There were two neighbors living over the way, one was Apis and one was Rhus tox. They so closely resembled each other that a careless observer would easily mistake one for the other. Because of this resemblance, one would naturally suppose they would be congenial friends and be often found together, but contrary to expectation, they were at enmity with each other.
If Rhus went anywhere, Apis would under no consideration follow him, and if Apis started for a place, Rhus, would not follow him. If by accident, they came into the same house, they quarreled and quarreled and it was almost an impossibility to find anyone who could act as peacemaker between them. They seemed determined to disagree and they fought to the detriment, if not the destruction of the house in which they met! Apis was nervous, irritable, restless, hysterical, restless at night, thought he would die. Rhus said he should think anyone would die whose children where always shrieking out at night; he never before heard such sharp shrieks as the children of apis gave. If they belonged to him, they’d get spanked out of it. His “own children were just as restless as Apis children. They would rise at night, throw the covers off and even get out of bed, but they had been taught to keep their voices quiet and not disturb the neighbors”. The truth of the matter was the Rhus children cried just as much as the Apis children did, but no one ever hears the noise of his own children. Rhus at times became so despondent that he would go out and drown himself if he were not afraid of death. Apis was afraid to die, dreaded death and no though of suicide ever came into his mind.
Apis’ children were inclined to brain troubles, hydrocephalic enlargement of the head, fontanelles reopen. The child bores its head into the pillow, throws head back and rolls it, eyes are red, head hot, hands cold and blue, urine suppressed, and with it all the sudden shrill cries. Rhus congratulated himself that his children didn’t have hydrocephalus, and said if Mrs. Apis had properly treated her children through their attacks of summer complaints, eruptions of the skin and eruptive fevers, they too would have escaped.
Apis and Rhus were susceptible to about the same diseases and what one had the other had, much to the disgust of both. When Apis had sore eyes, Rhus had sore eyes also. Apis’ lids were swollen and oedematous, so were Rhus’. Apis had scalding hot tears, so had Rhus. Apis’ lids were swollen and shut and hung over the face like sacs, Rhus’. lids were also swollen shut. Apis’ lids were dark bluish red or purplish white, Rhus’ lids were dark bluish red or purplish white, Rhus’ lids were fire red. Apis had erysipelas of the lids, the smooth swelling extending to the face, Rhus’ erysipelas of the lids also extended to the face but small watery vesicles were scattered over Rhus’ erysipelas. Apis thought Rhus was foolish to use warm applications when cold water made the eyes feel so much better. Rhus thought if Apis weren’t such a coward, he would endure the first unpleasantness of a hot application for the sake of the relief that followed.
Apis and Rhus were both a little hard of hearing. They each had Otitis after Scarlet Fever, then Rhus’ ear discharged a bloody excoriating pus. Each also had dropsy after Scarlet fever. Both had nose bleed in the morning, though Rhus also had it at night. Apis was subject to erysipelas of the face. It was intensely hot, pink, red or livid, puffy, shiny, sore to touch or burning, stinging pains, it came only on one side of the face or it began on the right side and went to the left. Rhus’ erysipelas was hot, greatly swollen, dark red or bright red, shining and covered with vesicles, burning, stinging, itching, but Rhus’ erysipelas began on the left and went to the right.
Rhus said, “If you want to see vicious children, just go and see the young Apises snap their teeth”, while Apis declared that his children were not vicious, it was an involuntary snapping, which they could not help and added, “If you want to see dirty children, go look at Rhus’ children. Their sore heads are too offensive to permit of inspection. They are so vile that the hair is eaten off.” Rhus responded, “If you do inspect them, you won’t find any pediculi, which is more than can be said of Apis’ children. Whatever else may have happened to the young Rhuses, their heads have never been shaved because they were so full of lice.”
Apis said Rhus feels so aristocratic, that meat is not good enough for him to eat, but he must have oysters and dainties to live upon, and he would not touch beer or tobacco. Rhus accused Apis of imitating him in every way possible, saying he had even copied his red tip of the tongue. Rhus said, “Apis is jealous or he wouldn’t make such remarks, but it’s no wonder that any one so clumsy and awkward”. Rhus was prone to rheumatism. If he got wet or strained his muscles. It attacked his joints, but it seemed to take the most diabolical pleasure in settling down in the tendons or where the tendons are fastened to the muscles or bones. These were its strongholds, for in these places, vital action is too sluggish to easily drive it out. It usually chose the left side, but sometimes it tried the right side.
Rhus abhorred stormy weather, for his rheumatism always selected rainy days for carnival days. As the storm approached, the jollification began and inspite of Rhus’ greatest efforts, he couldn’t subdue it, while the storm lasted. Whenever Rhus moved, it asserted itself, but if he persisted in moving it would leave him in peace until he dared to rest again.
As Rhus was pacing the floor like a caged lion one day, during an approaching storm, he glanced out of his window and immediately got angry at Apis for mocking him. Sure enough, there was Apis groaning with rheumatism, though he was nursing his right side instead of the left. Apis looked over at Rhus and thought, “He couldn’t be walking around like that if his pains were as severe as mine.” and Rhus glared back at Apis and said, “His suffering can’t be as much as mine or he couldn’t keep still like that.” Wet weather didn’t seem to affect Apis as it did Rhus. Rhus rubbed his painful fingers and hoped his hands would never become distorted by gouty nodositions as Apis’ were. He should have known it was a vain hope, for all of his ancestors had gouty nodosities. Rhus said it was no wonder that Apis was clumsy and dropped things with those hands. Apis knew that his clumsiness was due to threatened paralysis which had a spinal trouble behind it. Rhus thought Apis could tell him nothing about spinal trouble, he had had inflammations of the spinal membranes himself once after sleeping out on the damp ground, but it didn’t give him paralysis. He could tell Apis all about that also, for he had, had it once after over exerting himself and catching cold.
Rhus woke one morning to find his heart palpitating violently. He had been overexerting himself the day before. Rhus had an organic heart and had to be very careful about overexertion or getting wet. He looked out of the window to see if, as usual, Apis was imitating him and sure enough, there sat Apis in the open air trying to get his breath; the expression of great anguish upon his face proclaimed the cardiac distress. Every contraction of the heart shook the whole body. He looked as though each breath would be the last. Even Rhus could see that the imitation was rather overdraw, but he was not surprised, for Apis being hysterical, was liable to carry his imitations to almost any extent. Rhus thought Apis a fool to make such a fuss over the new vaccination law, but Apis had had an experience his children were of the kind that didn’t take kindly to vaccine poison. Instead of having arms like the fortunate unsusceptible children, their vaccinations were followed by swelling of the arm and shoulder, which were sensitive to touch. Red spots appeared upon them with red streaks to the axillary glands; erysipelas appeared, an upon them with red streaks to the axillary glands; erysipelas appeared, an abscess formed which discharged great quantities of pus; before this healed, mortified cellular tissues appeared in the opening. Apis was thoroughly convinced that it was too much like blood poison to please him and he didn’t believe he had any right to endanger the lives of his offsprings in any such way. The fact that his children had died of confluent Small-pox in spite of having been vaccinated, didn’t increase his desire to have it tried again in his family. Apis denounced it as a barbarous practice and Rhus accused Apis of having a prejudiced mind.
Rhus and Apis each had a child sick from diarrhoea. Both were in a low and dangerous condition. The Rhus child had dysentery with a tendency to typhoid condition. The Apis child had cholera infantum and had gone into the hydrocephaloid condition. Each had an offensive, painless, involuntary stool. The Apis child had an involuntary stool with every motion, with constant oozing from the anus of which the patient was unconscious. The Rhus child was worse at night, worse after drinking ice-water. The trouble appeared after getting wet, and after a strain, and was worse in cool, damp weather. The Apis baby was worse in the morning, worse in a warm room, worse from acid drinks and worse from motion. Each had pains before stool, each had urging and tenesmus during stool but Rhus had tearing pains down the thighs and little Apis had a bruised feeling in the intestines during the stool. After stool, Rhus had a remission of pain and urging. Apis had rawness of anus, heat and throbbing in the rectum with it all.
Rhus had dry, rough tongue with red edges and tip. Apis a dry tongue shiny, cracked and sore with little or no thirst. Rhus had great thirst for cold water or milk. Apis had a bruised sore feeling of the abdominal wall with excessive tenderness felt on least pressure. Rhus had tearing pains down the thighs with necessity of changing position for relief. The Rhus child had restless sleep, troublesome vivid dreams of hard work and difficulties, while the Apis baby lay in a stupor which was occasionally interrupted by shrill sharp screams. Rhus and Apis took care of the children so well that each recovered.
Rhus had taken cold. He had been out in the rain three or four days before and remained wet for several hours. As a result, there appeared oppression of the chest, restlessness at night, acute pain in the chest, couldn’t take a deep breath, respiration was hurried, very short at night, dry teasing cough with tearing pain in the chest. Apis had a cold at the same time. He had a dry spasmodic cough morning and evening, worse at night. Deep inhalations started the cough. Rhus chuckled to himself that for once Apis hadn’t succeeded very well in his imitation.
Rhus spent a day in the park, and one morning two or three days afterwards, he awoke to find his face and hands red and swollen and covered with vesicles filled with clear yellow watery liquid. The vesicles coalesced into blisters. When the blisters broke and the fluid touched the skin, new vesicles formed. The burning and itching was intense; any touch caused the itching which rubbing ameliorated a little during the rubbing, but caused the eruption to spread as it was almost impossible to rub much without breaking the blisters. After the rubbing, the burning and itching became almost maddening. The application of hot water caused first an aggravation, then an amelioration. Rhus thought at last he had something that Apis could not imitate as Apis had not been among poison, but there was Apis covered with red spots which were covered with mall vesicles which exuded moisture. The itching, stinging and burning were intolerable. Apis scratched until it bled. The eruption was worse from the slightest breath of air, but was equally sensitive to the warmth of the room or bed. Apis didn’t often have such an eruption. He was more likely to have urticaria like bee strings. Small white spots with red areolae, itching violently, worse at night or it would come in isolated elevations, painful and tender to touch, assuming a purplish or livid color, but for once as Rhus said, just to imitate him, Apis had the vesicular eruption on an inflamed base. Rhus sometimes had urticaria, but it was brought on by getting wet; then Apis wanted to know whose imitation that was.
Apis had a nervous irritability greater than that of Rhus. Apis was restless at night from nervousness. So was Rhus, but Rhus was more to be restless from pain. Apis had great weakness in all his limbs and wanted to lie down; so had Rhus. Apis was sleepy in the morning, you could hardly waken him, his sleep was so heavy. Rhus was sleepy after eating. Apis had a general aggravation in the evening. Rhus had a particular aggravation in the evening and Apis in the morning. Both were worse at night. Apis was better in the cool open air. Rhus was better in the warmth air. As Apis was worse from motion, Rhus was better from continued motion.
Apis was made sick by mental emotions, severe mental shock, punctured wounds, dissecting wounds, suppressed eruptions. Rhus was made sick from suddenly checked perspirations, damp weather, overstrained muscles, and from getting wet.
The Apis family were subject to effusions. They had effusions of the arachnoid, of the pericardium, of the pleura, of the peritoneum, and cellular tissues. No matter what diseases they had, dropsy seemed to develop. They had dropsy after scarlet fever, dropsy with chronic rheumatism, with angina pectoris, with marasmus. The women of the family had dropsy during pregnancy, puerperal convulsions, prolapsus uteri, amenorrhoea, and cancer of mammae.
Rhus looked out one day and saw his neighbor Apis sitting on the porch in a chair, swollen from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. There was dropsy everywhere, his arms, abdomen, feet, legs, had all been attacked. The skin had burst on the legs in several places and water was oozing from them. it was impossible for him to lie down. Rhus remembered the time when he too had dropsy, but he was so bad that he was obliged to stay in the house propped up in bed. “Apis certainly couldn’t be very ill if he could be out in the open air.” Unfortunately for rhus’ prognosis, Apis had an organic heart and compensation had given out, so all that could be done for Apis was to relieve his sufferings while he lived and give him euthanasy.
Rhus did not long survive him; for some unexplained reason, smallpox developed. The eruptions turned livid, there was burning fever, burning thirst, lips and teeth covered with tenacious brown mucus suppressed urine, diarrhoea with dark bloody stool and great prostration. For once Rhus has followed Apis and no one knows if they agree.