Former Senator Norm Coleman has revealed that he has Bell’s palsy, which has caused partial paralysis on the left side of his face.
Rick Kupchella, former KARE11 news anchor, first reported the story on his new Web site, BringMeTheNews.com. Coleman’s condition is caused by inflammation of the nerves leading to his face.
- Norm Coleman (Photo: Mordecai Specktor)
The former senator said he first began experiencing symptoms of the condition — on a late-night flight from Washington, D.C. to Minneapolis on Wednesday, September 2nd.
He says it started with the realization that, while talking with fellow passengers, he was “smiling out of one side of my face.”
He said, “It’s a big surprise when half your face is working — and the other half isn’t.”
The senator has been lying low since his diagnosis — spending time with his family at their cabin in Northern Minnesota. But he said he didn’t intend to “hide out” until his condition improved. There is no treatment for Bell’s palsy except time. However, Coleman emphasized, the condition will not affect any of his future plans.
David Brauer, media analyst for MinnPost.com (writing about Kupchella’s scoop), did some research and found that Bell’s palsy “affects 40,000 Americans a year, rarely afflicting people under 15 or older than 60,”Â according to information on theÂ Mayo Clinic’s Web site. “Coleman turned 60 on Aug. 17.”
“For most people, Bell’s palsy symptoms begin to improve within a few weeks, with complete recovery within three to six months,” the Mayo Clinic states.
“It puts a lot of things in perspective — my smile is a part of me,” Minnesota’s former U.S. senator told Kupchella. “I love to smile, and to all of sudden — part of your face isn’t working as it used to — the good news is it will.” — Mordecai Specktor