MANY doctors, taking Dr. Borlands tutorial “chats” if we may so term them, have expressed a desire that they be, by publication, made available for further study. And we are glad to reproduce his recent series, on prescribing for children.
Dr. Borland has evolved his own way of discovering the remedy- the comparative way. He groups his drugs, and then, in each case, works through the selected group till he has found the one that fits. And from his abundant practical experience he can speak with precision, and authority.
But some of our newer recruits, lacking his great knowledge of Materia Medica, find prescribing for children rather alarming. And yet childrens work has always seemed about the easiest one has had to tackle, provided one concentrates upon some few characteristics which lie so close to the surface in children as to be difficult to miss.
(1) Fears, terrors and suspicions. Fears of strangers, of thunder, of the dark, of being alone, of noise : even sensitiveness to small noises ! One cannot forget a wee boy of some five years who, during the dinner hour in our Childrens Ward, was wailing, “The children make such a noise !” His poor little nerves were jarred by the click of spoons on plates; and this, so alien to what one expects in a small child, would be a symptom that must be taken into account in prescribing for the eruption on his swollen and disfigured little face.
(2) Food cravings and aversions- the resistless desire for salt, for sweets, for fats-or the reverse, the unconquerable loathings. Why, a mere baby will open its round mouth and promptly eject anything too sweet, too warm, or too cold to its taste, or tighten its lips obstinately against-say milk. But one remembers always that change in any characteristic, during or due to illness, is of the greatest importance in prescribing.
(3) Then the all-important mentalities, and children are happily not adepts in hiding these. There is the little maiden out to please, to claim sympathy, to charm; and the child that draws back into its shell, uncajolable and resentful of advances and approach : the extremes here being Pulsatilla on the one hand, and Sepia or Natrum mur. on the other. Shyness one cannot miss; or the restless, anxious, suspicious Arsenic-like child; or, again, in sharp contrast, the Calcarea heavy dullness, mental and physical.
One learns to group these, ringing the changes as one symptom or another comes into prominence, or recedes.
The slender, anxious child, in terror of the dark, who steals salt, cannot be alone, and is suspicious, demands phosphorus.
The (else) Sepia child, but with brown eyes, and the cravings for salt and fat which throw Sepia out of consideration, will need Nitric acid. It will cure even her obstinate constipation.
Or, this one, again, craving salt, but loathing fat and meat, and fearing thunder, is asking for Natrum mur.
Or, craving salt, with loathing of fats and meat, and in terror of thunder, suggests Carbo veg.
But, a craving for sweets, with fears in the dark, when alone, and of thunder, puts up a plea for Lycopodium; especially if the mental development exceeds the physical, and the idea of facing anything unusual excites distress.
Then, the little fairy, who loathes fats and meat, who is afraid alone and in the dark, with perhaps suspicion and jealousy thrown in; is the “tenderhearted” (weepy) pulsatilla.
And on the other hand, the passionate spiteful little creature, also suspicious and jealous, who perhaps craves fat and dislikes meat, is asking for Nux.
One finds in childrens work a delightful field for the exercise of the added powers that Homoeopathy bestows on those who seek her paths of pleasantness, and healing, and peace.