Often, I used the analogy of peeling an onion to help my patients visualize their illnesses and health. An onion has many layers, each unique yet looking similar to the ones next to it. Each layer of an onion affects all the other layers.
When you buy an onion at your local supermarket, the outside layer is often thickened and discolored. In order to assess the quality of an onion, you often have to peel away the outside layers until you reach the healthy core.
When dealing with humans, physicians often have to get past the thickened, discolored outside layers of a person’s life in order to reach the healthy, vital core of their patient’s existence.
“Doc, I don’t feel good. Do you think it’s stress related?”
“Doc, I’m having problems maintaining an erection. Do you think I have low T?”
“Doc, I have . . . Do you think it’s . . .?”
Solving my patient’s problems often meant peeling back the layers of his life, carefully, one at a time. Rarely is there a simple cause for human suffering. Most of the time, the bad layers adversely affect the good layers; and, sometimes, it is impossible to discern which layer is the culprit.
When something is bothering you or making you sick, carefully peel back the onion and explore what is under the surface. Share your findings with your doc/psychologist/counselor; it will help him/her help you.
In my case, at the core of my existence is the memories of my grandfather and father, both of whom had Parkinson’s. Those memories haunt me and are closely tied to the negative/depressing attitudes that bleed through to every layer of my being. No matter how many times I tell myself that I’m not my father, that life is good, that I am lucky, I see my ancestors in their final stages of Parkinson’s, I freak out and want to puke.
So, I do. I puke out all of the negative emotions onto these pages. Then I re-read the positive articles again and again until the sun comes up and I can celebrate a Happy New Day. Those of you who suffer with a chronic illness or simply a few rotten layers in your “onion” may want to consider writing/talking about them in an attempt to peel them away, leaving the healthy layers in their place and, if you’ve found any solace in the ramblings of an old family doc, may want to re-read some of the positive articles on this blog until you to can have a Happy New Day.
Here is your music for today and a joke.
A man goes to a $10 sex worker and contracts crabs. When he goes back to complain, the sex worker laughs and says, “What do you expect for ten dollars? Lobster?”