THE post-operative cases in which Raphanus is indicated are those in which there are signs suggesting intestinal obstruction, where there is a good deal of irregularly distributed abdominal distension, pockets of wind which the patient cannot move-they cannot get it up or pass it down.
There are very violent, twisting pains in the abdomen, sometimes in one part, sometimes in another, the position seeming to depend on where the flatus has stuck. It is usually associated with a good deal of nausea, and with a peculiar kind of drawing pain from the lower end of the sternum down into the umbilical region.
Always, there is marked thirst, but the spasms of pain are very much aggravated by drinking. Sometimes the patients complain of a good deal of burning discomfort in the epigastrium and of very small, scalding eructations.
Apart from the attacks of acute pain, there is a severe feeling of tightness in the abdomen. Some patients have described this as being almost as if they had an iron band right round the waist.
One peculiar symptom-they very often complain of icy cold knees.
In contrast to the state of acute distress, these patients have a peculiar mental attitude which can best be described as a feeling that they are finished and their number is up-and almost an acceptance of this. This attitude is in striking contrast to the state of acute terror which the thought of impending death produces in an Arsenicum patient suffering from a similar condition.
In post-operative cases of this kind, with patchy areas of distension, Raphanus is often much more useful than Carbo veg. or Arsenicum. In bad cases, it is certainly more useful than Lycopodium.