About a year ago, a coloured woman, long under treatment for a scrofulous disease of the glands and skin, had several teeth extracted while under the influence of Nitrous Oxide Gas. Although she had never before shown any hysterical or spinal symptoms, yet new symptoms followed alarming in their nature, and refusing to yield to treatment for two months.
Recently she again had teeth extracted under the gas. and the same symptoms returned, thus conclusively showing that they were caused by the Nitrous Oxide, for they commenced to appear before the teeth were extracted; hence they were not the result of the shock. Nitrous Oxide bears the same relation to Nitrogen, that the Ethers do to their respective radicals, and may be complementary to the aromatics among which I searched for an anti-dote. The symptoms in both attacks were precisely the same:
Became so violent in dentist’s chair could hardly hold her. Headache and aching along spine, as if they were asleep. Spells of semi consciousness, preceded by a numb feeling in head, spreading thence over the body. She falls backwards to the ground. If she can get to the open air, the spells are postponed, but are all the harder when they do come. When busy at her work they will not appear, but as soon as she goes to bed, or sits down unoccupied, she is at once attacked.
Between the paroxysm she has coldness of feet and legs to the knees; pressure in the epigastrium; begged me to give her something to kill her or else to make her better; mouth and head feel numb as though asleep; fever every afternoon from 3 to 6. Drawing in neck as though skin were contracted or cords shortened. All during the spells she is partially conscious, knows she is sick, but cannot help herself like one in nightmare; afterwards her whole body throbs. Tinct. of Camphor 3 drops, in a half- tumbler of water, two doses to be taken one hour apart. Slept well; next day symptoms almost gone. Camph. 200 was left to be taken in case of a return.