By Dr. Sieffert, Paris.
I. Whooping Cough.
A prophet is not without honor save in his own country. This saying was also verified a short time back with the children of our janitor. Both of these, a little daughter, of five years of age, and a little son, three years of age, were seized with whooping cough.
Of course, the parents did not think of consulting the physician, whose advice they could get without expense, but his wife consulted with the neighbors’ wives, and thus gradually all the domestic remedies at their disposal were put in use. But none of them proved of any use. The attacks became ever more frequent and more violent, occurring, at last, eighteen times a day.
The consulting wives, therefore, concluded to send the children to the country. Finally the janitor, probably. Merely from courtesy, thought of also asking my opinion. I opposed the idea of sending them to the country, and offered to treat the children homoeopathically. The janitor and his wife accepted my offer; after I had promised them of furnish the remedies gratis. Their agreement to my proposition, probably, was only due to their fear of displeasing me; for, secretly, the janitor’s wife said to our servant girl: “What can the Doctor expect to do with his watery solutions? I shall let him try for a week then if you are no better I will send them to the country. A change of air is to be preferred to all medicines.”
I prescribed Drosera 6., six drops for every child every day On the fourth day of the treatment their case was considerably improved; the attacks had diminished in frequence to twelve a day, and at the end of the week they had diminished to six times a day. With the boy the improvement continued without interruption. I diminished his dose to four drops a day, and at last to two drops a day. But with the girl there appeared after every transient improvement, vomiting and epistaxis. In two days this was stayed by means of Ipecacuonha, when I came back to Drosera. At present, after treating them for three weeks. The whooping cough, with both the little patients, has been quite assuaged. Now and then one attacks a day, and none since the day before yesterday. So at last I succeeded in gaining the respect of the janitor and his wife.
II. Congestion of Liver.
A spinster, of thirty years of age, somewhat corpulent, and living a sedentary life, whom I had treated a few years ago for appendicitis, felt somewhat unwell. Loss of appetite, coated tongue, a dull headache, torpid stool, pains in the abdomen. The patient at once was afraid of another siege of appendicitis. But an examination showed no symptoms in the region of the appendix, nor was there any fever. Still I found a slight in duration, on the lower border of the liver, which did not cause me any astonishment, as the patient had always, I might say, by inheritance, been suffering from a sensitiveness of the liver.
To regulate the stool, I prescribed lukewarm clysters, internally, Nux vomica 3., six drops a day. This caused an improvement in the coating of the tongue, and the stool proceeded regularly. But the in duration of the liver and its sensitiveness would not yield, though the appetite had come back. I advised a strict diet, and gave Mercurius dulcis, first decimal trituration, five doses of one decigram each, five times and a day, for two days in succession. A copious micturition followed on this treatment. The border of the liver now felt soft to the touch, and was not swollen any more. The liver returned to its normal position and at the end of the week everything was again normal without the use of any other medicine.
III. Slight Glandular Swelling.
While I was treating the young lady mentioned above, her mother, while out walking, had stepped into a large shoe-nail, which had passed at the same time through the sole of her shoe, the stocking and the sole of her foot. There was, of course, no considerable wound; it merely looked like the prick of a large pin.
The patient at first did not mind the wound at all and quietly attended to her business. But after a few days, the food became painful, somewhat heavy, without being swollen, and was very painful when she stepped on it. When examined, there appeared a slight swelling, as large as a walnut, i.e., a small gland was inflamed.
I warned the patient to give her limb rest, in order that no abscess might form, daily, a lukewarm foot-bath, and internally, Silicea 6., two drops morning and evening. In a week all the symptoms had disappeared.
IV. Long Continued chronic Acute Congestion of the Liver.
A man seventy years of age, who in his youth, had suffered from syphilis, and later from articular rheumatism, came to my office a few months ago and complained of jaundice. The patient had passed thorugh several such attacks, and since, in some of these attacks renal colic had appeared, he was afraid of a similar painful contingency at this time. An examination showed nothing striking; there was no trace of syphilis. The border of the liver was only slightly swollen and somewhat indurated. The patient stated that he was sensitive to medicines and desired to be treated with higher potencies. So I prescribed Nux vomica 12., and in a few days all morbid symptoms seemed actually to have disappeared.
Three weeks later, however, the patient called me in. The jaundice had returned, more violent than before. The skin of the whole body was a dark yellow. The tongue was coated thickly with a yellow coating. Not much fever. Obstinate constipation. The border of the liver was thick and swollen hard; the region of the liver, especially the gall bladder, was extremely sensitive to the touch. Daily clysters promoted the stools. In ternally, I prescribed Podophyllum 6, two drops, four times a day. On this his condition showed improvement, without a complete removal of the trouble.
One morning I found without any other warning, that the pulse was much retarded and diminished in volume, the micturition reduced to one-half. What had occurred? There was no question that the circulation had been seriously disturbed, the more as on examining the heart I found an extremely violent mitral sound. Of course, the liver was again thick, and swollen hard. A syphilitic phenomenon was excluded, but a rheumaic influence might be considered. But on scanning this cause more closely, I also gave up this supposition and explained the phenomenon – correctly, as the event proved – in the following manner:
The circulation is a closed circle, in which various obstructions have to be surmounted. If one of these obstructions is difficult to surmount, this difficulty reacts on the whole circulation. In the case in question all the circumstances seemed to begin with the liver. The lower vena cava, which returns to the heart all the venous blood of the abdomen and lower limbs, was compressed by the swollen liver. The venous change which takes place in the capillaries thereby became more difficult, and this produced an increased tension in the large arterial vessels, causing a mitral insufficiency and, in consequence, an enlargement of the left ventricle. The mitral insufficiency again was able to produce an obstruction in the pulmonary circulation, and by means of a like process (an increase in the tension, enlargement of the ventricle and insufficiency in the valves), an insufficiency in the tricuspidal valve. In this manner I explained the sound disappeared with the removal of the lesion of the liver. This process we may assume all the more readily, as every insufficiency of the liver may be attended with the resorption of toxins causing a weakening of the muscle of the heart.
Now as to the treatment: In spite of the preference of the patient for minimal doses, I made use of Mercurius dulcis in pretty massive doses, and the pulse was somewhat accelerated and more vigorous next day, the sound of the heart was no more violent, and the excretion of urine was essentially increased. I then waited for a few days and repeated the Mercurius dulcis, and all the threatening symptoms gradually disappeared, and a full cure was affected. A few doses of Nux vomica removed the last vestiges of the disease.
The whole treatment had lasted five weeks and the patient is at present in the full enjoyment of his health.
V. Inflammation of the Testicle
A syphilitical patient whom I have been treating for some time on account of tertiary symptoms of his disease, appeared in my office lately and complained of the extremely painful inflammation of the right testicle, which was swollen hard; this was attended with violent fever.
I naturally enough thought of a malignant phenomenon. But when I examined the patient more closely, I found out that he had a few years ago been afflicted with gonorrhoea; but as he supposed that this had been cured, as he had only slight symptoms of it left, he had not thought it necessary to call my attention to it. This made the case clear. Compresses according to Priesnitz, rest in bed, and some doses of Clematis erecta 6. In six days cured the case completely.