January 15th, 2020

dangerous job

So much for "the gracious compensations of age"

So, yesterday morning as I was shaving, I thrust out my jaw to shave under my chin, as one does, and promptly popped a cramp in the muscles under my jaw. At my age, such things have become routine. I can get a cramp in little tiny muscles I didn't even know I had. Well, I was rubbing my jaw to massage the cramp out when my face went all freaky. (That happened a long time ago, Art! Pipe down, or ye'll get no gruel for supper, ye lubbers!)

Anyway, the trigeminal nerve running from my lip to the corner of my eye on the right side of my face -- the same one that got all messed up from my sinus surgery ten years ago, and gave me fits for so long, and has never completely gone back to normal -- suddenly went numb. Very odd. I wondered if I could have had a stroke or mini-stroke. So I did what you do: I raised my eyebrows, I smiled, I moved the various muscles in my face, I looked at the size of my pupils. Everything was okay, just weird on the right side. I wasn't stumbling or dizzy, no weakness anywhere else. So I went ahead and moved the big vendor's order out to camp. Other than feeling tired and washed-out, it went okay. I came home and decided to get some good rest and an early bedtime.

Well, I got up this morning, and things that seemed to be getting better were now worse. The numbness affected my ability to move my cheeks and tongue. My smile was crooked. Uh-oh. I finished getting cleaned up and told Deanne I was heading for the ER to get checked out. The long and short of that six-hour experience (including an MRI) is that I have NOT had a stroke or mini-stroke. The probable diagnosis is Bell's Palsy, an inflammation disorder associated with a virus. So I'm on a course of steroids and anti-virals, and I have to use eye drops and sleep with an eyepatch for the next week. (Avast there, yez can get yer own hammock, Matey!) I will have to secure a follow-up appointment with the neurologist I saw ten years ago for the trigeminal neuralgia. Some or all function may well return.

They cut me loose just before 2:00 p.m., so I hustled over to Spencer to pick up the main meat order, then back to Bloomington to pick up the secondary meat order, then out to camp to stow it all in the walk-in cooler. After that, I'm knackered. I think I'll bring a barstool to camp for the Saturday marathon, so I can direct the orchestra from a chair part of the time. And I don't think I'll be heaving and shoving the chow like I usually do. But I've got good help, and we'll get 'er done.

If you've got a prayer to spare, I'd appreciate it. Thank 'ee, Squire.