Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman diagnosed with Bell's palsy

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Norm Coleman
Image: U.S. Senate.

Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman has revealed that he has been diagnosed with Bell's palsy. The condition has resulted in partial paralysis of the left side of Coleman's face due to inflammation of the nerves leading to that area. Bell's palsy tends to imitate the symptoms of a stroke. It seldom lasts longer than eight weeks. Doctors have told Coleman that he should fully recover.

Coleman discussed the situation with BringMeTheNews reporter Rick Kupchella in his first in-depth, on-camera interview since the U.S. Senate recount ended in June.

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 2. He says it started with the realization that, while talking with fellow passengers, he was "smiling out of one side of my face."

"It's a big surprise when half your face is working and the other half isn't," Coleman said.

"It puts a lot of things in perspective."

U.S. Senator Norm Coleman

According to the Star Tribune, Coleman was also tested for Lyme disease because his had the disease this summer, but the test was negative.

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.

"It puts a lot of things in perspective," Coleman said, "my smile is a part of me. 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."