Once upon a time as Uncle Sam was looking over his backyard fence, he beheld an irate neighbor unmercifully chastising her child. Being a very humane gentleman himself, he was filled with wrath at the sight, but controlled himself and said gently “Madam, will you kindly suspend your present method of treatment of that child?” The mother responded that the child was hers and she should treat it as she pleased. Thereupon Uncle Sam told her he would give her ten minutes to walk off and let that child alone or he would wake up his war eagle and rescue the child. Then the neighbor told him that he was interfering where he had no right, and she should never speak nor listen to him again.
Now it so happened that Uncle Sam was the president of the western branch of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children and of the Human Society, so his interference was work in his own jurisdiction. Therefore he spoke to the song bird Peace, which had sung his Children to sleep for over thirty years and Peace called to her brother the War Eagle to come and take her place while she folded her wings and cuddled down to sleep. Then over all of Uncle Sam’s domain sounded the clarion notes of war.
It happened that about this time, old Grandfather Iodum had been in an unusually melancholy and low-spirited mood. He had been possessed with a fear of evil. He was restless and awaking shortly after midnight, he being sensitive of hearing, heard the echo of the first war-note and comprehended its meaning. It seemed as if his heart had been grasped by an iron hand. He sprang out of bed and he thought he would go crazy, as with trembling limbs he walked the floor. Presently an idea seized him. His thought became fixed.
He had a numerous posterity. His daughters had married into all the influential families of the world. ‘Tis true the children of them had been content to rest upon the reputation of the greatness of their ancestors, therefore were of such little use in the world that they had no reputation of their own, but Grandfather Iodum knew they had never had a chance to do much, and now was their opportunity to become famous. He would gather them all together and form a brigade and offer their services to Uncle Sam. So Grandfather Iodum sent out letters to each branch of his family, explaining his project but out of the twenty-one branches only five responded. The useless branches still remained unheard from and poor old Grandfather Iodum had to content himself with presenting a regiment instead of a brigade to his country. Those who did respond, did nobly.
The Mercurius iodatus ruber came first. The father of that branch was a Mercurius iodatus ruber while the mother was an Iodum, therefore that branch had more of the Iodum blood in its veins than others, though in some ways they resembled the Mercurius family. Mercurius iodatus ruber had many sons and one daughter and he brought them all. Next came Mercurius iodatus flavus branch, then Ferrum iodatus, Arsenicum iodatum, and finally Calcarea iodata. All brought their families excepting Calcarea iodata and he had none to bring. The wives and daughters sewed red crosses on their sleeves and formed a hospital corps and the little boys who were large enough to blow a fife or beat a drum, formed a fife and drum corps.
Grandfather Iodum objected to a physical examination for his men, for with the exception of the Mercurius men, it was a skinny crowd, and he was afraid they would be under-weight. Besides they were rather inclined to weak hearts. Grandfather Iodum himself was very thin and most of his children resembled him in that respect. Inspite of their looks, they formed when together, a pretty fair sort of a regiment and Grandfather proudly offered it to Uncle Sam, making only the simple condition that they should all go together, and that they should keep their own officers.
Grandfather Iodum brought Grandmother Iodum and appointed her chief cook because he and his sons were so hungry all the time and ate so much, he was sure that one without long experience would be unable to prepare proper meals. Arsenicum iodatum didn’t care anything about who was the cook, for his family was never hungry though they were always thirsty and wanted plenty of cold water, though it did come up immediately! Ferrum iodatum agreed with Arsenicum iodatum in respect to eating for his family was thirsty instead of hungry. Mercurius iodatus ruber was thirsty but wanted only a little. Mercurius iodatus flavus had no desire to eat but was very thirsty and brought along some lemons so he could have an acid drink occasionally. All decided that they had better camp near a copious spring as they were such a temperance crowd.
Grandfather Iodum didn’t quite like the idea of a drum corps, he was so sensitive to noise and it disturbed him but the rest of the family being less sensitive, rather liked it and Mercurius iodatus ruber who was quite hard of hearing, owing to a collection of ear-wax in his ears, pleaded the cause of the boys, so the corps remained and as Grandfather Iodum’s sensitiveness soon gave place to dullness of hearing, all enjoyed the music of the band.
Grandfather Iodum was a very active man. He could never keep still, night or day, so he soon had the regiment organized. The officers were selected from the Mercurius iodatus flavus family because they were always at their best during care and anxiety, while the other families were at their worst when studying out anything.
Camp drill didn’t suit any of the Iodum branches except Mercurius iodatus Flavus and Grandfather Iodum himself and sons. Moving around made all the rest feel bad in some way. Camping out seemed to affect the different branches differently. The Arsenicum iodatums seemed to take somewhat after their Grandfather Arsenicum. They were a chilly race and could not endure the cool sharp weather. The Ferrum iodatums were better in the open air or draft. In this respect they were more like the Iodums, who are better in the cold open air. The Mercurius iodatus rubers are also brighter in the open air, while the Mercurius iodatus flavuses are very susceptible to cold damp weather.
It was well that the hospital corps had been established, for the red cross workers were soon in great demand. In his younger days, Grandfather Iodum had been “one of the boys” and now he was receiving the punishment which comes to old syphilitics. He was greatly annoyed by violent nightly pains in the joints, although there was no swelling and there were pains in the bones of the arm upon which he had lain. Ferrum iodatum had also been “one of the boys” and now his rheumatic reward which was of sycotic origin made its appearance. He had a bruised paralyzed feeling in all the limbs with aversion to motion. The pains extended from foot to pelvis in the evening.
Arsenicum iodatum had followed in the foot-steps of the others but like Grandfather Iodum, his rheumatic gout was of syphilitic origin. He had severe pains in the calf of the leg in the afternoon, which extended over the whole leg. It disappeared during active motion and returned when at rest, therefore in the afternoon, when not drilling with the regiment, he would always be found diligently going through with the wetting up exercises. Mercurius iodatus flavus also followed in the foot-steps of his Grandfather Iodum. His rheumatic gout demonstrated itself in stiffness and sore pains. The limbs felt heavy and sore. There was soreness and lameness in the hands and fingers, soreness of the bones of the face, stiffness of the neck, bruised pain over entire scapular region. Most of the pains were worse at night and better when in motion.
Mercurius iodatus ruber had rheumatism also, but he was sycotic and his rheumatism was mostly muscular. It was of the wandering kind and alternated between arms and legs, hands and feet. The nurses were in great demand but they knew their business and succeeded in keeping their patients well enough for their work most of the time.
When so many are gathered hastily together, the sanitary arrangements cannot always be the best and in camp Iodum, although much care had been taken, they were far from being perfect and a little dark haired, dark eyed Iodum boy was the first to show the results. One night, the head nurse was startled by the dry metallic cough of the croup. She hurried to the bedside of the little Iodum, thinking she had a case of spasmodic croup, but investigation showed upon the velum palatinum and tonsils, a thick greyish white exudation. The tonsils were enlarged and there was much pain in the throat; swallowing was painful; breath was offensive respiration was irregular, short and quick; active motion of alae nasi and salivation. The child was grasping his throat with his hand. The nurse quickly isolated him, but it was too late. The diphtheria spread until for a time it seemed as though the fife and drum corps would by wholly annihilated.
The Mercurius iodatus flavus boys were the next to succumb to the dreaded disease. With them, the membrane began in little spots on the right side of the throat, but they soon ran together and formed yellow patches. The base of the tongue was covered with a thick yellow coating as though covered by a piece of chamois. The tip and edges were clean and red. There was great thirst for cold water, which was taken in the little sips because the throat was so full. Warm drinks and empty swallowing caused pain. There was profuse fetid saliva which made the chin sore. The nose was obstructed with thick yellow scales and membrane, worse on the right side. There was much painful hawking of stringy mucus.
Oedema of the throat and neck, great prostration, high fever, urine scanty, high colored. In most of the Mercurius iodatus ruber children, the diphtheria began on the left side. The fauces were dark red, the tongue coated thick yellow or there was absence of coating on the base. Swallowing was painful; tongue and gums swollen and sensitive and the throat was sensitive to touch.
The Arsenicum iodatum children had a thick membranous deposit covering mouth from fauces to outer edge of the lips and the external auditory canal; fetid breath; short difficult breathing; bad odor from the patient; diarrhoea on beginning to move in the morning. Only a few of the Arsenicum iodatum children were found in the diphtheria ward.
The nurse had much difficulty in saving the children, and heart failure often threatened, but at last the fife and drum corps was complete again and the squeaking of fife and rolling of drums sounded like the sweetest of music to the ears of the anxious relatives.
Grandfather Iodum knew that tuberculosis was very prevalent in his family and he ought to have insisted upon a physical examination of every member that joined his regiment instead of objecting to it. The tents were pitched just before the cold spring storms so the hardships of camp life began at once. Grandfather Iodum and several of his own sons came down with pneumonia. They were taken with violent chills, followed by high fever, pain in the chest, short, anxious breathing, expectoration gluey, rusty, yellow, streaked with blood, difficult. All recovered excepting one of the sons. The nurse sent him home as soon as possible, but it did no good. He became more emaciated, his voice became weak and rough, his face pale, cheeks red. There was continued fever, remitting only a few hours in the afternoon, profuse sweats, hunger, expectoration of blood, hemorrhages. He could not bear the warmth of the room, and phthisis hastened him into the other world.
Mercurius iodatus ruber had the grippe. He complained of a feeling of soreness in the whole chest, a catching pain under right breast on deep breathing, expectoration profuse, yellow. Mercurius iodatus flavus only had taken cold. Arsenicum iodatum had inherited phthisis from both sides of the house, so when he was exposed to cold, he didn’t stop to have grippe or pneumonia first but developed phthisis at once. He first noticed a slight hacking cough which became more and more frequent and sometimes it became loose. There was a mucopurulent and at times stringy sputa. There was no appetite, but he had great thirst for cold water and like his grandfather Arsenicum, he would vomit it almost as soon as taken. The left side of his chest became flattened. There was dullness on percussion, respiration became rapid and upon any exertion, wheezing became audible. He became asthmatic at night and had to sit up to breathe. The pulse became weak, hemorrhages appeared. There was great vital prostration. You can readily understand there was no place fit for him in the camp, so the nurse sent him home and it was none too soon for he hardly had strength enough left to get there.
You might expect Ferrum iodatum to inherit his grandfather Ferrum’s hemorrhagic nature but he didn’t. Ferrum was liable to hemorrhage from almost any place and at almost any time on the slightest provocation. Ferrum iodatum never had an indication of one until he was well gone in consumption. Ferrum iodatum really had consumption before he went to camp, but like his grandfather Ferrum he frequently had a flushed face, whereby he deceived himself into thinking that his health was better than it was. He convinced himself that camp life would agree with him because he always felt better in open air. In reality, he was weak and greatly emaciated. In the evening, he complained of chilliness, which was followed by heat and night sweats. The cough which was at first dry, later accompanied by greenish purulent expectoration containing small cheesy particles. There was great oppression of the chest with desire to take a deep breath but a deep breath caused feeling of soreness in the chest. He was much troubled with indigestion. He felt stuffed after eating a little food. The heart beat violently with no provocation. It would even awaken him at night. Ferrum iodatum should have remained at home.
The hardships of camp life thinned the ranks somewhat by sickness. Still there was a full regiment left and at last they were ready to be mustered in. Just at this time, along came Calcarea iodata and enlisted. He was a lazy, indifferent fellow somewhat resembling his grandfather Calcarea ostrearum. He explained that he had been having an attack of rheumatic gout and he didn’t think it much use to enlist when his neck was so stiff in the back that he could not move his head, and his hands and fingers were too numb to hold a gun and his legs were too tired to walk, besides the bruised beaten pain he had to endure.
Being at last ready, Grandfather Iodum notified Uncle Sam, but in the meanwhile there had been a great naval battle over which the neighbor’s children at home began to quarrel, all of which so frightened her that she hurriedly presented her unruly child to Uncle Sam and hastened home. Therefore, the war was over and Uncle Sam had no need of the regiment prepared for him, so it disbanded and every man, woman and child went home with a proud heart, feeling that he had done his best to “fight, bleed and die for his country.