When some diagnostician “discovers” a real condition and recommends a new line of treatment, perhaps an operation, the victim is cheered up at the prospect of relief, but a few of the usual disappointments following this new advice are enough to drive the victim farther down the slope of despair into the slough of despond.
What such a case requires is not treatment for anything, but a change for the body to catch up with its delinquencies in elimination, to create a cleaner interior, to cease from causing so much debris continually to embarrass the body.
The colds of winter, with the acute catarrhs left as sequellae, excite the accessory nasal cavities to acute revolution, with the usual congestion, pain, headache, pus discharge, bloody mucus, and general misery that goes with this annoying condition. Let us understand one thing clearly in the beginning, and this is that if you wish future ease, never allow any nose surgeon to begin operations on this delicate region, for once begun, there is no end to the damage done, and the end is a far worse state than simple, uncomplicated sinusitis.
Nature has created a wonderful arrangement of cavities and accessory air chambers, for the purpose of warming the air, straining out the bugs, and furnishing resonating chambers for the amplification of the tones of the voice.
Never allow anyone to disturb this arrangement, if you value your future peace of mind and ease of body.
Humanity has always held disease as a mystery, knowing nothing of the simplicity of the things causing its troubles, and it is not wholly to blame for this attitude.
Medicine has failed to go into the causes of disease properly, taking it too much for granted that disease is in large measure unavoidable, so giving the remote causes little thought and less care. Hence the public has not been properly taught the things it should know about its afflictions.
When we stop causing disease, nature, our body, begins at once to repair the damage done, and always succeeds, if we stop causing disease before some organ is thoroughly broken down, when it might be too late for nature to mend the body successfully.
If this were not so, then we would be in a difficult situation indeed, for medically we know that we can do nothing to cure any disease, but must depend on vis medicatrix naturae.
Hippocrates, the so-called father of medicine, told us long ago that only nature cures, and that the function of the doctor is to make this process as pleasant and as painless as could be.
All disease is a failure of the body to function properly, and the cause of this failure to function properly is the bodys inability to keep itself clean inside.
Ever since Jenner devised smallpox vaccination, or rather ever since the profession officially fell for this theory, it has been the firm belief of the more credulous members of the medical profession that in serums lies our safety from infection.
While we are speaking of the more credulous members of our glorious medical profession it might be well to state parenthetically that credulity is quite general among the profession or they could not continue year after year to chase the ephemeral rainbows of immune serums. Up to the very present moment no serum has yet been tried that had the slightest effect in either prevention or cure, not only of infantile paralysis but likewise of any other infectious disease.
Do not be shocked to hear a medical man say that there is not even yet the slightest evidence that any serum is either preventive or curative in any condition, for when we analyse the history of even vaccination, the original idol of the serum devotees, we find there not one scintilla of evidence that it has either prevented or mitigated one single case of smallpox. To-day those countries most thoroughly vaccinated are the ones in which smallpox is still present in large percentage, and those countries wholly unvaccinated do not have the disease.
I do not ask you to believe this without thorough investigation, but if you doubt it, then look into the smallpox statistics for every civilized country on the globe, and your search will substantiate this statement in full detail. The Philippine Islands were most thoroughly vaccinated for six years after America took possession of them, statistics compiled from the Philippine records showing that during this time they performed thirty million vaccinations on a population of ten million people, or three to each inhabitant in six years.
Yet, two years after the last vaccination was performed, the islands had the worst siege of smallpox in their history, with three times the morbidity ever before recorded and almost six times the mortality. This Philippine report was issued by John D. Long, then Philippine Commissioner, with the very enlightening comment that, “We do not know how to account for this!” Next in thoroughness in applying the rite of vaccination is Japan. Also Japan stands second in incidence and mortality of smallpox.
Italy is third in vaccinations and is also third in smallpox. England and America are less than 50 per cent. vaccinated to-day, and smallpox has become the least of all the disease of infection. Australia is practically unvaccinated, the province of Victoria being the only one ever to adopt vaccination law, and this was celebrated by almost entire disuse, yet smallpox is practically unknown among the Australians.
So I say that it requires credulity of a special kind and degree to believe in the potency of vaccination or serumization, and if it were true that the medical profession believes in the rites of vaccination and serumization I would charge them with this special brand of credulity as a profession, but they do not. Only a few of the more enterprising sort try to delude themselves into believing that serums are of any real use to their patients, but they do sell, and they are a fine promotion opportunity for the unscrupulous, perhaps for the wholly ignorant.
For the past twenty years English statistics have shown far more deaths directly traceable to vaccination than to smallpox, and there are far too many deaths from anaphylaxis following the use of the diphtheria antitoxin and toxin-antitoxin in proportion to the very small number of those who have died of diphtheria without the blessing of antitoxin.
All the entire line of infectious diseases have declined in about the same ratio, those with so-called preventive serums and those without, and in about the same ratio as our means of enlarging our sanitation and hygiene care. In other words, these diseases have declined just as we have seen the necessity of cleaning our living quarters and our streets, sewering, safeguarding our water and milk supply, and generally lessening the opportunity for the development of putrefactions and fermentations all about us.
When we can add to this care the same meticulous concern for the interior of our individual bodies, then we shall see the last of the dreaded epidemics that in the past have shortened the average life to pitiful proportions.
A very toxic man who had been an office patient in Buffalo, and who could not seem to alter his way of living, was assured that if he were suddenly to develop an acute crisis, such as an attack of pneumonia, he would very likely fail to come through. He was taken with a severe cold, soon a violent chill, high fever, pain, inability to breathe sufficiently, and a rapid development of catarrhal pneumonia.
He was sixty years of age, a busy trader in the grain pit, whose interests were so wide and so insistent that he could not seem to devote any thought to his own state of health. I was out of town when he was taken ill, and his local family physician was called, had the advantage of the best consultants in the city, and administered the usual supportive treatment.
Day after day the poor fellow sank lower, and when I returned from Maine I learned that he was not expected to live. After a week of illness, his wife called me about one oclock a.m., asking me to go at once to the house, and when informed that this would not be possible unless the family physician were also present, she called him and reported in a few minutes that he refused to come,as he said death was but a few hours distant and nothing whatever could be done further.
This let him out of the case, naturally, so I want at once and found this former office patient in deep coma, the pulse scarcely discernible, the breathing laboured and continually interrupted by the worst case of hiccoughs ever encountered, the skin dusky and blue, the eyes rolled up and apparently set in the coma vigil of death. Yet he breathed and his heart continued to act feebly.
If I had known less of the regenerative powers of the body when relieved from the excess of toxins I would have said it was all too bad, and would have felt that nothing further could be done.
This man was dying, not from pneumonia, but from the crisis of intoxication that was being continually hampered by the foolish plan of treatment.
The morphine, strychnia, and digitalis with which he had been handicapped were all discontinued at once, and he was given a half-pint of concentrated Pluto water through a stomach tube, placed on the bed-pan, repeated enemas of tepid water containing bicarbonate of soda given, and, also through the stomach tube, a pint of hot water was given containing a heaping teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda. Within fifteen minutes the hiccoughs had disappeared and breathing was regular, though very rapid.
The cyanosis was gone, his skin becoming pale, and his bowels were already running off copiously. In two hours I told the family that he was out of danger, and went home for some sleep.
Next morning when I arrived he grinned at me and stuck out his hand when I approached his bed, and said he felt fine.
In four days he was sitting up in bed signing his payroll and making out cheques, still without the slightest desire for food, so taking nothing. He had no desire for food until the eighth day, when he wanted buttermilk, and was given this just as the desire called for it, followed gradually by other foods as desire pointed the way, with no interruption to his recovery, and followed by the best health that he had enjoyed since a young man.
Other cases apparently as near death were saved in the same simple manner, not by doing some heroic deed to prevent the impending death, but simply by relieving the body of much of its burden of intoxication quickly, with fuller reliance on the healing-powers of nature to restore a sick body to health if the impediments to this are removed.
If detoxication could change such a picture as the one just recited, and so quickly change this, does it not seem good presumptive evidence that in the absence of this intoxication the crisis in health would never have occurred? Surely when nothing is done except to remove the obstacle of intoxication, such a recovery could not be credited to anything except the bodys inherent ability to readjust its internal affairs to the normal if given opportunity.
Just as surely, the means usually employed in pneumonia bear no relation to detoxication, but ignore the need for this and concentrate the attention on keeping up the nourishment, supporting the vitality with stimulants, and the giving of such supposed remedies as seem to be indicated by the symptoms present.
Not one of the measures can add one jot or little to the inherent vitality of the body, nor are there means of any kind that can do so. This vitality is inherent in the body, and is sufficient for any crisis if the obstacles to recovery are removed; and in the very last analysis this is all that is humanly possible to do in any case of severe crisis, whether this be pneumonia or anything else.
The best treatment for pneumonia is to keep the body from becoming so toxic that such crisis is never necessary, a thing that can be done so easily that it is not believed.
When the body is relieved of the excess intoxication by any acute crisis, such as pneumonia, the after-condition is much better than before the crisis became necessary, but the usual effort to increase the strength by food, to support the body, to stimulate it to greater appearance and sensation of strength, is to handicap its best efforts to adjust its affairs to the normal, and in view of the usual treatment of pneumonia it is not strange that this disease stands first in the post-holiday season as a cause of death.
This never would be so if the body were prevented from becoming so toxic, nor would it be true even if this were not the case, if treatment were aimed at detoxication rather than the support of failing vitality in the face of too great an intoxication.
A few years ago a Pittsburgh patient called me from New York, telling me that his wife had been rushed into one of the Pittsburgh hospitals and was under preparation for removal of the appendix next day.
He begged me to go to Pittsburgh on the night train and stop the operation, as he was unalterably opposed to it.
This was rather a tall order, but I met him at the hospital next morning, and we went to call on the surgeon who was to do the operation at two oclock in the afternoon.
This man was very chilly when approached on the subject of the operation, as he had fixed the case for two oclock that afternoon, and his judgment for the necessity for the operation was of course above question.
He completely discounted the objections of the husband, who was a mere layman who could not know anything about appendicitis, of course.
When I questioned the necessity for the operation, and showed him from the hospitals own laboratory report of that morning that the recovery was already quite complete and nothing remained but the nausea from the large dose of morphine given her the night before, he lost his temper completely, threatened bodily harm to humble me, and put on the head of the devoted husband all responsibility for his wifes predicted death if the operation did not occur on scheduled time.
The husband accepted the responsibility and elected not to have the operation performed, but brought his wife to Buffalo, where I then was, and a few days later she returned to her home with no evidence of the recent attack.
The surgeon had notified the husband that he must have the cheque for fifteen hundred dollars in his hand before the patient went on the table for the operation that might kill or cripple her, in either of which contingencies the surgeon would at least have his fee, a noble arrangement that is far too often insisted on by many surgeons.
Not only so, but many extremely careful operators further secure themselves by requiring the family to sign a wavier before the operation is performed, so that in the event of death or accident, the doctor is well protected. Such contract is scarcely bi-lateral, surely, and give the signer nothing, while the surgeon gets everything.
If the operation can be shown to be necessary, and the operator is known to be skilful, why should such precaution be necessary?.
The operation is not necessary, and the surgeon is not at all sure of his surgical reputation, or he would never condescend to such an arrangement.
Medicine has always taught pathology, stressed pathology, ignored the fundamentals of health in favour of disease, because medicine is an institution for the treatment of disease only.
Yet after centuries of advertised progress we have more disease to-day than ever before, more different types of disease, more disability, more people in uncertain health, more degenerative conditions.