Now, men, don’t think you are excluded from this little missal just because it mentions lipstick. You occasionally use Chapstick, don’t you? The other day I was having a perfectly normal morning getting ready for work until it came time to put on my lipstick. I use that two-step kind where you paint on the color and then coat it with gloss. Most women usually start with the upper lip and do their little Cupid bows. Personally, I follow my own lip line unlike those women who never learned not to color outside the lines. Have you ever watched women watching other women put on lipstick? The watcher moves her lips very carefully in sync with the put-er-on-er. I suppose if we just watched the watcher, we wouldn’t really need a mirror. But I digress. Then I get to the lower lip. I say "lower" lip because I can’t spell bottem.
So I start doing the lower lipstick just like usual. Only the lower lip lipstick didn’t go on as usual. My lip was . . . well, . . . flaccid. (For all you visual processors out there, no doubt you can draw some sort of parallel.) I had to practically put my lip in a splint to get the lipstick on. My immediate reaction: Dear God! I’ve had a stroke!
Now if you had read one of the previous blogs about recognizing the signs of a stroke, you would know to check the following, which I did:
S * Ask the individual to SMILE.
Okay. I grinned into the mirror like a rabid chimpanzee.
T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE Coherently) (e.g. It is sunny out today).
I’m in the bathroom listening to the tv which is making sense to me. That rules out receptive aphasia. I started chattering like a magpie and it sounded all right to me, but that rules out nothing since people with expressive aphasia jabber not knowing they aren’t making sense to the listener. So I called a friend, and he seemed to have no difficulty understanding me.
R * Ask the person to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If s/he has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 999/911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.
Both arms went up okay and even flapped around a bit, just in case.
T * Tell the person: STICK OUT YOUR TONGUE. If the tongue is crooked, if it goes to one side or the other , that is also an indication of a stroke.
The tongue went out okay.
As I thought more about this problem, it occurred to me that strokes occur hemispherically, that is, it causes a problem on the right side or the left side, not JUST the lower lip. Therefore, something else caused my "broken" lower lip. How in the world was I going to go to work and be out in public with a wobbly lip?
Fortunately, a banana saved the day just in the nick of time. On the way out the door to work I grabbed a banana and took a bite only to discover that my flaccid lower lip was not the result of a stroke; it was the result of having forgotten to put in my lower dentures. So, before you rush off to the hospital thinking you are having a stroke just because your lower lip is acting the fool, first – make sure you have on clean panties, second – go through the STRT checklist, and third – see if you have teeth.
That’s all folks.