The Crooked Kiss

Something has happened to my face.

On Saturday, I went to the grocery store.  I got groceries.  It started to rain.  I didn’t want to wait for it to stop, so I ran to my car, threw the groceries in, put the cart away, got back inside and was soaked… It’s rained a lot here lately.  This was the second time I’d been soaked in my car in two days in a row.  Pulled out my phone to take a selfie to send to Ormsby and noticed that my mouth was off.

Like… crooked.  I checked to make sure I wasn’t accidentally holding it that way.  I wasn’t.  Tried moving it.  It moved back in place (yes, I realize I sound like Potato Head here) but then went crooked again.

It wasn’t that bad… not that noticeable… but I noticed it and I didn’t send the selfie.

By the time Ormsby got home that night, it was even worse.  My right eye was droopy.  My mouth was curved into this involuntary half-smile.  I looked like a stroke patient.

I attributed it to stress.  Because this is what happens when I get stressed out.  Well, not this specifically, but weird shit like this.  In 2006, before my wedding, I lost my ability to walk.  My legs started just… burning… from the inside out.  Like if you imagine a log that’s thrown onto a bonfire and it’s hot and red underneath the bark that’s not really burning yet… that’s what it felt like.  The doctors thought I had MS or a brain tumor.  I definitely did not have a brain tumor.  A second opinion ruled out MS too.

But as the wedding got closer, it got worse and worse until I could barely walk.  My father had to practically support me as I got down the aisle and if it hadn’t been for the prednisone and the valium I don’t know if I’d have made it at all.

It dissipated after several months.  I’d have flare ups now and again, but never like that one time and I joked (after the divorce) that my body just as an adverse reaction to marriage.

It happened again in 2012 when my company was being transferred to Allstate and I was I was in a relationship with 3.0 (who never seemed to be satisfied with who I was or what I was doing).  I didn’t think it was that stressful, really… but then I woke up one morning with double vision.  And a droopy eye.  I think it might have been my right eye then, but I don’t remember.  Again, I got diagnosed with a potential brain tumor or with MS and I went through the whole MRI thing again.  No brain tumor.  Four Xanax and a Contrast MRI later, no MS.  No one could figure out what it was.  We attributed it to stress.

It disappeared by November.

Then Saturday happened.  I spent all day Sunday on the couch… sleeping mostly… waking up once in a while to look at my face.  It was severely depressing to look at – swollen, pulsating (twitching), I did, in fact, look like a stroke patient.  Ormsby begged me to go to a doctor; I didn’t want to at first – I knew what they’d say.  More MRIs, only to find that there’s nothing visibly wrong with me except that I have an anxiety disorder (which we all know).

But by Monday, when this wasn’t any better, and actually got worse the second I walked into work, I told HR that I needed to leave to go to a doctor immediately (she agreed… I looked like shit).  And so I spent the afternoon in the doctor’s office.

Long story short, she thinks I have neuropathy.  Caused by stress and anxiety.  I’ve been referred to a neurologist so they can do some electro-test thing on my brain.  But it’s hard to get into a neurologist here so by the time I get seen, the symptoms will probably have dissipated again (like they do) and I can only hope this partial paralysis doesn’t last.

I think the worst thing is what it’s done to my self esteem.  I don’t even like to look in the mirror anymore.  I hid away in my office all day and internally cringed when my coworkers called me “Droopy.”  Even though I know they didn’t mean anything by it, it brought up too many memories of getting made fun of at school as a child.

Ormsby still seems to be attracted to me, and things are fine here.  Better than fine, actually.  Unlike 3.0, he’s told me he’s not leaving me just because I have some stupid neurological disorder.  And I believe him.  Still, I can’t help but wonder if, when we kiss, it feels as crooked to him as it does to me… Though I know that, even if it did, he’d still kiss me anyway.  Because that’s what love is.  And he’s pretty fantastic that way.

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One thought on “The Crooked Kiss

  1. akiwifreund August 8, 2016 at 9:29 pm Reply

    Sister, I call mine my Quasimodo face. However, our symptoms aren’t similar, so I don’t think we have the same thing going on…but if your doctors figure out what it is, if you wouldn’t mind updating me or this post, I would appreciate it. Doctors love to use the general label of “neuopathy” when they can’t figure out what the real problem is, so it’s up to you if you want to accept what they come up with as the final diagnosis, or you want to truly get to the source. It’s not an easy path and it’s not for the faint at heart. ❤

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