An 89 year old male patient came with complaints of weakness in limbs, and unsteady gait. He was a hale and hearty gentleman who regularly played badminton at the gymkhana. Weakness in the legs was therefore a troublesome symptom for him.
Haemogram, serum electrolytes were checked, and showed lower levels of sodium and chloride. Conservative treatment with tonics was given by the physician, and CP 6X, KP 6X by me, but there was no improvement.
There was also further deterioration with a wobble in his gait. More investigations were done and the history was retaken which revealed that the patient had a fall when playing badminton a month back. There had been external bruising which healed completely and he resumed his normal and even sports activities.
Many a times senile patients fall due to a cerebrovascular accident rather than it being a result of imbalance. This patient has been on blood thinning agents for many years when marginal HTN was detected. This raised the possibility of an internal haemorrhage that may have occurred and needed further investigation.
A CT scan was done which revealed a 10 cms extradural haematoma on the right temporal region. After a lot of contemplation surgery was decided, and the doctor mentioned that it would be just draining out the collected blood.
Risks included his age and also a possibility of secondary haematomas, after the decompression effect of the large blood clot. It was decided that the surgery may give him a chance to recover more than leaving the haematoma alone, as that would mean a definite gradual deterioration in his health.
Surgery was performed successfully, and the patient was in the Neuro ICU, showing no signs of recovery from the post-operative coma, even after a week. To make things worse, he developed a patch of pneumonia in the lung, which according to the neurosurgeon is an ominous sign.
There was little that conservative treatment could do now, and I was called on to see if homeopathy could help. To me, the following pointers seemed important:
- H/O trauma,
- Post surgery state
- Deep coma
- Mind- Unconsciousness coma, shock from injury
Natrum Sulph is a prime remedy in coma from concussion of the brain, but in this case, the fall was not major enough to cause brain injury and the bleeder blood vessel was more of a culprit.
I decided on Arnica 200 as a daily morning dose, and Opium 200 4 hourly. I had little time to do whatever I could for him. He was on a ventilator and Ryle’s feeding tube so the medicine was applied on the skin by the nurse.
In two days, he began to cringe to lights. Then, in a few days, he opened his eyes, and in a week started gesturing and asked for something to write with. I was so touched when he wrote my name and wrote ‘call her.’
Eventually he began to sit up, feed himself, stand with support, then walked with support, and achieved total recovery in a few months at the age of 90 years. He climbed stairs with support and started to go to the club to play rummy. Arnica continued for a month after recovery started, but I discontinued Opium when he regained consciousness.
A few years later he passed away peacefully, after coming home from a game of rummy at the age of 94. This patient was my teacher in the sense that he taught me the ‘Never say die’ approach. Be playful, be positive. Dodge death with your sporting spirit… and homeopathy!