Allan D Sutherland
PATIENTS AND PATIENCE
“The doctor certainly has lots of patients, hasnt he?”.
“Yes, if you are careful how you spell the word.”.
The Standard Dictionary gives several definitions of patients and one is “the exercise of sustained endurance and perseverance”, another is “forbearance toward the faults and infirmities of others”. “Tranquil waiting, calmness, composure, fortitude, leniency and resignation” are among the words given as synonyms.
Professional success in the common acceptance of the term, may perhaps be measured in numbers and in the quality of a physicians clientele. His worth as a man whose “high and only mission is to heal the sick” must be estimated in other terms and one is Patience:.
In taking the case. In analyzing the symptoms. In selecting the remedy. In removing the obstacles to recovery. In giving counsel and advice. In conferring with members of the family. In observing the action of the remedy. In every situation and circumstance.
One of the common faults of homoeopathic physicians is snap- shot or hair-trigger prescribing. While this may sometimes prove successful in clear-cut, acute cases, it is certainly neither desirable or necessary in chronic work. Key-note prescribing is only accidentally correct in the vast majority of instances.
Unremitting effort is necessary if consistently brilliant results are to be achieved in practice.
There are three obvious reasons for retardation in the general acceptance of homoeopathy. One is materialistic prejudice and bias, another is the seemingly prohibitive price required in terms of mental effort and failure to pay the price simply means failure to heal the sick save in a small minority of the cases treated and thus is homoeopathy hidden and its radiance obscured. Finally rugged individualism is often so pronounced among real Hahnemannians that they seem not to fit into the picture if organized medicine, not even into one of their own composition.
What is the remedy? Patience-not in the sense of “resignation” and “tranquil waiting” but individually and collectively in “the exercise of sustained endurance and perseverance”.-E.U., JR.
Whether he wishes it or not, the care of constitutional conditions and chronic diseases is thrust upon the homoeopathic physician. From a material standpoint, this is eminently satisfactory to the physician, for so long as there remains chronic sufferers the homoeopathic physician has an active field of practice, and he is usually busily employed while his orthodox brethren are idle.
However this may be, the fundamental laws of homoeopathy force us to regard the whole man, his background and the detailed picture of his symptomatology, and thus we are impelled to study the patient and the remedy that best suits his symptomatic demand. When helped, the grateful patient sends another chronic sufferer, and so our reputation for chronic work grows.
A pertinent illustration of this point is that of a patient suffering from certain disfiguring skin manifestations, treated successfully by homoeopathy. While travelling in Mexico last winter, this patient related her experience and the help received from her homoeopathic physician, mentioning also his name and address. A young lady seated nearby overheard the conversation, noted down the name and address of the physician, and after her return to the States wired him for an appointment.
Those who are most successful in their treatment of chronic cases are those who have well worn reference books. No homoeopathic physician will attempt to practice without ample provision of volumes of materia medica, but all too many fail to realize the value of repertories.
There are two standard repertories in English which are particularly adaptable for case work. Boenninghausens Therapeutic Pocket Book and Kents Repertory. Each approaches the study of symptomatology from a different angle, each founded on fundamental principles, and each giving insight into the case in the hands of those taught to use them. These repertories are useful also for casual reference of single outstanding symptoms.
For special studies of those “strange, rare and peculiar” symptoms which often prove the key to the case there are many repertories which we find inestimably valuable. Knerrs Repertory to the Guiding Symptoms has a peculiar value for individual symptoms, for it reflects the careful, pains, taking work of Hering in his monumental work. The Guiding Symptoms. and the careful assembling of these same symptoms in repertory form. Here each remedy has its proper evaluation as Hering gave in his work, and this is founded again on Boenninghausens system of evaluation.
Allens General symptom Register is based on alphabetical arrangement instead of the classical schema, but it often furnishes a clue to the remedy not found elsewhere. Bogers Boenninghausens Characteristics and Repertory has a real value in this work. Lippes Repertory often furnishes us with valuable clues for peculiar symptoms.
One of the priceless aids to the study of peculiar symptoms of the whole patient (as differentiated from the special repertories for special organs) is Holcombes Sensations As If. This work is too little known among the younger generation of homoeopaths, but its value in pointing out strange subjectively symptoms is inestimable.
We cannot fail to mention the value of the repertories for special organs. Bells Diarrhoea is a classic, and while present- day physicians do not have the same emergencies to meet as in the days before public sanitation was enforced, even yet on occasions we are glad to refer to this reliable little work.
Morgans Urinary Organs Repertory, Eggerts Uterine and Vaginal Discharges, Neidhards Symptoms of the Head Repertory, are but a few that may offer the solution to a puzzling problem.
No mention has been made here of the various card repertories. These have their peculiar virtue in saving time for the busy physician, but they do not severe, as do the other forms, whether special or general, to teach materia medica in a form as easily remembered.
Few homoeopathic physicians have the items of the materia medical so definitely fixed in their minds as to be always available. Hahnemann himself dared not rely on his knowledge of materia medica alone, for his was the first repertory to be compiled, “to be a guide to the ever-increasing volume of our materia medica.” His approval of the work of Boenninghausen, and his dependence upon it, showed clearly his perception of the necessity for an accurate indexing of symptoms.
This being so, we cannot adequately practice homoeopathy without all possible aids, and for busy practitioners who are limited in the time they can devote to study the repertory, general and special, holds a peculiarly vital place.-H.A.R.
This number of the Homoeopathic Recorder completes the first year under the new business management. There has been some progress made. The journal has been published regularly on time. All current bills have been promptly paid. The mailing list has been completely revised, practically all free copies have been eliminated, and only those who have paid are receiving it. A good many were dropped as their subscriptions were in arrears but we have added a considerable number of new subscribers to take their place. A few more advertisements are needed. If each member of the International Hahnemannian Association and each loyal reader of the Homoeopathic Recorder will do their best to help get new subscribers the journal can be published monthly again by January.-A.D. S.