It has been derisively said that the much vaunted “like” of the Homoeopath is an elastic bag into which you can cram any and everything. It is the use of the repertory in prescribing that is jeered, while it is only the miss-use of it that deserves the jeer.
If a child’s dissected map were made with one or more of its component pieces exactly duplicated, it could be so put together there being no piece left out that it would look as if it had been correctly done; but on reading the whole map it would be found that some pieces, although they were fitted-in exactly, were in the wrong places and that, therefore, the combination did not represent a true map.
In other words, the repertory must not be used mechanically, or what is the same in effect, too literally. There must be scope for a discerning interpretation, and every interpretation must be made “With Brains, Sir.”
There are certain conditions of the nervous system wherein the loss of sleep is exceedingly devastating. In Some instances the effects resemble those following a debauch, and in them Nux rom. Is exquisitely remedial; in others the havoc is even greater and Cacculus is curative. For this modality the literalist would look for a rubric phrased, “Aggravation from loss of sleep.” That is not to be found in the Therapeutic Pocket-Book, but. Hempel’s edition of Boenuuinghausen gives, “Aggravation from waking in the night” which is decidedly far- fetched while Allen more happily puts it. “Aggravation from going awake at night.” In either edition it is evident that a little interpretation must be done the differing phraseologies must be reduced to a common denominator.
Take another instance. Hempel gives. P. 536. “Aggravation in vaulted places (churches, cellars).” Allen, p. 305, rather unhappily renders it, “Aggravation. Vaults (cellars, etc.). It was more explicitly expressed as, “Aggravation in vaulted places (churches, crypts, cellars).” That is the modality literally; while, intrinsically it means, aggravation in, or from cold, damp places: those aetiological qualities being features of many European houses of worship, of crypts, and of too many cellars. The lady of high degree is ailing from being on her knees at mass in a grand mediaeval cathedral, and the beggar that limps at lire door is ailing froth sleeping in a slimy cellar; the external conditions are as wide apart as their respective fortunes, but the determining condition is the same for. Both. The democracy of flesh and blood is such that Natrum sulph. Will do as much for the beggar as for the crowned queen.
To return to the metaphor of the dissected map, the meaning of the piece, even more than its appropriate shape, must determine when it is in its right place. As knowledge of the geography of a country is to the knowledge of a correct map of it so is knowledge of disease to a knowledge of its essential symptoms; and this latter knowledge is, by the Homoeopathic physician, acquired far more from Therapeutics than from the mere clinical study of disease. Understand me: I say knowledge of its essential symptoms. I do not mean the contributions from the clinic, or the science of medicine and what the suffering fellow man wants is the warp and woof of thee art. This is the knowledge that enabled Boenninghausen to cure a tabes dorsal is with alumina and Dunham epilepsy with Silica. This is the knowledge that has preserved homoeopathic therapeutics from becoming “the withered branch” and seeking for the “healing of the nations” in the chemical bedevilments that are obtained from coal tar. Wondrous indeed are the sequences of old school Science. Antifebrin appears on the apothecaries shelves and thereafter “Heart failure” is epidemic. I believe that Sundry progressive” homoeopaths observed this sequence in their practice that they discerned the relationship of cause and effect does not appear, if we may judge from the advertisements which it “pays” to publish in homoeopathic journals.
It is contended that the proper use of a good repertory will quickest teach the student to discover the essential symptoms of a remedy, and it is farther contended that the proper knowledge of the remedy will quickest teach thee student to distinguish the essential symptoms of diseased conditions.
Let us take the case published in our first paper for a demonstration. In beginning our search for the remedy we will assume that each symptom of the case has an equal value, and if thee postulates that we have just expressed are tenable we shall find that Boenninghausen’s Therapeutic Pocket-Book will so differentiate values that the essential will be found in the highest rank.
Inasmuch as we start with the assumption that each symptom is of equal value, it follows that we are obliged to include all of them in our reportorial search for the remedy. This will add to our labor by giving us a larger list than would be needful if we were able to discriminate values; but we are supposed to be beginners, with the repertory.
IN AN ART PRESERVATIVE OF LIFE, NEGLIGENCE IN LEARNING IS A CRIME
[A copy should be given to every graduate to frame and hang under his diploma.]
Having “taken the case,” we will now employ one of Dr. Yingling’s Checking list to use with the repertory. The labor of using this valuable aid may be much abbreviated if the student can discern which symptoms of the case it was must be covered by the remedy. In tabulating the case it was assumed that each separate symptom was of equal value; but to go any farther on that basis would be to make the search for the remedy a much more complicated task than it need be. We will, then, mark on the checking list only the following remedies which I will call selects, and for which I will subsequently give the reason.
Here is the result, giving the list of remedies and the number of the symptoms of the
Alum. Ambr. Bar.c. Carb.v. Caust. Cham.
26 26 26 31 33 26
Chin. Ign. Phos. Phos.ac. Puls. Valer.
32 28 31 33 35 37
Valerian bears the palm for the numerical totality, and it is also the remedy that speedily cured the case. But if the repertory is used only in this manner it is indeed an uncertain guide and it will often lead and leave one in the mire.
It was said on a previous page that the proper use of a good repertory will quickest teach the student to discover the essentials of a remedy, and that the proper knowledge of the remedy will quickest teach him to distinguish the ESSENTIAL SYMPTOMS of diseased conditions.
The subjoined table will help to make this plain, as well as demonstrate not only the proper way to use the repertory, but the most fruitful manner in which to study THE HOMOEOPATHIC MATERIA MEDICA.
In this table are given the numerical list of the symptoms, and the relative value of each symptom in the remedy containing it.
And, my youngest reader, if you will work as earnestly that facility can be yours.
A reason was promised to explain our use of what we called selects. The said use is to allowably shorten the labor of finding the remedy, and the selects are go ten thus:
Tearing pain. S.8
Bruised pain, externally. S.11.
Calf. S. 17. Upper arm. S. 18.
Symptoms 19-22, 24, 26 and 28.
Symptoms 31, 35 and 37.
It will be observed that, with the single exception of Symptom 18, the symptoms noted are found in each of the “select.” We have, then, reduced our search to twelve remedies, and we have seen that if a Dunham included S. 17, he was obliged to use as many. Then, this method of select has reduced our labor to the minimum as far as concerns the number of thee remedies to be searched.
How shall we find out the necessary number of rubrics to search? The direction of the pain is certainly a feature in regard to which the patient would not be likely to be mistaken. Then S. 10 virtually reduces our search to only five remedies. Pain jumping about from places so remote and disconnected as the right calf and left arm would lead one to include S. 13 and 14. We are now limited to four remedies. Of these four, how many have the prominent aggravation after motion? Only two. [S.23] Our choice is reduced to Pulsatilla and valerian. In regard to such a polycrest as Pulsatilla he was a poor student of Mat. Med who did not know that it lacks cramp-like pains and the amelioration from rubbing. [Symptoms 6 and 27.] That leaves Valerian the remedy. We have used seventeen out of thirty-seven rubrics.
So much for the essentials in prescribing homoeopathically Now we turn to seek the clue to a “condensed” Materia Medica. It can be reached only through the clinic.
[As this paper is already long enough perhaps too long for some readers the “Clue” will be the subject of another article.]
[A copy of the statement of this case as given on pp.116-17 of the current volume was forwarded to Prof. T.F. Allen, through Messrs. Boericke & Tafel, and speedily they received the following.
SIXTY-THIRD STREET, AVENUE A,
NEW YORK, February 27, 1893.
Dr. T.F. ALLEN, 10 E. 36th St.
Dear Doctor: The class to-day, at my suggestion, worked out the enclosed case during the ‘cut’ of Dr. Tuttle.
We found the vote to stand:
After reading these drugs up in the Materia Medica, we came to the conclusion that Valer. Was the proper drug in spite of the fact that it had the fewest ‘cotes?’
Thanking you for the ‘case’ I am,
[Signed.] NEW HAVEN, CONN., March 20, 1893.
To the editor of the recorder.
I was very much interested in reading Dr. Jones’ article in the last Recorder, on the use of Boenninghausen’s Therapeutic Pocket-Book. But when I came to the end of the article in question I wondered why Dr. Jones, in giving a case to be completed next month by the remedy suited for it, did not present some case which is not known to readers of Homoeopathic literature. Dr. Jones says, p.116 of March Recorder: ‘To illustrate the value of Boenninghausen’s etc., I will give a cured case for which the proper remedy cannot be found without its aid.’ Sure enough, Dr Jones, and that very case is used as an illustration of how the ‘Pocket-Book’ is to be used, in the Preface to the revision of Boenninghausen, P. X. [Hahnemann pub. House, 1891.] Now, Dr. Jones, is that the only case cured by means of the ‘Pocket-Book’ that it should serve as a stalking horse for the class of the Homoeopathic College of New York? Now I should better have liked some case from Dr. Jones own practice, which would have to be worked out by the ‘Pocket-Book, without any ‘key’ to be found in the preface of that same Pocket-Book. Or is the Doctor making ‘game’ of us ignoramuses, when he says we cannot find the remedy for the case in question without the use of Bocnninghausen’s Pocket-Book?
I took that case because Boenninghausen says it was cured by Valerian, and I took his word because Dunham had told me. In reply to a direct inquiry, that Boenninghausen was not only the soul of truthfulness, but was also well read in the pathology of that day. I made this inquiry when talking with Dr. Dunham about the case of tabes dorsal is cured by B. With Alumina. I had asked, point blank: Is Boenninghahesn truthful? And on getting Dunham’s reply, I had bluntly demanded: Is he competent to diagnostic ate Loco-motor Ataxy? I had been told that boenninghausen was only a dilettante who dabbled in medicine, but Dr. Dunham buried that calumny so deep that I much doubt if the dear old devil himself can “Lift” it.
I took that case rather than one of my own in order to be above the suspicion of manufacturing a “case” to suit my occasion a trick; by the way that is almost the sole capital of certain of our “authors.”
That case is not “used [by Boenninghausen] as an illustration of how the Pocket-Book is to be used” but to enforce the need for using it.
I sent the case to the N.Y. Hom. College in all sincerity of purpose and because I did not, and do not, know of any other medical college wherein thee use of Boenninghausen’s Therapeutic pocket-Book is taught. I did not send the case to serve as a “stalking horse,” nor do I believe that Dr. Hall would have used that term had he read Dr. Copeland’s reply before making his inquiry. If after having read it, Dr. Hall still has suspicions of dishonourable conduct on the part of the Class and this is implied by the hint of a stalking horse I refer him to the internal evidence of Dr. C.’s report: that will satisfy any competent judge of such questions. I was not making “game” of “us” ignoramuses I claim a full share in that pronoun for the shadows deepening around me tell me that I must fill the few years that are left me with other work than that.
If I am wrong in declaring that, for the case, the “proper remedy cannot be found by the young physician without the aid” of Boenninghausen’s Pocket-Book, it is simply because in a moment of thoughtlessness I judged them by my own incapacity. Let me alter my faulty expression and distinctly avow that I could not. I am learning in the twilight what a favourite poet, whom I read in my got youth, meant when he wrote:
“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and he bears a laden breast, Full of sad experience, moving toward the stillness of his rest.”