I didn’t realize I had a problem with vanity until the last week. Why would I? I’ve always sort of thought of myself as Joe Average. You know, the guy you will pass on the street or in the store and forget about a few seconds later. I was OK with that. The thing most people would remember about me is my height.
This past Sunday morning, I woke up and something was wrong. I had a pretty bad headache, and my face felt weird. It wasn’t exactly numb, but I couldn’t move my mouth like I wanted to. I took some Ibuprofen for the headache, and off we went to church–Jenny and I had a Sunday school lesson–we’re teaching about the Nativity, introducing one “character” each week. As the lesson progressed, I listened to the kids singing Christmas songs and I couldn’t stop touching my face. Now, my left eye felt kind of burny and gritty. I pulled my eyelid closed and that helped a little.
We went home after church and by the time we finished lunch, I couldn’t blink my left eye at all, and the left side of my face felt completely numb. My left eye and cheek drooped on my face, and when I spoke it was like I had a mouthful of mashed potatoes if I went on for too long (probably a good thing for my wife, as I am a bit of a chatterbox).
At first, I thought I’d had or was having a stroke. Except I didn’t have any of the other symptoms people talk about with strokes. We started doing research online and it seemed it may be something called Bell’s Palsy, which was supposedly a temporary facial paralysis of either (and occasionally, both) sides of the face.
My doctor was able to confirm the diagnosis, and prescribed medication to hopefully speed the recovery process, which can be anywhere from a couple weeks to several months. In the meantime, I have to wear an eyepatch because my left eye won’t close. When I speak, my lips sometimes twist up, like I’m blowing a kiss off to the right.
In short, I’m not at my most handsome. I’m seeing the Dr today and hopefully getting cleared to go back to work next week, and I’m kind of nervous about it. I look funny, I talk funny. I take a ton of pills. Not looking forward to being in the fishbowl an office or test can be. Nevertheless, I have to work.
So this morning, I was sitting on the couch with my four year old, and he asked me, “Are you OK, dad?”
I told him dad was a little sick still, and didn’t feel very good.
“How are you sick, dad? Does that eye patch make you sick?”
“No, daddy’s eye just gets dried out, and he has to keep a bandage on it.”
“Well, I love you with an eye patch, dad.”
“I love you, too, bud. What if Dad only had one eye, or no eyes?”
“I would still love you with no eyes. But you would be weird.”
Couldn’t help but laugh.
“You always weird, anyway, dad.”
I laughed again, and had to agree with him. I usually am pretty weird.
So hopefully, I will get cleared to go back to work. Weird, eyepatch, and all. Let’s do it.