A Case Using Dr. Paul Herscu’s Model of Cycles and Segments
11 month old baby girl
First presented – August 2012
Chief complaint – Respiratory problems
The mother brought her 11 month old baby girl in because she had developed a rattling chest and a hard cough that came on every 20 minutes or so. The baby is just starting to walk on her own, is fair haired and fairly robust. The mother explained that baby had also now started with some sickness and diarrhea. She felt that she was just ‘off colour’ whining and clingy and not the happy baby she was before. She said that the baby could suddenly become quite angry and violent at times usually when she could not get her own way which often brought on a bout of coughing. During these bouts of coughing the baby would suddenly arch her back, become quite red in the face and sometimes would vomit. Her stool was loose and watery most of the time. The mother said that it did not appear to cause her any discomfort or pain.
She had always been a ‘hot’ baby with a history of high fevers with perspiration around the head. The mother said the fevers came on very quickly for no apparent reason and could last a day or two. The birth itself was OK she said with no complications although the baby had ‘screamed and screamed’ loudly for quite a while when she was born. The mother had a bout of Flu with a sore throat and a high temperature during the latter stages of pregnancy; she was diagnosed with a strep B throat but did not take any medication at the time. Baby had been sitting on mother’s lap for the first ten minutes of the consultation when she suddenly pushed her mother away and climbed down to play with the toys on the floor. The mother said that she did this often, one minute being very clingy and loving and the next pushing her away, sometimes even hitting or biting her and pulling her hair. During the rest of the consultation baby would frequently move back and forth from the toys to the mother, sometimes wanting to climb up onto her lap then changing her mind, sometimes breaking into a lovely smile, sometimes whining and whinging. I noticed that the baby would happily engage with me maintaining eye contact and giving me a lovely smile but then she would just as quickly become annoyed with whatever she was playing with sometimes even growling to herself.
I asked what happened to the baby after the coughing/anger episodes. The mother said the baby became quite listless, limp, sleepy and pale. I asked if the baby had any fears. The mother said that she was afraid of the neighbor’s dog and loud noises especially raised voices.
What struck me most about this case was first of all the extreme suddenness of the symptoms, the violence and anger, the fevers, the discharges, even the smiling, all were very sudden. Secondly, the listless/limp state that was the opposite of all the fiery angry symptoms. I needed to find a remedy that covered both of these very different states and importantly how she moved from one extreme state to the other.
Using Dr Paul Herscu’s model of Cycles and Segments I took the following rubrics and arranged them into groups that expressed the same sort of idea. These segments form into a natural cycle that actually describes very nicely the patient’s pathology.
Mind: Fear – Dogs of
Mind: Fear – Noise from
This represents the FEARS which leads to …
Chest – Congestion
Respiration – Rattling
Face – Discoloration –red – fever – during
Cough – Hard
This represents the CONGESTED STATE which leads to …
Mind – Biting – Children in
Mind – Pulling – Hair
Mind – Shrieking – Children in
Mind – Anger – sudden
Back – Opisthotonos
Fever – Fever, heat in general
This represents the ANGER &INFLAMMATION which leads to …
Rectum – Diarrhea – painless
Head – Perspiration of scalp
Stomach – Vomiting – coughing
This represents the DISCHARGES which leads to …
Skin – Discoloration – Pale
Generals –Weakness – Children in
This represents the WEAKENED STATE which leads to …
Mind – Smiling
Mind – Held – desires to be
This represents the AFFECTIONATE/CLINGY STATE which in turn leads back to the FEARS (Segment 1)
After repertorisation only seven remedies are present in all six segments:
Belladonna, Lycopodium, Nux Vomica, Phosporous, Plumbum, Sulphur and Veratrum Album
The Cycle of Belladonna can be described as Fears leading to a Congested state leading to Anger & Inflammation leading to Discharges leading to a Weakened State leading to an Affectionate/Clingy state (Which in turn leads back to Fears)
Using Dr Herscu’s model allows me to see the patient’s case in its totality. If I had just prescribed on the worst symptoms that the baby presented with I could easily have given Chamomilla or Pulsatilla as both of these remedies share many of the symptoms of Belladonna, but only Belladonna covers the entire case – the totality.
Belladonna 30c one dose – and asked the Mother to call me in a few days.
Phone Call after one week
Mother reported that on the same day the remedy was given that Baby had vomited after dinner and had a slightly high fever but had then slept through the night. The following day she had perked up a little, smiling but still a little clingy. After three days the cough had gone and the rattling chest was a good 75% better. After five days her stool was back to normal. The mother noticed that after that first night her whole mood seemed to have changed for the better with less and less episodes of violence/temper etc.
Watch and wait – appointment in one month
Follow up appointment after one month
Mother reported that the baby had been ‘absolutely fantastic’ until a few days ago, when she had her HIV booster injection. It was also her first birthday which was a very noisy affair and she got very excited; since then she seems to have got a little worse, not anywhere as bad as she was when first seen, but more clingy, more sickly, and the diarrhea has also come back too.
As the baby had not returned to her former state I advised the Mother to watch and wait for a few days to see if the baby would pick up. I also advised that she give the baby plenty of fluids.
(I have often seen this before with vaccinations; the vital force needs time to recover from the stress of the vaccination and quite often if we just wait a little, the remedy will ‘Kick in’ again. This baby also had a ‘double stress’ with the very noisy birthday part., All Belladonna types are sensitive to noise so it is no real surprise that with an already depleted vital force from the vaccination she should regress a little.
I have found through experience that it is much better to be patient and just wait a little while instead of rushing in and repeating or indeed changing the remedy. Of course should the patient continue to get worse and the remedy picture is still the same then I repeat the remedy.)
Phone call from Mother after three days
Baby is fine now, much better than she was, the diarrhea has cleared up and she is her usual perky self again.
Watch and wait – appointment in one month
Follow up appointment after two months
Baby is doing very well and rattling chest has completely cleared up. No cough no vomiting or diarrhea and most importantly, the baby’s disposition is good.
Watch and wait, No other remedy is needed at this point as I believe this was a constitutional Belladonna case.
(I remember Dr Herscu talking about Belladonna at a Seminar and how Calcarea Carbonica is often wrongly given as a routine measure after Belladonna has acted simply because the homeopath considers Belladonna to be only an ‘acute’ remedy. I have found on numerous occasions since that this is not the case. Belladonna is a wonderful constitutional remedy.
Follow up appointment after 5 Months
Mother reported that baby had been very well in all aspects since the last remedy. However she had been given the MMR vaccination just over a week ago and now she had regressed especially in her behavior. She was hitting out and biting at the parents and other children. She became very angry quite suddenly and was very sensitive to noise. Her chest was OK with no return of the cough. No new symptoms.
Repeat Belladonna 30c
Phone call from the mother after one week to report that the baby was now much better in every way. “I have my baby back, it’s like a miracle pill, thank you very much”.
Watch and wait. Advised mother to bring baby back to see me when needed.
Due to the sensitive nature of Belladonna types I do expect this baby to regress after further vaccinations. I have given the mother information about the effects of vaccinations, allowing her to see the pros and cons from both viewpoints and assisting her to make an informed choice in the future.
After a further three months the Mother came to see me for an appointment herself and reported that the baby continued to be well. I envisage that at sometime in the future I will probably need to increase the potency to a 200c but will continue to repeat the 30c (providing the baby stays in a Belladonna state of course) until it has no effect. By the way the Mother needed Belladonna too, but that’s another story.
To find out more about Dr Herscu’s Cycles and Segments approach you can visit his website: www.nesh.com or read his book Stramonium: with an introduction to Cycles and Segments
Dr Herscu along with his partner Dr Amy Rothenberg will be presenting a seminar on the 26thand 27th of October 2013 in West Yorkshire, England. For more details please visit: www.herscuseminarsuk.co.uk