Taking the ordinary case of rather virulent pneumonia in which there are indications for Baptisia, there is usually a history of a fairly slow onset of the disease. Occasionally in the course of a very virulent epidemic you will find Baptisia cases developing with astonishing rapidity, even in a few hours, but in the majority of cases, in an average winter, the onset is much slower.
The first outstanding characteristic of Baptisia pneumonias is the befogged mental confusion. The patients are dull mentally, they find it difficult to think, they find it difficult to answer your questions, and you will probably have difficulty in taking the case as very often they do not remember the details of their illness. Their speech is rather slow, and often you will find them becoming mildly delirious quite early in the course of the disease. It is a gentle, wandering delirium, with again a good deal of confusion as to where they are and what they feel like. Very often you will find them drowsy; you can wake them up, but if you do you will get an incomplete answer and then they will drowse off again.
Another Baptisia symptom is that in spite of their drowsy state these patients are restless. They have generalized aching pain, they complain of their bed being hard, it hurts them to lie and you will find them moving about to get a more comfortable position. Sometimes that restlessness is associated with their inability to locate what is happening to them, they feel their arms or legs are uncomfortable and they move about to make sure where they are, or what is happening to them.
Another point is that these Baptisia patients are always cyanosed. They have rather a puffy, cyanotic appearance, their eyes look heavy, usually half closed, their lips are cyanosed, and there is a lot of sordes about the mouth. The mouth itself is always offensive, and very, very dry indeed. The tongue usually has a brown coat down the centre; it may be yellow to begin with, but it usually very rapidly becomes brown. The tongue itself is very dry to touch. But, in spite of this intense dryness of the tongue, you do not get excessive thirst in the Baptisias. They will take a sip of water, but that is all they want; for one thing they cannot be bothered, and for another the thirst is not excessive.
The skin surface of the Baptisia patient is always hot and damp, and the patients often complain of very unpleasant waves of heat all over. Always with their damp sweat they develop a very heavy, unpleasant odour.
The main complain is a feeling of intense oppression in the chest, and with this sensation they are rather afraid to lie down because lying seems to increase it and makes them feel as if they are going to suffocate. Very often they will tell you that the feeling of compression is not so much a sensation of the chest wall being tight as of the lungs inside being compressed, and this at once distinguishes it from the ordinary tightness of the chest which you find in so many of the other drugs.
Another characteristic about these patients is that they have a rather scanty sputum, which is very sticky and difficult to expel in spite of the fact that there is often a good deal of rale in the chest.
In appearance the patient is not unlike a very much more toxic Bryonia patient.
The Pyrogen pneumonias are usually much more rapid in their onset than the Baptisias. Mentally the patients are quite different. You will always get a certain amount of loquacity in your Pyrogen patients. They are rather impatient, they talk fast, they talk a good deal, and they are liable to be rather irritable.