Shana, wake up, it’s time for the quiz!
Really? What time is it?
Oh my God! Already? Where does the time go?
If we don’t get this quiz in immediately, Dr. B is going to have a fit!
Who’s our special guest this time?
Well, it was going to be you again…
Mom! I’m starting to get over-exposed, like the Bee Gees!
You might have a point there. So, we’re going to go with little three-month-old Theodora instead, and her stuffy nose!
What? Mom, is that really going to be exciting?
Hey! You try not breathing for a month!
OK, OK! So, what’s the case all about?
Theodora’s mom emailed me and told me her daughter had a stuffed up nose for a month and could homeopathy help? I was absolutely trepidatious about it because I don’t like to take baby cases! They can’t talk, they can’t tell you anything about how they’re feeling…so, how can you get a case from them? Plus, stuffy nose? Please! Who DOESN’T have a stuffy nose! You’d think it would be an easy case, but in homeopathy, the more common the complaint, the harder it is for us to solve!
Why is that?
Because common symptoms have hundreds of remedies listed under them!
Does that mean all of them will work?
NO!!!!! Only one of them will!
Oh. Well, that’s very different. Never mind!
So, I shot back the following questions to Theodora’s mother:
1. Please tell me what precipitated the nasal congestion, what caused it. Did she have some sort of cold or flu that was suppressed with drugs/antibiotics that resulted in the stuffed up nose? Do you have a clue about the cause? Did you introduce a new food? A vaccination? I need some background, some information concerning what led up to this. Maybe you could just tell me what, in general, was going on around a month ago.
[I am obviously searching here for the all-important etiology–the cause/the “Never Well Since”/the “Ailments From”.]
2. Is she ever NOT congested? For instance, when you take her outside, does the nose run freely? What about during a hot bath? Is she only congested at night? Or only during the day? Give me the details and an idea of what makes this condition better or worse.
[Here I’m trying to get the “modalities”/things that make the complaint better or worse–very important in remedy selection. Notice that even though the mom says the baby’s nose has been stuffed up for a month, I don’t take that at face value. I want to know when the baby’s nose ISN’T stuffed up! When I find that out, I will probably know the remedy.]
3. Is this just a cold that never went away? Tell me how the cold started out.
[Again, searching for the etiology]
4. Does her nose run at all? If so, what does the discharge look like?
[Always ask patients to describe their discharge: color, odor, consistency; bland or burning/irritating?]
5. Is anything affected besides the nose? Any other problems?
[I’m asking here for the concomitants–symptoms that accompany the complaint with no explanation, like a runny nose with burping–see last month’s quiz].
6. Is she on any medication right now?
[Medicines can make our job harder! They mask symptoms which might make the remedy obvious. We’d have to ask, “What were her symptoms BEFORE the medicines were started?]
7. Also, if you could describe the child’s nature since she got sick and how it may be different from the way she is normally, that would help.
[I’m asking for the all-important mentals here. But not her normal mental state, only the mental concomitant; how she has CHANGED from her usual self since she became sick. THAT is part of the case, her normal mentals are NOT.]
8. Finally, how did you happen to hear about me?
[Normally, I’d be asking also about thirst and food cravings as well; but, since this is a baby, it’s irrelevant.]
Theodora’s mom wrote back saying….
I was searching for a homeopath over the Internet, and that’s how I found you. I didn’t use homeopathic remedies a whole lot, but I am originally from Romania (Europe) where as kids, our parents used to treat us with herbs, garlic and mud….not with antibiotics and pills. Anyway, I am a very healthy person and I rarely take any medication.
My daughter Theodora is a very healthy and happy baby. She was born full term, at 7.03 pounds and 20″. She is exclusively breastfed. She is not vaccinated nor she will be. She never took any medication. For her nose I am using saline drops and a bulb syringe but I am not getting much out. The congestion is in the back of her nose. She is congested at night, which interferes with feedings and rarely during the day, never outside or during a hot bath. She is sleeping in bed with me, and I run a humidifier in the room. I have no idea what the cause of the congestion might be, but I have the same problem during the cold season. I took her to the doctor and she told me that the baby’s breathing passages are very small and is very common for them to be congested. The doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with her but did suggest to put her on antibiotics in case the problem doesn’t go away in 2 weeks. Of course I didn’t agree with that.
Theodora has no other problems and her behaviour didn’t change at all since she got the nose problem. She is drooling a lot and chewing on her fingers so I am thinking she might be teething but I don’t see any connection between this and the nasal congestion. I am waiting for your suggestions!
I forgot to mention that during the day Theodora is congested when she wakes up from her naps.
So, I ask the mom, “Does the hot bath ameliorate even at night when she’s stuffed up?”
The hot bath will loosen up the congestion for some time but not for long.
So, I made a decision and told the mom to go to the health food store and buy _____________________30C and put one or two pellets in a disposable cup of water and just touch the baby’s lips to it, no need for swallowing. She did that and here’s the report I got the next day (keep in mind, this child has been stuffed up for a month!):
Last night around 9 pm, I disolved 3 pellets in a little bit of water in a cup and with a teaspoon I touch her lips with the water. She did swallow a little bit, but for the most part it dripped on her face.
Right now she woke up after a 3 hour nap (usually she only sleeps 1 hour at the time, but last night she was very restless).
[Aggravation! What if I had given her a 200C instead as so many of us are fond of doing? Ouch! Remember, you can always go up in potency if you need to, but…how do you go down? Isn’t it better for the mistake to be that you went too low? Also, thank goodness I said to give the 30C only once!]
She is happy now and she nursed. She woke up without any nasal congestion.
Remember, waking was a bad time for her. So, she rebounded from the aggravation and now is fine! In fact, here’s the one week follow-up:
Theodora is doing great! Her nose is back to normal and we are both so happy.