In a moment one’s whole world can be turned upside down. I’ve always known this fact, but never fully realised it until last Friday morning.
I’d just climbed out of the shower and was busy drying myself off when I noticed that my face felt oddly un-synchronised. There was a tingling in my cheek and my eyes weren’t working properly. I leaned over and peered into the mirror above the dressing table. I tried to blink but something was amiss. My smile too had become distorted. My pulse started to rise as fear took over
Perhaps it will go away, I thought. But it didn’t. The symptoms were becoming more pronounced by the minute and I started to get very scared indeed. Should I wake my sleep-deprived-vet-student-daughter? Was my condition severe enough to ask her to take me to the hospital? Was I in the early stages of suffering a stroke? I paced down the passage, testing various facial expressions. Was this my imagination? I paced more and then past her room. She opened her eyes, lifted herself off the bed and looked at me.
“Are you ok, Mom?”
“I don’t think so,” I said and burst into tears.
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The biggest thing about an attack of Bell’s palsy is the fear. As the victim, one has no idea what is happening. The symptoms are very much like a stroke? There are more questions than answers. How bad will it be? Am I dying? Is this the life-event that I’ve always dreaded? Life stops in that moment...
Once I was at the emergency room and the ECG, blood tests and MRI were completed, and the diagnoses confirmed, I could relax a little. At that point, I simply felt gratitude: that I wasn’t dying; that my daughter was around to help me in this moment; that I had received prompt and professional care; that there is hope for a full recovery. But the attack has left devastation in its wake. The whole of my left side of my face is paralysed.
It may take a while to recover and I also have to get accustomed to my new look – a totally lopsided face with no feeling on the left hand side; an eye that refuses to shut without manual manipulation; impeded vocal ability; a nostril that feels thick and an altered way of drinking and eating. I have to use a straw to drink and I have to be very careful not to spill the more solid food items in my attempt to get them in my mouth. I am not very “pretty” to look at either, and I feel nervous of people’s reactions of horror. I feel constantly thirsty – probably from the medication: anti-virals and cortisone tablets. But I have my first physio appointment this afternoon. Hopefully this will be the start of a full recovery.
“Dr Google” reassures me that most patients obtain full recovery – the majority over a couple of months. And then there is also my faith – what does God require of me now?
It’s day 4 today and I feel a lot more upbeat. I’ve had so many beautiful messages of support, and there are many people praying for me. I feel humbled and grateful to be part of such a large family of Christ. The bible verse which keeps me constantly uplifted is the one at the top of this post. God has got this!
I have to accept that there are some things in life which are out of my control. It is at these times, that God challenges me to follow him in my affliction; to accept His love and to believe in His promises and the plan He has for my life. I am in awe of my Lord – how He remained close beside me in the past few days. I feel cocooned in His loving embrace. In response, I pray that, in my affliction, I can represent the amazing hope that is in our risen Savior:
Jesus Christ is Lord!
May God bless you today, dear reader. May you feel His gentle, loving Spirit, wherever you may be. With love, Caryl