delve a little deeper....
Three weeks ago I was diagnosed with Bells Palsy.
Yeah, sounds scary doesn't it? If you don't know what it is, it is an attack on the facial nerves caused by a virus, it could be a virus that has lay dormant in your system for years. I had spent the previous day with swollen glands on one side which were really painful and felt like it was radiating from my ear. I now know the nerves that affect facial muscles comes from under the ear.
The effect can be rather like a stroke, droopy face and a wonky smile. I was very lucky as my facial muscles didn't drop, but my eye was affected in that it stopped blinking. You don't realise how often you blink til it stops and your eye suddenly keeps hurting and gets sore. My mouth did go a bit wonky though. It wasn't noticeable as long as I didn't smile or eat or drink and I couldn't put my lipstick on properly or whistle. Not so awful in the whole scheme of things, but really upsetting for someone as vain as me. Especially when you're a someone whose business is very much about looks!
Before I continue, I just want to say that I have been super lucky and am pretty much back to 'normal'. I got diagnosed very quickly and put on steroids and anti viral tablets. Medical evidence has shown that if you get treatment within 72 hours chances of recovery are much greater. It can take a couple of months to recover, some people take years and need physio or surgery and some people don't improve at all. As I say, I've been lucky, am almost 100% better within 3 weeks. Maybe I just willed myself better!
One of the scary things about escorting for a living, as with any form of self employment is that I don't get paid sick pay. Not that I was sick as such, it's not an illness that makes you feel poorly or sick or even run down. People kept telling me to rest, but rest isn't a cure for this. However, when you escort a certain amount of business is gained from your looks.
Now whilst I know I am not selected because I am an unobtainable super model type or look like a porn actress there is an expectation I won't have a wonky face. OK, so if I didn't smile it wasn't noticeable, but not smiling isn't really an option is it, especially when it's actually an involuntary action?! So whilst I knew I couldn't stop my wonky smile my bloody eyelid wasn't doing anything so I also had to keep tapping my eyelid to make it blink! Sexy!
We live in a society that judges us (especially women) on our looks and when you worry about such things at the best of times having Bells Palsy really did worry me. I dithered about writing about it here at the time or even telling potential clients in advance, but didn't want to put anyone off me, but on the other hand I figured my regulars wouldn't mind and anyone who didn't know me might not even notice and anyone who then changed their mind about a booking was just a mean twat that I didn't want to see anyway.
It's a problem when you're in sex work. A zit or a bruise can cause most women a bit of woe but when you're marketing yourself as someone attractive and sexy imperfections can bash your confidence a little. You worry a cut or a bruise will make men think you're being hurt by a pimp, a drug addict or have some sort of infection. I panicked that just the fact that Bells Palsy is caused by a virus would freak some people out. Yes, when you're in sex work, you're not only judged on your looks but people can be more suspicious about abuse, addiction or STI's.
As it happened I did work less (confidence wasn't great) but I met some new guys who didn't notice or were too polite to say anything and my regular guys were beyond lovely and kind and probably relieved that despite the wonky face I could still suck cock with the best of them despite not being able to drink anything without a straw cos of drooling!
As I say, I'm pretty much sorted now. I saw my GP today who was thrilled for me and said he was so pleased to hear good news as he doesn't get much in his job. He said I was one of the lucky ones and told me he had someone else last week with it who hadn't come to see him soon enough. So, apart from anything else if this blogs means one person goes to the doctor in time to get treated then my work is done.
Here are the symptoms:
For more info visit: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/bells-palsy#