The Power of Suggestion

I love how everyday life has its lessons thrown in there, just waiting to be discovered.  A recent one for me, as I hang out waiting in the ER, is the power of suggestion.  This can be both positive and negative, of course.  It was highlighted for me by my 9 year old.  Let me explain.

Recently, I’ve been a particularly tasty nibble for bugs.  I’ve always had pretty big reactions to bug bites.  (I’m sure there’s a lesson hidden within that too!)  This time, I was bitten by a fast acting mosquito right in the middle of my forehead.  Within a short while, the middle of my forehead started to pop out.  I looked like a dinosaur.  Then, the swelling moved down my nose and eventually around both eyes.  It wasn’t pretty.  The swelling restricted my breathing in my nose a bit, but wasn’t worrisome.  I tried a few things to relieve the swelling, but neither the cold compresses, homeopathic medicine, nor the antihistamine was cutting it.  I went to bed and by the next morning, I was still puffy and swollen.  It took 2 days for the swelling to subside.   Once it did, it was just my luck that a giant horsefly attacked me and took a chunk out of the right side of my forehead.  What are the chances?!  It started to puff and swell as the evening wore on, this time on the one side.

I had sent a picture to my family, mainly as a joke, because I looked like I was using Botox.  (I just turned 40, I thought they’d find it funny.)  They didn’t find the humor.  It’s family, so I received more along the lines of concern and suggestion that I go to a doctor, citing a nurse friend that each incident could produce greater symptoms, anaphylactic shock, etc, etc.  I dismissed it readily, but the seed was planted!  Not long after, at bedtime, I started to feel the one side of my tongue swelling.  That’s it!  I started to panic, I need to go to the hospital.  The one thing about the ER is once you’re there, you have time to think… plenty of time, in fact!

Upon admission, I talk to the triage nurse.  She asks me, using the pain scale, what kind of pain I’m in.  I’ve been through natural childbirth, I think to myself.  It’s not painful, really just a minor discomfort from the pressure.  I realized the reality of my situation.  It’s a bug bite.  My face is swollen.  I’m not in any pain.  It’s a minor discomfort.  I’m going to be okay.  The feeling of my tongue swelling seemed to subside on its own.  That was the frame of mind I needed to be in to get better.

Punctuating this lesson all the more, I came home to hear that my 9 year old was giving a pep talk to his friend who had hurt himself.  You’re gonna be alright, back and at it in no time.  Sometimes, the best medicine can be the power of positive suggestion.  It’s so simple, even kids get it!

It reminds me of a phrase written by a family friend in a baby book for my son, The Little Engine That Could: “What you think about, you bring about.”

Happy, positive thoughts to you all!

Ali 🙂