The hour of the day or night when pains or sensations are at their worst has not seldom been of the greatest help in securing the truly Homoeopathic remedy, and must be carefully looked for.
Many an attack of neuralgia has been cured with the 3 P.M. aggravation by means of Belladonna; many a case of dyspepsia and bronchitis has been eradicated by Lycopodium when the patient was decidedly worse between 4 and 8 P.M. Many a case of cough and rheumatism has been dispersed as if by enchantment, by Kali carb. when the attack kept recurring between 2 and 3 A.M., and many a case of psora with 11 A.M., aggravation has been relieved by Sulph., Sepia., or Natrum muriaticum, according to the concomitant symptoms.
The conditions, aggravation during slow quick motion should also be observed and noted.
Many cases of headache of uterine disturbance ameliorated by quick walking have been benefited or cured by Ignatia, Sepia or Silicea, the selection between these three depending upon other modalities and conditions; and many cases of headaches asthma and ameliorated during slow movement have been helped and removed by Pulsatilla, Ferrum or Lycopodium, the preference being given to the medicine covering the other conditions.
As I have already remarked, a knowledge of the sphere and mode of action of remedies are of assistance in the examination of the patient; but we should nevertheless guard against becoming prejudiced in favour of a medicine which appears at the moment to be the right one. We should study both sides of the case, testing the reason for and against with equal impartiality.
If all symptoms do not exactly correspond with those of the remedy uppermost in our mind we should discard it and seek another, the true one. Insensibly we find ourselves at times making the case adapt itself to the well-known symptoms of a remedy, but against any such tendency, or accident it is our duty to take all possible precautions.
By our unerring law I have occasionally found the true specific at the outset of an illness, before the development of the symptoms leading one to suspect follicular tonsillitis, though no local trace of that affection was visible then. But during the interval between my first and second visits the symptoms had developed so as to show a real case of this kind and which was perfectly matched by this remedy. Again I have several times prescribed Rhus tox for intense backache fever, restlessness, etc., and the next day I would be shown a full crop of shingles on the loin which required no other remedy for its cure.
There are many types of invalids whom it takes no little knowledge of human nature to properly understand and successfully treat. For example, the hysterical and hypochondriacal generally represent their symptoms in the most exaggerated terms. Perhaps they do feel their pains more keenly than more vigorous patients; but many patient rather over-coloured pictures in order to make sure of the physicians prompt and careful attention.
On the other hand some will take little of their symptoms lest they be considered boyish, which others are actually indifferent as to the issue of their disease. These facts impress upon us the importance of bearing in mind the different remedies adapted to different classes of sufferers, in the hypersensitive, Ignatia, Coffea and Aconite often afford much relief, while the indifferent are benefited by Sepia, Acid phos., Phosphorus, etc.
Some physician are gifted with a medicinal acumen enabling them to discover at a glance the nervous, the physical as well as the gouty, the miasmatic and other species of affections. To such judges, the attitude, carriage, gait or physiognomy often convey a plain and true story from which they readily deduce sound conclusions as to the suitable remedies for the different classes of sufferers, also the kind of environment, the soil, food and climate, suited to the various invalids under notice.
And although all practitioners cannot lay claim to an equal share of this valuable faculty, there is a pleasure in the reflection that it may be acquired or cultivated to a considerable extent by study and observation. In view of its great importance to mankind, it behoves us all to train the eye, ear and other facilities in every way calculated to assist us most in the worthy as well as useful work of the quick and correct discernment of disease.
Now I must strive to conclude, out of respect, for your patience at least. As had been truly said by one interested most and cures in healing art, the most learned practitioner is he who cures best. In this useful mission the Homoeopath possesses a great advantage over the other schools, as under the law guiding him, he can overcome or remove any disease not beyond human skill.
Without however an assiduous study of the Materia Medica and the thorough analysis of every case coming before him for treatment he must fail as signally as his opponents of the other school. It may be that the practice of medicine is, as Dr. Johnson remarks, “a melancholy attendance upon misery, a mean submission to peevishness, and a continued interruption to rest and pleasure.” But the study of life and death, of health and disease as well, appeals to be better part of man’s nature, elevating his aims while extending and deepening his sympathies.
How gratifying, is it not, to be able with a word or look to overcome, at times, all the sufferer’s anxieties, and dispel all his doubts and fears, or at any rate, smooth the poor patients path to the grave! There is indeed no nobler, no more philanthropic mission appealing to the sympathies of mankind than that of resisting and overcoming the many treacherous influences and agencies arranged against health, from the first throb of the heart to the last beat of the pulse.