Closely observing a proving in process, without actively participating in it, provides an interesting perspective. The observer can give insight into some of the larger themes of the remedy. At the same time those intimately involved in the proving are providing the details and specific symptoms necessary to understand and prescribe the evolving remedy.
Every proving has its own life, colored with distinct energy, emotions, timing and rhythm. The Lac Ovinum proving conducted by the Northwestern Academy of Homeopathy (NAH) under the direction of Eric Sommerman was no exception. The most apparent symptoms observed immediately and throughout the proving were significantly increased hunger and desire to eat many times of the day, a feeling of needing to rush and hurry accompanied by darting here and there to attend to things, and increased irritability and sexual desire and tension. There is little wonder that most people directly involved with the proving thought the proving substance was another on the NAH’s list for potential proving, the army caterpillar, an insect that strips and consumes leaves from Elm and other deciduous trees at an alarming rate.
The thing that stood out for me (from my perspective of watching the proving from a distance) was that a number of provers developed a feeling of great responsibility for tasks, people and decisions, but didn’t know how to accomplish what they felt was required of them. At the same time, they were averse to seeking help, or were desperate for help, but didn’t think there was any available. They experienced feelings of fear, anxiety, incapability, helplessness, hopelessness and aloneness. They were lost sheep without a leader. These observations led me to prescribe Lac Ovinum in the following cases. Both individuals did very well on the remedy. Their chief complaints greatly improved, along with resolution of incapacity, helplessness and feeling overwhelmed.
Case One: 36 Year Old Male
CC: “I have headaches almost every day. Sometimes they go on for two or three days. They are dull, but can be throbbing on the right side when they are really bad. I also get cold sores and canker sores, and cysts on my eyelids. The headaches come on when I am stressed, and I feel stressed a lot.
“What am I like? Just ask my wife. She said to tell you that I’m stubborn, irritable, impatient, and really short tempered, especially when I’m stressed. My kids tell me I get after them too much. I don’t mean to. But they have things they should do and it’s my job to make sure they do them, and it’s my job to make sure they grow up to be responsible adults. Parenting is hard. There is no rulebook for it.
“I also get sidetracked really easily. I’ll be setting out to do something, and then realize the kids aren’t doing their homework or the grass needs cutting or something else needs doing and I never get to what I started out to do. The same thing happens at work. I intend to work on an order, but something interrupts me, and I am off and running on something else. Do you think I have ADD? Pretty soon I have a lot of things piling up. I feel really hurried then. I feel like I’m always rushing from one thing to another. Then I get mad easily. I can lose my temper over stupid, dumb things.
“I have other symptoms. I get thick dandruff. So thick and so much, it looks like snow.
“My feet get really smelly and hot. More in the summer. The smell is kind of sour.
“My energy gets really low when the headaches are bad.
“My legs get stiff, sometimes. I get cramps in them at night. Sometimes they feel weak.
“I am very hypersensitive to getting my hair cut. I hate the feeling of having it pulled on. It really hurts. I fantasize about letting it grow long, never cutting it, to avoid the feeling. I am also hypersensitive to brushing my teeth. I don’t brush around the gums, because it hurts so much.
“My wife sent some notes. She says I am very bossy. That I think I know best. That I go into fits of anger when people don’t do what I think they should. She says that I don’t stay out of other people’s business. That I am always horning in. I don’t know about that. I feel responsible, especially for the kids, but I just don’t know what to do sometimes. This is a bad feeling.
“Another thing. I feel like I am always hungry. Not all the time, but I have times when all I want to do is eat. It started when I was a teenager, and gets worse when I feel stressed.
“What really stresses me? The kids. Being a parent. Right vs. wrong. Ethical decisions. People think I am too bossy, but I worry about being too lenient. Work is really stressful. My division has to get its productivity up. My boss and his boss have different ideas about what to do. I don’t want to make either of them mad. I don’t know what to do. I am supposed to be responsible for my team, but I don’t know what to do. There is nobody to help me. I can’t go to my boss or his boss, and there is no one else to talk to. Right now it is so bad, I can get a headache just walking into the office. The pain has been so bad lately that it goes down my neck, and I can hardly turn it. My wife asks what is wrong. I don’t want to talk about it. Talking makes things worse.
He has a recurrent dream: “My friend and I are being chased by some bad men, sometimes it’s some kind of monster or wild beast. My friend gets caught. I don’t know how to help him.
“One more thing. My short-term memory is not the greatest. It gets really bad when I am stressed. I can also forget things. I forget words in the middle of a sentence. That I feel really stupid.”
Plan: Lac Ovinum 1M q 12 hrs x 3 doses
Follow-Up: August 2004
“I had a couple of bad headaches right after taking the medicine. I haven’t had any more. My feet haven’t been as sweaty. My energy is maybe a little better. My wife says it is. I do feel more relaxed. I don’t think I have been so irritable.”
Plan: Good response. Wait.
Follow-Up: December 2004
“I’ve had a few headaches, but they haven’t been that bad. I had that dream again, but this time, both of us got away. We outsmarted them. Work has been better. I came up with a plan for my team. I figured out how to tell my boss about it. Nobody got upset. How did I feel? Very relieved, very, very relieved. I felt like I could handle things, for a change.
“My wife says I am easier to live with. I have been on the kids less. I am not so worried.
“I am thinking clearer and my memory is better.”
Plan: Improvement. Wait.
Phone Check In: July 2005
He reports feeling much better. He has had only slight headaches and he feels much less stressed. “I have a feeling of calm. When there are problems, I take a deep breath and then try to look at the situation and figure out what to do about it.” Life in general is easier, and he feels happier and more confident.
Case Two: 40 Year Old Female
CC: Clinical depression, Neck pain, Seasonal allergies
She feels she has been depressed since her mother died suddenly, when she was a teenager. “I missed her so much. My dad told me we had to get over it. I had to help him with the house and my little sister and brother. I would cry myself to sleep at night, and try to do my best during the day. I really didn’t know what to do a lot of the time. I just felt lost.”
She is married and has two children (ages 16 and 18). She works two jobs, to help her husband make ends meet. “I work really hard. I need help. I need support. My husband is nice, but he can’t do anything for me.
“I worry about the kids. My daughter isn’t doing well in school. She has a boyfriend. I don’t think he is good for her. It makes me feel helpless. Hopeless. How do I help her?”
She says she worries almost all the time, about her children, her finances, her husband’s stress and her health. She has a very hard time making decisions.
She has dreams, with themes of losing things and not knowing what to do: “I have these dreams. I get lost, or I lost things and can’t find them. Like my coat, or gloves or my shoes. Sometimes my daughter’s school work.” She can’t find her way out, or can’t find the missing item. “I feel so unable to solve the problem. I feel confused and alone. There is no one to help me and I don’t know where to get help.” She will wake from these dreams feeling quite anxious. “I have a hard time getting back to sleep after these dreams.” In general, her sleep is “so-so”. She often feels tense on going to sleep and can wake at 3 a.m. with neck pain that lasts several days or more. It can take hours to get back to sleep. She often feels “sleepy and drugged” when she finally gets up in the morning. “I have to drag myself up. I have to get to work.”
Her appetite is low in the morning, but once she gets to work, she eats constantly. “I have to eat while I am at the computer. I will eat something every hour. I can’t work unless I eat. I’m afraid I will gain weight.”
Her allergies are bad in the fall. “I feel best in the spring, when the grasses come out. I feel invigorated. I am really bad after the ragweed starts (in August). I get really itchy eyes and I’m stuffed up for weeks.
The neck pain comes and goes. I t has been especially bad in the last year, since her daughter has had problems. The pain is aching, sometimes shooting, sometimes just stiffness.
Her husband gets angry with her “For not straightening (her daughter) out.” “But, what am I supposed to do? It is really stressful, being in the middle of those two. I feel like I need my mother – a woman to tell me what to do.”
Plan: Lac Ovinum 200c bid x 2 days
Follow Up: June 2005
She feels a little better. “Summer is here. That always helps. I haven’t been so overwhelmed. One big thing: I’m not feeling incapable! I made a big decision.” She gave up one of her jobs in order to concentrate on the other, and feels quite good about this.
Follow Up: August 2005
“My hay fever is bad.” The symptoms are what she usually experiences: itchy eyes and trouble breathing through her nose. She feels more tired and is having trouble sleeping. “I don’t feel so depressed. Things are going a little better.”
Plan: Lac Ovinum 30c bid x 3 days
Follow Up: March 2006
“I feel better than I can remember feeling!” I was so sick of not feeling support. I was doing a little better at making decisions. I just wanted more support. Then, our pastor asked me to start a women’s group. For the first time, I felt I could do this. I got the group started. It made me feel so good about myself, and the group is wonderful. I am finally getting support when I need it. The thing is, I don’t need it as much as I thought I did.”
She is less worried about her daughter and her health, and is able to enjoy things a little more. “I feel happy, more and more. At times, I feel like a girl again. It’s a carefree feeling. I don’t think I am depressed now.”