A HOMOEOPATHIC LAYWOMAN.
I am indebted to Dr. J Compton Burnetts Fifty Reasons for Being a Homoeopath for the urge to write this article. I hope I may be pardoned for paraphrasing his title in giving my Eight Reasons for Being a Homoeopathic Patient. I cannot give my “reasons” by the name of specific remedies, as he does, because in most cases I did not know the remedy used by the doctor with such signal success. Being only a patient, therefore, I shall have to call disease by names instead of dealing with symptoms as the doctors do.
My first reason is the “common cold.” Now, an adult with a cold can take bromo-quinine, or aspirin, or both and blow his nose until he recovers from the effect of the treatment; but a baby with a cold is pathetic. Even the nose blowing is impossible. Years ago when our eight-and-a-half-months-old baby developed a stubborn head cold I called the pediatrician who had prescribed for her diet thus far.
He told me to drop neo-silvol solution and liquid abolene in her nose. I did so-no results. The next day I telephoned again. It was Saturday, and he was golfing. His secretary said that he charged more for Saturday and Sunday calls. I hopefully asked how much? “Lets see-how far is it? About fifteen miles? That will be fifteen dollars, Maam.”.
Alas, baby would have to get over her cold without a doctors help. The next day she was still worse, and upon the advice of our only acquaintance in this town we called Dr.S., a man closer home. Our friend, in recommending him added rather apologetically, “Of course, hes a homoeopath, but we like him fine.” The word was Greek to us, but we wanted a doctor badly so we called the homoeopath. He came, and from a bag of bottles and bottles of the “same medicine,” or so it seemed to us, he took white powder, dropped it in a glass of water, and directed me to give a teaspoonful of the WATER every hour. I was astounded, and utterly unbelieving, but I gave the WATER faithfully.
In a few hours the baby was better; in a few days, quite well. I was a convert to homoeopathy, whatever it was, for BABIES. Of course I didnt believe in such “weak” medicine for adults. My second reason for being a homoeopath is goiter. I was convinced that homoeopathy was good for babies. But my baby at the age of three had not needed the doctor again, so the homoeopath was practically forgotten. My own health, however, was slowly but evidently slipping away. Visits to various doctors served only to discourage me. I was advised to rest-to exercise- to eat more-to fast-to be operated on. I tired them all in turn but the operation. There I balked, because the surgeon that advised the operation did not seem to know why he should operate.
It was just that I might feel better. I might not, I decided, so I went on in a dreadful state of fatigue, blinding headaches, dizzy spells and general depression. At no time did any of my medical advisors suggest incipient goiter. Immediately after the birth of my second child there was a goiter as big as a hens egg-easy to diagnose! The doctor who attended me in confinement prescribed five drops of tincture of iodine in water, three times a day! In a month I was in a pitiable condition. The baby was broken out in a fine rash all over. I did remember that homoeopathy was good for babies, so I took the baby to the homoeopath. he had me wean the baby after hearing what I was taking for the goiter.
Here medical ethics, very silly to laymen incidentally, consigned me to a wrong treatment until I was laid in the grave or until a neighbor with no ethics came to my rescue. The homoeopath could not tell me that the treatment was slowly poisoning me until I voluntarily subtracted myself from the other doctors clientele. Fortunately for me, laymen have no such scruples! A neighbor who had been cured of goiter urged me to see her doctor. He was not a homoeopath but he did give homoeopathic medicine for goiter. In a month I was a changed person. The little white pills had made me over, physically and mentally. Later I transferred my case to a regular homoeopath and began to learn a bit of homoeopathic theory as well as practice.
My third reason is whooping cough. The baby that I had just weaned contracted whooping cough at three months, as did also her three year old sister. Under homoeopathic treatment, the older child had a mild case. The baby was quite ill for a time, but recovered without any setbacks or complications. much to the discomfort of several old ladies who predicted that wed “never raise her.” I filled one shelf of the medicine closet with pertussin, vapocresolene, vapo-rub benzoine for vaporizing, and a lot of other things donated by well meaning friends who were sure that in my ignorance I would let the baby die on the “White pill” treatment, I stuck steadfastly to homoeopathic treatment alone, because I had become convinced that it was both a safe and rational method of treatment.
My fourth reason for accepting only homoeopathic treatment is croup. There is probably nothing so terrifying to young parents as croup. Last month in a nationally known womans magazine, I read an article on croup written by a well known pediatrician who gives advice through the columns of that paper. My, but I felt sorry for her. And also for her little patients! I can do better than that myself. Her best advice was a croup tent and ipecac. My children, however, have an annoying habit of having croup in auto camps or in mountain cabins, where there is no tea kettle and no fire that one could be heated on; or of waking up suddenly with croup in the middle of a cold night when all the fires have gone out and there is no time to make a croup tent.
After having become convinced of the rational character of homoeopathic treatment, I have had no confidence in any other sort. The difficulty there is that one is utterly dependent on the doctor, unless one has some knowledge of the remedies and carries a kit of them along. For years when our children were small we traveled a great deal. It is very distressing to be two thousand miles from a homoeopath, with no confidence in other doctors, and have a sick baby. My first step in a new place is to enquire for a homoeopathic physician. Not so simple! They are few and far between and the doctors and nurses one knows seem insistent on concealing the presence of one as long as possible. I am fairly persistent and usually succeed in turning one up within a hundred miles of our temporary home.
Thanks to a homoeopathic physician in Texas, any member of my family can begin to treat croup as soon as it appears. There is usually cold water anywhere, and the children soon learned to call for a cold cloth around the neck as soon as they were awakened with croup. Then the Aconite-and usually a quiet night for the family. Before I learned the name of the magic powder, I had one strenuous experience with croup.
Away from the doctor, with no knowledge of remedies, and with nothing except the temporary relief of cold compresses, we were having a trying time. I had even onion syrup, and kerosene on sugar, with only slight relief. At this time a little manual of Humphreys remedies was thrown on the porch by the local drug store. I grasped at this straw and it worked like a charm. For years I never went anywhere without a bottle of Humphreys No-in my purse. I know it isnt good homoeopathy but it beats allopathy.
An amusing thing once happened in connection with the croup. Because of our constant travelling the family homoeopath had given me a small kit of remedies with instructions for their use. In an auto camp in a little Texas town, our baby had a bad case of croup. I treated it with cold cloths, Aconite, and finally Spongia. We got through the night but the croup was not licked and I was uneasy. I was not willing to be responsible if it should be the beginning of diphtheria or membranous croup. We decided to consult an allopath. On the way to his office I said to my husband, “I surely hate to pay a doctor to tell me to get ipecac or calcidin tablets. We could do that without paying for the advice.”.
However, we wanted to be safe so we went on to the doctor. As soon as I stated the case he said, “Now, Mother, Im going to tell you a simple little remedy that will stop this croup right at the start and you need never be afraid of it again. Just go to the store and get some calcidin tablets and youll be just all right.”.
I refrained from laughing in his face, paid him dollar 2.50 for that gem of advice and got the calcidin. That night we had croup again. I had paid dearly for that calcidin so I gave four doses, but it didnt work. I went back to the Aconite, and this time relief was slow but sure. I havent wandered from the “homoeo” path again with croup.
My fifth reason for choosing homoeopathic treatment is styes. From childhood and on through high school and college, I had been afflicted with styes, painful and embarrassing. I had properly fitted glasses and knew no reason for the frequent sieges of styes. One summer I had a succession of styes, one after another, for six weeks. I had in years past done everything suggested for them from rubbing with a gold ring to gumming up my eyelids with a paste of castor oil and flour.
It was an ailment beneath the dignity of most doctors and probably beyond their knowledge. I had by now learned one homoeopathic lesson, “If you dont know what to do, do nothing till you do know.” I was slow to learn that homoeopathy treats the individual and that the outward manifestations of disease are simply guides for the homoeopathic physician to the treatment of the whole person. After six weeks of these horrid styes I took myself to the homoeopath with only faint hopes of relief. In a week my styes were gone. In fifteen years I have not had another stye.
My sixth reason for being a homoeopathic patient is trench mouth. I have no idea where we picked up this loathsome is disease, but our four-year-old daughter woke one morning with high fever, big sore-looking patches on gums and inner cheeks and the foulest breath I ever smelled. This time we called the homoeopath at once. He told me what it was, told me how to prevent its spread to the rest of the family, gave the customary powders and tablets, and left me to face “comforting friends” who had heard that “it took years to get rid of”-and “it had to be treated locally”- “the treatment was very painful”-and so on.
They none too gently suggested that I was very silly to depend on internal treatment and thus prolong the disease. I was getting educated by now, and their remarks fell on deaf ears. In two weeks the patient was well. One of the other children had one or two patches in the mouth, but these likewise disappeared with internal treatment. We have never seen trench mouth again. That was eleven years ago.
Seventh among homoeopathic cures that stand out in my memory is a “lump.” I have to call it a lump because no one ever knew what it was. Now it is gone and on one a will ever know! With all the recent publicity given to cancer in both lay and professional literature, a lump is a fearful thing to discover in ones anatomy. This particular lump had been slowly growing in the abdominal cavity for years. Various allopaths were consulted but the patient had her fears laughed at because she seemed to be otherwise in perfect health and possessed of tremendous energy. Meanwhile the lump grew.
The patient finally went to a large clinic and was x-rayed,m fluoroscoped, analyzed and what-not. An operation was advised to find out just what the lump was. Unwilling thus to satisfy the clinics curiosity, she decided to seek treatment from a homoeopathic physician and to give him at least a year before trying anything else. In several months less than a year the lump was gone and the patients general outlook on life was greatly improved. And our curiosity about that lump is still unsatisfied!.
Eighth, and last, in my list of homoeopathic experiences is diphtheria. This was only a circumstantial diagnosis but I m sure an allopath would have called it diphtheria. a neighbors child became violently ill with diphtheria. The health officer put up a quarantine sign, the family physician gave unbelievable amounts of antitoxin, and there was a sudden rush to every doctors office in town for diphtheria “shots.” My four children had all played with the child to the very day he was stricken.
The neighbors considered me nothing short of a criminal lunatic when I failed to have mine “vaccinated.” Ill admit I was badly scared. My husband was away so I could not go anywhere else to a doctor. I was two thousand miles away from the homoeopath who had educated me in “what NOT to do till the doctor comes,” and the nearest homoeopathic pharmacy was four hundred miles if I had known what remedy to give. But I was more afraid of “shots”. In a short while one of my children came down with all the symptoms of diphtheria. I isolated her, warned the other children not to mention her illness for a few days, and then called a homoeopath a hundred miles away on the telephone.
He was a rank stranger, and an old man. but I had secured his name form our family physician when we went to that part of the country just in case of an emergency. I explained the situation and to my inexpressible relief he promised to send some remedies up on the afternoon train. His parting advice was, “Sit tight in the boat; dont let anybody scare you; and if necessary Ill come up myself.”.
It wasnt necessary. He sent several remedies with a carefully tabulated list of symptoms for each remedy. Gelsemium seemed to be the remedy. In a few days my child was making an uneventful recovery. The neighbors child got “well,” but for some odd reason, known only to homoeopaths, suffered with ear trouble all winter and missed a whole semester of school, while mine romped in the slush and snow. As I said before, mine may not have had diphtheria, but I am very sure under the circumstances an allopath would have treated her for diphtheria.
To paraphrase Dr. Burnett again, “There are eighty times eight reasons for trying homoeopathy,” but I have ceased trying to persuade people to “go to my doctor” as I did in my early enthusiasm. I usually give what little homoeopathic theory I can give intelligibly and indicate that it is a matter of perfect indifference to me what they do.
Usually human perversity and curiosity-sometimes despair- send them to the homoeopath eventually. If they get well, they usually pride themselves on having discovered “a marvelous doctor.” If they are slow to get results, they blame me! I have had the pleasure of being instrumental in sending many people to homoeopathy for relief, but occasionally some of my more obstinate friends say to me,”Well, it certainly hasnt done much for you. You are always going to the doctor.” To which I sometimes reply, “Anyway, I am still here. Wouldnt you rather visit me here than to put flowers on my grave regularly?”.
I have to admit sometimes that there are inefficient, even ignorant, homoeopaths. There are some dishonest ones. But the worst of it is, there arent enough to go round. It is discouraging to know of a friends need and not to know a doctor close enough to help.