Will you kindly imagine yourselves in a Sanatorium where people having stomach troubles are treated. Almost all the families of the Materia Medica world are represented here, but time permits the presentation of only a few.
There is our old friend, Mr. Arsenicum walking the floor, down there in the sunshine. He is so restless, he tries all the empty beds and chairs in the house at night! He is liable to have anything the matter with his stomach, from simple indigestion after chilling his stomach with ice cream, up to cancer. If he takes the least little drink of cold water it comes up immediately. There is extreme sensitiveness of the stomach, burning in the stomach and oesophagus, every thing he swallows burns him, then, when he vomits, that also burns him. He has burning pains almost anywhere, yet heat applied or warm drinks make him feel better. As though he declares that a million little demons are sticking a million little red hot needles into him, still he is cold and wants to be wrapped warmly. He is irritable and anxious, is sure he will die. His pains are intolerable, and drive him to despair. He shudders with the pain.
Mr. Arsenicum’s chum, Mr. Phosphorus, is another who is liable to have almost anything the matter with his stomach. If he takes a drink of water it will stay in the stomach long enough to become warm, but no longer. He is full of gloomy forebodings and is easily angered. He is better in the open air. Both complain of pressure in the stomach, of intense burning, and cramping. In both, the stomach of intense burning, and cramping. In both, the stomach is sensitive to touch; both are worse after eating, but, Mr. Phosphorus’ pain and vomiting are better after ice-water, while cold drinks only aggravate Mr. Arsenicum.
Do you see that emaciated, anaemic woman pacing up and down on the long hot air register? She is very warmly dressed, but she thinks she is almost frozen. That is Mrs. Ferrum arsenicosum. She seems to be good-natured just this minute, but don’t contradict her, for you’ll find that her moods alternate, she is easily excited, irritable, and quarrelsome. She is oversensitive to noise, doesn’t like to talk or hear any one else talk. She is sensitive to pain, and has plenty of it. Eating or cold drinks cause burning, cramping, pressing pains in the stomach, and butter makes her sick all over. She dislikes meats, but craves bread and sour things. Cold drinks, fat food, sour things make her worse. She becomes very tired with that walking, and sits down, then, she feels better for a little while, but soon she grows worse again and gets up and walks. The jar of walking fast and the weariness caused by walking fast, riding in a carriage, long standing, and any coldness make her worse, but slow walking makes her better.
This little emaciated woman reclining all bundled up alone in the sunshine out there in the protected porch, is Mrs. Barium sulphuricum. She is worse from motion, sometimes she is worse from sitting erect or standing; she is worse from cold air but she desires open air, so she is nearest to being happy when in her present position. She is bashful, suspicious, critical, therefore she doesn’t like company. Her appetite varies, it may be ravenous or wanting. Like Mrs. Lycopodium, she feels full after eating a little, and like Lycopodium, she is right sided in many complaints. There are cramping, gnawing, pressing pains with tenderness in the stomach after eating. Digestion is slow; thirst unquenchable. There are eructations, heartburn and vomiting after eating.
The little old lady sitting by herself is Mrs. Carbo animalis. She is homesick, sad and weak, she doesn’t want to talk to any one, desires to be alone. She has a sore empty feeling in the stomach which eating does not ameliorate. There are pressing, clawing, griping, burning pains in the stomach, and saltish water rises up and flows out of her mouth. Digestion is very slow, almost all food distresses her. Tongue and mouth burn, in fact she feels raw form the tip of her tongue to the stomach.
Mr. Bismuth is just the opposite of Mrs. Carbo animalis, in that he can’t bear to be alone. He is ill-humoured, discontented with his surroundings and doesn’t hesitate to complain about it. He never stays long in one place, he sits a little, goes and lies down a little, then gets up and walks about a little. He desires cold drink, and cold water relieves, but he vomits all fluids as soon as they reach the stomach. Digestion is very slow, he goes on eating for several days until the stomach is too full to take more, then he spends a day in vomiting it up. There are hard lumps between navel and lower ribs. There are crampy, spasmodic, burning, stinging, pressing pains in the stomach. There is rumbling of gas in abdomen; he rarely passes the gas, but when he does he is relieved.
Yonder is Mrs. Hydrastis canadensis. She has been a familiar figure in the Gynecological ward. First she had ulcers on the os, which was swollen and indurated, and a tenacious viscid leucorrhoea; they were cured by local treatment. Then, we met her in the Surgical Ward. She had a cancer in the breast which was removed and now she has a cancer in the stomach. Her digestion is slow; she puts the food into the stomach and there it stays like a weight, giving her a full feeling after eating; when she doesn’t eat she has an empty faint feeling and loathing of food, with this she has obstinate constipation with no desire for stool. She has severe pain in stomach and bowels. She is much annoyed by a strong pulsation in the stomach. Go and put your hand upon it, you can easily feel the pulsation. She is much emaciated and weak, despondent, cries out with the severe cutting pain in the stomach. She expects death and desires it.
This lazy fellow is Mr. Kali bichromicum. He doesn’t want to work either mentally or physically, and is quite likely to be low-spirited. His food lies like a load in his stomach or comes up undigested. He doesn’t sleep before midnight because mucus chokes him, and at 2 a.m. he wakens with oppressed breathing or burning in pit of stomach, and expectorates blood. He has ulcers in his stomach. Has been drinking too much beer.
Miss Cundurango feels miserable, and she has a perfect right to feel so. She is greatly emaciated and anaemic, and her skin is dry and scaly. Cancers are in her family, they have appeared on the eyelid, on the nose, on the tip of the tongue, on the breast, and she herself has one in the stomach. Her throat is sore, aching and burning. She vomits everything she eats besides something that looks like coffee grounds that she hasn’t eaten. Her stomach is sensitive to pressure, and in the pyloric region she has a hard knotty swelling. Pain in stomach is very severe, and sometimes it radiates towards the shoulders.
Do you notice that woman walking on the lawn? She has no hat nor coat on, and her dress seems fit for summer only. She is a staunch advocate of the open air school. No, that is not Miss Pulsatilla, that is Mrs. Kali sulphuricum. She likes nothing warm, even the warm bath aggravates her. She is excitable, easily angered, obstinate. Mental exertion makes her worse, rest in any form aggravates her. She is oversensitive to noise, is timid. She has great distress and anxiety in the stomach, no appetite, aversion to bread, eggs, meat, hot drinks, warm food. Mrs. Kali sulphuricum does anything she can to keep cool.
She desires sweet things, cold things. Her stomach is easily disordered, and she feels full after eating little. Eructations ameliorate. There are burning, cramping, cutting, pinching, pressing, stitching pains, soreness and pulsation in the stomach after eating or drinking. She has burning thirst.
That weak well wrapped woman who is about to enter her carriage is Mrs. Nitric acid. The sunken eyes, the dark circles about the eyes, nose and mouth, the sallow sunken face, tell of her sufferings. One doesn’t need to know of the pressing gnawing, pulsating, burning pains in the stomach, of the nausea and vomiting after eating to suspect the ulcers in the stomach. She spends much time in her carriage, because riding makes her better.
Mrs. Kali arsenicosum, pale, waxy, anxious, frightened, nervous and oversensitive, is suffering from an obstinate chronic gastritis. She complains of anxiety which she says extends her stomach to spine; of coldness in stomach. She desires warm drinks, sour things, sweet things, loathes food. Her stomach pains are burning, cramping, cutting, pressing, with intense nausea. They come after eating, after cold drinks, and at night, and they are better from heat. She is irritable, fault findings; would like even to kill someone! The other guests threatened to have her arrested as a common scold, if she doesn’t mend her ways. She is suspicious of everybody, thinks about killing herself, and weeps at night even in her sleep.
Mrs. Lycopodium, goes about in a kimono with her skirt bands all loosened, because she can’t bear to have anything touch her stomach. She is hungry for her meals, but a mouthful or two fills her up. She is very sensitive, no one dares to thank her for anything for it makes her cry. There is a sensation of churning in the stomach, the pains are gnawing, griping, cutting, cramping; pains are worse bending double, after eating, and from 4 to 8 p.m. they are better from belching, lying down, open air, by walking about and when warm in bed.
Mr. Sulphuric acid is suffering from chronic alcoholism, his stomach is nearly ruined. The first thing in the morning he vomits water and mucus which is so sour that it sets his teeth on edge. He can’t keep water down at all unless mixed with some alcohol. He craves fresh fruit and brandy. His throat is raw and sensitive, and his mouth is full of ulcers. Why shouldn’t it be with that acid stomach? He has most excruciating pains across the stomach. He is subject to hemorrhages; bleeds black blood from almost anywhere. He feels worse in the open air, sits and weeps all day and is good for nothing. When he does do anything he hurries through it as though he couldn’t get it done quickly enough.
Mrs. Robinia has a dull, heavy, squeezing pain constantly after eating. She will eat only one meal a day because it causes such severe pain. Her food turns sour in her stomach soon after eating, everything she takes turns to acid, and like Mr. Sulphuric acid, her teeth are on edge when it comes up. Water taken the night before, returns in the morning green and sour. She is very low spirited, and weeps every day with the pain in her stomach.
Mrs. Iris versicolor is another who turns everything that goes into her stomach into acid, and when it comes up it feels as though it scalded the throat, mouth, fauces, tongue, in fact every place it touches. She has great burning in the stomach that she can hardly endured. She is low spirited and discouraged.
That pale emaciated woman with the suffering expression on her face, who is weeping by the piano, is Mrs. Kreosotum. Music is quite likely to call forth her tears. She is a great sufferer, and has emaciated rapidly since coming here; she longs for death. She has great thirst, drinks greedily and then vomits it. Sensation of a lump of ice in the stomach, or a feeling of fullness, as though she had eaten too much. She has pressing, gnawing, ulcerating pains in the stomach with vomiting of blood.
Mr. Mercurius corrosivus has a sluggish mind. he will stare straight at the person talking to him, and not understand a word that is said. He has a violent unquenchable thirst for large quantities of cold water. Hot food is repugnant to him, he wants cold food. His stomach is distended and sore; he can’t bear to have it touched even by the clothing. There are burning, darting, cramping pains in the stomach; the vomiting is spasmodic, incessant and painful. He vomits bile, stringy mucus, blood.
Do you see that woman over there talking to Mr. Bismuth? It is Mrs. LAchesis, she is noted for being one of the most loquacious women in the world. She has a vivid imagination, talks rapidly, uses good language and jumps from one subject to another with surprising rapidity. Mr. Bismuth is fond of company, but he wants to do the talking himself. If you watch them you will see him walk off and leave her in a few minutes. Then she will find some one else to talk to, for she must talk.
Do you notice her red cheek? If she turns the other side of her face this way you’ll see how pale she is, for she is a sufferer. Sometimes she is quiet and sorrowful, then she dislikes company, and doesn’t want to talk. She has a cancer in the stomach with painless gnawing pressure which is better after eating, but returns as soon as the stomach is empty again. The pit of her stomach is sore to touch, and she has dull, stinging, stitching pains. She can’t bear to have her clothes touch her, either about the throat or waist, so she wears an empire gown cut decollete.
Last but not the least is our old friend, Mr. Sulphur. He is the same dirty “ragged philosopher” that we have always known. He has the same empty, gone, faint feeling in the stomach at 11 a.m., and the same feeling of weight about which he used to complain. He is too lazy to rouse himself up, too unhappy to live, and he dreads a bath just as much as he did when a child. Probably he thinks food is made for ornament and water is made for drink, for he eats little and drinks much.