This is the case of a 47 year old woman who has come to see me with menopausal symptoms although she is also recovering from the flu. She is practical, dynamic and engaging despite being thoroughly fed up with her state. The case has been edited for brevity.
All my symptoms are worse at night and worse if I’m adrenalized.
I wake 3-4 times a night with hot flushes and get them about 5 times during the day.
I get really hot and sweat heaps on my face and neck. If I’m busy and then sit down, that sets them off.
I have to fan myself. I’m really sweaty, everything just gets soaking.
At night I stick my legs out of the bed or get out of bed and stand on cold tiles. If I’m at work I have a cold drink.
My legs get really hot, especially up to above the knee; they’re not so bad at night and the legs don’t sweat.
I had a hysterectomy 10 years ago. I’d been having really heavy periods, flooding for 7 days at a time, lots of cramping pains; I had a fibroid. The gynaecologist told me my uterus was heavily vascular. It was so big they couldn’t remove it through the vagina, and had to do it abdominally.
I’ve got no sex drive. I could quite happily leave it. I’ve been like that for a long time.
How’s your mood?
Not too bad, I’m more mellow if anything.
What do you mean?
I don’t bite anymore.
I have more patience, I’m not so assertive, I used to be easily wound up, I’d snap back pretty quickly. There’s not so much stress now the kids have grown up.
I left my first husband for someone else. I was 18 when I’d married. I left when I was 21 with 2 little kids.
How’s your energy?
I’m tired and not that fit, I’ve put on weight, I used to be slim. (NB: She is a midwife and works irregular hours, sometimes losing her night sleep. She has to adapt her meal times accordingly.)
I’m not getting any long stretches of sleep. I feel like I could just go to sleep, I can’t be bothered.
I’m worse in the afternoon and then come right in the evening.
I’m sick of It. I’m continually tired, hot, bothered and sweaty!
Are you asleep long enough to have any dreams?
They’re bizarre; nightmares; something’s happened to the kids or my husband. Somebody is chasing somebody, and trying to kill somebody. I get nightmares if I lie on my back. If I change position they go away.
Tell me more.
The kids get killed. I’m trying to save them. Sometimes I’m successful, I’m panicky. Sometimes its strangers, sometimes my husband has turned into the bad guy and it’s him. They’re aggressive, there’s often shooting, not that I’m scared of shooting, my dad shoots and my husband shoots. I’m running away, hiding in buildings and in the bush. Someone’s getting us. Maybe it’s just a mother thing?
How were the mothering years?
I liked it, at the time I was a yeller and a screamer. I suppose I was trying to do too much. Between my 2nd husband and I there were 4 kids under 6 and 6 kids on weekends, and I was working. It was too much.
Are you still busy?
I keep myself busy, I sew and ride my horse, I keep busy. I’ve gotten better at saying no. I don’t sit and read a book; I’m a hands on person.
Tell me about your horse.
The kids always rode; I drove the big horse truck. I want to do the great NZ horse trail. I sew knit and ride, everything else is for someone else.
If I do read, I read real stories, non fiction. I like stories about women escaping from <st1:country-region w:st=”on”>Saudi Arabia</st1:country-region>.
What’s that about?
About women getting away, out of a situation, getting free.
What would the opposite of that be?
Being caught and stuck, not able to get out.
A situation that’s uncomfortable or unsafe and you can’t get away. Being able to do what you want to when you want to.
Have you been stuck?
I’ve had my moments. Before I left my marriage I felt trapped, I wanted to go but the thought of the effort stopped me. We just got married too young. When I left and got together with my second husband it caused quite a stir. He had been the best man at our wedding. We lived in a small community; everybody was gossiping and talking badly about us, it was terrible. They were people we’d grown up with.
This is the main body of her story. We talked briefly about foods and her family medical history which focused on heart and circulatory pathology. She reported pains in the veins of her left leg; really sore and aching, the skin around it is sensitive although it looks normal.
After she had finished telling her story I asked her to look at Ulrich Welte’s book ‘Colours in Homeopathy’ and choose a colour that she felt strongly attracted to. I introduced this colour preference work into my practice last year after learning about it from Peter Tumminello.
Ulrich Welte writes that colour preference can be regarded as a “general expression of the person’s inner feeling….an individual basic state of the vital force, which expresses itself in mental disposition”.
I’ve found colour preference to be a valuable symptom in a case; up there with dreams, fears, delusions and strong characteristic sensations. What’s more, my patients love the process of selecting a colour.
This patient chose 2 differing shades of a bluish turquoise.
Analysis of the Case
I’m struck by several things that she’s said. Firstly that she doesn’t ‘bite’ anymore. Secondly, by her dreams which are full of persecution, murder, and hiding. This gathers further significance when she describes the books that she reads about women escaping from dangerous situations in Saudi Arabia.
Also, there is the situation of her marriage separation which involves deceit, (leaving her husband for the best man, people that have known her for years talking badly about her) and unkind gossip.
The themes of her state are clear although the warp and weft of the cloth of her story remain a little loose. However, I sense that I’m in snake territory.
We know lachesis to be a significant women’s remedy. However while repertorizing her physical symptoms I find Extremities; Heat, lower limbs, uncovers them, with only two remedies; Alumina and Crot. Cascavella. This remedy has a strong sense of persecution.
Lastly I look in her chosen colour’s rubrics. Several remedies from the anarcardiaceae family are in there. This is interesting as some chief sensations of this family are caught and stuck, (Rajan Sankaran; An insight into plants) which are expressed in the case.
The rubric is also liberally peppered with snakes, amongst them, Crot. Cascavella which I prescribe in 200c.
The next week she calls; all of her hot flushes have stopped and she feels great. She and her husband are off on holiday for 2 weeks. On her return she comes back to see me.
I feel as if I’ve been run over by a bus. This flu just hasn’t gone. Originally I had no voice and temps; it was yuck. Now I’m stuck with aching joints, particularly my shoulders and lower back. There is a dull ache which is worse at night in bed. I’m using a heat pack. I’ve also got a bit of a frontal sinus headache which hurts when I bend over.
How are the hot flushes?
I haven’t had any and the leg thing is more relaxed.
When did you get this flu?
Over 2 months ago (before she first came for treatment), it just hasn’t gone. The aching is better in the morning when I get up and worse at night. It’s worse sitting still and lying still.
What was going on in your life just before you got this flu?
I had a big tax bill and was worried about how to pay it and then I had a couple of births in a row; all nighters. It just all happened at once.
How’s your appetite?
Ok, it takes a lot to stop me eating, although I’ve gone off tea and coffee. I’ve got loose bowels and my aching joints are worse with the diarrhoea. It’s all very low grade and very frustrating.
How’s your dreaming?
It’s improved, no nightmares, no dreaming at all actually.
Analysis of the case
Her menopausal symptoms are absent and there is clearly healing happening on an inner level also, as her nightmares have gone. The lingering after effects of the flu are now in sharp focus and require attention. Most characteristic is her terrible aching pain. The rubric is Generalities, Influenza, pain remaining after, the sole remedy is Lycopersicum; the humble tomato, which I gave in 200c.
The next week she calls with her news. The flu symptoms have gone but, the hot flushes are back!
I gave another dose of Crot. Cascavella 200c and all was well for six weeks. After attending a lengthy all night birth and doing some extra shifts at the hospital, the hot flushes steadily returned. The phrase ‘obstacles to cure’ looms into view; clearly a midwife’s lifestyle brings limitations to the healing process. Prescription Crot. Cascavella 1M.