Lately on television there have been some strange commercials, such as the Taco Bell one with Shaq. That's the one where his head is over at a strange angle and they call it taco neck syndrome. It's a funny idea, but this last week I developed my own TNS.
It started on Monday when I was driving to Indianapolis. I had picked up a quick sandwich for lunch and when I tried to take a drink of soft drink, I had a strange sensation of not being able to get my lips around my straw. It was like going to the dentist and having Novocain. I then proceeded to drip pop out of my mouth on to my shirt. Then I started to notice that I was having trouble just eating on one side.
While I was in the truck I received a call from the girls at the store with a question about something. As we were conversing I started to notice that my lips did not come together very easily to form words. Sometimes I couldn't even get the words to come out the way they were supposed to and I would sound like Elmer Fudd.
I still wasn't sure that something was wrong. I am diabetic so I thought it was one of those goofy things that just mysteriously happen and will go away. I got back to work that afternoon and I was talking to one of our old customers. We were laughing and joking about things like we usually do. I had a strange sensation every time I laughed, like part of my face wasn't joining in. My head then would go over to the right like I had taco neck syndrome. Of course, my mother and my sister immediately started worrying and thought I was having a stroke or something because of the funny look on my face. I being the macho man that I am, told them it was nothing. I said that I had had Taco Bell for lunch and I now had TNS. They didn't buy that.
The next day the condition persisted so I decided to go see my dentist, Scott Polizotto. Why did I go to the dentist instead of a doctor, you ask? My gum had been a little sore and I thought maybe that was the root of my problem. Scott poked and probed and then he said he thought I had a temporary condition called Bell's palsy. He wanted me to see a neurologist to confirm it. Now I was starting to feel less confident but I had to keep up my macho image. I called a customer of ours that is in that field and made an appointment with him. He checked me all over and confirmed what Scott had said. This condition starts out of the blue. It is an inflammation of your #7 nerve which only controls your facial muscles. In 90% of cases it goes away by itself in a few days to one year. After he told me all these things I was on the Internet confirming everything I was told. The neurologist even gave me some cool web sites to check for more information.
What happens with this condition is that only one side of my face is working. It's not noticeable until I have an extended conversation or I try to laugh. Then people want to know what's wrong. A couple of times I have said I have this Bell's palsy and then I explain what it is. A lot of people were familiar with it.
I really don't like the sound of it so I've started telling people I was going for a new part in a movie. Since I have done extra work this gives me a good excuse. I say that I'm trying out for the Quasimodo role or that I'm going for "Rain Man II." No one really believes me so then I have to tell the truth and explain to them.
It's been four days now and it's amazing how we take things for granted like our lips, tongue and face. People say this is my punishment for making funny faces at my sister. Well, when this goes away I promise never to do it again. Or for awhile anyway.