Woman, aet. 34, married, two children, one and three years of age. Complains of abdominal distension with empty eructations at once after eating. This is soon followed with precordial distress and sensation of band around neck. Dyspnoea during these attacks with feeling of lump in throat as if it obstructs respiration. Trouble began following birth of last child and is gradually getting worse. Hunger soon after eating.
A complete one-day menu disclosed the following:.
Breakfast 8:00 a.m. One egg fried or poached. Two slices of white bread toasted, jelly and one cup of coffee.
10:30 a.m. Cookies and one cup of coffee.
Lunch 12:30 p.m. One meat sandwich, cake and cup of hot tea.
3:30 p.m. One cup of coffee and some light cakes or pastry.
Dinner 6:30 p.m. Meat and potatoes. One green vegetable. A salad of lettuce and tomato or cole slaw. Slice or two of white bread. Cup of tea. Pudding or jello. (Sometimes ice cream and cake.).
10:30 p.m. Pretzels and beer (or ginger ale). Sometimes cakes and coffee, occasionally ice cream.
Questioning brought out the fact that seldom was there any variation in breakfast and lunch except when she had guests or was invited out. Without something between meals she “simply couldnt keep going.” Unless she took something before retiring she couldnt sleep.
Dinner was the only meal which regularly provided a variety in the matter of meat, fish or fowl and in the matter of cooked vegetables and salads. A fair variety was also observed in the range of desserts at this meal.
Further questioning showed that this patient was practically a stranger to fruit of all kinds although as a child she had eaten it freely.
To prescribe a remedy of any kind for such a patient without correction of the diet and habits of eating would be ridiculous were it not a tragic mistake on the part of the practising physician.
This unpardonable sin of omission is being committed daily in all branches of the healing arts.
Ignatia would have taken hold of this case and given some encouraging although temporary results. The amount of coffee taken daily would soon have proven a serious obstacle to the curative action of this remedy. Anyway why prescribe a remedy while tacitly condoning so unhygienic a mode of living? The patient is entitled to know both the cause and the cure of his sufferings if these are known to his physician. Remember, it is just as possible to practise palliative homoeopathy as it is to practise other forms of palliation and often just as detrimental to the health and life expectancy of the patient.
The following corrections were made in this patients diet: Juice of one lemon in a glass full of cool water upon rising and again upon retiring.
Breakfast: Raw fruit or a large mixed raw fruit salad, no dressing. One cup of coffee. (the coffee was allowed because it seemed to act as a laxative and for psychological reasons.).
10:30 a.m. Any variety of raw fruit.
Lunch (1) Raw vegetable salad. Cottage cheese or (2) clabber (sour milk) or (3) raw vegetables salad and buttermilk.
3:30 p.m. Any kind of raw fruit. (Importance of variety stressed.).
Dinner. Meat, baked or boiled potato, two fresh green vegetables. One slice of whole wheat or rye bread if desired. A large mixed raw vegetable salad with lemon juice and olive oil dressing. Ice cream, junket, jello or stewed fruit or cake.
It will be noted that no real effort was made to correct the hearty meal of the day. To have been to strict in a case not absolutely requiring it might discourage rather than enthuse the patient. It is the physicians privilege and duty to give each patient a health education according to his need. Sometimes progressive modification of the diet will work wonders.
Try to arouse the patients interest in the matter of diet and nutrition for his own and his familys sake. Cases of gastric and duodenal ulcer will naturally require a diet 100 percent strict and wholly compatible from the start. Otherwise the best grade of results cannot be attained.
The pathogenic diet in this patients case was faulty in its deficiencies, in its acid-forming and toxic qualities, and in the frequency with which so-called “food” was taken.
With the exception of raw fruit the stomach and digestive function should have a complete rest between meals. Some serious cases can handle food satisfactorily only once or twice in twenty-four hours.
We have yet to see the case which will benefit in any way by being offered “good nourishing food” every two or three hours. To feed anyone, whether sick or well, every two or three hours is one sloe, but sure, way to commit murder or at least to cause much needless sickness and suffering.
The above case made a prompt and satisfactory recovery through diet alone.