[Read before the Annual Meeting of the International Hahnemann Association, New York, June, 1925.]
In reviewing may failures and successes, in thirty years of practice, there have been two large outstanding principles of homoeopathic philosophy involved so often, that I am persuaded to put on record here the things that seem to me are essential, in carrying to successful finish any of he chronic diseases which come to us for treatment.
I believe it is a very useful habit, and one which I have carefully followed for several years to pass in review the whole case when it is finished (whether cured or passed on to the undertaker), to visualize just where and why I did the right thing, if successful; and the wrong thing, if I failed.
I feel sure that I have learned more from my failures than from my successes and I attribute that fact to this habit of taking stock”, as it were, before passing my records back to the permanent files. In passing, let me say a word right here about records, so many doctors do not keep a permanent record.
Many doctors, because of irksome routine, just naturally flunk the whole proposition and do without records. Some claim that their memory never fails them, that they can always remember their treatment and the correct sequence of the various remedies, time of giving, potency, etc.
I am going to be very charitable and believe them when they say that, but I would also remind them that they still owe it to their patient, to leave a record of their treatment when they pass on to their reward, and they would check up as to the why when the patient dies.
Of course, the one big reason for our failure is in not selecting the proper remedy, but next in importance I believe to be due to repeating the dose too soon. This is really the subject of my paper today: The Repetition of the Dose.
Hahnemann says somewhere in his writings, “If physicians do not carefully practice what I teach, let them not boast of being followers, and above all let them not expect to be successful in their treatment”.
The fundamental rule in treating chronic disease is this: To let the carefully selected homoeopathic antipsoric act as long as it is capable of exercising influence, and there is a visible improvement going on in the system.
This rule is opposed to the hasty prescription of a new, or the immediate repetition of the same remedy.
About as good an illustration of that piece of logic as I ever heard, I read in an article by one of Hahnemanns pupils in an old German book. He said “When we plant an apple see we wait for it to sprout and grow, we dont go around the next day and stick another seed in on top of the one we planted yesterday”.
That bit of philosophy has helped me from meddling many, many times since I read it, and having proved its worth I now pass it on to you.
I have spoiled well-selected remedies many times in both these ways, either too early a repetition or hastily changing to a new remedy. Another pitfall that has caught me many times is breaking in on an aggravation of symptoms caused by the first remedy.
The best way to avoid this mistake is in taking exhaustive notes in your case-taking and in reviewing them carefully before prescribing a second time.
If this is done, few mistakes will be made by him who knows the way the antipsoric remedy acts in a curative way, or in other words how a homoeopathic cure should come viz. from within, outward and from above downward.
I never saw a more startling demonstration of this in my life than within the past month, in the case of young lady I was treating. It demonstrates this bit of philosophy so clearly that I beg to present it to you from my records.
On February 14, Miss S., a stenographer, nineteen years old, came to me with tonsillitis. She was here from Indiana visiting her uncle and aunt. She gave me the history of repeated attacks of tonsillitis, the last one during the holidays, less than two months previous. I took considerable pains in eliciting the symptoms of her previous attacks and got that priceless symptom of its alternating sides, for which we always think of Lac. can.
This remedy I gave her in the 10m one dose. She reported on the twenty-third, very much improved and received no more medicine. April 4 her aunt reported at the office that my patient was confined to the house with rheumatism of the shoulders and elbows I sent her another powder of Lac can. 10m. Three days later (April 7), I was called to the house and found the young lady bedfast. The rheumatism was now in her hands and knees. She undoubtedly was suffering, and the family were insistent that I relieve her pain. She had not slept since the powder was taken on the fourth.
The patient was very impatient with her doctor when I told her that her attack of rheumatism was undoubtedly due to the remedy, even when I assured her of a speedy clearing up of her rheumatism, and that her health and happiness undoubtedly were assured if the remedy was allowed to act without interruption.
I was patient with her and sat by her bedside and explained to her and her relatives the philosophy of the antipsoric remedies and the way they act in producing a cure, but I found it necessary to threaten them with leaving the case and haunting them with reproaches of “I told you so,” if they called in an Old School man and his hypodermic.
Finally, I won them to my side and left the girl to fight it through, without even a physic, although the bowels had not moved for four days.
I visited her on the eighth and found she had had a good bowel movement and was then sleeping. I did not disturb her or give her any medicine. Visited her again on the eleventh and found her free from pain and sitting up in bed. Her appetite had returned and she greeted me with a smile. Her trouble is over and I did not fail to impress this fact upon her and her family. I told them that they had watched a miracle.
That is not bombast. That is the truth, as every man who follows Hahnemann,s teachings can testify. I believe if we would only take the time to talk these things over with our patients, we can educate them away from the damnable propaganda of a commercialized medicine.
No to get back to the text!.
I with it were possible to say just how long a remedy may act in every instance, but that, I believe, is an impossibility, due entirely to the fact that we treat an individual instead of a disease.
In closing, I will quote you from the introduction Hahnemann wrote for Boenninghausens Repertory of the Antipsorics” way back in 1833. They are just as pertinent today as they were when written.
Therefore, as no more helpful proceeding than the one formerly advised by me cold be ascertained, the human rule of safety, “si non juvat modo ne noceat” directed that the homoeopathic physician, who held the welfare of mankind as his highest aim, should generally let the carefully selected remedy for the disease act upon the patient in a single dose at a time, and that, the smallest, allowing it to exhaust its action.
Smallest, I say inasmuch as it is and ever will be that no experience in the world can tenably disprove the homoeopathic law of cure which does and will hold that the best dose of the correctly chosen remedy for acute, as well as chronic diseases, is always the smallest one, in one of the high potencies, a truth the priceless property of pure homoeopathy and which separates it from allopathy and not much less that new electric sect jumbled together of homoeopathic and allopathic experiences, as long as they gnaw like a cancer at the life of the invalid, seeking to despoil it by ever increasing doses of medicine, and will keep these debased arts at a distance from pure homoeopathy as by an immeasurable chasm.