Gay artist speaks about terrifying facial paralysis experience

One half of Irish artists Adrian+Shane has revealed that he has recently, with his partner’s support, been recovering from Bell’s Palsy

Gay artist speaks about terrifying facial paralysis experience
Adrian+Shane | Facebook
L-R: Art couple Adrian+Shane

Cult artists Adrian+Shane are the latest subjects to have a true life story featured on Humans of Dublin (HOD) – a blog that presents real life stories from Irish citizens.

Partners in art and in real life, Adrian + Shane have been working together for over 18 years.

Having grown up in the same town in Ireland, Drogheda, where they attended the same school, they were introduced to one another by mutual friends over Christmas in 1997. They began making art together shortly afterwards.

Most recently, in September they ran a four-day pop-up shop and exhibition entitled Zoo in Dublin, producing and selling screen prints and presenting performance work.

However, their HOD story revealed a recent health issue that they’ve previously kept private.

‘One afternoon, on our first day back in the studio after the Christmas break I went to lick my lips and my mouth wasn’t moving properly,’ said Adrian.

‘It was a very strange sensation. I was worried but said nothing to Shane until we got home that evening.

‘I asked him if my face looked wonky and he joked “No wonkier than usual.” He thought I was being dramatic, but over the next few hours I gradually lost all movement on the right side of my face.

‘Initially I thought I was having a stroke, but it was only affecting my face. That night I went to bed feeling very worried. What would I be like in the morning?

‘He started shouting “Adrian wake up! You have to see a doctor straight away!”’

‘Shane woke to find me sleeping with my right eye wide open even though I was fast asleep. He started shouting “Adrian wake up! You have to see a doctor straight away!”

The right side of my face was completely paralyzed. I couldn’t even blink my right eye, so it looked like I was winking whenever I blinked my left eye.

‘As soon as the doctor saw me he knew it was Bell’s Palsy. He said it was caused by stress and he put me on a strong course of steroids.

‘Recovery is generally different from patient to patient with this condition. Some people recoup after a month, others can take years. I was lucky. My face slowly began moving after three months. Shane was by my side the whole thing. He even taped my right eye closed every night before going to bed, to protect it and prevent it from drying up.

‘Everything else was put on hold as I recuperated. It’s been ten months now and I’m 99% recovered. We’re lucky it turned out that well. A few unexpected winks can be expected on the way, so don’t be surprised! We won’t stop; full speed ahead!’

Bell’s Palsy is a paralysis of your facial nerve that usually causes a temporary paralysis or weakness of the muscles on one side of your face. Anyone who suspects they may be affected is advised to seek medical help immediately – primarily to rule out a more serious condition such as stroke.

Most people make a fully recovery with or without treatment, although around three in ten may continue to experience some muscle weakness.

In an email to GSN, Adrian elaborated on the experience.

‘My Bell’s Palsy is something that we kept private since January. We didn’t even take any photos of it. It was such a massive shock and we didn’t know if it would go away.

‘I feared that my face would never be the same again.

‘We have been overwhelmed by the amount of positive comments and support over the last 24 hours. A huge amount of people who have suffered with Bell’s Palsy have thanked me for sharing my story.

‘It’s been almost 10 months now since I first got Bell’s Palsy and I have almost completely recovered. My eye still twitches a bit and when I’m tired the right side of my face can droop a bit. I’m very lucky and grateful that my recovery has been successful.’

Read the original article on Gay Star News


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