No, I am not talking about an eyepatch as part of a pirate costume for Halloween. In writing about my mouthguard and reminiscing about having to wear headgear during my middle school/early high school years, I thought about another dark period. During 7th grade, I got Bell’s Palsy. It came out of nowhere. Suddenly during science class, I noticed that my eye was not shutting all the way. While walking home from school, I asked Jamie about it and she started cracking up. She kindly pointed out that half my face was not moving at all. Slightly alarming. Several MRI and CAT scans later, it was revealed that indeed I had Bell’s Palsy. Essentially it paralyzes half your face, typically lasting around 2 weeks (although in some cases it can last longer or even permanently). Drinking or eating is hazardous as it goes in one side and out the other. Smiling only revealed the distinct line down the center of my face where the smile stopped abruptly. Worse of all, the eyepatch. I had to wear the eyepatch so that my eye would not dry out (since it could not close all the way). Middle school is hard enough without having to make sure you don’t laugh/smile/eat/drink–add an eyepatch into the mix and let’s just say it was the longest two weeks of my life.