August 21st, 1881. On this day there was brought to me a little boy of five months of age, on the bottle, and I was informed that he had been ailing a week, beginning with violent vomiting, loss of appetite, and greenish slimy diarrhoea. The child looked very il, pale; upper eyelids dropping, tongue very thickly coated, moist; temperature high; throat severely ulcerated; deglutition painful; on the anterior aspect of the uvula one saw an open ulcer of about the size of a large split pea.
The greatest distress lay in the throat; the mother brought him on this account; it pained his throat, which was visibly and demonstrably severely ulcerated; so I gave him Kali chloratum 6, trituration, a dose every hour; and ordered him to be kept in a room with a good fire, and the windows open.
August 22nd. I called and found him no worse; more could not be said. He had had a very restless night. He was profoundly weak, hence I gave him Kali phos. 6 in alternation with the other medicine.
23rd. Not quite so weak, but the green, slimy diarrhoea continues. To have Merc. iod.
24th. The tongue had begun to clear a little on the left side, but otherwise there was no material change except that he could swallow a little better. Baby was very weak; his mother looked up at me and the anxious father kept his eyes fixed on my visage, as I sat and studied the little mankind : he looked very pale and very ill and weak; could not be got to notice anything, but perpetually whined in a piteous little way. I do not know when I every felt the weight of responsibility greater.
Previously I had carefully enquired about the drains, and had ordered the milkman to be changed, and was careful to seek for the real origin of the childs illness, but I could not trace it to anything. The dwelling was healthy, the bottle clean, and there seemed nothing to account for the illness. Suddenly it occurred to me to ask when the child was been vaccinated. The answer was on July 12th. I learned also that the child had a very bad arm, and that the present illness commenced on the day on which the last vaccinial scab fell off the arm.
This shed a light upon the case and allowed its true aetiopathology to be understood. The disease evidently was an en-exanthem, an eruption on the lining membrane of the throat and gut, due to the vaccination, and the vomiting, diarrhoea and sore throat started just as these inside pustules broke and discharged their contents, and the feverishness was synchronous therewith.
The childs organism had essayed to free itself from the vaccinial poison by an eruption on the internal mucous membrane. Had the child been stronger the eruption would probably have been on the skin in the form of an exanthem simply. I prescribed Thuja occidentalis 30, one-drop powders, one every two hours, and no other medicine.
25th. Much better, began to mend (in the mothers opinion and what more competent?) “very soon after the first powder.” Has slept better. To continue the Thuja powders.
28th. I called to say good-bye, and found the little one, still rather weak, but well and cheerful, and at play on his mothers lap.
Here Thuja 30 brought health to the child and joy to the home.
Of course this case is not conclusive either; for the effect of the vaccination-my vaccinosis-may have been working off, and the fact of the sudden amelioration immediately after the exhibition of the Thuja may have been a mere coincidence. Pretty well all acute cases are open to this objection, and hence I will relate no more cases of acute vaccinosis; they prove nothing; it can merely be a question of probabilities. I am satisfied that these two cases were genuine examples of acute vaccinosis, and that Thuja cured them, but others will, perhaps, demand further proof before they believe either in vaccinosis or in Thuja as its cure.
So let us pass on to the consideration of some chronic cases of the vaccinial state, or vaccinosis. For the sake of reference let us number the observations. Two I have narrated, and so we come to.
Mr. J, a hale-looking, middle-aged London merchant, came under my observation on November 3rd, 1818. Said he: “I am not a homoeopath, but twenty years ago I had eczema, and the allopaths could not touch it, so I went to a homoeopathic doctor and he cured me.” And he went on to say that he believed in homoeopathy for skin diseases. On the left leg he had a pustular eruption due, he believed, to a bruise. He had also eczema of the ear, and he volunteered the information that ever since his second vaccination he had been subject to eczema. The eczema of twenty years ago was soon after the re-vaccination.
B. Thuja occ. 30, four three-drop powders to the dozen. To take one, dry on the tongue, three times a day.
He came in a week nearly well; the pustules had at once begun to wither.
The Thuja was repeated, but in less frequent doses, and the patient subsequently sent word by his brother to say that his skin was well, and he himself too busy to show himself as he had promised.
This case also proves nothing, because anyone might get a pustular eruption after a bruise, and be quickly rid of it, without either suffering from vaccinosis, or getting Thuja, supposedly, to cure it. The fact is, it is exceedingly difficult to absolutely prove anything clinically at all. The patient himself attributed his cure to the powders, knowing of old the very stubborn nature of all his cutaneous eruptions.
Miss -, aet. 18, was re-vaccinated in July, 1881, at her parents country residence, thirty miles from London, by the local surgeon, with “lymph” direct from the calf. The operation was very successful, and she had a very “fine” arm. But as the “arm” was just at its greatest perfection she got an eruption on her chin, covering its whole extent and involving the lower lip.
The thing was very unsightly and had a singularly ugly repulsive aspect. The gentleman who had done the re-vaccination was of opinion that Miss –had got some of the vaccine virus on to her finger nails and inoculated herself by scratching. The sequel however showed that the chin manifestation was from within. The surgeon had ordered applications, two of which were vaseline and zinc ointment, but the eruption on the chin was not to be got rid of.
The young lady had to wear a dense veil to hide her face when driving it, She was brought to London for my advice, and I gave her Thuja 30. In a fortnight she was out and about, and only some diffused redness of the skin remained, but no scar or thickened skin.
Now it might be thought that the Thuja had nothing to do with the disappearance of the eruption, because it was just the history of the disease; it ran through its natural course and died. I thought that myself at the time of prescribing it, but against this was the fact that the arm had healed already, and it had depassed the natural course of vaccinia by at least a fortnight when I first prescribed the Thuja.
But to have a test I gave her brother, who also had a somewhat similar pustular eruption (and who had been re-vaccinated at same time) but more spare and instead of being on the chin, it was around the left nostril. I say, to have a test, I gave this brother of Miss — Antimonium tart, which is also, as everyone knows, apparently homoeopathic to such a pustular eruption. This boys case will be.
This is the brother of Miss —, Observation IV.
The two eruptions were similar, though the boys was comparatively trivial, and of the same age, and from the same cause, viz. from the vaccine virus. The patient went into the country, and in two or three weeks time the mother wrote that the young lady was quite well, “the medicine soon put her right” was her expression, but the boy had “a bad cold in his head; nose-bleed; left side of nose swelled and red; two little spots of matter, the size of a large pins head, at the edge of each nostril, and below it, having something the look of —-s chin; his arm is also not well and he has had four little pocks about the vaccination marks” . I sent Thuja30, and he was reported well in ten days.
If any one can account for the cure of these two cases independently of the Thuja, his ingenuity is greater than mine. That they were causally connected with the re-vaccination admits of no doubt whatever. Nevertheless it does not do to be quite sure of ones facts. Sources of error are often very occult.