By Dr. DOROTHY SHEPHERD.
WHAT makes people go to the doctor? Usually it is pain and they want something to kill it. Unfortunately in the last few years the curse of self drugging has spread amongst rich and poor, so much so that pain by itself does not often bring a sufferer to the physician, as everybody takes some brand of an aceto- salicylic acid preparations for the alleviation of suffering.
And thus, the cause of the pain is not discovered, the pain is only suppressed and the actual disease which produced the pain originally, goes on unchecked, and when the patient comes to the doctor, at last after years of self-drugging, following the advice of the widely advertised drug preparations which shriek at you from every hoarding. “Take so and so for your headache”, such and such a drug, ” for insomnia or any other pain you may complain of ” then the disease is often so far advanced that very little can be done.
The other thing which brings a patient to his doctor “he feels run down and wants a tonic, a bottle of medicine” the cult of the tonic is difficult to kill; very often all that is needed is more rest, more fresh air, simpler food of the right kind, less over eating and properly cooked food.
But besides these folk, which are continually drugging themselves with pain-killing dopes and tonic mixtures from the doctors medicine shelves or more frequently still from the shelves of the dispensing chemists, there are a certain minority who look ill and are evidently in need of treatment and yet stoutly maintain there is nothing wrong with them. What are you to do with that class?
The best way to find out what to do for people is to, watch and observe them carefully; the majority are dumb, they do not know what ails them or how to explain themselves and the best method is to see people under all sorts of conditions, live with them in fact; and then you can frequently make quite brilliant cures in apparently obscure cases in cases where the person concerned did not know even he or she was ill.
Many people are psychological misfits, they are ill, their minds are wrong, their nerves are out of order and they do not know it. I came across such a case in my own immediate surroundings. A new domestic came to me highly recommended by friends; I was warned that she had to be gently handled, she took fright easily, did not like to be scolded, that she would not complain, but would rather cut and run if things did not please her.
Good servants are like precious gold these days, they have to be searched for, and if found, have to be cossetted and studied. This woman was middle-aged, looked very white and anaemic and thin; but she declared she had always been that colour, never been any different and that she felt perfectly well.
Our house is always extremely well aired and rather on the cool side, all the windows are kept open; so very shortly the treasure developed a cold. She was sneezing , shivering, coughing, had a slightly flushed face; so she was sent home to bed and given some Pulsatilla 6 t.d.s. This cleared up the fever and chills rapidly in a couple of days; but she continued to look white and tired and complained of having a lot to do. I watched her for some weeks for further indications; and gradually I discovered the following characteristics.
She was muddle-headed, confused and unable top concentrate. She was always in a hurry and yet could never get finished. Late in the evening she was still cleaning and scouring though she had been at it all day. On coming into the house one found a tin of Globe metal polish in one room, some furniture polish in another; a duster on the stairs, soap in one corner, the broom in another, dirty crockery was left everywhere until late in the evening. One week the silver would not be polished, another week the kitchen was left dirty, always something forgotten, and yet she was always rushing about as if her very life depended on it.
She started the bits of personal linen she had to wash out on a Monday morning, by the Saturday, they were still lying about rough dried and unironed. A thoroughly aggravating person. An evil hurry and flurry and scurry dashing here, there and everywhere picking up one thing, putting it down, washing two potatoes, then doing a few vegetables, then going back to the potatoes, then starting the meat, and so on. The result was, of course, disastrous tepid soup, half boiled potatoes, nasty tepid vegetables, over cooked meat, half cold coffee, and yet the dinner was an hour late.
She was like a cricket, hopping about, chirping and chirping, frightfully busy, full of many words and nothing to show for it., What could be done about it? Was I to send her to a psycho- analyst, for him to discover the reasons for this confusion of mind? And how would he set about to cure it. This was a psychological fault, obviously; the woman was able to work and most willing to oblige and spent hours pottering about. For example, she spent nearly three hours sweeping a few inches of snow from the front door steps down the garden path !.
I do not know what the psychological would have advised, and how to bridge over this discontinuity of mind, the willingness to work and the confusion and the pother over it ! She was only a working woman, and there was no money in it, and psycho-analysis takes much time and much money; and here there was neither time nor money. So we tried what homoeopathy could do; I did some hunting round, looking up and comparing remedies in various materia medica books; and eventually I found it all under an almost unknown remedy.
Centaurea tagana, one of the centauries, which are closely allied to the thistles, this Centaurea produced the same stupidity and confusion of mind in one of the provers; this loss of common-senses, this slowness over trifling jobs, this tiredness after doing practically nothing; leaving things unfinished and starting something else before the first job was done.
I think on looking around, many more people require a few doses of Centaurea than you think. What about the British workman and the British painters? Woe unto you if you have a few of this tribe in your house. They pull the whole house upside down, leave everything unfinished for days and weeks; floors up everywhere, walls half stripped, ceilings half done etc. etc. !.
The Centaurea tagana was given in the unit dose and in the 30th potency. The pretext was that she had a slight, irritating, tickling, nervous cough which required attention. I dared not tell her of course that her manner of doing her work required changing. We watched, after the dose had been given, with some misgiving I must own. You cannot alter the ways of a person, surely, I was told.
Slowly, but quite unmistakably the change took place; she became quicker in her movements, she got more done in a shorter time; there was not the same desperate rushing about; the movements became quieter, she accomplished more; she was less fractions, less tired, less timid, did not look so frightened. The change was even remarked upon by visitors to the house. “You have a new maid since my last visit a month ago.” And they would hardly believe it was the same girl; she has such a good colour, such a good complexion and she used to be so pale and look so distrait and so worried. And now she is so calm and serene.
Yes, the whole make-up of a person can be altered by the correctly applied remedy. Homoeopathy can beat psychology. There are many difficulties in the way, first there is the patient. How many difficulties in the way, first there is the patient. How many people know themselves ? There was a saying of a Greek philosopher to his disciples: “Know Thyself”, and after this self-knowledge has been acquired, set to and live up to it, alter yourself, train yourself and grow in wisdom and stature.
If a person does not know herself, has never found out what the secret mainsprings of her life are, what makes her like and dislike certain things and people; why she does certain things in a certain way, can she expect to be changed, to be made whole? The psychologist is on the right track; he teaches people to think, to track down the mental cause of a trouble, of an affliction. But does he go far enough? Has he got anything else to offer, except words and explanations? I consider the homoeopath goes deeper, he digs out the cause of the trouble in the sick individual, or tries to, if the patient will let him help.
And then the homoeopath has hundreds of remedies in mild doses to choose from, which have been tried out first on healthy individuals, and certain definite reactions have been produced in people while they were in a state of health; and the homoeopathic physician knows that the sick organism which presents a certain range of symptoms can be cured by the similar remedy or remedies. He is so sure of his ground, and if he sees a certain combination of symptoms and recognize them, he knows and he can predict, that the patient will be cured.
It may take time, granted: specially in people who have been ill for years and do not know what it is to feel well and strong. And then the other great difficulty is, after assembling all the symptoms from the sick individual, if he is willing to co-operate, is one able to find the “summum bonum,” the desired goal, the single drug, which fits the patients in question. It depends on the knowledge of the physician, there are hundreds to chose from. Some very similar, it is almost impossible to find the most similar, the most like remedy.
Frequently the doctor has to be satisfied with the second best, a somewhat similar remedy, or even a combination of closely related and similar remedies and some of our healers and doctors, both in England and on the continent make excellent cures with alternating drugs. People do present such problems these days, they have had so many different inoculations and vaccinations and serums; such a mixture of chronic diseases handed down to them through their ancestors, and on top of this most have a variety of badly treated acute infectious diseases on their score sheets, which have to be taken into account. Therefore one has to consider all the chronic infections in each case.
But the homoeopath is better equipped than the rest of orthodox and unorthodox practitioners. He has a law of cure, that like cures like, remedies which have been tried out by the acid test of experiment on the healthy prover, not in the laboratory, not in test-tubes, but on a living, breathing, thinking, healthy person. And if he finds the right remedy, the changes is evident to everybody there is no doubt about it. It is better than bottles of tonic, better than many tons of pain-killing dopes.
I saw another case of psychological trouble; a case of nerves. She was a woman in the middle forties, a nurse who had nursed and helped to cure a chronic case of mine some twenty odd years ago. She had been abroad in the interval and after many vicissitudes had drifted back to London. In 1929 she had an ovarian cyst and the appendix removed; ever since had never got rid of a pain on the left side of the abdomen. This pain was the typical “Mittelschmerz” of the German gynaecologist.
It came on right in the middle between the periods, not during or before or after periods; but for a definite time between the periods, about six to eight days after the periods and lasted until eight days before the next period. It was said to be nerves; it was always better on holidays and when she was resting. Unfortunately it was necessary for her to earn her living as a nurse and she had to lift and carry patients, which did not improve matters. The only advice she had been given was to grin and bear the pain or go back to the surgeon for him to find out what the pain was due to.
It might be adhesions after the previous operation ! This did not appeal to her as the last operation had cost her a great deal of money, she had been unable to work for nearly a year; and as she was in a comfortable job at the moment, she did not wish to give it up. And yet there was this constantly recurring pain, which undermined her health and her nerves.
She looked dragged and old, very thin and emaciated and had an unhealthy greyish colour. I hardly recognized her after twenty years, she used to be a bonny, lively happy-go-lucky Irish colleen, and now this miserable middle-aged woman. She got so tired when walking; and there was also pressure on the bladder, she had frequency of micturition with the pains, so that she was afraid to venture far.
The pain was worse during micturition, across abdomen from hip to hip, and was worse also when the urge to pass water came on; she had been vaccinated twice; and there was the history of an ovarian cyst. Three definite symptoms pointing to Thuja; and Thuja 30 was prescribed.
Seen a month later, the period was a fortnight late, she was sleeping better and feeling better, much less tired and looked less dragged already. She walked the previous day and had no pains in abdomen. Repeat Thuja 30 to be followed by Pulsatilla 12 three times a day.
Seen three weeks later, had overlifted herself by trying to balance by herself, a very heavy patient. Pain and tenderness in sacrum. I manipulated the back and advised exercises for strengthening gluteal and sacral muscles there was no frequency of micturition now, the uterus which was retroverted at the first visit, had corrected itself.
Arnica 30 prescribed for the effects of the strain and the overlifting. Seen two weeks later, back quite recovered; to continue Pulsatilla 12 three times a day. Pulsatilla was given, as she liked sympathy, could not eat fat, got easily depressed and wept quietly, the tears were very near the surface, pain in the abdomen gone; in less than two months and she had had this pain for nine years, ever since her operation !!.
Seen again four weeks later; feels different altogether, has been going out to dances over the Christmas and enjoyed herself, which she has not been able to do for ten years ! She is still very thin and lanky, 5 ft. 10 in. in height and only weights 9 st. 4 lbs. To put on more weight, drink one pint of milk daily, eat two to three eggs, she cannot take cream; but she is to take bran for tendency to constipation and for piles. Hamamelis ointment for piles.
Did not see her for nearly two months, she felt so much better; she feels so well, as if walking on air, goes out on every possible occasion, goes to parties and dances. No frequency of micturition, no backache, no pain in the abdomen,.
The Mittelschmerz is a thing of the past. She used to suffer from terrible depression, this was the first time she mentioned this, she felt like murdering people , she felt so ill, that she could almost do away with herself, as she saw no way out of it; the constant drag, the constant pain; no doctor could help her before. She was told to go to the psychologist, as she was suffering from nerves and repression of sex etc.
Her face is not nearly so livid, her eyes look bright and clear, Sulphur 30 given for haemorrhoids, as these irritate during the period.
A week later she rang up in great consternation, as the pain in the ovary and the discomfort had returned, also the pain in the bladder and the frequency, she is also more tired,. She got a great shock when all these old symptoms from which she had been free for nearly five months returned again. I reassured her, said it was due to the stirring up from Sulphur 30 and antidoted it by returning again to Pulsatilla 12 which evidently was still her remedy.
Since then I have learned that she is extremely well, she has no further symptoms, no further pain, no more discomfort, she is putting on weight. She also went to her ophthalmic surgeon who was extremely astonished to find that her eyesight had improved so much, she could read better and her vision was back again to what it was some four or five years ago. 50 per cent. improvement, he said.
This woman was suffering from nerves due to retroversion of the uterus and a chronic internal pain which preyed on her mind and for which no other treatment was suggested except a problematic operation. Nine years anxiety, fear of losing her job owing to ill-health. A case of nerves. She had not been near a doctor for herself for years as nobody had suggested anything constructive until she remembered homoeopathy. And then a rapid cure. She came prepared to be helped, prepared to be honest and open about her ailments and symptoms.
The result was peace and comfort, another patient saved from the operating table, saved from a futile operation, and the case of nerves was cured, not by suggestion, not by faith; but by the indicated remedies. The pain went, the retroverted uterus cleared up and the vision improved; and the homoeopathic remedy built up the health and strength of one of the worlds workers, who depended on her own efforts to keep going. Find out the psychologic make-up of a person, or as Hahnemann puts it, get the mental symptoms clearly differentiated and you will get a cure.