I need thoughts, ideas, and relevant personal experiences.
Apparently my mom woke up yesterday morning in pretty bad shape. The primary symptoms seemed to be a profound sense of vertigo, and high-grade nausea (probably as a result of the vertigo). In addition, she can't hear out of her right ear at all. My dad called their doctor (who seems perfectly competent, as far as I can tell), and told him about the symptoms, and he prescribed some medication which seems to be helping with the dizziness (and hence the nausea).
So, you know, so far, so good.
Upon coming over to visit today, I found that the right side of my mom's face is... slack. I hadn't been expecting that, and immediately wondered if she'd had a stroke. On further inspection, I don't think so - but I'm not a medical professional, I only know what I read. And this is sufficiently disturbing that I'd like to get some input from you guys.
Here's the information I'm working with:
1. The side of her face isn't numb, it's just slack. This effect seems to extend from up around the right eye, down to the chin; it's giving her trouble drinking water, rather as if she'd just come home from getting a filling at the dentist's office. (She hasn't.)
2. Part of that area, maybe most of it, seems to be oddly swollen. Now, her lower lip has been swollen for a couple of weeks - nobody seems to be sure why. Anti-chapping balm has cured some surface chapping but not affected the swelling at all. This new, wider area of swelling appears to extend from the lip, across the cheek, and up to the cheekbone; it's particularly obvious where it reaches the bottom of the cheekbone.
3. Yesterday's medication (apparently some sort of next-generation dramamine equivalent) has resolved most of the vertigo, and that seems to have cured the nausea as well. She can eat and drink, and keep her food down.
4. She still can't hear out of her right ear, but her right eye seems to be working fine: she has full binocular focus, and as far as I can tell no drifting of the eye or delay in response time, or anything like that.
5. She is oriented as to place, time, and events; she has a very slight slur (about what you'd expect when one side of your mouth was numb) but is otherwise perfectly capable of speaking clearly. She also has no trouble understanding, following conversations, responding appropriately, etc.
6. Her doctor seems to think it's a blockage in the Eustachian tube. He's apparently trying to get it to drain.
7. My mom is post-polio, and cannot move her legs. She normally walks with crutches and braces. This is probably irrelevant here, but might be worth mentioning.
Here's my current hypothesis:
I don't think this is the aftermath of a stroke. It's possible, but I don't think that's what's going on. But I'm not a medical professional, so what do I know?
I think this may actually be the result of a bacterial infection. Mom's lower lip has been swollen for two weeks, now. I'm thinking that maybe the infection has spread, causing more swelling, which is currently squeezing off the Eustachian tube (and possibly part of the nerves in the face) and thus causing the more obvious symptoms.
So here are my questions:
1. Does that hypothesis seem at all possible?
2. Are there any other possibilties that I'm missing? If so, how likely are they?
3. Have you ever run into anything like this before? If so, what fixed it? (If we can clear the whole thing up by, say, having her down a glass of lemon juice, I'd love to know about it.)
4. Any other thoughts or ideas you'd care to contribute?
Cross-posted on the ULMB