Here are 2 illustrations of how people get sick or develop health issues.
Can a dark skinned African, a somewhat dark skinned Sicilian, a very fair, blond and blue eyed northern Scandinavian, and an albino all go the beach and safely play volleyball outside on July 1st when there isn’t a cloud in the sky and the temperature is 100°? The answer actually is “YES.” The dark skinned African can safely play in shorts and no shirt and the same is probably true for the Sicilian. However, the Scandinavian must be carefully dressed and use high SPF lotion to avoid sunburn, while the albino must be covered from top to bottom with broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses, gloves, shoes and socks as well as a long sleeved shirt and pants. All are equally strong and can dress the same if the sun is not an issue (“not exposed” as on a dark and cloudy day).
The lesson is, everyone has genetic strengths and weaknesses, we break down in our weaknesses, unless protected.
This demonstrates why some people are affected and others are resistant to whatever stimulus: salt, food, the sun, cholesterol, smoking or alcohol, etc., etc. We are all “albinos” somewhere, but we need not discover our weaknesses if we do not expose ourselves to what we should not.
The second example is how how people get or stay well:
You and I finish with our office visit. As I continue your paperwork I say that you may leave the room. You take the door and pull, but it doesn’t open. You pull a little harder and it still doesn’t open. You pull much harder, and it still doesn’t open! You turn, look at me quizzically, and I say, “Pull harder.” Sometimes doing more is not enough. Sometimes doing a lot more is essential to get a job done.
Different people have different strengths or weaknesses and have to do varying amounts of work to get the job done correctly. If you want your health and freedom, you may be like the albino above and have to protect yourself “from top to bottom” when others may need little or no protection. Like the person stuck in the room for the albino, you may have to pull hard enough or dress carefully enough, and I am not the one who decides how much work/how hard you will have to pull/how you have to dress. Each person has to pull hard enough/change enough/do enough for his or her own particular make-up in order to get/stay well and free.
SICK OR WELL – THE LABOR OF HEALTH LEADS TO FREEDOM
To get and/or stay well and preserve your health requires as much attention, focus, and effort as one spends time and money and feels both comfort and convenience or discomfort while becoming ill. Said another way, to get/stay well and preserve your health is as difficult and time consuming as the discomfort and time/money lost from being ill. If you wish your health freedom, you will feel as bad by doing the necessary hard work to get/stay well and preserve your health as you do being sick. The difference is … you are not sick, don’t become sick and you feel normal. It is easier to get and stay sick, but you will feel better by making the effort and being well.
Here is a printable version (pdf) of How People Get Sick And/Or Stay Well.
H. Robert Silverstein, MD