Bell's palsy...how long and will I ever recover??

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    I'm hoping someone could give me some insight into a condition I was diagnosed with, Bell's palsy. I recall covering this in nursing school, but I never thought I would be stricken with it. I thought it was a condition of the geriatric population (I'm only 29 years old). I came on suddenly last weekend. As I got dressed for work, I began to panic as I noticedI had no movement on the right side of my face. I went in to work anyway, received report on my patients, and became so distraught that I ended up going to ER 2 hours later. I was started on a dose pack of Medrol and told it would reslove on its on, in about two weeks. The problem is that no it's day 5 and I have seen no signs of improvement. I took off from work today, because I found it so difficult yesterday to give my patients the care they needed. I can't hardly speak. Eating lunch yesterday in the cafe was real show:-). I've done research, but so far I've heard so many varying recovery times. I've heard anything from a few days to a few weeks to several months to never?? What if I never recovery from this. I am feeling so depressed. I have completely isolated myself from everyone that I know until this problem subsides....any advice????
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    Yes I have know people with this, yes they got better. I am sure some persons who had actually had this will tell you their personal stories. I will say one thing, you need rest, that is important. God bless and care for you, I am sure this is difficult.
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    Mine "went away" in about 3 weeks. I say that because I have a tiny bit of residual "droop" especially when I get very tired. I didn't have any medication.
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    I'm 23, and I had Bell's palsy last summer when I was 22...
    When I went to brush my teeth in the morning, I noticed that water dribbled out one side of my mouth, but I didn't really think much of it. Then later on that day, my right eye started feeling really dry, but I was at the mall and attributed it to dry mall air.
    My car radio sounded funny to me...wasn't sure why...got home later in the evening and my face started to feel funny/stiff.
    I went to the mirror and made some faces, and I noticed that the right side of my face didn't move normally...couldn't raise the eyebrow or shut my eye tightly, and my mouth drooped. My tongue started feeling numb as well.
    Called my doctor in the morning, and he put me on Prednisone, and gave me polysporin ointment for my eye, and I had to tape my eye shut at night to prevent corneal abrasions since it wouldn't shut on its own.
    First round of Prednisone didn't help at all. It progressed to having slurred speech, difficulty eating, and pain in my face/ear.
    Loud noises made me dizzy.
    Started a second round of Prednisone...
    It took me about 3-4 weeks to start having any improvement at all, and about 2-3 months for it to totally go away.
    The residual effects I have aren't really noticeable to anyone but me...if I raise my eyebrows, my right eyelid droops, and if I'm tired, my right eye sometimes twitches.
    I saw a neurologist a couple of times during all this...he said that some people get it once and never again, and some people have recurrences. Also said that if you can feel it coming on and you get on steroids soon enough, you could possibly prevent a full blown case...although the use of steroids is still controversial. The steroids are supposed to help decrease the inflammation of the facial nerve, which is what causes the facial paralysis.
    The inflammation is caused by the cold sore virus...something I realized after I learned that, was that I had had a sore in my right ear a couple weeks before the onset of my Bell's. I was also in a period of high stress and was pretty run down, which can be a trigger...getting ready to graduate nsg school, parents getting divorced, and moving out of our house.
    My neuro said there was no known relation between Bell's and other d/o like MS, myasthenia gravis, or Guillean Barre (sp?).
    I felt like a freak the whole time I was affected though...
    But it went away. It took awhile, but it finally did, and now no one would ever know.
    5 days is still pretty early on, so hang in there...it will pass.
    Take your meds, get adequate rest, and eat as well as you can!
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    She's 25 and will be 26 this December. She woke up one morning with half of her face totally numb, drooling, dry eye, chomped the hell out of her cheek from not feeling her teeth biting down, etc. My mom totally freaked and called me to inform me "Your sister had a stroke and she won't go to hospital!" Well she did finally go in and the doctor diagnosed her with Bell's Palsy. I immediately looked it up on WebMD, because I hadn't heard of this before. Turns out it's a pretty common virus that happens all of a sudden. Turns out Sylvester Stallone had Bell's and never completely recovered. Good news for my sister though, the symptoms went away totally within three weeks. She was pretty upset, also going through tough times with her husband and in-laws. She had to tape her eye shut at night for a week and a half....

    You'll be ok!
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    Thanks so much for the encouragement everyone! Come to think of it, I guess I kind of do look like Sylvester Stallone, except I'm a female. I haven't follwed up with a neuro yet because he can't seem me until next week. I got really depressed yesterday when I asked a neuro who happened to be making rounds on one of my patients about it. He just looked at me and said, "oh it'll be at least 8 weeks before you see signs of recovery". I told him that the ER MD told me it should resolve in 2 weeks. He laughed and said, "well I don't know where he got that from but it will be at least 8 weeks". That's an insensitive MD for ya:-)! This is even harder because as an RN, I feel even more out of control when I'm ill. I won't let anyone help me or console me, I just try to stick it out alone. I take care of the sick, I'm not supposed to be sick. I guess RN's can be terrible patients, too:-)!
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    I have had three sister-in-laws have Bell's palsy. One SIL had it twice! One SIL developed it when she was 8 months pregnant, so steroids were out of the question. You can tell when she is really tired her face will droop some. Her daughter will be 14 in September, so it has been awhile. The other two SIL recovered from their Bell's, but they both had to tape their eye shut and use a lubricant for their eyes at night. When I was in nursing school, one instructor told our class that Bell's Palsy was fairly uncommon. She couldn't believe it when I told her that my three SIL had it. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. :kiss
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    My son had it when he was 5, just before he started school. He came out to breakfast one morning and said, "Mommy, this feels weird." He could't close his eye. I thought he had a stroke, and I nearly panicked, but then I just had this feeling of complete peace, and I knew it was not a stroke or a brain tumor.

    We'd been looking for houses in the country and we thought he could've gotten it from hanging his head out the window (or trying to) with a constant breeze on his face.

    It went away without residual in about 6-8 weeks. They did have to give him Lacri-lube and eye drops to keep his eye moist. He had to wait to have his tetanus booster. He was on the medrol-pack too, and I didn't notice much until after he'd finished it.

    So hang in there; I'm sure you'll get better soon! :kiss (((((hugs)))))))
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    By the way--I don't know if Sylvester Stallone did have Bell's Palsy or not, but I did learn (thanks to the wonders of E! Entertainment Television) that the reason for his droopy eye is as a result of a birth injury.
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    i hope you are better soon. i have never had bell's palsy, but have had several pt's w/ it (pregnant) and it's really distressing. i hope you can rest well. it's hard, i know. i am having some funky headaches and elevated bp now , so i am a rotten "nurse/pt." now too. take care!


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