A strange thing has been happening to me over the last few days. Last Friday while eating lunch, I noticed that part of my tongue felt like it had been recently burned. Not pain, but a not-quite-complete numbness and low taste sensitivity (like there was a piece of tape covering half my tongue). I didn't really think anything of it, other than perhaps I'd burned my tongue the night before without noticing. The problem lingered through the weekend, with the added joy of often experiencing a weird metal taste on the affected part of my tongue. Fast-forward to Tuesday night, and I'm starting to get a little concerned. The numbness is fast spreading to my lip and face (both limited to the left side). Most recently, I've noticed that my left eye doesn't close all the way with a normal blink any more- I have to work it extra hard. The whole left side of my face feels "weak" compared to the right. Poking around on the intarwebs suggests one of a few diagnoses for these symptoms:
- Thrush: Not completely out of the question, since my grandmother was afflicted with it awhile back. No visible symptoms though, and the facial weakness doesn't really jive.
- Multiple sclerosis: Let's hope not- 'nuff said.
- Bell's Palsy: This one seems the most likely fit. It's the result of an inflammation of the facial nerve that causes a loss of muscle control on half of the face and the tongue. Usually, said inflammation is caused by a virus or chronic illness, which I've not (knowingly) suffered from recently. Symptoms progress quickly, usually starting with a numbness or metal taste on the tongue, followed by radiating numbness eventually covering the entire side of the face.
Regardless, the symptoms are beyond ignorable at this point. I'm right in the middle of rehearsals for OSB's winter concert season, and as of tonight, I can't get a clean buzz on my mouthpiece. Not good. My left eye is also drying out from not being appropriately "blunk". Oy.
Guess it's time to let a pro figure it out. More to come...