These cases that I offer to the I.H.A. are not unusual. They are very ordinary cases. But each one has something peculiar about it that, the author believes, makes it worthy of comment. And each, it is hoped, will emphasize some truth that is well worth our attention.
CASE 1. This case illustrates the saying that he who prescribes for himself has a fool for a doctor. In other words both patient and doctor are fools. This may be a temporary condition, however.
Sneezing with profuse, watery discharge from the nose.
The Doctor: “Well, I guess that is Cepa, although there is a Heinzs number of other remedies having that symptom.” (Takes an onion and smells it. Also a dose of the 200th.).
Myself, next day: “That doctor is no good. My cold is getting worse and worse. Chilliness, sneezing, watery discharge from nostrils and profuse lachrymation. All symptoms entirely subsiding while lying down, either by day or by night”.
The Doctor: “Now I have my three-legged stool. That surely is Mercurius.” (Takes a dose of the 60x).
Myself next day: “I surely have a fool for a doctor!”.
Doctor: “I dont understand it! Here I have Merc. as big as life, and still you are no better. There must be other symptoms. Let us see”.
Myself: “Chilliness, watery discharge from the nose with much sneezing, nostrils red and sore, but whether from the discharge or the frequent irritation of the handkerchief, I do not know. Lachrymation profuse and eyes beginning to smart and burn. But as soon as I lie down all of these symptoms disappear, but when I get up they reappear”.
The Doctor: “That looks like Euphrasia. But I had better get down the materia medica and be sure this time. And the repertory too”.
The Euphrasia was given, and the next time I arose from the prone position the above annoying symptoms had fled away as does the memory of an unpleasant dream.
MORALS: Dont doctor yourself. Wait for the case to develop if you can. The materia medica and repertory are more useful being thumbed over on your desk than when reposing in the bookcase.
INFORMATION: In the repertory Merc. is the only remedy given that has sneezing > by lying, and coryza > by lying. The modality, lachrymation > by lying, is not to be found. Do these modalities belong to Euphr.? Recently I have had two cases with symptoms almost identical with the above. Euphr. 200 was given with immediate good results. The proof of the pudding remains for those who have not yet partaken.
CASE II. I was called near midnight to see a young woman who was thought to be dying of acute indigestion. “Oh, Doctor, cant you do something for me! My stomach feels like a ball of fire, and the pain extends through to my back, and is so bad there that I cant tell whether it is my back or my stomach that is the worst. I think I have been poisoned with rat poison, and it is going to kill me.”
I asked her why she thought she had been poisoned. She said that that was the way she felt. Anxiety, fear of death and restlessness were in the picture. I then learned that she had eaten ham and liver for dinner, and later ice-cream. These she had vomited, but without relief of the pain. Thirst little or none. Must lie on back on hot pad. I gave Ars. 200 and sat down to wait. In five minutes she began to relax, and said, “The pain is going.” In ten minutes she smiled and said, “It is all gone. What a wonderful relief! What did you give me?” “Rat poison,” I replied.
I will not go into the history of this case more than to say that she was diagnosed as a case of stomach ulcers some years before. This condition disappeared under homoeopathic treatment. The point that I wish to bring out is that the picture was Ars., characteristically so, but one prominent peculiar symptom, pain in stomach extending to back, is not found among the symptoms of Ars. alb., but may be found under Ars. met.
CASE III. On May 15, 1938, a man of about forty years of age came to my office. He stated that he had been suffering for over a week with “flu” with a high fever, but thought that he would get well without going to the expense of consulting a doctor, but when his sputa became blood-streaked he became frightened. Symptoms at present: Blood-streaked sputa since yesterday.
Sharp pain lower right chest, < lying on that side. Cough in morning only, when he expels thick, yellow, viscid mucus, which often on coughing flies out of the mouth before he knows it. Chilliness. Here we have a peculiar, unusual particular symptom that is found only under three remedies, Bad., Chel., Kali c. Is it a guiding symptom to one of these three remedies? A study of the materia medica convinces us that it is, and Bad. is the choice. One dose was given in the 200th potency. May 23, general improvement. June 3, no more blood-streaked mucus. June 13, pain gone from chest. Cough less. June 22, cough gone. No chest symptoms.
I lost sight of him during the summer, but in September I met him and he said that he had been in good health since the last prescription. This patient had a bad tuberculous inheritance.
When the key-note is a particular symptom that would be of small value were it not for its rareness, a study of the materia medica must be confirmatory or disappointment will frequently follow.
CASE IV. Miss X. Obese, flabby, weight 207. B.P. 107. Great despondency. Wakes crying. Always hungry and thirsty. Frequent grayish patches in mouth and ulcers on lips. Frequent weak spells, < in a.m., > in evening. Heavy sensation chest, extending to left shoulder. Rheumatic pains with swelling of middle finger, left hand, and right ankle, > quiet, < wet weather. Also left, lumbar pains, > lying on that side. Languid, drowsy spells; falls asleep at her work. Chilly, wants temperature at 75. Fond of salt. Sugar in urine 1 percent. Uran. nit. 200, two powders twelve hours apart.
Two weeks later all symptoms better except the rheumatism in finger, a very old symptom. Sugar absent. And I have examined the urine at monthly intervals, or less, for nearly a year and there has been no return of that abnormality. And her general health has greatly improved.
We have almost no proving of this remedy, but abundant clinical verification of its ability to render the urine sugar-free. In this case it did more, for at least it was sufficiently similar to remove most of the other symptoms.
CASE V. George B. Sept. 19, 1938. Three weeks ago, while in a scrap, was struck a violent blow with the knee in left chest. Since then much pain and soreness in that region; also a sensation of great tightness in that region which is > by sighing or yawning. Gaping and sighing very marked. Arn. CM. was given without relief.
On Sept. 30 Hyper. 200 was followed by slight temporary relief. I then learned from the boys father that he had been attacked by a husky colored man and pretty badly mauled and evidently much frightened. But the boy would not talk about the fray. I then thought that I could see that the anguish and fear that I saw on the boys face was not entirely due to his chest condition. So I gave him Opium 200 on Oct. 15 with the happy result that in one week all symptoms had terminated, and he was his own jolly self again.
Failure to get all of the cardinal symptoms of a case, whether from secretiveness on the part of the patient, or dumbness on the part of the physician, or both, does not aid in our therapeutic successes. With a fair knowledge of the materia medica the burden of case taking must always weigh heavily upon our shoulders.
CASE VI. Miss S., Feb. 17, 1939. For one month bloating of stomach and abdomen, > passing flatus and from a long walk. Decided constipation. Vegetables, either raw or cooked, aggravate. Aversion to cold water, to cold of any kind. Craves salt. In view of the statement of patient that Carbo veg. had always relieved her in the past that remedy was given, but with no apparent result.
Feb. 24. Blisters under tongue. Subject to car sickness. Gets very, very tired. Malaria years ago. Stomach symptoms no better. Nat. m. 1M.
March 3. Constipation. Stool like pipestem. Sensation of a stone or lump in stomach, > belching and from eating. Mentally as if detached, or cold. Whole mouth dry, tongue cleaves to roof of mouth. Nux m. 1M.
March 13. A few hours after the remedy great drowsiness; dryness of mouth relieved; constipation worse; stomach better for two days, then worse.
March 24. Indigestion pains go from stomach to back, decidedly > by eating. Sweetish taste in mouth.
Reviewing the mess I had made of this case, and after a study of the repertory and materia medica, I somewhat sheepishly prescribed Chel. 1M., which of course was her remedy.
March 31. Better in every way. No indigestion. Can eat anything that she wants. Bowels move everyday.
I have heard from this patient several times by letter. She is very enthusiastic, and wonders why everyone with her complaint is not given that remedy. And I wonder, too.