Please Pardon My Face

Covering E3 2009 became a little bit more difficult for me on Friday, when half of my face suddenly stopped responding to my brain.

I was sitting in front of my computer at home around noon Eastern time, typing up the final Robot Wars post, when I blinked, only I didn't. One moment everything was fine, and the next my left eye wouldn't blink. Then my left nostril wouldn't flare, and soon the left side of my mouth wouldn't smile.

I actually sat there and wrote for a good four hours, hoping that perhaps whatever was happening would go away, but it only got worse. I worried that I might be having a stroke, but none of the other stroke symptoms were present. The left side of my face just seemed...dead. The eye still moves, but nothing else does, from my forehead down to my neck.

As one could imagine, I was more than a little frightened at this point, so I called my brother to come take me to the emergency room. After waiting several hours for a prognosis, the doctor returned to inform me that I had come down with something called Bell's Palsy - a (hopefully) temporary paralyzation of the facial muscles, which they believe stems from some sort of virus.

The causes are vague...so vague that they call it a prognosis of elimination. When nothing else fits, it's Bell's Palsy. Knowing this just makes the whole situation all the more frustrating. I could have handled a disease or affliction that I contracted because I am overweight and smoke too much (i.e. at all), but this is something that just happens. Tag - you're it.

It isn't all that bad. My speech is a bit slurred, and I have to manually blink my left eye, putting drops into it to keep it from drying out, the same reason I have to sleep with it taped shut beneath an eye patch. I function relatively normally, and oddly enough, last night's party taught me that I actually function a bit better drunk. Wheee.

Why am I telling you all of this? It doesn't take away from my writing, or my ability to take photographs and such.

What it does do is render me a bit handicapped when it comes to showing emotion on my face, and with one eye always wide open, it can seem a bit like I am giving the evil eye. I'm not. So if I come to see your product this week, or I see you on the street during the show, don't assume I am giving you a dirty look or I'm unimpressed by what you might be showing me. Just because I can't quite smile doesn't mean that I'm not. Those who know me know it's probably safe to assume I am, even when something like this happens.