DEAR MR. BARKER, I have been meaning to w…


DEAR MR. BARKER, I have been meaning to write to you for days on end, but I have been extremely busy with a number of things, including a very serious case of supposed pneumonia.

On Monday evening the telephone rang it was the daughter of the woman whom I attended two years ago when she had a stroke. The mother is a different woman and thinks I am wonderful !.

However, on Monday, one of her daughters rang up at 9.30 to say her sister was seriously ill with pneumonia, would I go to her at once. A doctor had been looking after her for a week, and all the family thought she was sinking. She is married, with one child aged four years.

I went and the frail little thing was so altered I hardly recognized her she was deathly pale had a terrible cough her head was tied up with bandages she said the pain in her head was driving her mad. She was so wasted and weak I was afraid to move her lest the exertion killed her.

I felt sure she hadnt pneumonia. I felt her pulse it was so weak I could scarcely find it. When I did there was a feeble beat and a flutter then another beat her temperature was 103, she was frightfully ill. I asked her if she was in much pain she said the pain in her back was excruciating and had been like that for months she had pain in her right side I thought that was probably dry pleurisy her mouth!.

I have never seen a mouth in such a state the back of her throat was a sheet of thick white coating. You could cut it with a knife, her tongue was like raw beef and ulcerated. She had large cracks each side of her mouth she vomited the little food she was able to take and said for that reason she had not eaten anything for five days but drank a little lemonade her bowels had not acted for five days.

The doctor had been to see her just before I arrived and told the family she was so ill it would be a miracle if she survived the next day. I am afraid I agreed with him and thought it was the only truthful thing she said. When the family told him her bowels had not acted for days, what could they do he said give her any medicine you like as long as she doesnt diarrhoea !.

Whether you will think I did right or wrong I thought the first thing to do would be to get her bowels to act. I gave her a gentle enema she returned hard dark brown faces covered with mucus and very offensive, she passed urine once in twenty- four hours, it was bright with a thick sediment, she had had no sleep for weeks I gave her Aconite and Bryonia in alternation. I thought the former to bring her temperature down and the latter to help the cough. I also left Phosphorus 3 in case it was pneumonia.

I sponged her and put her as comfortable as I could and left her at 12.30 midnight and said I would return early the next morning, but her temperature dropped before I felt to 101. Next morning she was very restless and agitated and when I entered the room I heard her tell her sister to leave her alone and dig a hole and bury her as quickly as possible. She said it is too late Mrs. L., I am dying I wouldnt ask a dog to suffer so. I want to die.

I said you are much better and before the day was out she would be a different person. She was soaked in perspiration.

I gave her a blanket bath, a dose of paraffin and changed her bed and was worried to death, but I thought she was a little better in some ways, her temperature was normal and her pulse much stronger I told her to buck up, she was much better, she had very little sleep during the night and was now covered with a cold clammy sweat, her eyes so sunken she looked a corpse I cleaned her mouth with vinegar and water and tried to scrape away some of the filth that plastered her mouth and throat, and asked her if she thought she could gargle once she tried and did it beautifully.

I took some vegetable soup and gave her two tablespoons and two hours later I gave her two tablespoons of milk and a few biscuit crumbs I was delighted when she kept this down. I felt orders to give her every two hours a little nourishment, I returned at once and gave her a few spoonfuls of junket, everything I gave her she retained. She had the use of her bowels a huge motion and the urine was less scanty.

Evening temperature still normal and pulse steady her head a little easier but her back was breaking what could I do for her back I made her gargle again, and again I gave her mouth a good cleaning. On Thursday temperature still normal and pulse good but no sleep at last I thought I would try Variolinum. I gave her a dose Thursday afternoon at three oclock, at 3.30 she was sleeping peacefully and slept till 6.30.

When I saw her at seven p.m. she was better I left at 8.30 and told the sister to give her another dose at 10 p.m. and hoped for the best the next morning early the telephone rang. I was afraid to go the husband spoke and said you have saved my wifes life, she had slept peacefully all through the night–God bless your soul. I saw the patient at 9.30 she was much better and was sponging her face she had three good motions that day and kept all her food down and ate a potato baked in the skin and a baked apple.

Yesterday she was sitting up in bed. To-day, Sunday when I saw her after Church she was reading a book ! full of smiles, all the pain in her back and head gone is not this case a miracle ! The doctor has been visiting every day and simply cant get over it, he never once asked how her mouth was.

When the sister asked what she could do to clean it he said give her some pineapple juice ! and all this week he had not asked once if the bowels had acted. I really do feel now that I can heal this is the fifth serious case I have had and all of them snatched from the jaws of death.

No wonder you adore your work so do I and the parents and husband of this little woman love me as I love you with that wonderful devotion I have for you, and have had and will always have I shall never forget what you have done for me and my children. I would give much to be near you, and see you work if only for an hour or so I can think of no greater joy than being able to do something like this when everyone else has failed.