WITH the student of Homoeopathic Medical Literature, there is no want more keenly felt than such as might be abundantly supplied by a punctual and practical rendering of the Transactions of our various medical organizations. The tyro in medicine seeks for such information as among its classics; and the tried practitioner not less, that he may sift the sweets of a multiplied experience to corroborate his own, to his individual edification, and to the practical advantage of his patients.
As a slight contribution to this department of our literature, we propose to furnish a monthly abstract of the proceedings of, and of the papers read before, The Chicago Homoeopathic Medical Society, to be published in the succeeding issues of the REVIEW.
I.-The first paper claiming notice is from the pen of Dr. G. E. Shipman, being his report as a Special Committee upon the question “Are applications of cold or warm water preferable in Acute Hydrocephalus?” We copy :
“The story of a certain Prince of Wales and his query to the Royal Society is a good if not a true one; and I might find myself in the position of the Royal Society should I attempt to settle the question proposed to-night without establishing the truth that either cold or warm water is useful when externally applied in case of Acute Hydrocephalus. As for my own opinion, my experience in this disease, previous to the last meeting, has not been sufficient to enable me to decide positively that either cold or warm applications are decidedly useful, and since the same meeting I am still unable to satisfy myself upon the subject.
“The few writers whom I have been able to consult do not settle the question at all. TESTE denies the virtue of either cold or warm applications, while PULTE says that the water must be in a stream poured constantly upon the head for hours together. In the cases under Homoeopathic treatment, published prior to 1837, little or no mention is made of water by any of the writers. To come to more recent times, the only case which I remember to have seen, in which water was a prominent part of the treatment, was a case reported by Dr. FOOTE of Galesburg, III., and published in the North-Western Journal of Homoeopathy, vol. 4, p. 144. He used hot water, but this suggests another inquiry, What is hot and what is cold water? and this again another: What is the difference between very hot and very cold water? or, to be more exact, Wherein would the effect of water, at a temperature of 200° Fahrenheit, when applied to the skin, differ from that of water at a temperature of 30° below zero?” The sense of feeling would not discriminate between them-both would alike disorganize the tissues.
“There is still another inquiry which is quite pertinent. Granting that water, either hot or cold, is useful in the treatment of Hydrocephalus-How does it act? By constringing the capillaries, and thus driving the blood from the surface? If so, How far can water drive the blood from the capillaries and where does it drive the blood to? Is it any better for the patient to have the blood where it is driven to than where it was driven from? Or, is water of use by promoting evaporation from the capillaries, and thus relieving them of their turgidity, and hence diminishing the pressure on the parts? But, if evaporation from the capillaries does take place, is it not the watery part of the blood which evaporates, leaving the residuum more dense than ever- hence the capillaries more clogged-hence the pressure on the parts greater than before?”
Dr. SEYMOUR.-The benefit of water locally, warm or cold, must come from or by evaporation. With warm spongings, this process is greatly facilitated, and made to be a better means than the use of cold.
“Let us look, for example, at the preparation of gunpowder.*[Vide Meyer's Artillery-Technik] Three Ingredients-sulphur, saltpetre and charcoal, are mixed during three hours. In that condition it has the power of throwing a ball to a distance. If mixed and rubbed during four hours, the power thereof is much greater; and, after five hours rubbing, still greater; but if it has been rubbed six hours, the powder has attained its highest degree of explosiveness, and is too dangerous to use for pieces of ordnance. But, from this point, upward, viz.: the seventh, eighth and ninth hourly preparation of gunpowder, its power diminishes in the same degree as it was augmented from the third hourly preparation upward.
(a.) “A lady, suffering under the combined effects of Quinine and Intermittent Fever, lost her patience with the old-school system, and called in an old and experienced Homoeopathic physician, who treated her for several months with the infinitesimals, but with no good result. She finally sank so low that her life was despaired of, at which stage I was called in. I found her unable to sit up, with yellow complexion and no appetite; vomiting occurred every morning, and, when I saw her, she vomited large pieces of fried ham (her physician allowed her anything she liked to eat). Ipecac had been tried in small doses. I gave her at once drop-doses of the Mother Tincture of Ipecac. On the following day she had only a slight attack of vomiting, and on the next no such thing occurred. I now prescribed a generous diet, and, in about two weeks more, she was able to take short walks out of doors. In consideration of her symptoms and of the quantity of Quinine formerly taken, was I not justified in employing larger doses where the smaller ones had entirely failed?
(b.) Another case occurred, in a person afflicted with Neuralgia facialis and tooth-ache; brought on by cold. Before coming to me, he consulted several Allopathic physicians, who blistered him, dosed him. etc. He, however, grew rapidly worse, and finally sought my advice. I let him smell the Tincture of Chamomilla vulgaris, on the afflicted side, and, in about a minute, he felt relieved. Another inhalation entirely cured him from his trouble, which had lasted about a week, and was very troublesome and severe. I had found Cham., in similar cases of tooth-ache, aggravated by cold wind or weather, always quickly beneficial. Would an olfaction of the decillionth of this remedy have the same result as of the tincture?
Mr. O. B-, aet. 48, with light blue eyes, red hair, spare, wiry frame and nervous temperament, has been the subject of one of the multifarious forms of Dyspepsia for more than two years, and incapable of pursuing his business for that length of time. He is a shoe-maker by trade; never worked much on the bench; was generally employed in cutting and superintending in his establishment.
Symptoms, April 15, 1857.-Appetite good; light brown and yellow coat on the tongue, which is moist, nasty, sometimes with bitter taste in the morning. Tenderness on pressure at cardiac end of the stomach, extending quite down under the short ribs on the left side in the direction of the colon. Bowels habitually costive and as habitually moved by what he supposes to be Vegetable Cathartic pills, followed invariably, the second day after, by head-ache. Stools dark-colored, dry and hard. Slight, dull, dragging, heavy pain at times in right hypochondrium. Hypochondriasis. Skin dry and cold-especially of hands and feet. Pulse 72, rather languid but in other respects normal.
Treatment. -Prescribed Nux Vomica 6 every other night, to be followed by Sul. 6 the following morning. He is to take such exercise in the open air as his strength and the weather will permit. Dry friction to the trunk and extremities for five minutes every morning, while the weather continues cool, and to substitute lukewarm or cold sponge-bathing with brisk rubbing when the weather becomes sufficiently warm to make the change.
July 11th. Patient complains of more head-ache recently-such as formerly followed his Allopathic cathartics-than for two-and-a-half months, or even since the Homoeopathic treatment was commenced. Same medicine.
18th. Patient has violent head-ache, accompanied with pains in the back and limbs, slight chills and feverishness. Pulse but little accelerated. A dose of Aconite 6 repeated in three hours, entirely relieved him.
Aug. 20th. Looks bright, and is apparently quite well. Is afraid of cold water externally and internally, although he has worn quite faithfully, since the weather became warm, a swathe of crash (two thicknesses), wet around the bowels and chest. Bowels, bladder, and, in short, all the abdominal organs are getting into quite a normal condition.
29th. Less free in the bowels for the past week, in consequence of using more flour bread and less fresh vegetables and fruit for several weeks past. Ordered coarser bread, less meat and more vegetable diet. Nux vom. 6 every other night soon restored the functions of the stomach and bowels to a better state than for many years.
The patient tells me he has not gone through a week for fifteen or twenty years without taking Calomel, Rhubarb, or Vegetable Cathartic Pills, until the adoption of the Homoeopathic treatment. Nux vom. has appeared to effect more than any other remedy in this very obstinate case.
May, 1858. From the last date, Aug. 29th, 1857, this patient has been improving; for the most part without medicine; but with care in regard to regimen and exercise, until his weight has increased fifteen pounds above that of the last three years, while his strength, countenance and spirits are of course much improved.
J. E. A-, merchant, act. 36, of sanguino-bilious temperament, sent for me at 5 A. M. on Jan. 25th, 1858. Found him suffering from an attack of Gastralgia supervening upon perfect health and accompanied by nausea with occasional vomiting. An excruciating pain in the Scrobiculus Cordis, twisting, wrenching, “as if the parts were in a vice,” shooting occasionally into the abdomen. No constitutional disturbance; nothing to complain of save the severity of the pains. No chill, neither fever. Prescribed Nux vom 2; once in half an hour, until the paroxysm subsides. Cloths dipped in warm water to be repeatedly applied over the pain. 4 P. M.; saw my patient again; is perfectly easy and comfortable since 11 A. M; has a good appetite; desires hearty food. Continued same prescription with intervals of two hours. Ordered toast or crackers and tea but prescribed an animal diet.
Jan. 26th, second day. Messenger came for me at the same early hour. Mr. A- slept well until three this A. M., when he awoke with the same characteristic pain in his bowels. This paroxysm he describes as intermitting somewhat, the severest pain being located in and below the left hypogastrium. Has vomited but once; had two stools and feels much inclined to a repetition thereof; no thirst, head-ache, or fever; reports having had facial neuralgia badly five years since in the city of Boston. With that he lost his hearing upon the left side; feels very weak now, and is quite unnerved by the severity of the pain. Prescribed Veratrum alb. 2 and Colocynth 2, in alternation half-hourly, and substituted cold water compresses for the warm ones of yesterday. 4 P. M. An entire intermission; no apparent disease whatever; no more vomiting, neither diarrhea, since my former visit. Paroxysm Subsided at 10 A. M. Continued Verat. and Coloc. with longer intervals.
Jan. 27th, third day, 9 A. M; patient suffering again; slept well until 1 A. M., when he was awakened by a severe pain running from the old to a new locality. It is now seated in the left lumbar region, evidently involving the kidney on that side. He says it has become circumscribed to a spot the size of a silver dollar, and from this it follows the ureter by fits and starts, so as to occasion the most intense suffering. No retraction of the testicle. The right kidney is not affected. Passes wind too readily-when the pains come, it runs away incontinently almost. Left hypogastrium but slightly sore, while the epigastrium shows no remnant of the original attack. Pain now of shooting and spasmodic nature with occasional intervals of a few minutes. Ordered Belladonna 3 and Cantharis 3 in half-hourly alternation; warm water compresses over the seat of the pain, and enjoined perfect rest and quiet. 4 P. M. Paroxysm subsided as before; reports that, just previous to entire relief, he experienced one or two slight turns of strangury. Complains of a slight soreness, referable, doubtless, to the use of a voluntary sinapism by the nurse more than to any after or inflammatory symptoms remaining. Continue same prescription; to drink freely of a cold infusion of slippery-elm bark.
Jan. 38th, fourth day, 9 A. M; slept soundly and felt almost well on rising at 7, but, half an hour subsequently the pain returned. Is growing somewhat nervous from want of appetite since yesterday morning and the severity of the paroxysms. No thirst or other febrile symptoms; bowels costive; back pains him more than yesterday; pains run down into the testicle, and this organ if slightly retracted. Gave Nux vom. 2, until the afternoon.
4 P. M., Dr. S. SEYMOUR called with me; patient but recently grown easy of the pain; sitting up and feeling more of an appetite; grew comfortable at 11 A.M., but the pain returned at 1, continuing until 2 4-5 P. M; gave him Mercurius solub. 2 and Cantharis 2, alternating hourly during the paroxysm and every two hours in the interval. Continue the infusion of slippery elm.
“A robust-looking man, 22 years of age, with light hair, blue eyes, fair skin, rotund in every lineament, quick-spoken, athletic in movement, and apparently of excellent habits, a tradesman by occupation, came seventy miles to be treated for “fits, “which had made their first appearance a fortnight previous, in paroxysms occurring daily at a uniform hour, forewarning him of their approach by a sense of weakness and desire to sleep, which preceded the attack about fifteen minutes. The paroxysm began with instantaneous loss of consciousness, clonic spasms, emprosthotonos, subsultus, violent yet fruitless efforts to regain a standing position; head hot; superficial vessels injected with dark blood; frothing at the mouth, and the most ludicrous grimaces during the momentary relaxations, as if there were a very disagreeable taste in the mouth; entire inability to swallow, except at the moment of the relaxation, when he would gulp down a quart of water at five or six swallows, with swinish voracity; respiration rapid, each attended with a groan or noise expressive of intense suffering; profuse perspiration; abnormal viscera in “knots” seemingly the size of a cocoa-nut, as felt with the hand through the parietes. No evacuation of wind or faces during the paroxysm, which lasted, the first time I saw him, about two hours. Gave no medicine. Paroxysm had a decade of about one-fourth its period of duration, and left him in a quiet sleep which lasted one hour, when he arose, feeling “quite well,” except a alight sense of weakness and fatigue. Paroxysms are double-quotidian for the last five days, with eight hours' intermission; appetite good.
|The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 01 No. 02, 1858, pages 86-90
|TRANSACTIONS OF THE CHICAGO HOMOEOPATHIC MEDICAL SOCIETY.
|errors only; interlinks; formatting