It often seems that we are told so much “not to do” and so little “to do” in the place of the myriad “nots”.
To begin with it seems to me wise as a first step in caring for a child of few years or many years (everyone is more or less a child when ill) as the first step in helping to a quick and thorough cure; empty the mind of worry, take a wholesome interest in the patient as a maker or developer of interesting symptoms- see all that can be seen-ask as few questions as possible and only those you have reason to believe are pertinent-lead the child to tell you just what they have been playing and eating- often a bad fall will come to light, which has not been suspected -or the frequent “treat” of unwholesome food at school (from the child with the parent unversed in food value) – ask as few questions as possible and at as long intervals as possible, be thorough each time and brief- do not continually ask “how are you feeling now.” Many mothers make this mistake and keep the child dwelling on the fact of illness and irritate by the asking and the attitude of over-apparent “watchful waiting”.
To keep a calm, happy, contented atmosphere is a rest to the irritated nerves.
Never allow any solid food when the temperature is at all above normal-no milk or cream, preferably orange juice and as much as is desired at a time-and always cool water at the bed side and a glass tube with a crook in it to drink with: this is diverting and makes drinking less of a burden-no lifting the aching head.
In usual upsets with children to have them lie flat without a pillow or only a small one as much as possible-and shut their eyes and relax- a quiet rubbing of the back of the neck, spine, stomach and intestines when a cold has started is very restful and beneficial I find.
To read some of the Psalms is soothing-and stories which are picturesque and have good descriptions of the out of doors-and the pleasant lives of normal children, taking the little mind off of the present discomforts and leads it into pleasant channels and often to sleep when reading is done in a soft leisurely way.
When the child has been out in the wind, gotten too hot, cooled off suddenly and been chilled (also the child allowed to stay out and play the ground after sunset) Aconite 30 degrees three times, given at half-hour intervals, I have found successful.
Many a time the usual “colds” this time of the year seem to start from these causes, even with children who are properly fed and not allowed candy (candies cause many colds or other stomach poisoners) and have appetites ruined by cane sugar sweets. (White sugar is bleached with sulphur and much candy has coal tar preparations as an integral part-for color and taste). These children respond to remedies with startling rapidly, and find all the sweets they need in fresh fruits; honey and maple sugar syrups-pure food.
If you are firm and allow no solid foods (not even milk) to be taken until the child had had a normal (or little subnormal in the morning) temperature for 24 hours you have the foundation started for a swift and reasonable return to health-it works well to begin real meals with only two articles after the first two milk meals.
I never use white flour breads in illness nor macaroni, spaghetti nor tapioca.
A quick sponge bath given to the child while in an all-wool blanket in bed is restful after the child begins to feel better; but at the height of the illness to not wash, move, question nor disturb. The trained nurses have made illness hell by their routine-washing, moving, talking. Nature asks to be left in quiet and peace to help the patient back to normal-and the Hahnemannian principles help nature without any unnatural forcing or destroying.
I have observed the most rapid, gentle, deep-seated and long- lasting effects from the high potencies, given by those members of the homoeopathic fraternity who have the Art and Science of Hahnemann at their finger tips-those who are never led away from “the one best way,”.
To study a child thoroughly and be sure of their unconsciousness of your action, I find going to bed with them ideal. They feel comfortable in the knowledge that they are not going to be left alone and you are free from the usual calls and interruptions. I spend one night a month sleeping with a child to check up on their sleeping, etc.
A day in bed now and then is good medicine for any active parent-and a wonderful time to concentrate upon the child.
It is best to have a large bed in a sunny room where the child can sleep like a star fish and have plenty of space. Narrow beds are not as restful as wide beds. There is a consciousness or subconsciousness of their edges and the proximity of the floor.
Have two rooms to be used by the patient, one with morning sun and one with the afternoon sun. Make the changes at noon and midnight or when the child goes to the bathroom in the night. This is also very wholesome for the nervous patient who wants to do something or have something done for them, and keeps them in sunshine night and morning. Avoid north rooms for children whenever possible.
Four pillows are not too much for the little one sitting up in bed-but be sure the pillows are holding the child and not the child the pillows. I use three sizes, a long big one for the foundation of the pile.
An excellent bed table can be made of a drawing board and four shelf angle iron-a big board and painted white. This means real; comfort for feeding times or when toys are allowed.
1 of course send for the doctor (always a good Hahnemannian) so early in the morning that he may plan his day and get to the child early. Something the doctor tells the remedy he wishes given when I call up and give symptoms-in simple case-but when there are symptoms I do not like I want the old, experienced eye on the patient.
A bed jacket makes a comfortable child in bed when they are able to sit up and play. The long wrapper s too cumbersome.
In the very cold winter weather a steady coal grate-fire makes a good even temperature, and I always keep water on the radiator and in the water box in the furnace. We have few colds.
I never mention unpleasant subjects, accidents or illnesses to the sick child, nor do I sympathize with them. I say I am sorry they are ill and that we must try and be well as soon as possible. If I know the cause I tell them why they are ill and suggest that they refrain from doing the same thing again, and try to see that they do not repeat.
If children are taught to take illnesses as a natural consequence of carelessness or ignorance and do not expect constant nursing and coddling, no staying up nights with them- (looking in on them a few times to study their respiration-kind of sleep, if any, position, etc.) they learn to be self-reliant, help get themselves well and are training for comfort all their lives. They learn to take illness in a calm and natural way and help nature to return to equilibrium-no fussing! no fear! no worrying!.
Plenty of raw milk and cream; tub baths (not long sosslings in the tub, but being sure water goes over every pore in the body) once a day and brisk rubbing with rough towels, in my opinion, form a wonderful safeguard to diseases. We try to build bodies immune to disease and go to the doctor to prevent upsets when they start.
I have told what i consider the ideal method of treating and combating illness. Of course I know everyone cannot do exactly this way, but I know the nearer these methods are followed the easier it will be for the child and the parents, and the sooner normal conditions return.
There is no more thrilling experience than watching a perfectly selected remedy assist nature to overthrow disease!.
We use many vegetables and fruits, dark, home-made breads, all the raw milk and creams and butter the children will eat, eggs in moderation, real wheat cereals, yellow and white corn meal, honey, maple syrup and maple sugars: Meats in moderation; only chicken, lamb, beef and some fish; raw vegetable salads, no vinegar (lemon juice), olive oil from Boericke & Tafel, also their grape juice for drinking and jelly.