DR. W.W. Blackman succeeded to the house and practice of Dr. Wells in Brooklyn, N. Y. Some months ago Dr. Blackman presented these old manuscripts to Dr. H. A. Roberts, who had deemed some of them well worth printing for the consideration of the present -day thinker.-ED.
THe tendency of physicians of our school, at the present time, appears to be to drift away from confidence in the specific remedy to effect needed cures, and to resort to other means for their attainment, often , perhaps, where the greater promise of good was in the specific, if discovered and applied according to the requirements of the law which control cures. This tendency is especially marked in their dealings with certain classes of disease, from which specific remedies have been largely ruled our, in favour of those which are either wholly mechanical or empirical. In these, they say, the specific does not do. It fails. Why? Is there a class of diseases, or classes , which exist out side the pale of natures law of healing?
If there be such a law, then the pretense that there are disease so existing, which are more safely, surely, and speedily cured by other means than those sanctioned by this law, is only a bald absurdity. But, it may be said, “there are diseases which have already developed changes of tissues or of tissues when they are presented for treatment, and other which have displaced or distorted important bodily organs, and to expect restoration of these from internal administration of specifics is simply absurd, and to attempt this is only to waste time,prolong suffering, and play the fool. These are cases which require surgical interference, or mechanical appliances,” “And this seems to be regarded as self evident, and the specific remedy is laid aside in favour of these which are often less efficient, and always more painful and uncertain.
This tendency is now more prevalent in treating cases of disease in the department of gynecology than in other department of practical medicine. Disease of the uterus and ovaries in many of their forms it is pretended do not respond to specific remedies as do the disease of other organs, and therefore a different treatment is required for their relief.
These organs, besides beings subject to inflammation and neuralgic affections like other bodily organs, are liable to mechanical displacements, and adhesions, and flexions, which internal medication is not capable of remedying, or in its nature is the least adapted to the accomplishment of this end.
We object to this talk, first that these organs involved in this class of affections are, as are other organs, parts of a general whole which, when made subject to disease, were put into the relationship of law as to the agents which in their nature were made to be the curatives of the diseases to which these organs were made liable. That all the organs of the body are equally, and in all their ailments, under the dominion of this law, and that the female organs of reproduction are not by their nature, functions, or responsible to the general law, the same as are the disease of other organs, and respond to the impress of their specific curative as readily and satisfactorily as do the affections of other bodily organs.
But, it is said, “Many of these ailments in the peculiar province of the gynecologist are in a important degree made up of mechanical conditions, for example, prolapsus, versions and flexions of the uterus, and displacements, of the ovaries, etc., and do not these necessarily, by their very nature , required mechanical means for their speediest and most perfect cure?” Let us see how this is. Take a case of simple prolapsus to illustrate the matter. If the uterus has fallen from its natural position, there must have been a cause for this, There must have been facts preceding this from which it has resulted. The tissues which, in their natural state of tension and elasticity, hold this organ in its place, have become relaxed to a degree where they are longer equal to this function, and the displacement is the necessary result.
In other words, the nutrition of these tissues became defective , and as a consequence they became enfeebled, and the mechanical conditions we are called to remedy is only a result. The vital change preceded the mechanical, in the sequence of morbid phenomena, and before any radical cure of the case can be effected , this vital defect is to be removed, and the removal of the course. The cure is to come to that which is back of the mechanical element of the case will follow as an matter of course. The cure is to come to that attempts to cure these cases by mechanical evils, and from which it has had its origin. This explains why it is that attempts to cure these cases by mechanical evil, and from which it has had its origin.
This restoration can be effected best, if not only,by the proper administration of the specific remedy. Versions and flexions are in the uterine fibre itself,and not so much in that of adjacent tissues. The principle of cure in these is the same, and no more dependent on mechanical or other means outside of those required by the law than it is in prolapsus. In all, the problem is alike , to restore a defective nutrition to a normal healthy state.
It is self evident that this must be a vital process, and not in any part a mechanical one, and that this will be best accomplished, if not solely, but by means which act directly on the life forces of the part involved in the evils to be removed. The resort to the introduction of foreign bodies to replace a lost tonicity of tissue can only have had origin in a shortsightedness or ignorance of the principles of pathology and cure involved in the treatment of such cases.
In confirmation of ;the views here presented of the dominion of law in the province of gynecological practice, and as illustrative of the power and efficacy of the specific remedy, even in cases the most unpromising if judged form the mechanical point of view, we are permitted, by the kindness of Mrs. Dr. S. E. Dunlevy, who makes the treatment of gynecological cases a specialty, to make use of the following case which has recently been under her charge.
For the purpose for which it is here given there could hardly be one more perfectly confirming the philosophy and practice we have here advocated. The condition of the affected organ was ascertained, both before and after treatment by ocular and mechanical exploration by Mrs. Dr. D. and found in the condition about to be stated. Her testimony as to what she discovered in both examinations can be taken with utmost confidence, her practical experience having made her an expert in such examinations.
Miss C., now 32 years of age, when 18 had a fall the result of which was she became a permanent invalid. At the time of the fall she was conscious of local injury in the pelvic region, had ever after pain there, with sense of weight and dragging down. Pain, heaviness and dragging down in the left ovarian region. Burning, aching and cramps in the abdomen; heat and pain in the top of the head, with sense of tightness, as if screwed together; coldness, in waves on top and through the head where it felt the tightness; worse from using the eyes.
Weakness of memory, vertigo. Would fall in spasms; at times could only walk when led; if she attempted to step would fall; afraid to walk in the street alone, as she would feel like falling in an open cellar, or any place where she might see open space. Pain over the brow when using the eyes; eye-sights weak, could only read with glasses; appetite poor; bloated uncomfortable feeling after eating. Shootings up the rectum and vagina, like a knife; painful urination; urine hot, and passed but a few drops at a time, with continued desire to pass more.
Uterus was found both flexed and retroverted, and firmly adherent in its abnormal position, so that when force was applied to return it to its place, when this was withdrawn the organ returned to its retroversion as if forced by an elastic band. Uterus inflamed. Cough with pain and soreness in the chest; pain and soreness in the intercostal muscles. Severe dull ache in back and left hip, with burning pain extending through left ovary and external genitals, and inside of the leg as far as the knee; had to sleep with the limb drawn up.
The spine was painful at first in the lumbar region when bent; this afterwards extended to top of the head; the spine was hot and with swelling on each side of it, it could not bear the least touch; tenderness to pressure in five lower lumbar vertebrae; considerable lateral curvature of the spine. Pain in the left shoulder blade constantly. Involuntary jerking of the arms; she knew the arm was going to jerk, but had no power to prevent it; would jump up and throw up both hands and then sit down quietly; easily startled, and jumps. Pains and soreness posteriorly in the lower limbs, especially along the tendo Achilles. Feet stone cold, ache up to the knee, and feel as if fanned from the hell to the knee. When trying to walk felt as if something were dragging her back; and a dragging down sensation constantly.
These were the symptoms of the case in September, 1880. The position and flexion of the uterus were ascertained by examination with speculum and sound. The adhesion was revealed by the forcible return to the retroverted position of the affected organ immediately the force which had moved it was withdrawn. The case had already been under medical treatment eight years. After a careful study of the symptoms more immediately referable to the displaced and distorted organ and those of the nervous train supposed to be resulting from these, the remedy was selected which was like in its ascertained action on the living organism.
It was first given Jan. 8, 1881. From this till the last week in March the patient was under the influence of the remedy, taking it an intervals of a few hours, with a result of a gradual subsidence of the more troublesome reflex symptoms, when at this last date, while standing in the middle of the floor, she screamed and said she felt a painful sense of something tearing away in the pelvis, and immediately expressed a sense of relief of the pains and sense of dragging down in this part which had troubled her so many years. Inspection which speculum and sound revealed the uterus in the true position and wholly free of its reflexion.
The concomitant symptoms of these mechanical evils gradually disappeared, and this long suffering patient may be looked on as cured of retroversion and flexion of the uterus, with adhesions of the organ to the tissues with which it had come in contact in its abnormal position, by the action of the specific remedy, without aid from surgical or mechanical interference of any kind whatever.
The adhesion was an unmistakable fact. Its removal by the use of no other means than the specific remedy is equally true, and this fact is the more interesting and instructive for the reason that this would be just what would be regarded as an impossibility by physicians who are more familiar with surgical and mechanical means in the treatment of such cases than with the results of the specific remedy. It goes far towards proving the truth with which we started, that the diseases of the female reproductive organs are as certainly within the domain of natures law of cure, and as responsive to the impress of specifics as are diseases of other organs of the body, even those among them which we should, a priori, regard as least likely so to respond.
The same physician who brought this case to so successful an issue, had an equally fortunate experience with a case of acute version, so found after inspection through the speculum. The patient had the peculiar pains, pressure, and sense of dragging down usually experienced in such cases. She took the prescribed remedy for 48 hours when she came in haste to her doctor, saying she had felt a movement in her pelvis and believed things were changed, she had lost her discomforts which are so harassing in such ailments.
She wished for an examination that she might know whether the change, which she thought she had felt, had really taken place. Inspection showed the uterus in its right position, and thus the truth of her impression of change, and of our position that these mal-positions are within the domain of law, and curable by the specific remedy the case under treatment requires, were both confirmed.
A third class of mechanical uterine displacements for the relief of which there have been a great variety of instruments contrived and used in the prolapsus of the organ
It is far easier to insert a pessary than so find the specific remedy the law requires for a cure. This saves the doctor all trouble of thought and study, and therefore, though often the cause of new and great mischiefs to the patient, its use has been continued. And furthermore, the body plugging the vagina is seen to give support to the fallen organ in its natural position, and therefore it is just what the needs of the case require. The remedy is also perceptible to the senses and for this reason seems to have a preference over an invisible dynamic power, which, it may be, even in cases where used successfully, requires waiting and patience for the desired recovery.
And then against this waiting, the advocate of mechanical means in sometimes able to point to an almost immediate sense of comfort and relief to his patient after the introduction of his instrument. He has resorted to this without a knowledge of the principles involved in the pathology of his case, and continues it to the lasting, if not permanent detriment of his patient, misled by this deceptive palliation. The debilitated tissue is still farther enfeebled by the presence and pressure of the foreign body, and by it, cure there is none. The power of dynamized remedies to remove the pathological and mechanical difficulties in such cases, is well illustrated by the following case, in the practice of the writer, which he treated in 1844.
He was called in July of that year to relieve a lady some 48 years of age of a severe pain over the crest of the left ilium. After a few questions it became apparent that this pain and many other sufferings of the lady were caused by a prolapsus of the uterus. The morning after this visit her husband called to ask “what was the matter” with is wife. When told, he replied that she has had this trouble more than twenty years. The next visit the wife confirmed this statement, and said if she had supposed the pain were caused by the falling, she should not have called me, as she had been under constant medical treatment for the trouble for ten years, and had found it to be perfectly incurable.
And for the last ten years she had done nothing for it but to wear a “supporter” which enabled her to go about and attend to her duties. Without this continuance she could not walk at all. She had become reconciled to this state as to a matter which was without remedy. When told the difficulty admitted of a cure, she rather reluctantly consented to a trial. After taking her remedy about two weeks she was so much relieved that she thought the cure would finish itself, and like many others, not liking larger doctors bills, she proposed going into the country as a means of escaping this, and perhaps perfecting the cure at the same time.
She was told she was not cured and that her plan would probably result in a relapse, which would be more difficult of cure than the original attack. As a compromise she promised to write to me once a week, and keep me fully informed of the case till she returned. She went away and I heard nothing from her for the next four months, when she sent for me again and was found, as had been predicted, worse than ever.
After a careful examination of her case she was prescribed for again, and was visited at intervals for about six weeks, when, not perceiving the same prompt response to prescriptions as at first, her dread of bills returned, and she began to tell me there was no use in farther trials of medicine and she would give it up. I was young then in homoeopathic experience and had not then learned that there were such things as incurable troubles; I thought I could master even this case, and told her so.
I got permission for a trial of one week more. At the end of this she was no better, and with increased difficulty I got another week granted me. And so it went on from week to week, she losing all courage, and I nothing of my hope of ultimate success. The result fully justified my confidence in the power of the specific remedy to effect the cure. At the last, when her courage and hope were all gone, her pains and troubles all vanished like a passing shadow, and at the end of four years there had been no return to them. Since then the patient has not been heard from.
This case takes additional interest as an illustration of the power of specific remedies to cure the class of diseases we have been considering, when we remember it had been fruitlessly treated allopathically and mechanically, for ten years, and after this mechanically ten years more. That without these appliances, when she first took dynamized medicine, she was in a wholly helpless condition.
That after a partial success she suffered a relapse which was worse than the original state. That notwithstanding these great disadvantages the cure was perfect, the patient having afterwards no need of instruments of any kind whatever. The case has additional interest as illustrating very beautifully the important principle of latent medication, medicine used in the treatment of this case. BROOKLYN, N. Y.