I really didn’t appreciate how important it is to be able to communicate verbally. There are so many questions we’re asked during the day that expect a verbal response. Whether it be at the checkout register, answering the phone, even using voice control for your car or phone.
Taking care of someone with Bells Palsy requires some thought and patience. Hopefully, they won’t have it for very long, but during the affliction, one has to change their ways. Here are some notes to the loved one’s “nurse:”
1. Bring extra napkins when serving them or ordering food. They’re needed to help cover the mouth when chewing and help because we can’t move our lips to catch liquids.
2. Avoid places with loud noises. Bells Palsy can occur from an ear infection and the ear is more sensitive to loud noises.
3. Prepare to answer for them. Talking to friends is ok with an explanation of Bells Palsy. But, one doesn’t want to have to also explain to strangers -especially for very simple verbal transactions – such as “Debit or Credit” at check out. Talking can also get exhausting and at day’s end – the fewer questions to answer, the better.
4. Medication. Have they taken their pain medication lately? If not, it could explain why they are grumpy or in a foul mood. They may not realize it’s affecting their mood. Likewise, what are the side affects? Dizziness is one.
5. When eating out, choose a place that serves food that is bite size. Some pastas, chinese food, chicken nuggets, cut up wraps, sushi are good options. Soup, burgers, anything that has to be bitten into or contains a lot of sauce, can be troublesome. They may want to sit facing a wall – away from the center of the room. They’ll need to cover their mouth when chewing and tilt their head back for swallowing.
6. Ask them questions that only require a short response, yes or no.
7. Try not to suggest something that will embarrass them, such as blistex for their chapped lips. Wait for them to ask for it.
8. Ask them if it’s ok to explain to others about Bells Palsy. Explaining anything verbally is tough. And saying B’s and P’s are the worst.
9. For a while, a straw is very useful – even for drinking wine. So, keep some straws handy. We can use our fingers to close our lips around the straw if need be.
10. Kissing can be a bit awkward for a while, so kissing them on the cheek or forehead may be a better option for a while.
If you have any other items to add, please make a comment here.