Drug diseases are almost a daily problem for the homoeopathic prescriber, masking or complicating the genuine symptoms of the disease. An antidote must be given before a correct prescription is possible. Several months ago the question of the best method of finding this antidote was asked in The Homoeopathic Recorder, and correctly answered, namely, by fitting a remedy to the symptoms present at the time.
For even if one or more antidotes have been recorded, we cannot be certain of the action of any one of them unless it shows at least some homoeopathicity to the case. Dunham once said that if the symptoms that were present before the drug was administered, can be ascertained, the remedy they indicate will often remove both genuine and spurious disease manifestations. But these manifestations are not always easy to obtain.
In the earlier years of our school, “Shot-gun” prescriptions and large doses of quinine, Fowlers solution or calomel claimed our attention. Now it is chiefly the baneful effects of alkaloids, neosalvarsan, the coal-tar derivatives and the more insidious sera and vaccines. The latter are especially difficult to deal with.
It is not my purpose to enter into any extended discussion of this subject, but to present a few cases that may prove interesting and instructive.
Recurrent attacks of dermatitis exfoliata since taking quinine when a young girl. She wanted every physician who treated her that she was unable to take the smallest amount of quinine without experiencing its effects on the skin, but some of them refused to believe her story, with the inevitable result-a redness, burning and itching, first on the face, neck and chest, then on the forearms and hands. Soon exfoliation would begin, first in small scales, later large ones, even to great flakes two or three inches in diameter. Even after coming under the treatment of a good homoeopathic physician the attacks continued to recur, usually after some circumstance that caused grief or worry, although she had not taken any of the drug.
Rhus radicans in varying potencies over the period of nine, or ten months cured.
Mrs. O.H.T., 30 years of age, presented the most violent erythema that I have ever witnessed. She was scarlet from head to foot, with the exception of a few areas about the nose and mouth. She stated that she was recovering from a severe cold which she called the flu.
Intense burning which caused her to loss about the bed in agony. Extreme thirst for cold water. A hot bath gave temporary relief. Though sensitive to the cold she could not bear the least covering on account of the terrible burning.
Several areas of an old psoriasis a first obscured the diagnosis, but closer observation revealed a peeling of the epidermis much thinner, smoother and in larger flakes than those of the chronic eruption. The thickened epidermis on the soles of the feet had begun to separate from the true skin at the edges, giving the appearance of whitish-grey sandals.
Remembering the experience of Mrs. W.H.S., I asked the patient if she had taken bromo-quinine for her cold. She answered in the affirmative.
The burning, restlessness, thirst, Chilliness and character of the lesions called for Rhus tox., which was given in the 1M potency. She made a rapid recovery.
This case, almost identical with the one just related and from the same cause, received the 10M of the same remedy. The involved area was less extensive, affecting only the face, neck, chest, forearms and hands. The remedy checked its progress in a few hours and a second visit was unnecessary.
This is an unusual instance of poisoning by an alkaloid, scopalamine, and should be a warning to those specialists who are substituting this drug for atropine.
Mrs. S., aged 37, consulted a well-known oculist who instilled a few drops of scopalamine into her eyes as a mydriatic. In a few hours her heart began to beat rapidly as though she had been hurrying. This was followed by spells of palpitation, as she expressed it, “going up into the throat”, with oppression of breathing, pain in a spot over the left scapula, vertigo blurred vision, soreness of the upper part of the eyeballs and sensation as if the right eye were being drawn out.
Frequent desire to take a deep breath. Shuddering. For two or three nights she wakened in horror and with oppressed breathing. Lachesis relieved considerably, but in three weeks she returned complaining of the same symptoms, and stated that the aching in the left scapula was better from pressure and the vertigo aggravated by stooping.
A close study of the symptoms led to Physostigma ven., which was given in the 200th potency. This was followed by immediate and entire cessation of all symptoms. In one month the Physostigma had to be repeated and she was apparently in good health until the following spring, an interval of five months. At this visit she complained of heaviness of the eyelids, in addition to the heart symptoms. Three doses of Physostigma 200th were administered, with benefit, but even now, nearly a year after the scopalamine was used, she has an occasional spell of palpitation, but will not take medicine for it.
CASES 5 and 6.
Two little girls, aged five and seven, having been exposed to diphtheria, were given prophylactic injections of antitoxin. In a few hours their faces became red and the temperatures mounted to 103 and 104. They became delirious, running about like horses, and barking like two little dogs. The identical nature of the two cases may have been a coincidence or due to suggestion, but Belladonna was clearly the remedy and the condition vanished under its action, as quickly as it had appeared.
Poisoning with streptococcus serum.
This case is unique and stands as an object lesson which should impress the staunchest advocate of serum therapy. Mrs. Phoebe G., aged 68, would gladly appear in person to testify to the horrible nightmare from which homoeopathy has rescued her, if she did not live a thousand miles away.
Nineteen years ago she contracted an infection which was diagnosed as streptococcic. I have not a complete record of her early symptoms, but she had pains all over the body. Red blotches broke out on the legs below the knees, changing later to brown and then to yellow. This was followed by numbness of the lower limbs and finally paralysis.
Arms and legs began to atrophy and the joints cracked when moved. She was a helpless cripple.
A well known woman nerve specialist was consulted and pronounced the case one of the worst forms of multiple neuritis. She proceeded to give opiates, an auto-vaccine hypodermically and cathartics, until the bowels were moving eight times a day! On her recommendation, the tonsils were removed.
Two Wassermanns showed a 5 percent plus, although there was no history or clinical evidence in either the patient or her husband. Whether there was actually some general taint which might be a factor in the case, I do not know. Two Wassermanns might seem to be conclusive. At any rate, I ignored the possibility in making my prescription.
After three months of Swedish massage and an occasional injection of the auto-vaccine, Mrs. G. was comparatively free from pain and could walk a little, but she was by no means cured.
In 1919 she had an attack of boils on the forearms and a severe metrorrhagia. She came in to the hands of a so-called homoeopathic surgeon, who diagnosed fibroid of the uterus, which he treated with radium and an injection of “twilight sleep” (according to the patient).
She met with an accident some time in 1923. A large dog knocked her down. She fell, striking forcibly on the sacrum, and a huge lump developed. For a year and a half thereafter she was treated by a chiropractor with some benefit, but the swelling was not reduced, and the neuritis remained, in milder form. She was taken to California in the winter of 1927-28. An old school physician administered acetyl-salicylic acid and later a stock streptococcus serum, which caused the absorption of the lump on the sacrum and “cured” the last vestiges of the neuritis. But behold the marvelous efficiency of scientific medicine! The physical symptoms were helped by a mental derangement that lasted several weeks. However, it passed off and they returned to their home in Chicago. A patient of mine suggested that they try homoeopathy, but I was in Europe at the time, and they went to a physician who had been recommended by the one one the coast, bringing a letter detailing the former treatment. Another round of the streptococcic serum resulted in a recrudescence of the mental symptoms.
In addition to the history already related Mrs. G.presented the following.
Imagines that she is going to the poor-house; that she had forever ruined her daughter;s happiness by confiding to a neighbor ruined her daughters happiness by confiding to a neighbor her objection to the daughters finance whose business had taken him to South America, whereas no one had been seen to enter the house. She wept, talked incessantly, chiefly about her delusion and prowled around the house at night calling “Richard”, the young mans name. She had sinking spells, hot flushes, palpitation rousing her from sleep, and a return of sexual desire with burning in the uterus, though the menopause had long passed.
On February 20th, 1929 she was given a dose of Lachesis 10M, and again on April 24th. The mind cleared and her general health steadily improved. October 12th the neuritis returned, with aggravation from cold and damp weather and relief on continued motion. Rhus 10M acted at once, but had to be repeated on December 20th. January 14th, 1930, there was a slight return of the mental symptoms which was a slight return of the mental symptoms which was promptly relieved by another powder of Lachesis 10M. February 4th. Hot flushes passing upwards; wakens at 3:30 a.m. and cannot sleep again. Sulphur 10M.
Mrs. G. is now to all appearance well. Her mind is clear; she was has no pain, and her only disability is deafness, which is of years standing.
Another triumph is added to the long list of triumphs for homoeopathy!.
DR. J.W. WAFFENSMITH: It is always to listen to paper from Dr. Farrington and I certainly want to thank the doctor for this most instructive paper. The doctor, in the presentation of his papers, is always foursquare for homoeopathy. I believe we should make a collection of all such papers so that whenever a question comes up we will ave evidence from different sources concerning the effects of some of the treatment that patients are today receiving.
DR.C.M. BOGER: This paper furnishes the best evidence for the existence of this Society and its purposes. In every decade since the advent of homoeopathy, had had to contend with some overwhelming method or practice in the old school, which in itself threatened to engulf homoeopathy. The things which threaten to engulf it now are the use of serums and sense less operations, especially on the tonsils and other glands. The people are being overwhelmed with advice from school examiners and public health officers, etc., who instruct them and which way they should go, under the guise of making them stronger and healthier. Often the result is a distortion of the vital economy and an injury to the vital forces as we know when we come upon cases that have been mutilated in this way.
DR. H.A. ROBERTS: I have very much interested in this paper because I recently had an innocent appearing proposition handed to me which resulted very disastrously. I had a patient whom I had treated several months before, soon after her baby was born. It was purely a Lachesis situation. She had trouble with one of her teeth and had it extracted unbeknownst to me. Two days after the extraction the dentist called me up and said, “I wish you would go with me to see this woman and help me stop the bleeding”.
It was bleeding very profusely. I said, “Why havent you plugged it”?.
He said, “I couldnt. I tried my best that I couldnt plug it”.
I said, “All right, I will go right up with you”.
I went up and administered some Lachesis 200 and in less than five minutes we had the haemorrhage controlled. He then plugged it deeply with cotton but he neglected to take the plug out and a day or so later the haemorrhage started up again. He became scared and sent for a prominent New Haven dentist who came right out, unbeknown to me and gave her a horse serum injection. I knew nothing about it until two days afterwards when he called me up and asked me to see this lady again.
I wish you could have seen her. She was so covered with urticaria and so oedematous about the face, especially about the lips that you wouldnt have recognized her. I gave her a dose of Aconite because Aconite stuck out all her. She said, “Doctor, I am dying”. She kept saying that over and over again. Aconite controlled that itching very promptly and by the next day the swelling had gone down. Two days after that there was a repetition of the thing only worse than it was before. I said, “What is the matter with her”? It seems she had two injection of horse serum, one after the other, two days apart. Then came the sequela. We reverted right back to the Lachesis cleared her up, but I want to tell you right now that horse serum and human serum do not go together.
DR.J.W. WAFFENSMITH: What was the potency of the first Lachesis?.
DR. H.A ROBERTS: Two hundredth.
DR. J.W.WAFFENSMITH: And the second time you gave her a repetition>.
DR. H.A.ROBERTS: Yes.
DR. A.PULFORD: When I first started practising medicine I bought some drugs from a reliable house (in their own estimation). How reliable you may judge for yourselves. I needed some Mercurius corrosivus and in those days I though that 6x was a wonderfully high potency, so I bought a pound of 6x, Instead of giving me a pound of 6x potency they gave me a pound of the crude drug. The results was that I gave to the patient that needed it 15 grains of this crude drug. After a little while the man came back complaining, and of course i did the wrong thing as a vary ignorant man will do. I gave him water and something else to throw it out.
The consequence was that after he began to vomit blood and mucous membrane I gave that man a dose of 6x Hepar sulphur. I am now speaking of that you call antidoting, in order to get back to the elimination of the drug diseases. That man promptly became well. I started in to figure out that proposition. I had always been under the impression that if you put two or three drops of prussic acid on the back of a mans tongue it was all over with the man if it was pure stuff.
Yet we hear that the hedgehog can drink enough prussic acid to kill a regiment of soldiers, and get away with it. There is not enough difference between the hedgehog and man for that difference to exist.
The point is that in drug diseases the drug gets into the system and the blood. It is not the thing that nature intended. that no poison should be retained, because we are eating poison all the time, but it is passed out of the system. The reason for this is that the secretions cannot operate on the force contained within the drug container, and the proper remedy to fixes the condition in the system that the can no longer be acted on by the secretions and it passes out, and that is the way it works with the hedgehog. The hedgehog cannot operate on the container, the force known as prussic acid, to liberate it and therefore it passes out. This explains why we can get away with these things with our homoeopathic remedies whereas the old school could not do it.
DR. H. FARRINGTON: It is amazing how men who spend hours in careful diagnosis, using instruments of precision and al known methods, observing closely every little detail and symptom, can give these powerful agents and not be aware of the after-results, as in the case of this old lady who was given the streptococcus serum. The second physician was quite well informed on the case and should have taken warning. It is always amazing and difficult to understand why physicians will continue to give a drug to oversensitive like these and not realize that the external manifestations are merely Natures effort to protect the internal organs.
It is the mental capacity which measures our value to society and it is by the quality of its action that our deeds are weighed. By it aid we achieve the greatest of attainments and through its mischievous cunning the vilest criminal pursues his course. Its capabilities of development for good and bad are immeasurable, and the variety of its performances is unlimited. Is there, however, any one line of action of greater importance than all others, and upon which they must depend? At the risk of contradiction I will assert that it is memory.
By it is mediation upon, and devotion to, the Divine Creator possible; through it we recall the sufferings of our scientific researches, and even the humblest deeds of our daily life, are accomplished.
As homoeopathicians, the abnormalities of brain action present our most important remedial indications, and while too much neglected are really unfailing “guiding symptoms”. I needed, a medicine that has not the pathognomonic conditions will often cure when mental aberrations call for its administration.- WM.JEFFERSON GUERNSEY, M.D., 1895.