I Was a Third Grade Science Project

April 15, 2010 | By | 2 Replies More

I was on the phone with my next door neighbor Chad and suddenly the left side of my face slid down below my chin. Chad noticed my speech suddenly changed and asked what was up.

“I’m either having a stroke or I have Bell’s palsy. I was familiar with both the symptoms and what Bell’s feels like because a good friend had the same condition before. My wife was due home in about 10 minutes so I waited for her to arrive. If she hadn’t returned soon, I was going to call an ambulance.

After arriving at the hospital and spending about three hours there and confirming Bell’s palsy, I went home. I took my medicines immediately and settled in to recover. My face was funky and my speech was slurred because my mouth wouldn’t close, nor would my left eyelid. I watered my eye, and settled in for bed. The weekend was busy and my condition seemed little better on Monday.

Monday morning was the usual chaos of getting the kids up and off to school. My son Ben, aged nine, had his usual morning dawdles and took more supervision than my 11-year old daughter Bella. Ben and Bella got off to take the bus on time but, Ben left without his lunch… I decided to go to school to have lunch with Ben.

Ben was still in class and I went to Ben’s classroom to find him for lunch.

“What’s wrong with your face?” piped up several of Ben’s female classmates. “It looks funny.”

“Yeah, it does look funny,” I said. “I have a problem with some nerves in my face and it hangs low for awhile but, the doctors say it will get better soon.”

“What nerves?” asked one of the girls.

“I don’t know the name but it comes out from the inside to my face right below my ear,” I said. “The doctors said it was inflamed or under pressure, so my face fell.”

The kids played their game, which looked like fun. Now it was time to go to lunch. I lined up behind Ben and my small woman entourage slid in behind me. “Does it hurt?” they asked.

“Not really but, it makes it hard to keep stuff in my mouth, “I said. We went to lunch.

I hadn’t realized that mentioning that it was tough to keep food in my mouth would make me the study subject of third grade women scientists. I asked Ben to introduce me to his classmates and he did it haphazardly as his attention was taken up with his lunch and the toy dragon that came with it.

“Can you eat?” one of the girls asked.

“It’s hard because things will slide or slurp out the left side of my mouth if I don’t hold it like this, “I said as I demonstrated. The girls seemed a little disappointed that I wasn’t covered with half eaten food or drink but they soldiered on.

“Can you feel anything?” another asked.

“The nerves that give me feeling don’t seem to be hurt, “I said. “The condition only makes the nerves that hold or move my face slack.”

“How long will your face look funny?” asked one bright eyed little girl.

“The doctors say it should go away after a couple of weeks but, may last longer,” I said.

“So, you don’t really know?” she followed up.

“No, and that was a great question!” I said. “But, normally, it goes away quickly.”

After lunch, Ben raced outside. I thanked the girls for their politeness and complimented them on their questions, and like a trapped bug under a microscope, I sped out of the cafeteria. I don’t worry for the future of America based on the sensitive curiosity of these young scientists.

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Category: Health

About the Author ()

imothy E. Hogan is a trial attorney, a husband, a father of two awesome children and a practicing Roman Catholic in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Hogan has done legal and political work in Jefferson City, Missouri for partisan and non-partisan social change, environmental and consumer protection groups. Mr. Hogan has also worked for consumer advocate Ralph Nader in Washington, DC and the members of the trial bar in the State of New York. Mr. Hogan’s current interests involve remaining a full time solo practitioner pioneer on the frontiers of justice in America, a good husband and a good father to his awesome children.

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  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    I applaud your aplomb and educational use of this recurring temporary condition.

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