LETTERS TO AN ORTHODOX DOCTOR.
(Continued from our last number).
You need not be so angry at my last reason ; I did not make Arnica grow in the world; I did not endow it with the power of causing erysipelas ; and I did not discover the therapeutic law in question ; I just use this law in order to cure my patients, even as I use this law in order to cure my patients, even as I use the useful invention known as a spoon where with to partake of my no hocus-pocus about it.
Just as I was writing you last reason for being a homoeopath, I was suddenly summoned by telegraph to a very severe case of quinsy. I hastened to the suffering damsel and found that various remedies had been used in vain and the patient was in great distress, having been for twelve hours unable to swallow even a few drops of fluid. Not even the juice of one grape would pass, and some operative interference seemed absolutely imperative.
I gave five grains of the third centesimal trituration of a remedy you may not be acquainted with but which the heterodox homoeopaths quaintly call Baryta carbonica, and which is now generally known as the Carbonate of Barium.
In about a dozen hours patient ate a basin of bread and milk. I have often cured quinsies before in the same way, and I beg you to believe that the little trick had been done thousands of times by others, and though no clinical tip of mine, it nevertheless must server you as my fifteenth reason and not a bad one either as said damsel would gratefully bear witness.
You remember my case of hiccough cured by Natrum muriaticum ? Well while my mind is still dwelling on this very wonderful remedy, I will adduce another cure by it is my sixteenth reason for being a homoeopath. In it you may again note the expansiveness of the conception of similitudes for this case grew out of the hiccough case :.
John H., aged 29, seaman came to me on April 21st, 1878, telling me that he had had fever and ague two or three times a day, with watery vomiting, in Calcutta, in September, 1877. Was in the Calcutta Hospital three weeks for it, and took emetics quinine and tonics. Left at the end of the three weeks cured ; but before he was out of port the ague returned, or he got another, and he had a five-month voyage home to the port of Liverpool.
During the first three months of this homeward voyage he had two, three, four and five attacks a week, and tool a good deal of a powder from the captain, which from his descriptions was probably Cinchona bark ; then the fever left him, and the following condition supervened, viz. : “Pain in right side under the ribs ; cannot lie on right side ; both calves very painful to touch, they are hard and stiff; left leg semiflexed, he cannot at sea and two months at sea and two weeks ashore; and in this condition he comes to me hobbling with the aid of a stick and in great pain from the moving.
Urine muddy and red ; bowels regular ; skin tawny ; conjunctivae yellow.
Drinks about three pints of beer daily. I recommended him not to alter his mode of life till he is cured, and then to drink less beer. The former part of the recommendation he followed, as I learned from his brother ; of the latter part I have no information.
The hiccough case directly on his one, as we have evidently to do with an ague suppressed with Cinchona. Therefore ordered Nat. mur., 6 trit., six grains in water every four hours.
April 27th. Pain in side and leg went away entirely in three days, and the water cleared at once ; but the pain returned on the fourth day in the left calf only, which to-day is red, painful, swelled and. pits. He walks without a stick.
May 4th. – Almost well ; feels only a very little pain in left calf when walking. Looks and feels quite well, and walked into room with perfect ease without any stick.
He thinks he had a cold shake a few nights ago. He continues to perspire every night ; ever since he got the ague the sheets have to be changed every night.
May 11th.- Quite well.
I will here urge you t make a profound study of salt in all its bearing; but its being such a grand calorifacient in refracted dose, and during this deadlock of ague and cinchona, will surely entitle it to be considered a very good reason for being a homoeopath, since it cannot be so used on any other than homoeopathic ground.
Not many years ago the daughter of a London alderman was suffering from fearful neuralgia of the face ; at intervals she had had it for years, and no trouble or expense had been spared in endeavouring to cure it. Their ordinary family adviser was a homoeopath, but he had not managed to cure this neuralgia, notwithstanding several consultations with colleagues ; and other men of eminence had been consulted, but to no avail.
I found that the pain was worse in cold weather ; worse at the seaside ; better away from the sea inland, i.e. not so frequent or severe, and when the pain came on the eyes watered. A pinch of the sixth trituration of Natrum muriaticum in water three times a day cured my young patient in about three weeks ; and this anti- neuralgic action of Nat.mur. must be my seventeenth reason for being a homoeopath.
You ask how it then is that with all the merits which I claim for homoeopathy, its practitioners should be in “such a contemptible minority in the profession” ? I pressure, being in the minority does not necessarily mean to be in the wrong.
I suppose you hold that the world moves ? There was a time when those who said so were in the minority, and not very far from the stake if they dared to average their belief !.
You personally have devoted a good deal of attention to “diseases of the organs of circulation”, and you plume yourself rather (so I gathered in conversation with you) on knowing just a little more than most people on the “force that carry on the circulation of the blood” eh ? Was not, once upon a time, the nickname “circulator”-one who believed in Harveys discovery a very opprobrious indeed in our “liberal profession ? quite as bad as “homoeopath” now ; and did I one day not hear a great orator bring down the house by exclaiming, “They are slaves who dare not be in the right with two or three” ? Your “minority” argument is worn out.
Well, I wrote you the last time but one about the calorifacient power of Natrum muriaticum, and you would like to know whether it acts upon a certain center. I do not know its seat of action exactly, but I do know that it can often make a cold, chilly person feel warm ; and that is no small thing.
Some years since I was attending one of the children of a window in the neighbourhood of London, and having made a pretty good therapeutic hit – homoeopathically, my friend ! she said she should like to consult me on her own account for her nerves ; and when we had gone into that matter she said, “Ah, I suppose it is no use to consult you about my cold shivering fits; no one can do them any good.” They were in this wise ; one going to bed at night she began to shudder and shiver, and on getting into bed and lying down, she would shiver to such a degree that her teeth chattered, and the movements of her body shook the bed.
She had suffered this for years, and had been under a number of physicians for these cold shivers, but no one had ever touched them. She named five well-known homoeopathic practitioners who had in vain tried their and at it ; one of these has since renounced homoeopathy and all its ways, and previously he had tacitly given up the use of dynamized remedies, and loves now to ridicule them. Still for all that, and all that, dynamized Natrum muriaticum cured these, and all that, promptly and permanently. Long afterwards this lady wrote that she kept a bottle of the medicine of her bedroom mantlepiece au besoin or as we physicians so neatly put it, pro re nata but never needed it.
I call Natrum muriaticum my calorifacient. Try it !.
Yes you are quite right in saying that our Natrum muriaticum is your Sodium chloride, the common salt of our tables, and I am not at at all surprised to learn that you cannot believe that it is in any sense a medicine. Many homoeopathic practitioners are of the same opinion but bah ! what have your and their beliefs to do with hard clinical facts ? I have cured no inconsiderable number of cases of disease with Natrum muriaticum chilliness, swelled spleens gout, constipation and above all neuralgias ; so what does it matter to me what you or they think about it ? I KNOW.
Now I would like to cite one more experience of mine with Natrum muriaticum, which besides being very curious, is also practically important, and then I will not trouble you further with my attic salt !.
I can give it you in a very few words. A lady, wife of an officer, came over from India to be under my care. The difficulty in her case lay in this, that she was to stop with her husbands friends who have a lovely place near the sea in Sussex, but it usually upset her so much that she could not stay there. “And you know,” said she “it is so very unfortunate for I can stay there for nothing, and have the use of carriage, and everything is so very nice ; and yet I am obliged to decline going there, and I have to go to nasty lodgings by myself, which of course I have to go to pay for.” Why can you not live at your husbands place ? “Oh ! it is the sea ; I am just the same on board ship, dreadfully ill.”.