Trying to keep a put on a brave face with Bell’s Palsy is difficult when half your face is paralysed….

by Pseud O'Nym

Trying to put on a brave face with Bells Palsy is rendered somewhat problematic when half of your face is paralysed. In an earlier blog I’ve outlined the benefits of the Bells Palsy diet, namely that having only the use of one side of your mouth and only then being able to eat soft food necessarily means a weight loss, in my case that amounts to 6 kg. all the more impressive when you consider that it was lost during Christmas, traditionally a time not renowned for abstention but I don’t want to tell you about that, I want to lead you by the hand into the murky world of conflicting health advice. Ladies and Gentlemen I give to you the interweb or as its otherwise known the Charlatan’s playground!

In the case of Bells Palsy the advice concerning facial exercises is worryingly contradictory. On the one hand one is advised that under no circumstances must one undertake any form of facial exercise, but on the other it is suggested that gentle facial manipulation started early, will encourage the activation of muscle tissue that would otherwise have lain dormant for a long period. On another blog I have written that a neurologist physiotherapist had suggested that exercises were a good idea as in her experience and her full time job is at the national neurological hospital so she’d know, was that gentle exercises could help. Quite what constitutes gentle exercise as opposed to vigorous exercise is another matter. She also suggested using different kinds of touch on the face, in order to stimulate the facial muscles. Rubbing ice cubes and make up brushes, as well as all manner of tapping. It was for this reason amongst others I fond myself on an acupuncturist’s table. Anyone who knows me will know how unlikely that seems because I’m with Richard Dawkins regarding alternative medicine. If alternative medicine worked it would be called medicine. Everyone who believes in alternative medicine really believes in is the placebo effect. But I was willing to try and trick my mind into alleviating some of my facial paralysis.

The acupuncturist listened most attentively – well he had to because thanks to the brain injury I have a speech defect which the Bells Palsy makes worse – and spoke in a soft reassuring tone his whole manner was quite unlike visiting a busy G.P. Once I was on the table and after explaining what he was going to do he gently inserted some needles around my cheekbone. My sense of relaxation was in no way helped by the fact that he looks like Malcolm McDowell! Alex, Clockwork Orange, aversion treatment eye, No? No sooner had I thought of that filmic reference then another one more chilling popped into my head. No doubt you are familiar with the first ‘Taken’ movie in which Liam Neeson takes violent revenge upon those who kidnapped his daughter. In one scene he has chained one of the baddies to a chair and proceeds to violently introduce two metal spikes into his thighs. He then attaches leads to the spikes that run to the electricity supply with wholly shocking results. I tell you this because not only did I have needles sticking out of my face, but also the acupuncturist attached little cables running to a small generator to stimulate the muscles. What was being stimulated was my sphincter muscle

Which is as nothing to the story my support worker told me when she enquired about my acupuncture. Some time ago she told me she was seeing an accupucnturist and that it’d neccessitated her removing her clothes. Not some. All. I know! Asking the questions that statement required, I asked exactly what kind of ailment required nudity to facilitate needle placement. Well, originally she’d gone for treatment to alleviate backache and insomnia but when told she couldn’t afford the fee asked, the accupuncturist asked if anything else was wrong. Yes, she replied, period pain, and he kindly offered to treat that as well for the same price.

He wanted to start all three treatments at the first session. Wisely she demurred but for the good of this blog, she agreed after a few sessions – knowing this man for less than five hours – to willingly remove her clothes and climb onto a table to allow him to try to alleviate her period pain by acupuncture. Now I’m presuming you all know what the perineum is – the gap between your genitals and your anus. I don’t have to tell you what’s coming, but I will. He placed (!) needles there and she paid him to do it. And if you think that’s shocking, it didn’t happen just the once. Oh no. She went back on numerous occasions to have this done. And if you think me divulging this is shocking, I asked if I could use this. No, what is shocking is that he tried to ‘friend’ her on Facebook! Her initial concern to me asking if I could use this tale of medical malpractice was not, as you might think, that I’d identify her, but that I’d reveal what part of London it was. Being polite, and not having replied to his request to be friends, she avoids walking past his shop, in case he see’s her. But he was Chinese, and she figured there were some cultural differences at work, rather than as I fulminated, deeply inappropriate behaviour.

It got me thinking; exactly how sadistic could an acupuncturist be without one realising? Not maybe as this one from Jam (Yet more Chris Morris. And yes, there will be more from him…)

Next time…Is Peppa Pig mind control for toddlers…?