Lori is doing much better the past couple days; her facial paralysis hasn't improved but she is feeling much less tired and run down. Earlier in the week she was having a lot of ear pain, so she went to see Dr. McMaster our local ENT, who was quite worried about the degree of paralysis she has, and recommended that she have an MRI of the brain to rule out other causes, such as tumors, etc. The MRI was normal except for a significant amount of inflammation along the facial nerve as it courses through the temporal bone. Here is a picture of what Bell's looks like on MRI. Of course, this example is on the left, and Lori's is right-sided.
And here is an MRI picture of Lori's brain in side view.
Just kidding! On the serious side, Bell's is graded on a 0-6 scale, with 0 being normal and and 6 being complete paralysis. Lori's case is a 6, and Dr. McMaster feels like, because of the severity of her paralysis, she is probably looking at several months, rather than weeks, before function returns to her face. So, that is discouraging, but she is getting used to the idea and hunkering down for the long haul with this crummy illness.
Here are a couple more pictures I found on the Internet that show the neuroanatomy relevant to Bell's palsy.
Thanks to all who have called, expressed support, brought food, flowers, and generally loved us through this. Understandably, it has knocked Lori back on her heels, and having such great friends and family is a wonderful thing for us. We love and appreciate you all!