I have been reading your column for months now and am quite grateful. The “Aggravation Zapper” has been a lifesaver for us.
I’m currently dealing with illness running through the house. Most of it is resolving just fine, but my husband has, in the wake of a fever, broken out with an extremely painful rash on his skin which is quite debilitating.
What would be involved in a consultation?
Mrs. Melvin Kravitz
Hi Mrs. Kravitz, thanks for your interest in my column! 🙂 Yes, sure, here is the questionnaire:
Thanks, Elaine; attached is a photo of the rash.
We’ll get the questionnaire filled out ASAP.
Name: Melvin Kravitz (not his real name)
Male or Female: Male
Weight: 320 lb.
1. Describe the complaint or complaints in your own words in as much detail as you can.
The complaint is a rash on the left shin that is causing excruciating pain making walking nearly impossible. Sitting and standing are very difficult. It is hot to the touch (surrounding skin is fairly cool but the rashy area is burning up) with a general pink/red area and small, raised, pimple-like bumps that may have fluid. The skin is very shiny. It is not at all itchy. There is a revulsion to touching it. When walking, he fears that his shin bone is going to snap. The whole area of the shin, from below the knee to the ankle, hurts when walking. When touched, it has a pinching pain similar to pain when touching a bruise. Earlier, he described it as feeling like it had been whacked by a 2×4 or aluminum baseball bat.
Which brings us to onset. No blunt force trauma was involved, despite the feeling of bruising. A rash first appeared in early February in the wake of a bout of flu. The fever was treated with homeopathy and resolved fairly quickly, but two rashes appeared on the left leg. One on the upper calf had some very impressive blisters which eventually ruptured, scabbed over, and are on their way to being healed. The other was a small red patch on the shin which also appeared to be healing. On Monday of this week, I picked Melvin up from his workplace in the afternoon. He had felt an illness coming on all day, had chills and body aches and couldn’t keep his thoughts together. By the time we got home, he was running a fever of 101.8. There was enough clear indications of Arsenicum Album that I gave it to him and the fever broke by 3 am. (Again, thank you for the Aggravation Zapper. I only had 200c on hand and it was way too potent.) By Tuesday morning, he was considering going back to work for the afternoon but was overcome by sleepiness. By evening, the rash on his shin had come back and was beginning to become quite painful.
2. Etiology–this means the CAUSE.
Unknown. It appears to be a result of or related to the fever. This is now the third time in the last year that a fever has resulted in crippling leg pain and rash. Once, following Easter last year (high fever -> rash outbreak on right foot with much weeping, oozing, and pain that is only now resolving). The second four weeks ago, and now this one, both of which manifest high fever -> rash outbreak on left shin and calf with debilitating pain and severely limited mobility.
The incident four weeks ago seemed to resolve itself best with four days of bed rest. We couldn’t find a remedy that made any noticeable difference.
As to source of fever, no idea as there’s too many possibilities (change in weather, cleaning out a dusty office, etc.). It does appear to be fairly contagious though as the whole house is down with an upper respiratory illness. (There are myself, Melvin, and four of our five kids all sick.)
3. Sensation–describe the pain or other feeling you have.
Its a dull ache like a bruise with a fiery sensation on top. On sitting or standing its tight like pulling from the knee down to the ankle and feels as if the bone is going to snap outward from the stress. Once standing, there are 3-5 seconds of excruciating, blinding pain, still localized to the shin area that feels like hot fluid rushing in. It makes the area feel even more tight and bone feel under even more pressure. Once walking, initial steps are like an infants, like learning to walk again. Once moving, pain lessens back to a dull ache like a bruise with fiery sensation on top.
4. Appearance– anything remarkable?
Rash: Pink/red splotchy area about 4″x2.5″, small pimple-like bumps within the general redness
Overall, he’s looking worn out.
5. Location–where on the body is your complaint located?
6. Modalities–(What makes your complaint better or worse?)
It feels better in warm shower. Less pain through the middle of the day. Greater pain on waking and when tired, especially evening. Pressure makes it feel worse, as does sitting or standing, active use of the muscles in the leg. When he coughs or blows his nose, it feels like its pulling the muscles down in the shin.
Standing outside in direct sunshine felt very good.
Warm beverages ameliorate the concomitant cough.
7. Concomitants (other symptoms that are “along for the ride”)
Edema of the entire left leg below the knee including the foot. No corresponding edema in the other leg or else where.
A dry, hacking, non-productive cough, high up in the chest and lower throat. The cough itself is not painful but the back muscles are getting tired from it, and it effects the pain in the leg. Sometimes causes brief, explosive headache and loss of vision (both of which resolve without intervention within moments).
Raw throat from coughing and post-nasal drip.
8. Discharges–color, odor, consistency and sensation.
None from the rash. Sputum from cough is moderately thick, clear with streaks of yellow.
9. Generals–these are all the symptoms that begin with the word “I”.
Cold, except for the feet, Tired, Restless, Thirsty but doesn’t want to drink, Sensitive to light and sound, Can’t focus, Doesn’t want to be touched (This last is very unusual for him)
10. The mentals: Is the complaint changing you mentally and emotionally?
Feeling cranky and reclusive, Doesn’t want to be touched or socialize, embarrased by the amount of help he needs to perform basic life functions, fearful of the leg breaking, fearful of gangrene and amputation, feels indecisive, jumpy, difficulty staying focused on work.
11. What have you been saying?
Lots of language unfit for print. Also “Just shoot me now.”
12. What are you doing?
Grunting, groaning, growling, snarling, weeping when trying to sit, stand, or move while recumbent.
13. Describe your thirst and appetite.
Appetite is depressed. Feels thirsty but needs to compel himself to drink. Aversion to cold drinks (they exacerbate the cough). Craving soda. (Can’t drink it, because allergic to High Fructose Corn Syrup, but cold, fizzy, and sweet sounded good.) Doesn’t want wine or liquor. (This is also highly unusual.)
Not since Tuesday morning as a general thing. Rash seems to be feverish, though. It’s constant and dry.
None of note. (This too, rather unusual since he tends to run warm.)
No idea. No odors from the rash. My sense of smell is off at the moment and he is convinced that he always smells bad.
17. What is most striking, peculiar or identifying about your condition?
“I can’t use my leg.”
18. Is there a diagnosis?
We have not seen a physician.
19. Describe your energy.
20. What does your tongue look like?
Coated with yellowish-gray, clean and pink at tip and edges
The first thing I notice is that as long the fever is there, there’s no rash. And it’s interesting that she says, “The rash feels feverish”! It’s as though every time she’s treated a fever of his, it seems to “relocate” to his leg as a “fiery” rash. (So, all of you out there with “fever-phobia”, look at how dangerous it can be to interfere with a fever! The body doesn’t seem to like it at all!) You might consider the possibility that fever is protective and maybe our “knowledge” about fever is completely wrong. I asked Mrs. Kravitz what the problem was with drinking if he was so thirsty. She said it was only cold drinks. They make the cough worse. Warm drinks were fine. I asked what remedy she gave to stop the fever. She said Arsenicum 200C. I said, “How did you know it was Arsenicum?” She said:
He was shivering, cold, dreaming of hot cocoa. If we had a working fireplace, he would have been right by it. As it was, he had the heating blanket on and it wasn’t enough. He was suspicious when I gave him the remedy in a water bottle. He wanted my company and didn’t want me to leave. All the upper respiratory complaints, the cold, and the fear of “What on earth is she giving me?” suggested Arsenicum.