Sunday, October 07, 2007

Goodman's announcement

"I just want to say I have a temporary condition called Bell's Palsy which is an inrritation of the

facial nerve. It's not painful, the doctors tell me I'll be back to my usual self in the next few weeks. In the meantime it just makes it a little harder to smile but so does the world," Amy Goodman declared on Tuesday's Democracy Now! broadcast.

Rebecca was the first of us to notice something different because she watches Democracy Now! The rest of us watch or listen depending on the day (Kat and C.I. prefer to listen, Mike didn't notice because he was listening since he was on the road with Kat, Ava and C.I. last week).

A few months back, Rebecca toyed with writing about Goodman's hair. Nothing in depth, just a mention of how it was longer and looked nice. In the end, she decided not to write about it because she thought the last thing Amy Goodman needed was compliments on her hair. (Rebecca notes she would write that about a male or female whose hair looked good but with the Katie Couric nonsense -- where she's held to a standard that, fair or not, her male cohorts are not -- she felt it was the wrong time to focus on any woman in the news industry's appearance.)

C.I. noted Goodman's announcement on Tuesday and "From the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: 'With or without treatment, most individuals begin to get better within 2 weeks after the initial onset of symptoms and recover completely within 3 to 6 months'." It's not life threatening so no one needs to worry about Goodman's longterm health.

If you listen to the program, it's the left side of her face.

As people who have worried about going out in public with a pimple or a cold sore (remember that most of us aren't that long from high school), we know the fears that everyone will stare you and we wanted to take a moment to note that Goodman is not doing the show wearing a veil. She's usually shot from the right side of her face most programs anyway and they've made no real adjustments.

Goodman kept the announcement brief and low key (it's not a "read," you can hear it or view it after the headlines and before the first interview) and we wondered about noting it here. But, as Kat pointed out, it takes a lot of guts to say, "Screw it, that's not what I'm about, let's go on with the show." So we wanted to note it because it does take guts.

That's not to suggest that there's anything troubling in watching Goodman speak currently. It's not 'unnatural' or 'disfiguring' and stroke victims can exhibit similar symptoms. But it does take guts when you're being watched.

By just going about business as usual, Goodman underscores that it isn't a big deal which may help get the word out on Bell's Palsy. All but three of us were unaware of the disorder. Elaine, Rebecca and C.I. knew a woman who got it her freshman year of college. It was very traumatic for her (and actually lasted six weeks). Whether it is or not for Goodman, we're sure she'll have a wonderful column on it when it's over.

From the Bell's Palsy InfoSite & Forums: "Bells palsy is not as uncommon as is generally believed. Worldwide statistics set the frequency at approximately .02% of the population (with geographical variations). In human terms this is 1 of every 5000 people, and 40,000 Americans every year."
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