Hi, I’m Kristen and I have Bell’s Palsy? An Uncut Tale On Location

So there I was: the woman, the myth, the legend, at the base of the mountain, staring fear and doubt right in the face. Instead of buckling, I decided to grab life by the balls and…

This blog post is being interrupted to tell the story of what happened to me while away on my business trip.

While I was planning on writing about my realizations after climbing the tallest mountain on the east coast, that will have to wait for another day.

Here I am at 10 p.m. in a Wyndham Garden Hotel chronicling the disturbing yet laughable experience I’ve been through in the past 48 hours.

It all started at the airport yesterday afternoon. I was eating a bag of tater chips when I noticed an odd sensation while licking the salt from my mouth. I swiped my tongue across my lower lip a couple times, feeling like my face wasn’t cooperating. Weird, but I chalked it up to the sea salt causing my mouth to pucker.

Things became more disconcerting when I arrived at my destination. The flight did a hell of a job drying me out so I slathered on some chap stick and went to blot. Only I couldn’t. Rather than my lips smacking evenly against one another my upper lip could only graze across the bottom one. I thought, “WTF?!” but carried on.

I continued about my day as if nothing was wrong. Or shall I say, I suppressed all my hypochondriac tendencies to humor my business associates and joined them for a night of cocktails and curry. After all, what better way to brush aside your medical concerns than to indulge in a couple pale ales while throwing back some heartburn inducing Indian food?

It wasn’t until I took a mouthful of basmati rice and half of it cascading out onto my plate that I knew something was definitely the matter. I beelined it to the bathroom and attempted to crack open a smile. Low and behold the left side of my face was cheesing it in all my fine lined glory while the right was nothing but a forced, faked grin.

I then squeezed my left eye shut as hard as I could. Fine. I went to do the same on my right but could barely close it. After testing my arm and leg strength to ensure everything was good on that front (or on that side for that matter), I did the only logical thing anyone in my shoes would do: I WebMD’d that shiznit. The verdict: I was either having a stroke – or – I just came down with Bell’s palsy.

I awoke this morning with my stomach in knots over my medical mystery as well as the presentation I had to give in a couple hours. You know what’s worse than being far away from home on a biz trip with a team of 10 men? Being far away from home on a biz trip with a team of 10 men and feeling like half your face got shot up by a dart gun. I was literally the odd woman out.

gif of will ferrell in old school

I was ready to assume the fetal position and cry for my Mommy all before 9 a.m. So what did I do? I sucked it up. Why?

Because at 11, I was afraid to get back on the beam after an injury forced me to have reconstructive surgery. But I sucked it up.

At 22, I had a wicked stomach flu and could hardly walk, let alone make it out of bed when I had to show up for my final, final so I could graduate in time. But I sucked it up.

At 31, I had to walk the halls of the maternity ward for hours while having massive contractions because I “wasn’t dilated enough.” I’d still like to go back and punch that ish nurse in the face but you know what? I…sucked…it up.

These times and more have made me strong and they’ve made me brave. It was time to believe in the power of positivity and that I did. My pres was well received by the crowd but once the work day was done I bid my boss adieu and went to get myself checked.

I had never ordered an Uber on my own in the past, but there’s a first time for everything, right? A smiley and friendly “Adan” picked me up and filled me in on the hottest Netflix and Prime shows to stream as he chauffeured me to the nearest Urgent Care. On a sidenote I will be watching Sense8 upon returning back home in a day or so. Just sayin.

Luckily the service was swift at Urgent Care and the super young and cute PA named “Nick” helped to calm my fears. I realize I may have raised a few eye brows with that statement but hear me out. I love my husband with all my heart. But when you’re stuck in a strange city, in some random Urgent Care, getting checked for a potentially life threatening condition, you need a little sight for sore eyes, er, eye.

PA Nick had me perform a variety of exercises to test my strength, balance and agility. Considering my age and relatively clean family history, he chalked my ailment up tooo…you guessed it, Bell’s palsy! The great news is that i have a very mild form that is hardly even noticeable to the outside world.

pic stitch of Kristen Reed Selfie of Bell's palsy
Urgent Care Selfie Sesh. #Whatwouldbotoxdo #Crookedstaredontcare

Moments later I had a prescription in hand for prednisone and was off in my next Uber to the Walmart pharmacy.

The pharmacist filling my order gave the heads up that I may experience some periods of rage because, you know, ‘ROIDS. Appropriate considering PA Nick told me I’d have to do facial exercises to strengthen my nerves back up. That’s just great. As if going to the gym to workout my bod wasn’t enough, I now have to workout my friggen’ face.

Jeesh. How the hell did I end up here? Life has a funny way of keeping you humble people. One day you’re on top of a mountain and the next you’re in a f&$!ing strange town, getting diagnosed with f&$!ing Bell’s palsey, using f&$!ingĀ Ubers as your f&$!ing form of transportation.

So what did I learn from all this? A lot really. And most are too cliche to write. But I will say that I ended up spending a lot more money than I anticipated on tonight’s little adventure. Though it’s totally worth it to have some peace of mind.

I’m reminded of the old Mastercard commericals:

Visit to Urgent Care on my crappy insurance: $125

RX for prednisone: $2.42

Uber Ride from hotel to Urgent Care, to pharmacy and back: $22.66

Getting the promise to tell my story and live another day: PRICELESS

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8 comments

Reply

That’s my girl!! We Reed, Macrie, De Feo, Matassa women have been
“Sucking it up” for years!!
You are writing a blog. I could write a book! Life is great if you don’t give in!
Stay strong. I am so proud of you. I love you!
Mom

Reply

Thank you Momma. Life has its ups and downs and twists and turns. Anyone and everyone can write a book. When things get difficult the only way to cope is to block out the bad with humor and happy thoughts. A lot easier said than done sometimes but we must try out best not to be brought down. I love you!

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Scary when that can happen out of the blue for no reason. I don’t know how your condition is coming along but my mom had this at one time for a couple of weeks/ months. Can’t remember for sure but woke up one morning and it was gone just like that. Couple of other people I know also only lasted a couple of weeks and never had it happen again.

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Thanks so much for your feedback Mrs. Hill! While it’s a rare condition, it seems many people know of friends/family that came down with it. My doctor is confident it will go away in a month or two so fingers crossed!

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What a fabulous story, Kristen. I enjoyed reading it, and you are an excellent writer. So sorry that you had to go through this. The only reason I know about Bell’s Palsy is that I had a friend who has had it maybe once or twice. I googled it and learned a lot more about it from the Internet and from him. Thanks for sharing. Hope all is well now. Go climb another mountain! Denise Kranich

Reply

Thank you Denise! I was warned that it may cause me problems forever but I can’t let that bring me down. There’s far worse to worry about but it’s like the quote says: Worry is Misuse of the Imagination. Luckily I still have plenty of imagination, with or without Bell’s Palsy ; )

Reply

That’s my daughter, remember Kristen never let them see you cry !

Reply

Thank you, Dad. How does it go: There’s no crying in business?!

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