THE PEOPLE OF THE MATERIA MEDICA WORLD
A COMPARATIVE MATERIA MEDICA by F.E. GLADWIN, M.D., H.M.
Once upon a time Mr. Nitric acid went a wooing and the lady of his choice was Miss. Argentum metallicum.
Mr. Nitric acid was dark, had black hair and eyes, a swarthy complexion and that lean hungry look that Julius Caesar disliked.
It’s a mystery what anyone ever saw in Miss. Argentum metallicum to admire. She was tall, thin, pale-faced, even sallow and by no means beautiful, though her manner was somewhat attractive. She was always making merry with her jokes and laughter, even yet she likes to talk. Her mind is very clear and she argues with great facility. She often speaks or sings in public but her voice is not to be depended upon. She has strained it sometime or other and now when her friends expect the most of it as in public use, if fails and she cannot speak or sing a loud word, she is so hoarse. Sometimes when she tries to sing, the sound comes double, to the surprise of herself and audience.
Mr. Nitric acid is very headstrong and obstinate. He never lost an opportunity to try to convince Miss. Argentum metallicum that they two should become one and by carefully concealing from her what a nervous, irritable, discontented individual he really was, he finally succeeded in convincing her.
It is not my purpose to describe the wedding or to speak of the married life of the couple, but it is my purpose to talk of their son Argentum nitricum.
In character he was not so strong as either his father or mother; he could not go so deeply into the lives of people as they could.
Argentum nitricum had an enemy? Mr. Natrum muriaticum, was always seeking to annihilate him or his work in just the same way that his father, Mr. Nitric acid, was always dodging around Mr. Mercurius trying to undo him.
Argentum nitricum didn’t begin life in this world right. He was a little withered, dried up, old looking baby, always delicate, and it was no wonder, considering his inheritance of psora from his mother and of the other two chronic miasms from his father. How could he have been healthy? It was too much to expect.
His troubles began soon after birth and the eyes were the location of their appearance. Ophthalmia neonatorum, the Dr. called it. The discharge was profuse and purulent and the cornea became ulcerated. The poor little baby cried and made a great fuss about it, but couldn’t make the nurse understand what he wanted cool open air. Nurse thought that he had wind colic, which he often had, and he seemed to cry less after he had passed such flatus up and down. He has had all sort of troubles with his eyes since that attack. His father and mother both had ophthalmia neonatorum when first born and weak-eyed always thereafter. The father’s eyes were much inclined to ulcerate than the mother’s Argentum nitricum was more like his father in this respect.
All through his infancy and even in after years, Argentum nitricum was troubled with colic. Great quantities of gas would collect in his stomach and abdomen and pass noisily up or down, after which he was relieved. Sometime the gas became incarcerated and the abdomen distended; then the pain was very severe. The colic, he inherited from his father. Mr. Nitric acid’s colic doubles him up when walking and it is worse in the morning. His abdomen becomes distended and you often can hear the gas rumbling and gurgling through it. Argentum nitricum didn’t succeeded in getting through his second year without the summer complaint. His mother carelessly ate a quantity of candy and the little fellow had to suffer for it. The stools were like grass chopped up, with mucus or they would turn green after being exposed to the air; they were forcibly expelled with much flatus and the abdomen was greatly distended.
Argentum nitricum has much craving for candy but even yet he cannot eat it without its producing an attack of diarrhoea.
During childhood Argentum nitricum had chorea. There was drawing up of the legs, jerking upward and outward of the arms and spasmodic drawing of the fingers and toes. Now he has occasional attacks of epilepsy. He can always tell when they are coming on, for the pupils become dilated a day or two before the attacks. They usually come during the night or in the morning on rising. His first attack came after a severe fright. His father and mother both have epileptic fits. The first thing that Mr. Nitric acid notices when the attacks are coming on is a sensation that a mouse is creeping up and down the left side, then he loses consciousness and goes off into a spasm. He is better from riding in a carriage. Mr. Nitric acid is always better from the gliding motion of a carriage. After the mother’s attacks of epilepsy, she goes into a delirious rag and tries to strike those about her.
Argentum nitricum has none of his mother’s merry disposition. He is a nervous, gloomy hypochondriac. He is afraid to go to the window for fear he will jump out. He dreads to pass a certain point on the street for fear that he will fall down. He thinks himself neglected and despised. He is sure he has some dreadful disease and he will die; contemplates killing himself; won’t work; thinks he can’t stand it; if he looks up, he is dizzy and thinks the houses are falling upon him. He can’t walk in the dark or with his eyes, shut because he becomes dizzy and staggers.
In all of Argentum nitricum’s sicknesses, he is nervous and has the headache. In most of them, he has the vertigo and cloudiness of mind, and if per chance, there comes a day when there is nothing the matter with him, he is such a hypochondriac that he imagines he is still sick. His weakness of mind and loss of memory are such like his father. The more Mr. Nitric acid tries to think of a thing, the more his thoughts vanish. He is also despondent, nervous, hopeless. He does not care to work. He thinks he will die soon, even though he is not sick.
Argentum nitricum is always tired, feels as though he has walked a long distance. His limbs feel nearly paralyzed yet when riding in a carriage, he has such distress about the heart that he feels he must get out and walk fast for relief. His mother is also worse from riding in a carriage, indeed she is aggravated from any motion. His father is better from riding in a carriage though worse from walking. He has the same tired feeling in his limbs that his son Argentum nitricum has. He feels as though he could hardly drag his feet along. Argentum nitricum is drowsy, his mother is also drowsy, but can’t sleep because of the itching in the skin.
Argentum nitricum has no appetite; he is soon filled up. His mother is always hungry even when her stomach is full. His father is very hungry but is soon satisfied.
Argentum nitricum has neuralgia; it is not especially acute but spreads over a considerable surface. In this, he is opposite of his father, who is extremely sensitive to pain and makes a great fuss over every slight hurt.
The most of Argentum nitricum’s troubles come on the left side; those of his mother come on either side or they may begin on either side and go to the other. The father’s troubles come on either side or come first on the right and then go to the left.
Argentum nitricum has a great longing for the cool open air and is generally better in it. He is restless if he can’t have the window open. His father doesn’t like the open air at all; it makes him feel so bad. Argentum nitricum is worse in the night and morning; his father is worse morning, evening and night.
Argentum nitricum is troubled with much palpitation and shortness of breath. This he gets from his mother; her heart is always jerking or stopping, trembling, palpitating or troubling her in some way.
They are a weeping family. Argentum nitricum weeps in despair of his physical condition. His mother will spend a long time crying over trifles and the father weeps violently because he is so discontented with himself.