While in college, my professors, T. F. Allen, St.Clair Smith, Martin Deschere and Samuel Lilienthal, especially the latter, very emphatically emphasized the importance of Hahnemann’s saying : “Remove the Cause.”
I was taught, not only by the above-named professors, but also by my old school preceptor, to divide causes into predisposing and exciting. Under predisposing, heredity was the main factor, and by heredity we understood a tendency to “take cold easily,” to contract such disease as pleurisy, pneumonia, bronchitis, etc., more easily than those whose parents had never been afflicted in the same or similar condition. Also that they suffered from tuberculosis insanity, menstrual headache, etc., because their ancestors suffered from the same conditions.
Under exciting causes was included exposure to elements of any kind; germs of all kinds. like those of typhoid fever, scarlet fever, diphtheria, bubonic plague, yellow fever, etc. Also foods and drinks; fear, joy, and excesses of any and all kinds.
My experience of half a century has demonstrated the value of this teaching. As those of us who were fortunate enough to find our way to Luger’s clinic at Vienna remember, he also stressed the importance of going to the “source of the matter”, of keeping in mind that often the causes of the colitis, ” (on which subject he was lecturing) was found “Elsewhere than in the colon.”
Please note that the process of remedy the cause is often one way of administering auxiliary treatment. Let me illustrate by the following case : An unmarried school teacher; aged 33; weight 121; height five feet six and one-half inches; dark, sallow complexion; stooped shoulders; sad disposition;extremely conscientious, which caused her to be on her feet all the time in her school-room, came with the following complaint : “Doctor, I want something to help keep my uterus in place.” She then continued, “I mean something besides pessaries. I have been harnessed up with them nearly ten years, but it does not seem as though I could be all the rest of my life.”
Omitting all other groups, the taking of the case showed that she resembled her mother in build and temperament, that she had two sisters who also resembled their mother; that she had matured late as had also her sisters; that all three were irregular in time and flow, regarding the menses, that all three suffered from a profuse, acrid leucorrhoea; that all had a pressing down sensation in the vagina.
The physical examination showed tenderness of the pelvic organs to touch; a large prolapsed, retroverted uterus and a large, hard faecal mass in the rectum. In reply to a question, she stated that she was always constipated, but more so just before the menses, she also stated that Cascara had been prescribed for the constipation, but that she had to use more and more of it to get results.
Our cause was clear, as was also our indicated remedy, viz., Sepia 1 m, one dose. As auxiliary treatment a copious enema every morning till the stool become normal. A hot saline douche, two tablespoonfuls of salt to the quart of water at 102. temp. to be given just before going to bed.
She was to undress, get into the knee and chest position in her bathtub and let the water into the vagina slowly from a fountain syringe. After the douche, she was to lie in bed on her stomach with the hips elevated. Constipation was the first symptom to disappear, then the leucorrhoea, then bearing -down sensation, and the last symptom to disappear was her tears.
Case II. Let me relate another case to show that even the indicated remedy is not always needed to help remove the cause. A prominent attorney of Des Moines came to me because of a burning, stinging pain in the spine just below the shoulder blades; the pain was always worse when and after he sat reading or dictating; the longer he sat the worse the pain become till he got so irritated he could not concentrate his mind. Examination of back showed neither redness, swelling, nor anything abnormal.
He was given Arsenicum alb. at first. He came back with, “No better, even worse.” He then said he was better from getting up and walking while dictating, also from walking to and from his home, which he did only in pleasant weather. Surely this was Rhus tox., and it was given, but with no better results than with the Arsenicum. One day his office girl phoned me to come to his office.
He was sitting in a large swivel chair with a board across the back. He had removed his coat. As I came up to examine his back I noticed a large, silver buckle on his vest between the board and the sore spot on his back. He took off his vest, asked the office girl for her scissors, cut off the buckle, took the rest of my medicine out of his pocket, and threw both into the waste paper basket, – and handed me a five-dollar bill. He was cured by removing the cause.
Case III. An old patient of mine who had lived out of Des Moines four years, came into my officer with her five-year-old boy and said, “Dr. Royal, tell me what to do with this youngest to break him of sucking his thumb. Now don’t tell me to tie it up or put mustard or salt pork rind on it, for we have tried all that, haven’t we son?” When they came back to Des Moines, his grandmother told me, the boy did not look well nor act well, besides sucking his thumb.
The mother’s statement and an examination showed that the boy needed Silica 30th. When the mother was told that, she reported,”That won’t cure him of sucking his thumb, will it?” To my “No,” she again reported, “Well, what will?” My auxiliary treatment was the following: The first time you find him sucking his thumb, put him in front of a looking glass, have him face it with his thumb in his mouth, and keep him there thirty minutes. This treatment with a dose of Silica 30th every morning before breakfast ended the thumb sucking.
An occasional dose of Silica 30th and a diet rich in iron and phosphorous, with hanging by his hands a few minutes every night and morning, straightened his spine, warmed his hands and feet of a cold sweat so that the was a normal and natural boy nine months his first treatment.
Case IV. A Sulphur patient, a boy about the same age as Case III, of whom his mother said : “I can’t make Johnnie keep clean, especially hi hands. He dreads water and his body fairly stink in spite of all I can do,” was cured by Sulphur 1m one dose, and buying him two nice rings, one for each hand.