This paper deals with a homeopath’s clinical experience with a case most practitioners consider extremely difficult or even incurable. Besides sharing practical tips with fellow homeopaths, the aim of this paper is to encourage them to rely not only on their experience, intuition and knowledge, but also on the well-known and established tools, including both the good old repertory and new approaches, such as the Sankaran’s Method. Ultimately – and ideally – this paper will build fellow practitioners’ confidence in their everyday work and encourage homeopaths to take up more and more challenging cases until they realize that homeopathy brings some improvement in any case. The case presented is that of a baby girl born on 24 December 2009. She was eight months old when her mother brought her to my practice because of West’s Syndrome and I also learned then that she had a healthy twin sister.
The Initial Interview on 26 August 2010
Homeopath: What brings you to a homeopathy session?
Mother: The problem that brought us here started in her sixth month of life. But even during my pregnancy there were always contradictory opinions of the state of the twins. The opinions were either that they were doing great or that their condition was terrible. She has always been the bigger twin. She was 1,800 g (approx. 3.5 lbs) at birth and her sister was 1,400 g. They were born in their 34th week. She was in a terrible state at birth and she had to be resuscitated several times right then and there. They said that she was stuck in the birth canal. Her heart was enlarged at birth. She has been constantly falling behind in her development ever since. We are doing Vojta’s exercises. We have a special schedule in our home in order to manage everything. Her current major problem is having epileptic seizures and the West Syndrome diagnosis.
(Note: While we are talking the baby looks sleepy in her mother’s lap and seems unresponsive to her environment. Her head is tilted backwards. Her mouth is half-open and she is salivating profusely.)
Mother: Her muscles are constantly hypertoned. Her body often tenses and her head jerks backwards. Her fists are then clenched. Muscular hypertony is observable even before the fits have started.
Homeopath: Please tell me a bit more about the fits themselves.
Mother: The fits come in series. The most fits I counted was 137 in a series. The least was five. Her head moves towards her chest then, as if to bow; her arms get raised sideways. The look in her eyes freezes. She remains conscious, but after a series of fits she seems absent. She gets exhausted afterwards and then falls asleep. Before she falls asleep she seems uninvolved and calm. She does not cry and is not afraid. Her prescribed medicine is 500 mg of Sabril. However, although she has been taking it for a month now her fits have not subsided. The first fits appeared on 25 July 2010. The fits have been happening daily ever since. She becomes calm before a fit. Sometimes the fits start during the exercises or during a massage. During the first fit she usually exhales. Three weeks before the first fits she was on antibiotics, because she had a cold. She had a CT scan done recently and they found calcifications in her brain in several places.
Homeopath: Tell me more about your child.
Mother: She is calm and I used to sleep a lot during my pregnancy. I could sleep even after breakfast. I felt weak all the time. The fatigue would come over me suddenly and I had to sleep. My daughter insists to sleep on her belly. Her left arm is always stretched out and her right one is bent even during fits. She is warm. She sweats all over her body except her little legs. She is very emotional and calm.
(Note: The fits have started at this point. It seems that she keeps losing her consciousness during this series of fits, but I am not certain. With no prior indication or change in her bahavior she keeps bowing her head repeatedly while raising her little arms. Her left arm is constantly stretched out while the right one is flexed.)
Homeopath: Please tell me more about your pregnancy.
Mother: It was a major change for me: I moved from a big town to a village. I was very, very lonely. My relationship with my best friend also broke. I was hypersensitive in that unfamiliar surroundings. That was a different world with strange people. I felt abandoned in that village, with no feeling of belonging. Initially, the pregnancy was normal, but later I started getting different opinions from the same physicians: at one point they would say everything was fine, and at another that it wasn’t. I had an insatiable thirst for beer during my pregnancy. I felt sick and I vomited a lot.
Homeopath: How did you feel during your pregnancy?
Mother: I fought with my mother-in-law. She had sudden fits of anger. She yelled at me for no apparent reason. Everything bothered her. She used to barge in on us into our apartment and take it out on me. As if the woman lived in another world. She used to phone me and then she would hang up on me.
Homeopath: And how did it make you feel?
Mother: I was dumbfounded. I felt as if somebody had beaten me up. After her fits of anger I didn’t know what to make of them and what was the reason for them.
Homeopath: How did you feel?
Mother: I felt as if my mother-in-law had beaten me. I felt that I had been hit repeatedly. It’s like when somebody beats you up for no reason and then leaves you.
(Note: The consultation lasted for no less than 70 minutes, while during the last 35 minutes the child had a series of fits that did not cease even as two of them were leaving the consultation room.)
This is one of the rare cases, if not the only one, in which I phoned the mother after the consultation to check whether she was aware of her daughter’s diagnosis and what it implied. I simply could not believe that anything could be done to help the child. I also wanted to ask the mother what she was expecting from me as her daughter’s therapist. I took the case with my colleague Mrs. Biserka Jelcic, MD, a pediatrician. Though an eternal optimist, Mrs. Jelcic thought that there was barely – if anything at all – that we could do to help this child. Honestly, I also did not believe that we could help this baby at all. It was a case of a malignant form of epilepsy, rarely reacting to classical medical treatment. It often happens that such children get fully anesthetised in order to stop the fits. Once we had taken the case, my line of thinking was the following:
Being a follower and practitioner of Sankaran’s method, the idea of prescribing a remedy from the Compositae family was logical. The Compositae family’s basic theme is trauma, injury and hitting. However, I could not prescribe Arnica or Bellis perennis bacause my experience and practice had taught me that physical pathology reflects a person’s soul. I knew that Sankaran’s scheme did not contain what I was looking for.
The Compositae family listed in Sankaran’s scheme are the following:
Arnica – Hematoma resulting from being hit;
Calendula – Healing wounds;
Chamomilla – Teething, colic and diarrhea;
Cina – Worms;
Eupatorium perfoliatum – The flu;
Taraxacum – Liver;
Senecio – Female and urinary organs;
Abrotanum – Malnutrition;
Bellis perennis – Deep tissue injury;
Inula – Coughing;
Lactuca virosa – Lactation;
Echinaceae – Sepsis.
Then I turned to the homeopathic Bible – the repertory – and decided to take the following rubrics:
Generals – Convulsions – Children in – Infants in
To take this rubric seemed both logical and completely senseless at the same time. I did not think this rubric would get me anywhere.
Mind – Unconsciousness – Frequent Spells of Unconsciousness
As I was watching the baby’s fits one after the other, it seemed to me – though there was no way I could have been certain – that the baby kept losing her consciousness for an instant with every fit.
Extremities – Jerking – Left Side Paralyzed, Right Side Convulsed
The strangest thing with this baby was that her left arm was constantly stretched out, as if paralyzed, while the right one was flexed all the time. She would raise them in this position even during her fits. To the eye it looked like her upper extremities were jerking.
Head – Draw – Backwards
Before the fits would start it was obvious that her head was tilting backwards. This was what made it logical to me to take this rubric.