I never knew that was a name of a sickness until it happened to my daughter.
The shock and fear that came upon me while I was bathing my six year old daughter one Saturday morning is better imagined than felt.
I realized as we were discussing while bathing that her facial features, especially her mouth, had moved to one side of her face.
I scolded her to stop moving her mouth to one side because she used to imitate a teacher in her school who spoke with one side of her mouth.
I was shocked when she said she wasn’t doing such.
I then asked her to stop talking and looked at her face properly only to see that her face had moved to her left side.
I called a friend to come and confirm if what I was seeing was real and he confirmed it.
My head began to spin and a lot of questions immediately popped up in my mind.
Has she always been like this and I never noticed?
What did I do wrong during her pregnancy that may have just started to reveal itself now?
Is this a form of cancer?
Too many questions with no answer.
My husband came to the conclusion that it was because of a tooth was shaking.
I couldn’t agree with him but had no better explanation so I googled it.
That’s when I read about Bell’s palsy.
My husband was rather convinced that it would go away before the end of the day but that was not to be because it became more obvious the next morning.
Off we ran to the hospital and the doctor confirmed it was actually Bell’s palsy.
And thankfully a mild one but will take at least three weeks to resolve.
There was no drugs for it.
Because of my husband’s anxiety, we were asked to do a brain MRI to ensure there was no effect to her brain.
That was another scary ordeal too, with the machines and instructions to follow.
Bell’s palsy can happen to anyone – children or adult – and it comes as a result of a trauma to the head.
It can be mild or very serious and leave permanent damages.
The muscles of a part of the face go numb so the patient doesn’t have feeling on one side of the face and can’t use that part.
The eyes on the affected side doesn’t close or blink.
My daughter, while playing with her brother earlier in the week, hit her head against the wall which even caused a small tear on her forehead.
She cried to me, I massaged the head, cleaned the wound and told her sorry, like always.
I even scolded her for playing rough.
So you can imagine my shock when I was told that something that happens to most kids which I’m sure most of us take to be normal with kids, is trying to disfigure my baby’s face!
I felt guilty and blamed myself for it.
But in reality, there’s nothing I could have done to avert the situation.
We were sent home with some multivitamins and we had to make her to do some facial exercises like blow air into balloons, chew gums, just to help awaken the muscles on the dormant side of her face.
This we did even after her face was restored.
I have learnt not to take any report from my kids for granted anymore, at least for now.
Hope it helps someone.
Ann Mossley is regular woman who is trying to live a legacy that will outlive her. Ann has taken it upon herself to help share the real stories of the silent women in the society. If you want her to share your story on the platform, send it to: [email protected]