. You can watch that interview on the first program of Landscape Quilting Workshop DVD and TV show (program #2417). Wisconsin newspapers also featured tidbits of my interview with Dr. Sattin. Here’s a link to the newspaper interview written by Jane Burns.

The reason for sharing this information is to answer a question, pass along information, and give encouragement. A letter written many years ago, that I’ve kept when I question whether or not I should be on TV, reads as follows:

Dear Nancy, This has nothing to do with sewing but about your inspiration to me while I was recovering from an operation. I had a weakness on the left side of my face and my mouth badly drooped. So your face was the first one I imagined and for the whole six days I was in the hospital I kept saying, “If Nancy can do it, so can I.”

When we’re taping Sewing With Nancy, the floor director counts me into each segment by saying, “Take a deep breath and smile.” I give you the best smile I can. After all, most of us deal with one issue or even two—I just happen to wear mine!
Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 08:52 am
****, sorry to hear that man. Hope it clears up quick.

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