* * *
“…The water ran down from her hair and clothes; it ran down into the toes of her shoes and out again at her heels. And yet she said that she was a real princess.
Well, we’ll soon find that out, thought the old queen. But she said nothing, went into the bedroom, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty elder-down beds on top of the mattresses.
On this the princess had to lie all night. In the morning she was asked how she had slept.
‘Oh, very badly!’ said she. ‘I have scarcely closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It’s horrible!’
Now they knew that she was a real princess because she had felt the pea right through the twenty mattresses and the twenty elder-down beds.
Nobody but a real princess could be as sensitive as that.”
(excerpted from “The Princess and the Pea” by Hans Christian Andersen)
* * *
Well . . . perhaps there’s an alternative interpretation.. Upon clinical analysis, this supposed “royal” appears to suffer from insomnia, hypersensitivity, chronic fatigue, adrenal failure, environmental illness, generalized anxiety disorder, and anemia. My diagnostic conclusion highly suspects Lyme Disease and a resulting cascade of autoimmune disorders and biochemical dysfunctions – truly at the root of why this young woman can endure such physical and emotional torment from a seemingly innocuous pea placed an astonishing 20 mattresses and 20 beds beneath her body. Moreover, this nocturnal experiment proves that her hypersensitivity is most certainly organic in nature and not at all psychosomatic. I would highly recommend a series of lab tests, scopes, and scans to determine the extent of neurological, gastrointestinal, endocrine and cardiovascular damage. It would also be prudent to check for any co-infections that may be impeding iron absorption in her gut (among other systemic inflammatory problems), as this could significantly contribute to her dramatic bruising – all from a tiny legume.
Also, we should get a comprehensive historical travel log of her journeys – both domestic and foreign – as it is apparent this innocent lass has spent a considerable amount of time wandering aimlessly into the woods on stormy and humid evenings. It is thus highly likely that she was bitten by an infected deer tick.
We most definitely need a 24-hour cortisol test, as I’m almost positive she is in Stage 3 of adrenal failure. This tired damsel is not capable of resting her weary head in what otherwise seems to be a phenomenally comfortable and plush bedchamber. 10 mg of melatonin at night may help alleviate this restlessness.
I am most concerned that the Lyme infection may have crossed her blood brain barrier to cause cerebral inflammation, as she speaks in a delusional and allegorical tone about finding her prince – “her one true love” – in the midst of a dark and magical forest. She is also prone to excessive and violent mood swings. As a prime example: one moment she gloriously bursts into an enchanting song about her newfound chivalrous and princely suitor. But a few minutes later, she is weeping, sighing and thrown into fits of hysteria, for fear she may never wed this rightful heir to the thrown. Furthermore, she is tormented with anxiety over the parade of courtly gentlemen who have gallantly rode in, and yet unceremoniously rode out, of her life, leaving her thus far a lonely spinster. She exhibits signs of PTSD from having quite literally kissed a frog who was supposed to mythically transform into a prince, but who nonetheless remained unchanged, and hopped away from her – still small, slimy and green.
When pressed further on this trauma, the young woman enters into hallucinations, insisting there is a hidden “other world” just waiting to be explored if we were only to utter the magical phrase: “Once Upon A Time …” There we shall discover a panoply of kings and queens, fairies and nymphs, witches and wizards and magical creatures. Of particular concern is her resolute belief that her housemaid cousin once drove a pumpkin to a royal ball, while another ancestor has been asleep for just under 100 years, all because she pricked her finger. These nonsensical speech patterns and excitatory responses have me concerned that her brain fog is a sure sign of cognitive deterioration, most aptly due to the infection infiltrating her central nervous system. I am recommending a brain and c-spine MRI to check for lesions and damage to her nerve myelin.
Another factor for her hypersensitivity could very well be an allergy to feather down mattresses or other environmental illness. With all her running around in the woods on chilly nights, coupled with a chronic infection, compounded by the emotional stress of not yet fulfilling her romantic destiny, her immune system must be severely compromised. And sleeping in a small bedroom with archaic mattresses could have activated a full-blown immune response. It would be best if we ran an allergy panel for common environmental and food sensitivities. It would also be ideal to evaluate her bedroom for mold and other toxins, as one never knows where those bed linens were stored – these castles can be quite damp. We may want to consider supplementing with Astragalus, Olive leaf, and Ashwaganda to support her immune system. It would also be reasonable for this young woman to invest in a high quality HEPA filter, should she decide to take up permanent residence in this medieval dwelling.
I have attempted to assess this fair maiden’s lineage, to determine if any hereditary factors predispose her to autoimmune disease and/or detoxification challenges. She is, unfortunately, quite uncertain of her family’s precise origin, having been born into an unknown European aristocracy. She was curiously perplexed when I requested her Social Security number, and instead graciously bestowed upon me an ancient parchment scroll, citing DOB and location as: “Long Ago and Far Away.” Since her bloodline remains a mystery, I am ordering a full genetic workup. Her detoxification pathways seem stalled, likely a problem with methylation, making it even more challenging for her to clear any toxins and infectious agents she has been exposed to in this mold-infested bedroom and tick-laden forest.
To jumpstart her path toward healing, I strongly encourage weekly sessions in Reiki, Cranio-Sacral therapy, acupuncture, meditation and psychotherapy, plus monthly visits with a shaman. These modalities will help release any physical and emotional traumas, which are undoubtedly perpetuating a state of chronic inflammation. I am hopeful that this delicate damsel has a considerable stash of gold bars and crown jewels at her disposal, as these therapies would otherwise bankrupt a common village dweller.
So . . . after a thorough clinical evaluation, taking into account this fabled heroine’s medical history, psychological traumas, environmental sensitivities, and genetic predispositions, I conclude that this “Princess and the Pea” most definitively has Chronic Lyme Disease.
I’m a real princess, and I just don’t know it.