Three months ago a young couple stepped tentatively into my office. The wife looked like a 13th Century Madonna, thin and worn, holding in her arms a little, pallid, slanting-eyed boy of about a year and a half. The father wept quietly as he told me that several clinics and specialists had pronounced their little boy a Mongolian idiot and had said that nothing could be done for him but custodial care in some institution for his ilk. They had heard of Homoeopathy and asked me if I thought anything at all could be done for the boy.
The child was thin and pasty-looking, his mouth open, drooling slightly, with a sort of snorting snuffle every few breaths; his dead shape was within the limits of normal and his ears normal. He had no teeth. He could neither stand nor sit without support, nor creep, and his head would wobble if he got off balance. The fingers of his hands were spread widely apart and back and had spatulate tips.
He was totally unable to grasp anything. The mother said he could neither drink from a cup nor suck at a bottle; she fed him with a spoon. When I picked him up the musculature of his back and limbs was pitifully flabby, like a rag doll. he seemed perfectly formed except for the typical Mongoloid eye-casings. He did not smile or reach for bright jewellery; he frequently put his head back and rolled his eyes toward the ceiling and then flopped his head down on his chest. The parents begged me not to give them any ray of hope, if there was none. A more inexpressive and hopeless trio I have rarely seen. The child had had no colds or childhood disease, no eruption, convulsion, fright or accident.
What to do? All I could see was triple grief. I asked the mother to tell me about her pregnancy and labour. She had experienced a deep grief in the early months of her pregnancy, no nausea, easy labour, no instruments needed. This was the second child, the elder one being, they said, well and normal. No history of syphilis, convulsions, or insanity in the family. Laboratory work under the previous doctors was all negative, including Wassermann, blood count, etc. The boy received one dose of Natrum mur. 10M on the tongue which he made no effort either to swallow or to spit. I explained to the parents what homoeopathic remedies can often do in sub-normal children and asked them to give me a try for at least three months, seeing the child every fortnight. I told them it might take several years to get much of anywhere.
Two weeks later the child looked almost rosy and had a gleam of intelligence. The muscles of the back had better tone, he rolled his head and eye less. He had begun to have a thick catarrh and almost a wheeze. The mother volunteered that he could now roll in bed and that he had taken to doing the queerest thing, sleeping with his little behind, as she called his buttocks, up in the air. The father was not present this time and I asked the mother if she had at any time had a sudden, creamy, profuse discharge from the womb. She said, “Why, yes, the year before this boy was born; but it was soon cleared up at the clinic.” Medorrhinum 1M, one dose.
Two weeks later when I picked the baby up he grasped my hair. The snuffles and snorting were entirely gone, he had cut two teeth without trouble, could sit alone and was trying to pull himself up in his pen. He had a curious symptom of protruding the tongue between the lips and there was a gurgling sound when he drank. The mother told me he had been exposed to chicken pox and I found a few small spots on the abdomen. He had a short, concussive cough. I explained to her that it would do him good to have the chicken pox and have it thoroughly, but that he would need a remedy to help the vitality bring it well out, and gave him Cuprum 1M, one dose.
He skipped the next visit because he blossomed out with a strong chicken pox rash. He himself seemed bright and better than he had ever been during the illness. When he returned at the end of a month he had gained three pounds, no longer stuck out his tongue, grasped my finger so tightly I could hardly extricate it and clutched the paper weight and pencils on my desk, and was beginning to make sounds such as “Dada” (he was by this time two years old). He felt far heavier than before, now had occipital head sweat with sour odor and was starting to cut two more teeth. Calcarea carb., 10M was given, on which he is still riding and gradually improving.
I have had occasion to do the mothers chronic case. Her remedy was Sulphur. I should judge the fathers to be Natrum mur.
How far along toward normalcy will Homoeopathy be able to bring this child?.
Little Miss P., aged three, walked stiff-legged into my office, holding to the nurse with both hands. She had never spoken. She had her quota of teeth but was very under-nourished. She would sit all day on the floor in the corner, not playing with any of her toys. I was unable to see either the father or the mother. Apparently she had been a normal infant until her Daddy, to whom she was devoted, was called into the Service, and she did not improve when he returned a few months ago.
First class clinics had pronounced her “one of those spastics,” although her neurological examination was negative. No history of injury or polio. Natrum mur 10M, one dose. The nurse called back two days later and said she could not understand it, that Miss P. had started to use three or four words, like Mama and spoon, and was walking less stiffly and even for two or three steps alone. When she return in a month she walked about the office picking up things, and played with the handles of the desk. Three months have elapsed, she is gaining weight and making steady progress. No further remedy as yet.
Summoned in the middle of the night to a hotel, I found a boy of four with tense thigh muscles. He was unable to turn in bed, and screamed if you touched the thighs, though otherwise lethargic and drowsy. He had a fever of 103 and some rigidity of the neck. He had recently returned from the West and had been, apparently, perfectly well when he went to bed that night. Throat, chest and abdomen were negative; no twitchings or convulsions; no particular perspiration; stool and urine had been normal the day before. No history of wetting or unusual emotion. The arms could be moved freely and were not tender.
The joints were normal. Gelsemium 1M was given, hot packs to the thighs ordered continuously through the night, and a homoeopathic pediatrician, who is especially interested in poliomyelitis, summoned. He confirmed the diagnosis of acute polio. By the time he arrived there were fibrillary muscle twitchings and the child had urging to stool and urine but could not pass either.
Nux vomica 30., three doses, two hours apart. After about four hours the twitchings and strainings ceased, the muscle tenderness and spasm relaxed and three days later the child was taken in a taxi to the pediatricians office for a check up. He has been active and in excellent health the six months since then and has neither wasting nor any other sequel.
A hurry call to a suburb revealed a boy of 14 with a temperature of 105, lying half on his right side, with a pillow under his left ankle and knee. On entering the room the sour odor, typical of the sweat of rheumatic fever, was strongly perceptible. The left ankle and knee were swollen but not red, exquisitely tender, and the parents said that since calling me, Master B. had complained of pain in the left hip. The bed was a mess, though all the rest of the house most immaculate. The mother apologized, saying the boy kept moving and wriggling as he could not endure the pain lying still, yet the change of position brought only momentary relief.
He was frightened and crying. His pulse was 130, heart racing but no murmurs. The inner throat appeared normal and the family denied any recent sore throat or cold. However the kid said, “I didnt tell you, Mummy, but three weeks ago I had a sore throat and the glands hurt here on the left on my neck.” An electric heating pad was around the boys knee and a hot water bottle propped against his ankle. No time needed to repertorize this case.
I asked one question, “What time of day are you worst?” “In the evening,” responded his father and mother together, “after midnight he seems to quiet down.” You all known the remedy: Rhus tox 10M. Next day the fever was 102 at its highest, no more pain in the joints. Temperature normal the next day, pulse in the 90s. The boy was kept in bed as a precautionary measure, for three weeks, during which time there were no more fever nor sweat, no heart murmur and no discomfort. He has looked and felt better since this illness than ever before.
These few cases are routine to any homoeopath, yet they show how beautifully even “run of the mill” prescribing can help the children fortunate enough to have homoeopathic treatment.
NEW YORK, N. Y.
DR. HARVEY FARRINGTON: Madam Chairman, I havent very much to say. I dont think that Dr. Hubbard need apologize for bringing those cases before us. Even eliminating those that were more or less routine, like the Rhus tox. case she presented one or two that often give us a great deal of trouble.
I have treated a number of these cases of backward children who were made ill by various causes, and have had some success in all of them, excepting that I notice this, that the changes are so slow that the parents are not likely to continue the treatment; in other words, they are likely to try to get some kind of treatment that will move faster.
Those that I have had most trouble with were the spastics and, I confess, out of eight cases, I have done very little for that condition, at least in the lower extremities. I have been able to help very markedly contractions or, especially, incoordination in the use of the hands and arms. The most outstanding one was a little fellow brought to me when he was nine years old, and he had all the aspects and the action and the appearance of a baby of three months. He gurgled, and slavered, and laughed, and moved around in an aimless fashion, but if you would hold a red ball in front of him, he would look at it and sort of wiggle, but didnt know how to reach for it and grasp it.
Now, there were many other symptoms that I do not need to recite. The history was this: A perfectly healthy baby up to three months, when he developed eczema on the face. The parents went from one doctor to another, from one clinic to another, and they could not cure that eczema. Finally they struck one specialist who put on a mask with some kind of ointment. Overnight the eczema disappeared. The next morning brought high fever, red face, and delirium– if you can apply that to an infant. The fever rose to 106 and nobody thought the child could live.
What measures they used, I do not know, but finally the fever subsided and the child apparently recovered; but the child never developed from that day until he was brought to me –just as though life had been stopped right there.
Taking the symptoms, one of the most prominent was his little “fanny” was up in air when he was sleeping and Medorrhinum, of course, was given ; in a period of days he got a faint rash on his face and that was the only reappearance of the eruption. It did not come out as fully as I thought it should; but, nevertheless, he improved right along and began to be more active.
Now, mind you, at this stage he began to play. He began to pull himself around, but his legs refused to function. His arms got strong so that he could hunch himself over the bed.
Two years afterwards, about the last time I saw this child, the mother brought him to me and when we tried to stand him on his feet on the floor, the feet would press downwards instead of being relaxed and coming upward.
It may be that another remedy was needed at that time, but, for some reason or other, they never came back. The case was one we had t our clinic several years ago in Chicago.
Now, just one other case: A boy of eight years, a typical Mongolian type. The peculiar symptom in this case was that as he lay on the bed, he almost always lay on his back. He would hunch the pelvis up, and he almost wore out his shoulders and heels jerking it up. There was some flatulence, and an afternoon aggravation, and one or two other symptoms that pointed to Lycopodium and the 10M stopped this peculiar automatic motion in a few hours, and he never had it again.
Later I prescribed Baryta carb. and one or two other remedies. Then, after treating the boy for about a year and a half, I heard nothing further from them. They lived in a suburb and I didnt have direct contact anyway. Some years later the father came in for a check-up, and he had some symptoms I had to prescribe for, and I asked him about the boy.
He said, “He is fine. He runs all over the place. He talks, but he talks too fast and he does not seem to be able to learn as quickly as he should.”.
I said, “What about his face?”.
“Well, it has practically lost its Mongolian aspect.”.
I said, “Why dont you let me give him medicine all the time?”.
Well, the mother was told by a specialist the case was incurable, and she was satisfied at the progress that has been made.
DR. ELIZABETH WRIGHT HUBBARD [closing discussion]: I was hoping that Dr. Dixon or somebody else would pick on me and tell me I changed the remedy too often in the first case, because I feel that I probably did. It is not my habit to give four remedies in three months, and yet, in spite of the improvements under the first, Natrum muriaticum, when he developed symptoms so clearly of a nosode, –I had a feeling you could put a nosode in where you wouldnt put another remedy in. I dont know whether you agree with that.
DR. GRIMMER: It is history; it may be right.
DR. HUBBARD: The Cuprum was given for the chickenpox and the symptoms; and there again I dislike to prescribe for an acute disease during successful chronic remedy administration; but the child was so feeble, it seemed it needed to get something out in any direction. I thought I would give it a little kick. Maybe it was wrong. Later the Calcarea came into view as the chronic remedy, brought out by the chronic case coming after an exanthem has opened the thing up. That was my philosophy of it.