Shayna Aldrich, a mother of one, said she suffered a two-week cold around Thanksgiving of last year before she started working again. But after New Year’s Day, she ate an olive, saying it tasted metallic before getting blank stares, according to the Daily Mail.
She didn’t think about it much until she woke up with a numb chin and numb lips.
Later, Aldrich claimed, her entire face was paralyzed, according to the report.
When she went to an urgent care facility, doctors said she developed Bell’s Palsy that affected both sides of her face. The medical officials said that her cold might have been something else, and combined with stress, escalated the symptoms.
“They prescribed me steroids to reduce the swelling around my nerves and basically told me it was a waiting game,” Aldrich recalled to the Mail.
The doctors then “estimated anywhere from two weeks up to two months or, in extreme cases, two years” for her to get better, she added.
It lasted five weeks, she said, adding that she could neither eat or drink normally. Also, she could talk properly, and she also couldn’t blink because one of her eyes wouldn’t close.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) May 28, 2019
Aldrich was essentially forced to adopt a baby’s diet, couldn’t spit, and got strange reactions.
“I felt like a monster. Most of the time I tried to laugh it off, comparing myself to Quasimodo from the Hunchback of Notre Dame, but as the weeks went on it got harder to laugh,” the Mail quoted her as saying.
“Because of my age, I think seeing my face like that made people wonder what it could be. I’m awfully young to have a stroke and since that’s what it looked like I got some quizzical looks,” Aldrich said.
Gettin ready to take bubs to sea breeze for the 2nd time this week. This is from sunday 🙂 tiring, but still a blast! pic.twitter.com/EBijPFDlj2
— Shayna Aldrich (@shaynaaldrich25) August 15, 2014
She added: “When I say my face was paralyzed, it really didn’t move. So, when I laughed or smiled, only half of my face cooperated. That gave us quite a few laughs and laughing it off took away the fear that I wasn’t going to be OK”
As noted by WebMD, Bell’s palsy is when the face muscles get weak or paralyzed and typically affects only one side of the face. Most of the time, the symptoms are temporary.
“It’s caused by some kind of trauma to the seventh cranial nerve. This is also called the ‘facial nerve.’ Bell’s palsy can happen to anyone. But it seems to occur more often in people who have diabetes or are recovering from viral infections,” says the website, and it adds: “Most doctors believe that it’s due to damage to the facial nerve, which causes swelling. This nerve passes through a narrow, bony area within the skull. When the nerve swells—even a little bit—it pushes against the skull’s hard surface. This affects how well the nerve works.”