A descriptive synonym of the first word in the title of this little effort, neophyte, means either a recent convert, or a novice–and both these terms could certainly apply, because up until about two years ago, when I was fortunate enough to take the post graduate course of the American Foundation for Homoeopathy, the type of medicine I practiced was not strictly homoeopathic. Now, at least, a door has been opened, a pathway charted and a goal set, even though I stumble off occasionally and may often reach the end of the line by a new route.
The experiences I had with this patient may be quite routine, even commonplace, with you of greater knowledge of the Law of Similars, but to me, here was a challenge to which I hoped I was equal, everything in regular medicine and antibiotic therapy having been tried and found wanting. Homoeopathy had to be the answer.
The story begins on July 4th, 1951, when the patient, Mrs. M., aged 46 years, took a ride in a station wagon and caught a cold. This must have been quite a cold, because the patient relates that it went merrily on its way for about 1 1/2 months until August 21st, when her right ear began to run profusely. She had had a previous aural discharge from it at intervals for years, but she was unable to state the etiology or circumstances of the original trouble. She was taken immediately to a physician in a nearby town, who started penicillin injections, first daily, then every second, and finally every third day, for 29 times.
Then the physician decided that a sulfa powder insufflated into the ear daily would plug the dike and stop the endless flow of watery, odorless fluid that ran from her ear, and saturated cotton wads, and had her changing them as much as 7 or 8 times a night. Next Aureomycin was tried, then a triple sulfa combination tablet which gave her a fever, followed by Furacin drops, which irritated the ear canal, and later Neomycin locally.
Next in this therapeutic armamentarium was a course of 20 vaccine injections, probably stock and not autogenous. By then the Ideas of October had overtaken our friend, and a momentous statement was issued by the doctor, “I cant do anything more for you. Please consult a specialist. “She was so furiously mad that she stalked out to the car and her long suffering husband who was waiting and never bothered to answer our frustrated medical confrere.
Probably then from desperation, the spirit moved her to board a stuffy bus, ride 60 miles, and look up the son of her former physician whom she hadnt seen for 16 years, to tell me her story. I listened avidly as she talked, because she immediately began to give me general symptoms that certainly should lead me to a first prescription in this constitutional defect of hers. She volunteered these facts, that she was chilly, always kept her house about 82 degrees, didnt like hot weather, and didnt perspire. She couldnt sleep well, because she had to change the cotton so often in her right ear.
I looked at her right ear. At least half of the eardrum was gone, the anterior portion in front of the long handle of the malleus. The ear canal was full of a clear, very light yellow discharge that was absolutely odorless. She was afebrile. Here, I reasoned, were good indications for Silicea, and because there was still an acuteness in her pathology, I gave her the 6x tablet triturate every three hours. Two weeks later she phoned, with a “tickled pink” tone in her voice, to report that nine days after starting the remedy, she began to notice a diminution of the discharge, but that there was a slight relapse again.
She said the character of the discharge had changed, in that it had begun to thicken up a little. There was still no odor. I then thought that she needed a different potency, so I gave her six two-drachm bottles, each containing Silicea 500x, instructing her to dilute the granules with water and take a dose once daily before breakfast each morning, for six days. I gave her also some yellow Sac. lac. tablets to take three time daily after the six doses of 500th were completed. After four doses of the 500th Silicea, the ear stopped discharging for two or three days, the first time it had been dry in 70 days; but then a strange thing occurred.
A typical furuncle appeared behind the ear on the opposite side, which I interpreted to be a favorable event, if her body was attempting to throw off any infection. Feeling that she needed another potency of the Silicea at this turn, I dropped back to the 30th potency, and both the furuncle cleared up and the ear stopped discharging, except for a little moisture occasionally.
Then I told her that she merited a rest from doctors for a while and discharged her except for monthly check-ups, so when I saw her in January, 1952, she reported that the color of the aural discharge on the few occasions when she had a small amount, was now a little thicker and more yellow, that the outside of the ear was sensitive to touch, and that she couldnt sleep well at night, even though there was no longer the problem of changing cotton pads in her ear.
I decided that she needed some Nux vomica, gave her the 30th every three hours, and, when I found that she had a well-marked secondary anemia with 12.5 grams of hemoglobin, 3,840,000 red cells and 6,200 white cells, I started her on an excellent hematinic preparation known as lific-forte, which contains liver extract, folic acid and vitamin B12. A neighbor who was a nurse taught he how to give herself these injections and this she faithfully did, without very good results as far as her count was concerned.
On April 30th she reported that she had had a menstruation that began March 23rd and had lasted 34 days, with two rather severe hemorrhages on April 18th and 19th. I suggested an immediate pelvic examination by a competent gynecologist, but was informed that she had already had two such check-ups within the past year and had been given a clean bill of health in that department. Our old friend, the right ear, was behaving tolerably well, so I started her on Pulsatilla 30x, tablet triturates, three tablets every hour for several days and then twice or three times daily, after that, my reasons being that the aural discharge had thickened, was definitely bland and non-irritating.
She informed me also, as I questioned her, that she was thirstless in general, sleepless in the early part of the night, was easily discouraged, was a chilly person, and felt generally worse toward evening. This remedy seemed to be the key that unlocked the door of our problem. Until the aural discharge thickened I hadnt thought of it as a general remedy also; but now all of her other symptoms fitted together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
To bring us strictly up to date before I conclude, may I say that on June 11th she still had some secondary anemia, Hb 54 percent, RBC 3,970,000, WBC 5,400, C.I. 60. Her red cells are poor in appearance but her sedimentation rate is 14, her differential white count is not unusual, her urine analysis is absolutely normal, her blood pressure 102/76 in the left arm, 120/70 in the right arm. She has had a normal menstruation on June 1, thirty days after the previous one, that lasted only six days, was profuse on the first day only and then tapered off.
Her right ear is dry. She has to plan her housework and budget her energy because it begins to run out around 2 P.M., if she isnt careful. She minds the heat and particularly the humidity. From the physiological viewpoint she is on ferrous gluconate, two five-grain tablets three times daily, but homoeopathically, Pulsatilla 30x, three tablet triturates once a day, seems to be holding the fort adequately because she looks better, has more hope and encouragement about eventually being able to do physically all the things that are now only wishful thinking.
DR. HARVEY FARRINGTON [Chicago, Ill.]: With regard to this young man, he is the son of one of my old college mates. I was glad to hear that he went to the Foundation course in Connecticut. He has been more fortunate, however, than one or two that I know of.
I know some of us young fellows, when we first got out of college, took Kents course and we had a clinic there, and made some pretty terrible blunders. One day George Cooper, my associate, and myself were talking with Kent. We said, “Doctor, we hope the day will come when we can prescribe as well as you do, hit the right remedy”.
“Boy,” he said, “I make as many mistakes as you do only I know better how to get out of them.” [Laughter].
So, that is the story.
I dont want to take up too much time but one of our Chicago physicians, who has been practicing twenty-five years, became a well-known eye, ear, nose and throat man, came to me one day and he spoke about the use of high potencies. He said that he had seen Grimmer and myself in the clinic use them.
He said, “Farrington, I had a wonderful cure of a mastoid without operation, with Silicea. You know, I was trying your high potencies. I gave the 1000th and pus began to flow, began to get thinner. The pain all went away. This was on Friday. She got along so well I thought I would give her a good push forward. On Monday I gave her the CM. Then I was scared. Her fever went up; the pain came back and pus began to increase”.
Fortunately, the patient was strong enough to stand the aggravation, and she got better.
DR. ALLAN D. SUTHERLAND [Brattleboro, Vt.]: Mr. Chairman, this was an interesting case in many ways, probably as interesting to us as it was to Dr. Weaver.
I was very much interested in his finally arriving at Pulsatilla. Dr. Roberts has said to me many time that Pulsatilla is the great unlocker of suppressions, and apparently so in this case.
I believe that five years from now Dr. Weaver will probably not be resorting to physiological medication in a Pulsatilla case or in any other case. It sort of confuses the issue.
One thing to remember is that Pulsatilla is a so-called anti-anaemic remedy. In Boenninghausens Repertory under the rubric, chlorosis, which is a form of anaemia, Pulsatilla ranks five.
I think that in this case Dr. Weaver could, with some justification, leave off all other remedies except Pulsatilla and expect to find his patients blood picture improving.
DR. GARTH W. BOERICKE [Philadelphia,.]: I was about to protest the fact that I consider Dr. Weaver is no neophyte at all; he is one of our excellent young clinicians, well balanced, and we need them that way.
He has to, with his class of patients, do what I said yesterday, cover the diagnostic aspects of it, and he is well trained now in homoeopathy. What I dont understand about his case is why he didnt give Pulsatilla in the first place.
Was it because of the betterment from heat, Bill?.
DR. WEAVER: Yes.
DR. BOERICKE: That is a strong point against it, of course, but, then, when the ear cleared up that apparently wasnt so marked.
I think the best indication for Silicea is that old one about flow with a vent. That is a sound one.
Another observation: My old friend Woodbury used to tell me about a high potency homoeopath who always used Silicea 6x; never used any other potency. Personally, I always use Silicea in 6x. It seems to be extraordinarily efficacious. It is one of our really great drugs, no question about it.
DR. ARTHUR H. GRIMMER [Chicago, Ill.]: As you all know, Silicea and Pulsatilla are complementary. The Doctor was all right in the prescription, I think.
DR. T. K. MOORE [Sharon Center, Ohio]: I think it is possible that we make a mistake if we get an idea of using a drug for a pathological condition.
I remember very well an acute mastoiditis that had been going for three days in a youngster six years old, crying for all of this time. I gave him pathological prescribing, Dr. Bogers idea of what was best in mastoiditis, and that was Ferrum phos., and it didnt work.
I waited an hour and one-half and nothing came [laughter] and then I thought, “Well, this is an acute case.”
[Laughter] Then I went over to Belladonna which seemed to be indicated, according to the symptoms. I gave this youngster Belladonna. This was all in the 2c.
In the meantime, I had time to talk this over with the mother, and she told me that this youngsters disposition had changed to the most terrible type. He was the most exacting, nasty kid since he had this. He got Chamomilla which cured him.
In fifteen minutes after this dose of Chamomilla, this devil got up and wanted his dinner. There is an unusual remedy for mastoiditis. It was given on this nasty disposition and it worked, and worked promptly. So, dont get your idea fixed, as I have had mine fixed.
If I see a chronic mastoid, I always try to figure in Silicea by hook or crook because it has worked so well as many times, but we dont want to tie ourselves down to any remedy for any disease condition. I think that is a mistake.
DR. I. L. MOYER [Columbia, .]: I think Dr. Weaver did a very good job. I think he did all right in using Silicea, and Silicea in the 6th. Of course, he got some other complications and he found out he had a red blood deficiency. He had a perfect right to think of Pulsatilla. Also, Pulsatilla is a right-sided remedy.
DR. H. W. EIKENBERRY [Indianapolis, Ind.]: I would like to thank Dr. Weaver very much for bringing us this paper. Now that he has tried his wings and found out what he can do, I am looking for more and bigger papers from him in the future. [Laughter].
DR. A. W. HOLCOMBE [Kokomo, Ind.]: I wonder why he repeated the 500th so often. Why repeat any remedy? When you give a dose, you shoot him. Wait until you see the effects of that. Hahnemann explains that the second dose interferes with the action of the first dose– the second and the third and the fourth. There is no use in it, nothing to be gained by it. If you have the right remedy, one dose will do all that a dozen doses will do; at least that has been my experience.
The hardest thing for me to learn when I began to practice medicine was to wait. That is a homoeopathic virtue, to wait in the case of an emergency. I am rather of an impatient temperament. I couldnt wait either for the aggravation to pass away or for the improvement to begin. I wanted to dip in another shot, probably another remedy or higher potency. I realize now, after sixty years of it, I spoiled a great many cases, which I hope to avoid in the future. [Laughter and applause].
DR. H. G. REED [Dover, Ohio]: As some of you know, I am a second generation homoeopath. In my younger days I was very enthusiastic. Consequently, I got set back once or twice.
While practicing in Cincinnati, there came a lady there from Florida. She was married, the mother of two sons. She had a combination that started out like this: she had tuberculosis of both lungs, apices of both lungs involved. On top of that she had developed a severe case of malaria, being in Florida. On top of that she had a severe case of quininism to suppress the malaria.
She came back to Cincinnati, hoping to get relief. The family had gotten acquainted with me. For some reason or another, they thought maybe I could do something for her. Being very enthusiastic, I was willing to try, but it was a sad days when I tried it.
The picture was just this: that the tuberculosis, while present, was being held in abeyance by the malaria. The malaria was being held in abeyance by the quininism. I dont know how long she would have gone on the way she was, but I started in and I told them, when I started, what would probably happen.
I attempted first to unlock the quininism, and I started in with a moderate potency, it was the 1M of Natrum muriaticum.
It was just about a week or ten days until, much to my joy, the quininism disappeared, and the chills and fever began to return in full force, and she had her malaria. At that time I didnt change the remedy, and I didnt go any farther because I felt that the case was progressing as I wanted it, so I just kept on.
It was a family that knew homoeopathy, were completely sold on it, and I didnt need to use any placebos. So, I let it ride.
Within about three weeks the chills and fever subsided, disappeared completely, and at that point the sad story started. The temperature began to rise every afternoon, subnormal every morning. Within just two or three weeks I realized that something very radical was going on. So, I called for consultations. At the end of the day, I gave in to the Doctors idea that the patient was a hopeless one. We didnt feel that anything could be done.
Before he left that evening, the patient called him to her bedside and said, “Doctor, how long do you think that I have to live?”.
He said, “Well, I expect with care the Doctor probably can keep you going for a month or six weeks”.
She said, “That is all I wanted to know, Doctor”.
The next day the patient was bright, scintillating, right up on her toes. She told the family everything that she wanted done. She had everything prepared, right to the nth degree, and on Tuesday morning she died.
Now, what should I have done? We had a case there of active tuberculosis held in abeyance by malaria suppressed by quininism. I think maybe she might have lasted several months if I hadnt interfered in the case at all, but I feel definitely there was some place that I made a mistake. But my only remedy in that case, up until the last day, which we agreed upon on that last day, was Phosphorus, but, of course, the case had run its course too far and Phosphorus couldnt do any good.
It was one of the most interesting cases. That taught me the lesson of watching out for the underlying conditions and that, if you unlock the suppressing conditions too rapidly, your underlying condition may overwhelm the patient and she may go down much more quickly than you ever anticipated.
DR. FARRINGTON: I just want to say a word about the last speakers statement, and I think he hit the nail on the head. I had better luck, though, in my one case. A man came home to die. His lungs were badly affected. I dont remember all the pathological findings, but, as his friends expressed it, he had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. [Laughter].
His symptoms were Natrum muriaticum. I put him on Natrum muriaticum, and he began to improve. During the course of rising potencies, he became entirely well. When he was recovered, his wife had one of the finest boys you ever saw, although the last child, a daughter, was thirteen years old.
I read this case before the Chicago Homoeopathic Medical Society. There was no discussion except one fellow from downstate got up and said, “I dont see why Farrington gave this man Natrum mur. Natrum mur. is not indicated for tuberculosis”.
That brings up the subject of favorite remedies and those that are prescribed on pathology. Silicea is good for mastoid. Silicea is good for pus. Pulsatilla is good for the same thing but also very good for measles. It has spoiled many a case and hindered its recovery because it was given when it was not indicated.
DR. REED: Remember, I did not give Natrum mur. for the tuberculosis; I gave Natrum mur. on the basis of the pathology.
DR. FARRINGTON: You did right; you were perfectly justified. If you want to take pathology into consideration, you had to overcome suppressed malaria by Natrum mur., might have brought it our perhaps to the benefit or maybe to the detriment of the patient because she did have a very serious case.
Many years ago, long before the “flu,” I was called to see a young Italian boy who had been ill with tuberculosis for sometime. When I got there, here lay a young fellow of eighteen, skin and bones, sunken cheeks, hectic flush on the cheeks; night sweats, cough, rales, all through the chest; dullness in various places, and bronchophony.
I dont remember what I gave him but I made, as far as I remember, only the one visit. About fifteen or eighteen years afterwards, during the “flu,” I went to see a woman ill with that disease, in one of the poor districts, and especially one of those with people of foreign extraction. You know how it is. Friends come in and sit around and talk. As I stood there looking at the patient, there was a heavy set fellow way over in the corner who called out, “Hey, Doc, dont you know me?”.