Every practitioner of our school, even of small experience, has been frequently impressed with the fact that arsenic is a powerful drug; powerful for good or evil, according to the method of its employment. Hahnemann, in Chronic Diseases, gives a lengthy dissertation on the harmful effects of the drug when given in large and often repeated doses. Even in this day, nearly a hundred years after Hahnemann wrote, much harm is done by giving it in material doses.
While the numerous proving of arsenic show that nearly every part of the anatomy is affected by its internal administration, the alimentary canal seems selected for the deeper and more lasting pathological results.
The case I wish to report is that of a German woman, 64 years of age, married, mother of seven or eight children. She has always worked hard and enjoyed good health till about two years ago. Since then she has been continuously ill, much of the time in bed. I first saw this woman August 6, 1912. The family did not think it possible to help her for she had been sick so long, and was given up by all the physicians who had seen her previous to myself.
I have had no opportunity to talk to these men and do not know what their diagnosis was, but the family assured me that they called it cancer. The family and relatives were all the more ready to accept an unfavorable prognosis because a twin sister of the patient was taken the same way about eight years ago and died.
At time of my first visit I found the patient in bed too weak to move without help. She complained of great pain in the abdomen, which was very much bloated, but was not overly tender to touch. The bowels were inclined to be loose, but the evacuations were incomplete. Mentally she was very much dejected and discouraged. Her agony increased at night, in fact, all her symptoms were aggravated at night. She got no rest nor did any one of the household, except when she was under the influence of morphine, which was the only medicine that was being used.
To make this a truthful report I must confess that I did not give the indicated remedy at my first visit, nor at three subsequent visits. It was on August 23, the occasion of my fifth visit, that I saw the light and gave the medicine that would have cured her two years ago had it been administered. On this occasion I required further into symptoms attending the beginning of her illness two years ago. In reply she stated that she was taken with a violent diarrhoea that was always worse at night–especially after midnight.
This statement, together with the present symptoms, caused me decide in favor of Arsenicum. I gave her one dose of B. and T. 30x with instructions to give her one dose daily till I should call again. My next visit was 5 days later, August 28. For the first time since the patient was in my care I found her easy in body and quiet in mind. Her son told me that the change came the next day after my last visit. When I saw her again, a week later, she was up and dressed and was taking her meals at the table with the family. The improvement has continued without interruption. For the last three weeks she has been helping with the house work, putting up fruit, etc.
She was given six doses of Arsenicum, a dose daily from Aug. 23 to 28, inclusive. She then went a week on Sac. lac. From that time to the present she has taken Apis mel. 30, I dose daily.
The Apis was given for an oedematous condition of her feet and lower limbs. It is helping that condition very fast. I wish to add that I made no change in diet. The appetite was good, even when the patient was at the worst. She had a desire for such food as cabbage, kraut, and was allowed to have it, but no matter what she ate, it always had caused an aggravation of the pain. I believe the woman will ultimately be completely cured. She is steadily gaining in strength, east and sleep well and is restored to a happy state of mind.— The Clinique, Jan.