A short time ago while glancing over some medical journals I found, without now being able to remember where, the question “what should be done in the above mental derangement?” It can only be answered by experience; but to wait until a remedy produces the above symptom under its provings, and then again to wait for its confirmation, is not answering the question. In this case, as in other cases, where the prominent symptom is not yet to be found among the provings, we must choose a remedy in accordance with all other symptoms, or if that is not sufficient we must generalize the symptoms of the special fear; for instance, fear of imaginary threatening evil; but this belongs to the a, b, c of prescribing, and every body knows it. Again the remedy might be found by resorting to other symptoms as the “dreams of dogs,” “fear of dogs in his dreams,” or other shrewd artifices. Two complete and permanent cures, both effected after the disease had existed for years, are worth relating, notwithstanding that the first inducement for this relation reminds one of the well-known story of the painter; an artist who had endeavored in vain to paint the foam at the mouth of a horse so as to satisfy the connoisseur, finally, irritated and out of patience, took the sponge which he had repeatedly used for wiping off the paint, and dashed it against the picture. Behold, there was the foam!
A patient, who belonged to the class of “tormentors,” complained, besides innumerable other symptoms, of a fear of being “syphilitic,” but contended that he must have become so in an extraordinary way, etc. After he had been compelled to acknowledge that he was decidedly better in every respect, he still continued to be haunted by this fear; he demanded a remedy which would show whether any portion of that disease remained in his system. I gave him Syphilin30 (Lappe), which had just been received as something new, principally to find out whether it would produce any new symptoms. He thought he experienced some, but they were too trifling to be noted. His tormenting fear however grew less and then ceased entirely. With a vial of this medicine in his pocket he took leave and has not been seen since.
A few years later the father of one of my students told me, under the seal of the greatest secrecy, that he feared that his son would show symptoms of syphilis as a paternal inheritance, although he, the father, had never known any other woman than his wife, the mother of his son. The son was the picture of health, and very likely it was this fear which induced the father to urge the son to study medicine. I gave the father Syphilin, told him it would cure him, which it did.
Of course it will be understood that these two cases prove nothing; and they are only related because they induced me to give Hydrophobin for the fear of hydrophobia, in cases where persons had not been bitten by a mad dog or had hot been bitten at all, a fear which imbittered the life of the well known poet Raymond.
A rich and influential merchant of Philadelphia, after having especially demanded a confidential interview, related that he was mentally diseased; for years, he said, he had been tormented by the idea that he might be attacked with hydrophobia. He could not recollect ever having been bitten by a dog, not even by a healthy dog, but certainly never by a sick or a mad dog. His reason compelled him to understand, that he had no right to have this fear, but notwithstanding his reasoning he could not rid himself of it; he was not afraid of dogs, but he disliked to see them because their sight renewed his fear; he did not dream of dogs but he passed most of his nights sleeplessly walking up and down in despair. “I feel,” he said, “that I cannot physically endure this much longer, and I shall be compelled to go into an Insane Asylum, my imagination alone is sufficient to cause the disease I so much dread.” In answer to the question, whether he had seen any one suffering from this disease, he said, “no; but I have read about it until my physician interdicted it and my wife with tears in her eyes begged me to read no more on this subject. But that is of no use,” said he, “can you do anything for me.”
“That I do not know,” was my answer, “it may be!” His physician was one of our local celebrities, one of those block-heads who think that Homoeopathy cures through imagination; therefore I told the patient, intentionally, that cases of this kind were of very rare occurrence, and that nothing could be promised with certainty, that he should continue for some time to take homoeopathic remedies, having tried the ordinary mode of cure long enough, and knowing that by that he could not be cured at all. I gave him Hydrophobin30 (Lappe), and he went away without encouragement. This cruelty was indispensably necessary, as the patient confessed, he had no faith in Homoeopathy, and I had told him, “faith was not at all requisite.” The man would never have submitted to a continued treatment. It would have been labor lost to try to investigate the case fully, and I could therefore only make an experiment. Nothing entitled me to choose this remedy, as there was no connection between the salt in the saliva of a mad dog dissolved in alcohol and the brain of this mentally diseased person, who only imagined that he might be attacked by a disease which sometimes attacks persons bitten by a mad dog where the saliva becomes mixed with the blood. The provings on the healthy have shown that it produces certain effects, among which is the symptom of “tormenting fear of a threatened evil.” In the above related doubtful cures with Syphilin for the fear of syphilis, analogy decided the choice! Analogy, “the mother of so many errors,” was to be justified; the cases with Syphilin, which might easily be doubted and controverted, were to be confirmed by facts which cannot so easily be thrown aside. A week later, the gentleman returned and said, “I feel quite well, the torment I have suffered for years has left me. The first powder (the one which contained the medicine) I felt through the whole body; while taking the others I recovered entirely. Why did you not tell me this?” “Because I did not know it, could not know it,” was my answer. “Am I now cured? and for ever?” “That I do not know; very likely not; but should your disease return, you may call again. Did your small powders produce this effect?” Why not? they do still more. He asked for another package and received something innocent. He asked how he should regulate his mode of life, and was answered, “as he had not been requested to make any changes during the last week, he need certainly not make any now.” This happened twenty years ago, and he has not been seen since. While no inference can be drawn from this one case, the following is of much more importance.
A respectable physician from the neighborhood of Philadelphia, Dr. R, C. S., brought me a patient on account of the peculiarity of the case — he was what people generally call a very nervous man. He related verbally, and, as we were frequently interrupted, at my request, in writing, the following:
Two years ago he visited a friend in the evening; a small dog came running out of the house and bit him in the right calf, without causing a wound or even a visible impression. The little dog was healthy and remained so. For six weeks the patient felt a continued pain in that spot, later only now and then; sometimes the pain came when he was not thinking of it at all, lately it became much worse and quite severe. It was a burning pain, precisely on the spot where he was bitten by the dog, from thence it extended over the whole body, and he felt very strangely. During the night it changed into a trembling, he is full of fear, this fear consists in the painful conviction that hydrophobia was attacking him, nevertheless he felt very thirsty and had no aversion to drink, but, on the contrary, drank large quantities of water. Yesterday, at ten, a.m., he began to spit a great deal, which continued all day till supper, could take no nourishment, could not remain at the table, drank some strong tea, after which salivation discontinued until eight, p.m., and then commenced again. During the night he slept little, was disturbed by disagreeable disconnected dreams, felt “strangely.” This morning when he came to Philadelphia he had eaten nothing, had a continual trembling sensation through the whole body. Mental emotion always makes him worse. The burning sensation on the above mentioned place had been relieved by hot steam striking against it; Arsenicum had been given previously. Since the bite, two years ago, he is afraid of dogs. Night before last and since then he has a pricking sensation under the tongue. This is all I could ascertain. I gave Hydrophobin200 (Jenichen), a few pellets on his tongue; this was on the 27th of January, in the forenoon. The pricking under the tongue at once became more perceptible. A letter from his physician, who was, as well as the patient, not informed what medicine I had given, stated on the 1st of February, while traveling home the pricking pain under the tongue and the pain in the right eg became less severe, the salivation was also diminished. The day following he felt worse without the frequent spitting; the next day the improvement began again and continued. On the third day the salivation returned, it was supposed because he had not eaten his meals at the regular times. On the same day he felt pain in his foot, similar to a rheumatic pain his brother complained of. On the 1st of March he came to Philadelphia on his way to the West. All his symptoms of two years standing as well as the later ones had disappeared. He could eat as formerly, he spit but little, the pricking under the tongue had ceased and also the hurtling, and all the other morbid sensations through the whole body. He has now a pain in the sole of the right foot extending up to the ankle; great weakness in the back as if it would split and fall a part. I gave him, in case that the burning pain should return, a higher potency of the same remedy.
Among the symptoms of this case some were similar to those produced on the healthy by the same remedy, especially the frequent spitting which is very characteristic, but scarcely would this alone have induced me to give it, had I not had the experience of the former case.
In this manner weak rods may become strong staves by augmentation. Should similar cases confirm the above, then we could add this missing symptom with certainty to our Materia Medica. There are a great many symptoms which we can never expect to produce by our provings, the only way to learn how to cure these, is by experience with the sick.
NOTE BY DR. LIPPE. — Analogy, “the mother of so many errors,” is at times the only means by which we can cover symptoms, which by their nature are not even to be observed on the healthy prover; and to justify this occasional mode of ascertaining the curative remedy, I here state a certain cure by Hydrophobin.
After treating him for ten days, relieving him at times for a day or so, he stated a new symptom which he had not spoken of, as he thought it of no importance. He had several striking symptoms. The attacks were worse at night, the straining to evacuate caused a violent pain in the small of the back and in the rectum, compelling him afterwards to walk about, although weak; he could neither lie down nor stand up for any length of time.The desire to stool was immediately caused when he heard or saw the running of water. On the morning on which he stated this one characteristic symptom, he related that after one of those evacuations of bloody mucus and after the diminution of the pain he sat down at his open front chamber window, all at once the large street water plug was opened to cleanse the streets, and as soon as he noticed the water running down the gutter in front of his house, he was seized with violent pains and had to go at once to the water-closet. When, in the morning, a member of the family poured out some water from the pitcher into the wash-basin, this same pain and desire to stool returned; he then recollected that this had been of frequent occurrence before, but he had not believed that the seeing and hearing of the running of water could have had any effect on his disease, but was now at least willing to state the facts and ask the question. It further appeared that he had not been drinking any water for some time, he had occasionally taken some hot tea.
Carefully selected remedies had given only short relief, and this one very characteristic symptom had not been recorded in the Materia Medica, and would probably never be experienced by healthy provers. By analogy alone I gave the patient a few pellets of Hydrophobin200 (Jenichen) on the tongue. The improvement was rapid and permanent. The disease had now lasted almost six weeks and five days, after this single dose of Hydrophobin was taken he was dismissed as cured.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 04 No. 11, 1864, pages 481-487
|The Morbid Fear of Hydrophobia.
|errors only; interlinks; formatting