TWO CURIOUS CASES
In the latter part of November, 1887, I was called to visit a Mrs. – When I entered her room she was sitting on the side of the bed. I said good morning to her, but got no reply except a mild stare. I asked her general questions, but got no answer; then her husband entered the room, and in answer to my question as to shy she did not talk he said: “She has not spoken to any of us this morning, and we do not know what ails her, nor has she eaten any breakfast.” “How was she yesterday and last night?” “All right.” Inquired about her bowels and urine. The former was regular, but had not passed urine since some time the day before. I examined heart, lungs, liver and kidneys, and found them all normal; but her menses which should have appeared several days previous were still delayed.
So I concluded here was the cause of the whole phenomenon, and I prescribed Stramonium for the Urine, and Aconite for the other condition, because she was pale and had an anxious, nervous look. I prescribed both remedies in the ethired dilution, in water, dose every half hour alternately.
The next day when I called she was occupying the same position. When I entered I said good morning, Mrs – ; but still no reply. On inquiry, learned her urine had passed freely; aside from that she was apparently the same. While I was in the room her father who had been sent for arrived and entered; the instant she saw him, she exclaimed in a stentorian voice, “There’s my father!” and flushed, but the flush disappeared suddenly. Those were the only words spoken by her, although he asked her several questions. When I got ready to depart, the father informed me that he would take her home with him, saying that he knew what ailed her and he could cure her: that it was all due to he sickness stopping, and he had cured her mother once of the same trouble. Well, I said you are going to strike a snag this time, because she will not talk or eat or take the medicine, for I learned she had only gotten two doses of what I had left the previous day. Asked him what he would cure her with, and he replied, “penny royal.” I told him he was going to make a great mistake, as the trouble was deeper than he could see. Well, he took her home with him. And I neither saw nor heard of the case again until January 23d, when her husband came to my office to engage me to attend to her again, and gave me in few words the results of the father’s treatment. He succeeded in getting one small dose of the drug into her with no results. Finally a physician (old school) was called, but as she would not talk he could find out nothing except what was told him by the husband and father.
The doctor prescribed opium in pills, simply to keep her quiet, which was very unnecessary, as she was altogether too much so in every respect.
During all the time she had been away, or from November 28th until January 23d, nothing had passed her lips in form of nourishment except a drink of water and one soft boiled egg. Her appearance, as I saw her this time, testified to the truth of his assertion, for she appeared to be about as near to skin and bone as she could get; her eyes were bloodshot; cheeks scarlet, but circumscribed; skin of face a dry, dirty, dead color and scaling off; pupils slightly contracted; pulse quite full and hard. I asked her several questions, but got no replies. Her sister stated that bowels were moving, and urine was passing regularly, but her menses had never appeared. Belladonna and Stramonium 3d dilution, in water, a teaspoonful every hour; but regularity in giving her medicine was out of the question, for the only way a dose could be given to her was to add a teaspoonful to a tumbler of water out of her sight, then go in and ask her if she would like a drink. When i called the following day I was informed that she had gotten just one dose from each glass. At this call I left the medicine in a couple of vials I had with me, and had them put three or four drops in everything they offered her to eat or drink, but as she would eat nothing except a piece of an orange once every few days it caused very slow progress. After the fourth day the pupils began to dilate-considerably, but otherwise I saw no change, so I changed the Stramonium to Gelsemium 3d dilution. This was continued with the Belladonna all through February with no apparent change.
The time for her periods had come and gone, she was taking no nourishment, was growing more and more emaciated, the skin of her face was literally drying up and falling off in dry scales. On two occasions she had raved during the night a little, and scratched her husband’s face quite severely. Her bowels and urine were passed in the bed unless she was gotten up and looked after; on this account they dressed and seated her in an easy rocker every morning. The only time she spoke up to this time was when her sister said to he she was going to go home and leave her; then she began to cry and simply said, “Don’t leave me,” but that was all.
One day, about the third week in February, she jumped out of bed and ran out near the barn where her husband happened to be talking to his landlord; he caught her and carried her back into the house and afterwards kept a closer watch over her. Along the first of March I thought another remedy might do her more good than what I was giving, so I gave Arsenicum 200th with the Belladonna. She was getting so few doses of either that it was impossible to see any results. After a few days I felt I had made a mistake; so changed back again to Gelsemium and continued as before. A few days after this while I was sitting beside her bed the morning was bright and warm and her little girls, the older coming three years old, were playing on the porch, the door was open and she made quite a noise with a little express wagon which must have annoyed or caused her head to pain for she said, “They’d better stop!” I asked her if the noise hurt her head: she made no reply, the noise continued and pretty soon she again said, and more determinedly, “They’d better stop!” I called Mr.- and he caused them to be quiet, and no more was said, but it caused me to feel more secure in my prescription.
March passed away and still no objective signs of improvement were apparent. If she were sitting up, as she most always was, and I raised her arm to count the pulse, after leaving her the arm would remain elevated while her eyes would follow me around the room and finally fall of its own weight from apparent exhaustion. For some reason or other I felt sure she would get well and told her husband so at the beginning, but a number of persons thought differently and assured me that I should have her put in and asylum. I always told them that if she were put away she would die; besides, her husband did not wish it, and would keep her from doing any person harm. About the middle of April I was greeted, when I called, with the news that she had become unwell, but it was merely a slight show; still it was worth a great deal to us all for immediately afterwards she began to take a little proffered nourishment.
About two weeks later she was lying in bed and her children were playing beside the bed and grabbed the baby, eight months old, by the hair of the head, swung it around and threw it under the bed just as the sister arrived to learn what was causing the baby to scream so loud. The older girl had already crawled out of danger. Mrs. – got back in bed, but offered no explanation as to the cause. With the increase of nourishment there was given an increased number of doses of medicine and the middle of may showed her quite improved; her sickness appeared and lasted three days; with it came an increase in the desire for food; the redness left the eyes and face; she began to ask for what she desired, etc. Improvement came rapidly. The same remedies were continued every two hours alternately; until she changed again in June. I did not see her after the May change until she came to my office, accompanied by her sister, on the twenty-fourth day of June perfectly cured, and to my question as to how she was feeling, said she never felt better in her life. While there she described to my wife the kind and color of a fancy shawl she wore when down with me on one of my visits to see her. The above visit was made when she was at her worst stage, the last of February. She also spoke of other things that occurred and said she did not know why she didn’t talk. The remedies mentioned were the only medicines she received.
I had never seen this patient until called to treat her. And she had never seen or spoken to me until after she was cured. I visited her every second day, twice a week and later once a week in May. After the medicine was sent for once or twice a week.
Note: The difference here between the two schools. The allopath would give Opium and let her die easy. The Homoeopaths seeks the cause, removes it and the patient lives.
Mrs. S., a large lady weighing two hundred and sixty pounds, was taken one Sunday morning, with hysterical spasms of laughing and crying alternately; these continued and as the day wore on she became worse. About 4 P.M. I was sent for, but was out on my afternoon calls. The call came again. But I was still out. The messenger came the third time, and as I had not returned he stopped for Doctor W – on his way home. I arrived shortly after this last call, and as soon as I learned of the urgent call I immediately started for the house. When I arrived I found Doctor W – already there and very busy making a mustard plaster. I asked him what seemed to be the trouble, he said he didn’t know; she, meaning Mrs. S., was laughing and couldn’t stop. “I was going to put this over her stomach, and when it gets burning good and hard it will direct her mind and stop her d- laughing; but now you have come and as it’s your patient, I will go home and let you have charge.” I urged him to go ahead and apply his poultice, at the same time adding that I had never attended the person before, but he withdrew, got his dollar, and left.
Mustard poultices don’t figure in my line, so I concluded to try and find out the cause. So, between the ha, ha, ha’s and the sobs I learned she had not passed urine since the Saturday previous and only once then. Without more ado I gave her a dose of Stramonium 3d, and repeated it again in less than five minutes, and gave her the third dose again in five minutes.
Almost immediately after taking the third dose she stopped laughing and said she would like to urinate; this she did, and passed between a half pint and a pint; shortly after she used the vessel again with better success. The laughing and crying all stopped after this second voiding of urine, so I gave her the remedy in water, a teaspoonful every half hour. Saw her again the next morning, when I found she had passed nearly a gallon and a half of water and was all right again.
This is another good illustration of the workings of the two schools and proves the necessity of seeking the cause.
E.D. Fanning, M.D.