Clinical Cases

‘I Totally Froze’ – A Case of Didelphis Virginiana, North American Opossum

A wary patient with sinus problems is treated with Opossum.

The case was initially taken by Bara Jones as a 4th year student homeopath, supervised by Susan Sonz. This was a case that we analyzed using the Sensation System and our own proving information. The patient’s name has been changed.

Several short forms or punctuations might be used throughout the case. This NYSH legend below explains their usage.


J = The client

CAPITAL LETTERS= The homeopath’s questions

My comments are in [square parenthesis]

HG = Hand Gesture

SD = Spontaneous Denial

bold Indicates significant statements made by the client

CONF= confluence or repeated idea

Joe is a 26 year old Italian American living in Staten Island, NY. He came to the clinic at the beginning of December, 2010. Joe is an athletic young man who likes to keep in shape. He plays ice-hockey few times a week and avidly frequents the gym to build up muscle. He is small but built up. He works as an electrician. Joe’s chief complaint is seasonal sinus issues – sinus headaches, runny nose, sneezing, post-nasal drip, and seasonal bronchitis. Joe is also allergic to cats, pet dander, dust, mildew, peaches or any type of furry fruit, and scallops. Joe first came to the clinic in December 2010. Following is a condensed case. Important words leading us to Didelphis virginiana are bolded.


J: The worst are the sinus headaches, sinus pressure. Sometimes I can’t even open my eyes, and even walking hurts, the pounding of your feet hurts. My allergies bring on headaches, grogginess, itchy eyes, dry mouth, fatigue. I get itchy dry eyes, feel like I can’t open them, as much as I want to. Feels like someone sitting on my head. I have seasonal bronchitis. From late August to September I get post-nasal drip, and it goes to my chest, and that’s where the infection lands. It’s annoying, to be coughing like that.”

J: I don’t want to put any unnecessary chemicals in my body. I used to go out, to clubs, the party scene. I cut out all the unhealthy stuff in my body. I want to be alert. I want to be less susceptible to getting sick, and my energy level to be higher.”

I’m in recovery- I tore my ACL and got carried away w vicoden.

[Joe has odd white fingernails- as if they had been painted, but they weren’t]


J: I was dumbed out, in a fog, when partying, but now I like waking up and feeling alert and ready for the day. Alert for my day, driving or walking on the street. Where you put yourself. People, places, and things. I need to be in the right place at the right time. Hospitals, trouble, fights, I need to steer clear of all that. (There are) tough guys looking for trouble. It could be dangerous.


J: I’m scared I will put myself in harm’s way. Crazy cab drivers, not paying attention, not looking both ways..

[Comments about family and Christmas shopping]

J: I want to make sure that I make everybody happy.

It’s a time for giving, and loving and giving, family and friends. I’m very family oriented; I want to be able to make everyone happy.

We all still live at home. I’m the older protective brother.


J: I like being the go-to guy

(If there is a) family with young children – I will fix the problem, get them power, heat..


J: Sports, roller coasters, jump out of planes, roller coaster…

Gives me rush, an adrenaline rush. It warms you up, gets your heart rate going. I do what I never thought was possible. I did something I was so scared to do. I’m scared to do so many things.


J: Sometimes I lock up, (sits really tall), totally freeze, like not know how to react. I remember the feeling of being in the kitchen, and I saw a shadow go across our back yard, and then I saw searchlights. And as soon as I saw that I locked up. And I didn’t call 911. To not be able to react under pressure… I froze, totally froze up. Couldn’t even say a word, for nothing.

J: I’m very alert when I drive now. I’ve seen people driving late at night. I see them swerving, I wait.


J: Because of the accidents, because of what I’ve heard of. I’m more alert to what’s around meShould be looking up ahead, anticipating, alert to people, cars..

When I walk down the street by myself, you never know.. I am being careful, you can get robbed, get mugged. You can be any size, that might not mean anything at all…


J: I dream about falling off the roof [Joe actually had an accident in which he rolled off the roof while working].


J: I dreamt that my mother asked me to decorate the house with Christmas lights, and that was the peak of the house. I remember putting up the ladder. That made me shake, being up on a ladder, it made me scared. I don’t ever want to be in that position. Sweating and shaking. I clammed up. It was at the point where I couldn’t move.

I’ve gotten to a point up on a ladder, and my dad is holding on the ladder, and I just stopped. I froze.


J: So scared I can’t move- stopped. I like to steer clear of trouble. People looking for trouble. I steer clear of trouble, because I’m not a fighter. I’m not the guy with the beer muscles. I’m not that aggressive type, unless I have to be. I am not aggressive unless my family is in harm’s way.

I’m scared that I might put myself in harm’s way. I tell my younger sister to be a good girl because i might go to jail if someone put their hands on you. You think about sexual predators, perverts.

Just driving up Flatbush Avenue is hazardous.


You know, just crossing the street and not looking both ways… [it struck us funny that opossum are the #1 road kill animal]

[Joe was in a car accident (as he put it- “May 15, 2007, 9:46 at night.” He told us of his reaction to a recent ‘almost accident”.]

J: Tuesday in my car I had an almost car accident. I almost got t-boned and I froze. I looked over and then said really- “you almost hit me!” He ran the red light.

The noise of metal crunching, the sound of carnage. Glass and metal skid marks and what comes along with it. I was by myself. I was shaking and trembling the whole way back, my foot was jumping on the pedal. WHAT IF? I think about girfriend and family and God forbid.

I’ve always been told I worry so much about others that I don’t worry enough about me. That would be so sad for all of my family to miss me. My brother and sister not having an older brother anymore. Or my parents not having their first son. It would tear them apart. My grandma passed away on my birthday. I’m still here because she’s watching over me.

I’m very family-oriented. We all love each other a lot. We have our arguments, everyone does but we’re all very close…When someone dies, something’s missing, and you know you’ll never get it back. I still miss my grandparents.

I’m very alert now when driving. i wasn’t alert, wasn’t anticipating, now more alert. I need to be alert of everything around me, stray dog, stray cat. I jump to protect the cat from a car. You need to be careful with anything, stray dog, stray cat…

Dogs can attack you, you can get rabies. Who wants rabies? [an interesting reference- apparently opossums are one of the few mammals that is unlikely to get rabies.]


As Joe’s case unfolded, we could see several indications of the animal kingdom. Joe described being constantly alert for danger; other people, cars, stray dogs and cats, and the fear of being attacked. The main issue in the case was of survival, of “me against them”. The importance of his family in his life, wanting to be the protector of his younger sister, wanting to be the go-to guy who will “fix the problem” led us to the mammal subgrouping.

We knew we were looking for a mammal that was shy, not particularly aggressive; a mammal that was constantly on the look-out for danger, a mammal that would be “scared” to cross the street. The most important and distinguishing feature of the case was Joe’s reaction to perceived “danger”, e.g. his freezing up, not being able to move. This sensation appeared throughout the case in both Joe’s real life situations, and in his dreams. The descriptions came with energy and gestures.

We agreed that Joe’s most peculiar symptom, freezing in the face of danger, is the most characteristic feature in the opossum. Opossums are known to “play dead” in the face of danger. An opossum would be the most likely mammal to be afraid to cross the street as they are the most common road kill. Joe’s “fear of getting rabies” was an unusual remark, especially for a guy who lives in New York City. For these reasons, we chose Didelphis virginiana 30C.

Two days after our clinic (and before taking the remedy) Joe developed rash on his arms and legs, which was red and itching. The rash was diagnosed as contact dermatitis. As of Dec 20, 2010 when Joe took a 30C of Didelphis virginiana the rash had been persisting and unchanged as to its degree and occurrence. ]

Phone Follow Up, January 2, 2011:

J: I’m still getting hives but they are less consistent and less severe. I will still break out in hives, one day I will be really itchy and the next day they won’t be there.

[The hives still appear on the same areas – his arms, chest, back, thighs. The area isn’t as inflamed as it was and the itching calmed down.]

I’ve been feeling good and I’ve been really calm and happy, not stressed out. Everything as a whole is good.

[He has not been having many dreams, has had no nightmares of any kind, no “rolling off the roof and waking up scared” nightmares. Joe brought this dream up spontaneously during our phone call. He seems to be aware that he did not have one since taking the Rx].

Phone Follow Up, January 21, 2011:

[Joe’s hives are mostly gone.]

J: Every 2-3 days an itchy spot appears; usually I create it by scratching. It’s only one spot at a time. Compared with the way it was before, I consider my hives gone.

One change I’ve noticed is that before the remedy, my allergies would not stop at me being stuffed up with a post-nasal drip. They used to turn into a cold, which would usually go to my chest and I would end up with a chest cold/bronchitis. That has not been happening and I’ve been able to beat the cold.

I’m doing good. I don’t have any nightmares or bad dreams. I would say the bad dreams are less. Overall, I feel better.

Phone Follow Up, February 10, 2011:

J: Everything is all right. I haven’t had any crazy dreams or nightmares. Allergies are good, I use the neti pot 2-3 times a day. I notice when I don’t use it. I have not had any hives. I cleaned the basement the other day, dusted, and did not get as bad as I would have before the remedy.

Phone Follow Up, March 22, 2011:


J: Happy. My spirits are high. I keep myself alert, on top of things…I play hockey 3-4 times a week. It’s great, awesome, keeps me in shape.

I am feeling good, got over the little speed bump [broke up with his girlfriend]. I did not get a cold all winter. Between the neti pot and the remedy it is working great. I started a new job last Tuesday. This job is very well paid, benefits, paid vacations, sick time…I am still learning but it’s interesting, amazing!


J: I was afraid of the unknown but I have surpassed that…I can’t knock myself down before I even try something…It is like playing hockey. If there is competition it’s even better. Like after my breakup, I’m ok this time. I know I am a handsome young man. It’s not like I have no game.


J: [smiling] I’ve been really good, happy, feeling good, healthy. I survived the winter without getting sick. Usually it would be allergies, and then colds, but I had no colds this winter.

The allergies used to beat me up really bad. The sinus headaches used to hurt – it hurt just to walk.

Every time I take a shower, I use the neti pot. I haven’t had to use Benedryl or Sudafed.

I’m waking up with a better energy. I’m happy that I came here. It worked well.


J: No, not as much. I’m more or less knowing how to steer around the situation, and I’m knowing what to do. I don’t know if it’s the remedy. I think it’s that my self-esteem has been boosted, and the fact that I’m now feeling better and feeling more positive has helped.

I’m in the Sand Hog union now. We are linking LIRR to Grand Central. I’ll have work for years now. I’m under the East River right now. We drill 12-15 foot holes, and a technical crew comes in and stuffs it with dynamite.

I take the explosions as an adrenaline rush. The percussion of it. You have to hold your hard hat. I think it’s exciting. It’s a great-paying job, the benefits are amazing.

If I were to explain it to anyone else, they would think I’m crazy. I like to make money with my hands. I needed a career that I could say that this is what I’m going to do for the next 10 years.


Joe has taken the total of 6 doses of Didelphis Virginiana in the 30C potency.

At the end of his interview, he commented on this year’s tough winter: “If I see another snowflake I would just want to crawl into a hole”!

Comments from Mary-Lynn Culbert, NYSH Administrator:

For my graduate project I participated in the NYSH proving of Didelphis virginiana as one of the Master Provers. The experience of organizing and conducting a proving was incredible enough, but to go from conceiving a new remedy through the experience of the entire proving, and then observing the successful clinical application of that remedy, was a true gift! It makes the hard work of a proving worthwhile.

It should be noted that three years went by before we prescribed Didelphis virginiana. In our clinic we do not look for cases of the remedies that we have proven, we look for the remedy that is needed.

About the author

Bara Jones

Bara Jones was born in the Czech Republic. She majored in English and French languages at South Bohemia University. She moved to the U.S. at age 20 and became a personal trainer, integrating physical fitness with healthy life-style coaching. After completing the four year program this year at the New York School of Homeopathy, she will be practicing homeopathy in New York and Connecticut.

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