TO PATIENTS: AN EXPLANATION AND A REQUEST
Homoeopathy is a system of selecting from more than two thousand medicines that single remedy which each person needs at any certain time. It does not give a remedy according to the name of the disease but according to the peculiarities, tendencies, type and temperament of each person. Thus one can see that it is special and distinctive method of treatment. The patient has a part in making is so by relating all of his or her physical feelings, emotional tendencies and all external signs; also any experiences and conditions in life that have, or have had, an unfavorable influence on well being. For the sum of all these symptoms determine the choice of remedy.
Homoeopathy does not give drugs for drug effect. Instead, medicines are used in a way to cause healthful reactions of vitality. Some of this work is quickly accomplished, but some we may need time to make a plant thrive. Nevertheless, relief seldom delays; then long and substantial improvement-moral, mental and physical-follows.
As to the ever interesting question as to “how long,” time is a shy little element. Some people react very quickly to remedies, some slowly, some steadily and some with ups and downs. But the “downs” do not necessarily mean that one is growing worse. It often means the another phase of the life process is being expressed, so that the influence which afflicts it can be more easily eliminated. This delay is usually short and brings more improvement afterward.
Strange to say, for it is too technical to explain here, this little up and down process win improvement may be extended for years, depending on how much disease susceptibility the patient as inherited. Progress depends also, to an extent, on more on mode and habits of living; conditions which create physical, mental or emotional stress; abuse of drugs; hours of sleep, etc. With treatment and care, vitality improves even throughout a lifetime, such is the evolutionary force and order of nature when we go with it instead of against it.
With these things in mind, one can understand that homoeopathic treatment is a special proposition for both patient and physician.
Some people feel so well even after a short period of treatment, that they discontinue it and no more is heard from them for a long time, or never. Sometimes we hear indirectly years afterwards from someone whom they have recommended. If all patients would report results after discontinuing, it would be helpful. It would be an addition to experience, because of the large number of remedies, many of them nearly used, which have to be considered in making choice.
The above germ of a doubtful idea had been squirming in our phrenic incubator for many years and although nine-tenths of the doings we had planned for ourself when born are still waiting their turn to become events, this small item escaped somehow and is now to be scrutinized, criticised and revised or handed to patients intact if desired.
This is how if started. After this writer had been knocking around quite a few years among the three or more “legs of the materia medica stool,” it was thought-provoking and a provoking thought to notice how many patients disappeared, leaving only the thin records of one to three or four visits to wonder about. We spoke to William Powell about it once and his only comment was, “Thats bad.” Then I wondered some more, not daring to ask whether he was referring to me or the patients.
I wondered whether other single remedy men were having the same experience, but never found out because I did not like to ask and question again and perhaps create unnecessary embarrassment in places where it would not be appreciated. Thereby came the idea of putting the question, sort of sidewise, to the patient himself. To do so and be fair about it all around, a little preparation without too much perspiration seemed to be in order. Hence the explanation which precedes the request.
Now then, I think that the above explanation includes about all that it is desirable for patients to know about the particulars of homoeopathy. A rational conclusion, fertilized by unfortunate experiences, has grown up from an intuitive one that, except in rare instances, the attempt to teach homoeopathy to patients has done and will do more harm than good.
Lay prescribing has set back the progress of a number of my patients and interfered with the orderly development of vitality. As a watcher over the life of each of my patients, I would rather have one take an aspirin or a laxative, if purely fortuitous and confessed, than to let him try to ply with homoeopathic remedies. As Kent says the effects of crude drugs soon wears, off but the unwise use of potencies can impress a new and incurable miasm on the vital economy and complicate the older ones.
Another calamity is the untimely use of remedies. Instances have occurred among my patients where a homoeopathic crisis that would have established a higher and more durable state of vitality, had with lay meddling resulted in an unfavorable location of symptoms or a fretful, irritable state instead. It seems to me that any homoeopathic prescriber who essays to do orderly work should recognize such instances. Moreover, orderly work requires the finest consideration as to sequences, an art unattainable by any except the full time student practitioner.
Another danger of this practice is that it is liable to bring on a shortage of medicines. In a recent instance of “before the doctor comes” five different medicines were given in two days and a half. Meanwhile the little object of concern was developing pneumonia.
As a propaganda effort, lay prescribing will be a boomerang. Prescribing “until the doctor comes,” by way of “the book and the box,” belittles the great art of homoeopathic culture,Anybody can use Homoeopathy! Despite Hahnemanns reputed approval of it at one time, homoeopathic shortcomings have proved it to be not only futile but one cause of the disasters which have overtaken the school; and it will aggravate the situation if it gets a new start.
In these days of rapid transportation and almost instant communication there s no excuse for piddling prescribing, to say nothing of its inevitable accompaniments of ointments, combinations, tonicums, worm chasers, nose “lozenges”, pile plasters and what not. For instance,a student who had impetigo was “cured” with calendula soap but was then compelled to leave school because of an excruciating neuralgia which did not cease until with proper treatment the eruption resumed its former place and function. Such straddling practices, lay or professional, lower the reputation of Homoeopathy.
It all sums up to the ideal and temperament of the practitioner. Stuart Closes section entitled, “Homoeopathy a System”, pp. 2 to, in his Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy, should be read and reread until the spirit of it becomes a habit of mind. Nothing can spread Homoeopathy like the reputation of curing or relieving patients who have been through the gauntlet of modern old school techniques. Any other appeal to the laity is unnecessary and an affront to the ethical instinct. It is sufficient to let patients know the difference between normal and abnormal practices and between Homoeopathy limited and the special skills;and how the former weakens resistance to political and other monopolies which batten on the work of individuals.
For the profession. I believe the best propaganda would be something like the proposals of Dr. Anthony Shupis detailed in his presidential address to the Connecticut State Homoeopathic Society and printed in The Homoeopathic Recorder of November, 1948.
It seems to me that his postulation should be carried directly to selected professionals individuals should be buttonholed insistently and persistently and persuaded to use their eyes and ears to recognize and comprehend for themselves instead of remaining in the abject state of ignorance and stupid practices which they never see as some others see them. Such competent men should be told and retold how primitive is their media compared to the uses of dynamic art. They should somehow be rescued from their perversity.
But are they as perverse as we think? Perhaps the fault is ours? Perhaps we have been weak-souled, or mentally lazy, or too much absorbed in the environment which we have created. Perhaps we have been afraid of losing our hospital privileges. Perhaps we have been inclined to stoop before assumed authority. Dr. Shupis writes, “If we can no longer recruit in our ranks the almost extinct homoeopathically minded graduates, then it falls on us, as necessary, to attempt to educate our less fortunate regular school graduates.” He says further, “I am certain that there are among them many enlightened and open-minded individuals who, given the opportunity, would avail themselves of it if offered. If we should attract only one, our purpose would be rewarded and our obligation fulfiled.”.
To restate my personal beliefs:.
Laymen cannot spread Homoeopathy except through the work of the homoeopathic physician.
Incompetent Homoeopathy is the millstone under which the school is staggering to its doom.
Competent professional men and women only can acquire a commensurate homoeopathic perspective.
It is the duty of the few Hahnemannians to become militant and force the issue in a personal way without waiting longer for opportunities that have already passed and gone.
Furthermore, to give the proposal impetus there should e a mutual understating, if not a concerted project, toward effecting this purpose. Let us read again the proposals of Dr. shupis and determine what can be done with them.