The readiest method of distinguishing between these fits, especially for a non-professional person, is to note the breathing. In Hysteria the breathing is spasmodic; the air is inhaled between the sobs of the patient.
In Epilepsy it is drawn in violently, in gasps which occasion its inhalation to be accompanied by a long hissing sound.
In Apoplexy the fauces become flaccid, and the breath is inspired with an audible effort, making a puffing noise, or being what, in medical phraseology, is termed “stertorous”.
I need not dilate on the cruel measures adopted by the professors of old medicine for the supposed relief of those complaints. It is sufficient that I record here my condemnation; and to convince the reader that my opinions are well grounded, I may merely state that one Allopathic physician is recorded to have extracted two pounds and a half of blood from a lady on the eve of delivery; while another well-known practitioner is actually said to have withdrawn four pounds and a half of the same vital fluid from a female in the like condition. Besides this, the application of leeches and cupping-glasses; the administration of the most powerful of drastic purgatives, such as “croton oil”; add to these the application of counter- irritants to the back of the neck, chest, and legs, constitute the scientific treatment of the so-called “orthodox” practitioner.
Were I to follow these examples, I should anticipate a lodging in the Old Bailey. Many a man had his rest broken early in the above establishment, who far less merited his fate than the gentleman who took advantage of his professional status, to tamper so cruelly with the life that was entrusted to his care.
A medical man must necessarily enjoy the confidence of his patients. That such confidence may be complete, it behaves him to use the power granted with manly and gentle forbearance.
But what ideas must those individuals entertain of their medical responsibilities, who could remorselessly experiment with life, when the condition they were contemplating appealed loudly to their generosity as men, and their feelings as fellow-mortals subject to the common ills of life.
I make no mention here of the profession they disgrace. I put entirely upon one side all social ties and moral obligations; and I only ask the practitioners here alluded to, how they could imagine a female, whose strength had been tottering for months, and the greater portion of whose vitality (as it were ) had been directed to another channel- to vitalise and nourish the babe that lay nestling in her womb-could endure so savage a depletion, and nevertheless retain sufficient vital energy which could alone deliver her of her burden.
In opposition to that treatment upon which I have been commenting, Homoeopathy deals in no such coarse and barbarous measures. This doctrine admits of no experiments with the existence of its patients. It avoids all cruelty, and relies upon the agents within its hands, mind or insignificant as those may appear, for the relief of those ailments submitted to its treatment.
For Hysteria, it administers such remedies as Aconite, Cocculus, Ignatia, Moschus, Nux Vomica, Platina, or Valerian.
For Epilepsy, Agaricus, Belladonna, Causticum, Cicuta V., Cuprum, or Hyoscyamus.
For Apoplexy, Aconite, Belladonna, Cocculus, Lachesis, Nux Vomica, or Opium.