The suitcase in my living room had just been unloaded from the Ottawa and Toronto Christmas visit when it was time to start packing for the Sanikiluaq circuit that starts on January 13th. I think five days between trips south is a personal record.
They haven't been the best five days. On Saturday I started experiencing a slight earache. I didn't think much of it because I had flown the day before. But then on Sunday evening the left side of my face began to feel a bit numb and unresponsive. That was scary. I went to emergency and was seen quickly. Within an hour of arriving, the possibility of a stroke had been ruled out so I was sent home and told to come back in the morning. By Monday morning, the partial paralysis had gotten worse and when I went back to the hospital it was confirmed that I had developed Bell’s Palsy. Bell’s Palsy is a condition where the facial nerve (also known as the seventh cranial nerve) becomes inflamed for reasons unknown and no longer functions properly.
The good thing about Bell’s Palsy is that usually it goes away on its own eventually with few or no lasting effects. The bad thing is that the (hopefully temporary!) change in one’s appearance can be pretty shocking and a bit humbling. It is also hard to talk, eat and drink properly. I take care of my appearance and can be a bit vain about not looking my age. This has been a real lesson in getting over myself.
My case is relatively mild, and I can speak well enough to represent people in court, so I’m still going to Sanikiluaq for the circuit as scheduled even though it will be uncomfortable to be out and about in public like this. Hopefully I won’t look quite so frightful by the time that court starts on Monday.
The plan was to begin my trip to Sanikiluaq with a flight to Ottawa tomorrow (well, technically today since I'm posting this after midnight) but the huge blizzard we’re having in Iqaluit might get in the way of that. My flight isn’t until five so fingers crossed that it will be all over by then. And that Canadian North won't go "mechanical."