BY DR. DOROTHY SHEPHERD.
MANY years ago I saw a pathetic letter in a well known medical magazine, in which an elderly doctor appealed to his colleagues for suggestions how to cure his colitis which had been troubling him for years and was now incapacitating him entirely. Physician, heal thyself, I thought. What a confession of ignorance. I carefully scanned the journal in question for weeks after to see whether the poor old doctor got any help. But the answers were few and far between, and most of them very discouraging.
They were mainly from fellow sufferers, who all complained that they had tried all and sundry things with but little success: I was still too young and diffident and to this day I reproach myself for not having stretched out a helping hand, for homoeopathy has many remedies for colitis and one need never despair. It has been my luck to have had some colitis cases lately, and for the help of other victims Ill pass on the glad tidings.
I had watched a poor young woman for a year or two, seeing her steadily getting thinner and paler; she was under hospital treatment and I could do nothing. It was a pitiful story, husband out of work for years, seven children, the man had run out of benefit, the whole family on relief, the mother always gong short in order to make the food go further for the little ones, result of this chronic underfeeding was colitis. Hers was a tale of a song of six pence, or a lack of them.
One day she was full to overflowing about her own burden, if she was only well enough to work, to earn a few more shillings to augment her tiny income, but she could not drag herself about at all. She was dragged out of bed every day of her life at 5 oclock by the urgent call of nature; she had to fly in order to get there in time; and then she passed pints of white jelly. This went on all the morning.
So, it was not safe for her to go out until the afternoon, and the pain was terrific, and then there was blood as well, basins full, no wonder she was miserable. And the medicine the hospital give her made her so much worse, she moaned, she suffered agonies after it. They lady-almoner had tried to console her by telling her of a friend of hers who also had colitis for years, and the only relief she ever had was from some patent medicine she got from some quack. Fancy an almoner of a hospital so far forgetting herself as to recommend some quacks rubbish for a patient and to give her doctors away by saying that nothing could cure colitis.
A fine state of affairs, and yet not to be wondered at, for there is nothing in orthodox medicine for colitis. Or there is such a plethora of re commendations. Each man has a different idea of how to set about to cure it that one knows it has beaten the doctor. One man advises one variety of injections, another man something totally different, and the third sings the praises of something quite different yet, and the honest doctor shrugs his shoulders and wont advise anything.
Well, to go on with my tale, I turned to the woman and bluntly asked her “Why go on with the hospital medicine if it did not do you any good and made you so much worse” She was stumped, she could not answer me, so I very rashly offered to cure her, if she would put herself under my care for sometime.
She hesitated, so I bribed her with the offer of invalid dinners and more for the sake of the free gifts of the dinners she gave in and promised to swallow my stuff, with very little faith, for, like most poor people, she had hospitalities very badly. These people take the word of any young whipper snapper of a house- surgeon be fore the advice of an experienced doctor in general practice as a rule.
I went home, nearly tearing my hair that I had given her my word to cure her, when I saw the many common symptoms I had got out of her. On looking them up in the Repertory. it might have been one of several drugs. The symptoms strongly suggested Sulphur to me, but Hydrastis had the passing of copious white slime as well, and there were a few other drugs.
I plumped for Sulphur on this symptom: Rushing out of bed in the early morning. At any rate it would clear the deck, and bring forth other distinctive symptoms, taking into consideration the variety of strong stuff she had taken from the hospital. I gave her Sulphur 30, hoping for the best and also had her weighed. She had lost well over 2 stones during the last year. No particular instructions could be given about diet. It was just a matter of Hobsons choice. She had to eat what she could get, except in the middle of the day, when I ordered her a milk and egg diet.
The results surpassed my widest hopes. She put on a half a lb. in the first week, the diarrhoea improved, the slime almost ceased at once, and a fortnight later she reported that her bowels only moved four times a day instead of dozen times. The pain was greatly relieved, so I left well alone.
In six weeks she ad gained 4 lbs. A month later she presented herself again with another jubilate: no diarrhoea, no colitis, no pain, and gain of over 8 lbs. In March, a short four months after starting the treatment there was a slight return of the bleeding on a normal diet or lack of diet, so a dose of Sulphur 1m was handed to her. In May a return of colitis, after some teeth had been extracted under a general anaesthetic-mind you the teeth were extracted when the diarrhoea had cleared up.
She received Sulphur 6 night and morning for a week. The brave woman had been to work since early in January, as soon as she felt well enough. There was no slackening with her. So you see, a woman who had been ill for over 13 months with colitis and haemorrhages and had lost well on 2 stones in that time under ordinary medical treatment got cured in a few short weeks without any dieting and without any effort on her part.
Another case. Here I did not know even that the lady in question had colitis. She was of the old school, who would not mention such an indelicate subject as her internal organs. She had been in the tropics, had swallowed much quinine, had had dysentery, and now suffered from goitre for which she had been having Radium. Whether due to the Radium or not she had a great deal of rheumatism in her wrist and finger-joints, for which she came to me, asking for a light treatment.
I prescribed Radium bromide rather vaguely as an antidote to over-doses of the original Radium, first in the 6th centesimal dilution, later in the 12th centesimal, repeating it once a day for weeks. Some few months after she confided in me that she had never expected to get rid so completely of her rheumatism, and that the colitis she had been subject to had cleared up miraculously as well. So you see, you do not need to diagnose all the complaints of a patient, you only require to know some symptoms, the most important by preference, and you can cure him of all kinds of things the treating doctor knows nothing at all about.
Do not run away with an idea that artificial sunlight treatment had very much to do with the cure. She only had light about one day in a fortnight, as she lived out of town and could not come up any oftener. No, it was a case of the little sugar pills again.
Case No.3. This was a different type of colitis only seen in babies. It is congenital, existing from birth, and is caused by an enormous dilatation of the colon, the large intestine. This is blown like balloon, and its contents are discharged downwards as soon as they enter the bowels. The miserable infant is in a constant state of running from the bowels, the picture is usually that of a poor thin child, with wasted extremities and large belly. Nothing much can be done for it is a rule.
I have seen four cases of this unpleasant disease. The first died in hospital after a venturesome surgeon had decided to operate on it! The second is still in hospital and has been there for over three years. The surgeon is waiting until it is old enough for him to operate I suppose. He will remove a few yards of bowel and hope to settle the disease in this fashion.
In the meantime the child is still having diarrhoea, is still having an enormous abdomen, poor little thing. The third I lost sight of. Probably it is either dead or leading a miserable existence in some hospital ward, waiting for the surgeons knife.
When I saw this child first, I had a straight talk with the mother and offered to cure the baby, provided she kept him under my care for months. He was then 4 months old, weighed II lbs., measured 18 inches round his navel, was terribly distended. He was nearly as broad round his tummy as he was long, all belly and nothing else.
The moment he started taking the breast his bowels started to run. Quite a hydrant of green watery fluid shot out of his bowel with a great deal of force. In order to save herself being swamped by this fluid the mother had to tie the baby on the chamber on her lap.
We tried various remedies with little or no success. Still the bowels acted as soon as the baby was being fed. Various friends urged hospital treatment. The mother retained her faith and her faith was rewarded at last. On October 17th the body got a dose of Magnesia carbonica 30. The abdominal circumference was then 19 inches.
Much to the mothers joy the motion were slightly more yellow, did not look like frogs spawn any more. Another dose of the same medicine was given, end of October. Altogether some half a dozen doses of Carbonate of Magnesia were dispensed until the middle of February, that is in four months. He has had nothing since, he has never ailed anything, there has never been any trouble with his teeth.
At 7 months he had his first tooth, at 8 months he had six teeth, at II months eight teeth, his height was 28 inches. At a year he weighted 22 lbs., and was the proud possessor of ten teeth. And his colitis went gradually. The first time his motions were yellow and firm, his motions were yellow and firm, his mother rushed to her neighbours to tell them the tidings of great joy. That was at 7 months.
At 13 months he is absolutely the picture of health, robust, rosy, full of life, full of mischief, of course walking for weeks, talking – and No COLITIS! Where is the congenital dilatation of the colon Gone where the good niggers go, gone for ever, never to return. Impossible you will say I am romancing, to put it mildly.
Ask the mother, ask the neighbours, ask the nurse who saw him weekly at the weighing centre, they will tell you the same story. A few simple powders worked the miracle. And thanks be to God who opened the eyes of his servant Hahnemann to show his successors the way they should go to heal the sick by such simple means.