ID: Joe, 65 year, married, retired male nurse, bound to a wheelchair and/or bed in the last 27 years.
This is a story about a good friend of mine who is handicapped, and his wife whom I have known for the past forty years, and about all the suffering they went through.
He was born in Jan, 17, 1946. When he was beginning to walk, someone accidentally drenched him with very hot coffee spilled from a stove, getting seriously burnt from head to feet (sic). During six months he could not wear any clothing, because it would glue to his skin. He had to remain naked over oiled banana’s leaves in order to help the drainage of body fluids.
He told me:
“My parents were land workers. Since I was 8 I helped them on horseback , guiding the animal as we ploughed the fields. I can recall this often gave me a sore butt after a full day of work.”
“When I was about 18 I got an intestinal infection: everything I ate or drank turned into vomit, loose stools, gave nauseas and lots of cramps. During that time I worked in sawmill and my boss took me to the hospital’s infirmary where I received many IV fluids. Orally, I took Kaomagma® (kaolin, pectin and alumina), vegetal carbon pills, Atroveran® (popular pain killer complex with papaverine, salicylic acid and Belladona), to ease cramps. Also I was on light meals.”
“There were other patients in the infirmary and as I got better, I would help other patients during the night with their needs, helping to the bathroom, to have a drink, and things like that… When I was better, the head nurse nun invited me to work at the hospital, as a volunteer. After some time I became a regular employee and even had a little room for myself.”
“I learned to give medications, serve meals, to give injections, to operate the X-ray, to do bandages. Finally I went to OR where I learned to clean surgical tools, to stock them after sterilization and began to help in minor surgeries. And I was on the night watch turn every other night.”
Joe’s sterilization devices (1980)
Joe and his wife worked at the same hospital where I met them in 1975, when I became the hospital’s team surgeon. He was always industrious, working day and night, hurrying in everything he did. Joe helped in surgeries, cleaning and sterilizing surgical tools. He was very efficient and responsible in his tasks. We became close friends. During the week end he played soccer, his favorite sport, sometimes playing, other times watching, and always arguing…
When he was about 20, Joe often wandered at night picking up a mate. In consequence he passed urine burning like fire, with white pus emission, without knowing what the hell that was. The pain compelled him to tell the doctor: he got Tetrin® 10 injections (“very painful!”). Sometime later an ulcer pops up on his penis’s glans. A blood test (VDRL) revealed positive to syphilis infection. He got 5 shots of Benzectacyl® (Penicillin G Benzathine) 1.200.000 U IM, “very painful!”
On Dec, 84, when he was 40, he fell from a top roof and broke his spine (T4 T5) which resulted in paraplegia. He had to have surgery and his vertebrae were fixed with steel blades and bolts. He had to remain in a plaster cast for a whole year. He always followed the doctor’s instructions conscientiously and this is a trait in his character till this day.
September/90 – he underwent a cholecystectomy plus choledocostomy, to remove stones from his biliary tract (gall bladder colic and jaundice). Three days later he underwent emergency laparotomy in order to drain a choleperitonitis collection. A small hernia still remained, that he carries to this day.
Some years later he got back pains and a CAT scan revealed osteomyelitis in C3/ C4 which were treated with Cipro® (ciprofloxacin). He was then admitted to the hospital because he was told he was at risk of becoming tetraplegic or even dying in surgery. Again he took 120 pill of Cipro®.
Enough? Not yet: In October, 30, 1999 the worst seemed to happen : his 18 year old second son killed himself with a 38 bullet in the heart, shocking and almost killing the parents also.
In January 2000 Joe was admitted to hospital due to a urethral hemorrhage from emptying the bladder with a catheter. Two days later he began to have intense pain in the left cervical plexus which was diagnosed as cervical brachyalgia. There was strong nauseas which tests revealed was from urinary infection.. The pains in his shoulder and neck were unbearable, demanding plexus blocking with anesthesia. After that he was taken to a chiropractor and the pain subsided, but he refused to return there for subsequent treatment in fear becoming tetraplegic.
Since that episode, I noticed his tendency to get fever not so high (around 38oc/1000f), with chills accompanied with intense, continuous nauseas and headache. The urinary tract infection was constantly returning in spite of antibiotics, as an intermittent and frequent crisis. The urine was bad smelling from mild to frankly fetid. Sometimes his urine contained pus; his breath was offensive as was his perspiration. In such circumstances I gave him Benzoic acid, Cantharis and other remedies which helped in acute episodes. Of course I gave him Syphillinum, but without evident response.
Since 1988 he suffered from bedsores, in spite of his wife’s good care (remember she worked in hospital.) He underwent a total of 14 surgeries, including plastic surgery for the gluteal ulcers.
I have detected many: despair with several modalities; great anxiety about his own health, loathing life, desires death, fears death, suicidal thoughts, fears dark, fears ghosts, restlessness, sensitive to noise, shrieking in sleep, industrious, fastidious, sensitive to noise, stammering when tense, worrying about money, weeping from despair, weeping telling his symptoms… I couldn’t find anything peculiar as a guide and considered the whole situation as a natural result of his sorrowfulness.
Local and generals
Just mentioning some: necrosis, ulcers, purulent and foul secretions, foul odors, heated upper side of body, coldness of paralyzed limbs, heat sensation (in summer he remains in bed with his thorax naked, but covered downwards; he wears only a T-shirt even in winter), jerking paralyzed limbs, desires cold drinks and water, aversion to warm drinks (he pours milk from the fridge into his hot milk, to lukewarm it). Eyes: horizontal nystagmus during fever.
I wandered as if lost during many years trying to help him, while learning homeopathy, (an overall cancer situation, with things beyond my efforts and capacity-Sankaran). The patient and the homeopath were quite helpless.
In time: On July 1999 the author received a kidney transplant due to renal failure, after four years on peritoneal dialysis, a consequence of severe hypertension. Joe’s wife was his donor.
The acute situation or the case per-se
Eight years after a plastic surgery to correct bedsores (over ischial tuberosity due to immobility in wheelchair) a new fistula appeared, this time on the other side. It was a small orifice but with extended necrosis underneath and a lot of discharge.
The plastic surgeon said he couldn’t perform the surgery because the patient was anemic and referred him to a clinic which said his anemia was not so bad, and put him on blood transfusion. Meanwhile, the situation was worsening. He was on Rocephin® (Ceftriaxone) 1 g/day IV.
Fistula’s close view (Jun 24, 09)
In June 24, 2009 I found him prostrated, pale, sad, nauseated, extremely discouraged, willing to be silent (normally he’s talkative),complaining of headache, feverish (not too much, under 380c), pulse 60 bps, glycemia 178. His wife showed me his wound: a small lipped orifice (fistula with no tendency to heal) discharging dark brownish pus extremely fetid. The bandages had to be changed every 3 hours. At the side was a granulated superficial skin lesion. The glutei muscles were totally hypotrophic. (There is no discharge in the photo because it was taken just after bath).
I asked about his feelings and he said: “I’m sad to be continuously in bed … I’d like to go outside… If punishment exists, I’m being punished, because I never liked to be in bed … I’m forsaken and alone… I’m rotting and the doctors don’t know what it is… I was useful to them only when I could work… They prepared me because I’m going… I know it… I’m at the end of my resistance… A handicapped must end at a bed’s button… medicines are not good enough… I know the picture isn’t good… diabetes is a complicated issue… this scar must be operated on… I get worn-out even when I take a bath…there is no way out”. I noticed he was helpless, anxious, possibly fearing death, but he doesn’t say this. His urine appeared dark through the plastic drain and in the bag.
My friend was right: low fever, cold transpiration, low pulse rate, and in spite of having been taking antibiotics for 20 consecutive days, it seemed like a septicemic situation in a diabetic and hemiplegic patient. Everybody was pessimistic including me.
His wife stated: “In the morning, the room smells like rotten meat… it’s unbearable. The discharge is dark, brownish dark like rotten blood. He stinks like carrion. (She used a strong Portuguese word for carrion ? “carniÃ§a” = rotten meat).
The most striking thing was the references to rotten meat and carrion so I thought of Pyrogenium. I never used this remedy and I didn’t imagine it was possible for someone to use it in our present antibiotic times!
I went to Lathoud’s materia medica (Joseph-AmÃ©dÃ©e -1882-1944), my first and favorite M.M. There it was: “Pyrogenium or Pyrexin, a nosode introduced by the Englishmen at the end of the last century: Dr. John Drysdale was the first to recommend it as a remedy (1880) in a publication impossible to find today: “On Pyrogen or Pyroxigen as a therapeutic agent”.
Lathoud goes on to state: “It’s extracted from lean beef in the way according to Dr Diaz da Cruz: we take a container with half liter water and 200gr of lean cow meat. This is exposed to dry air during 20 days, obtaining a fetid reddish liquid, thick as syrup. It is filtered and put it in water-bath until dry. Let it macerate in alcohol 2 hours remaining a dry, dark and compact mass to which is added 30gr distilled water and filtered after 2 hours. The light and amber liquid is the aqueous extract of Pyrogenium. We add the double volume of glycerin and this can be considered de mother tincture to be potentized as Hahnemann’s recommendation: 3a, 6a, 12a, 30a…”
“Characteristics: (I picked out the patient’s symptoms)
- Septic, severe situations in restless patients: desire to change position due to soreness (Arn, Bapt feels the bed is hard). There is a quadrivalent influence like Arnica, Eupatorium perf, Arsenicum album and Rhus tox;
- Extreme stinking in all secretions… like Ars;
- Septic states when there are no other symptoms pointing to another remedy…
- Acute septicemia;
- Grievous local infections tending to invade all organism;
- Inflammatory states from septic origin tending to suppuration. These are grouped with a history of suppuration or local infection with apparent cure;
- The only modality observed is transient amelioration from motion, like Rhus tox.”
“Mental symptoms – it resembles Ars-a.: anguish, restless, multitude of ideas”;
“Head: violent pains”;
“Mouth: Extremely fetid breath”;
“Stomach: persistent nauseas. Fetid vomits brownish, bloodish or stercorous.”
Allen’s MM of Nosodes just adds: “obstinate, varicose, offensive ulcers of old people”.
A Synthesis Repertory search gave me: (again picking out only symptoms that match the patient):
Delirium from sepsis;
Disgust of the own body; of one own odor of the body;
Fear (=apprehension, dread);
Prostration of mind;
Restlessness anxious; feverish; during headache; during heat; with septicemia;
Fever with chilliness; fever: external heat with chilliness;
Hectic fever; septic fever.
Changing position <;
Collapse – tendency;
Discharge offensive, fetid; fistulae;
Hard bed sensation;
Heat – lack of vital
History personal of recurrent abscesses;
Infectious disease; infectious disease – anaerobic;
Inflammation: cellulites; after operations;
Desire for motions;
Odor of the body: cadaverous; offensive;
Pulse: abnormal; discordant with temperature;
Septicemia: blood poisoning; ailments from blood poisoning; during chill;
Weakness: < during fever;
Wounds: dissecting; suppurating.
Urine albuminous; color dark; containing casts; odor offensive, putrid; sediment adherent; red, difficult to wash off; sand red (=brick-dust); sticky
Decubitus become sore; discoloration pale; ulcers bleeding; ulcers discharges bloody, offensive, putrid; fistulous, indolent, unhealthy.”
Quoting Grandgeorge (“The Spirit of Homeopathic Medicines” pg 162/163): “Pyrogenium (The homeopathic antibiotic): this is the internal antiseptic in homeopathy… in cases of fever with putrid discharges; septic fevers with insomnia… especially puerperal septicemia (a severe bloodstream infection after childbirth).
Observation: a ten-year-old boy had an operation several months ago for a facial sarcoma (cancer) of the right temporal region. After intense postoperative chemotherapy, his defenses drop to the point where blood tests show less than 500 white blood cells p/mm3. He begins to develop a type of malignant staphylococcic infection of the face originating at his surgical scar.
Of course the child was under specialized hospital care and the necessary procedures are done: perfusion of strong doses three of the latest antibiotics. In spite of these efforts, however, the illness evolves slowly; his fever reaches 1040… On the third day, the child was semi comatose, on morphine…I went to the hospital to give them some moral support… it was a distressing sight: this child was literally rotting away before our very eyes; which makes me think of Pyrogenium… three globules of 7CH in his mouth every hour. The next day, Saturday morning, a miracle occurs! The fever has dropped to 101, 60 for the first time in three days. That evening, the swelling on his face goes down, and the pain disappears; the child smiles. Then the fever is gone. And just in time: Sunday was his birthday!”
Lathoud’s quoting: “Beyond all prejudices using this kind of remedy, we must be so honored as James B. Bell referring to Psorinum: ‘Our gratitude for this remedy’s excellent services doesn’t allow us to ask if it’s coming from pure gold or from pure sordidness’.”
Back to my story:
Follow up In June, 24, 2009, Wednesday, 8 pm, I gave Pyrogenium 30C, 5 drops every 3 hours.
Thursday: (by phone) no changes.
Friday morning: (by phone) the fistula’s drainage is lighter and less fetid. The skin around the ‘mouth’ remains inflamed and red. The remedy was lessened to twice a day.
June, 30 (1 week later): I found him with his usual red face watching TV. The temperature was 360c, glycemia 138, blood pressure 120/80; pulse 60.The urine wasn’t so turbid.
I asked about his disposition? “Now, I’m OK, but I was defeated, forsaken. That leaking with that unbearable smell…”
What is defeated? “Oh my God, there’s no solution, no cure. The guy goes, giving out slowly…”
About your sleep? “It’s still restless. I don’t know if I become tired in one side, I just must to change the position”.
The secretion lessened to 30%, no darkness, no bad smell, light colored.
Your dreams? “About my deceased father. We saw each other but we didn’t talk. It’s a mute dream.
Any sensation? “Nothing… I don’t know… I used to have nightmares: drowning myself without strength to cry for help. There is no strength… being stabbed… Pursued by oxen…”
How is this pursued by oxen? “I do have this since I was a child: an ox pursuing me while I’m unable to run away.” (this is a very curious ‘coincidence’) ? “And he cries in sleep” (says his wife)
Anything else? ? “In my dreams I’m always running or walking, never in a wheelchair”.
67 days after 1st dose (Jun 2, 09)
Tell me about ‘being stabbed’ ? “I’m not in a fight, but I can’t escape… fear to be involved… but it’s all mute… I didn’t get stabbed, but there is plenty of blood and some people being stabbed…”
4 months after 1st dose (Oct 3, 09)
What about animals? “I like it very much; I would like to have a little ranch with many of it… I like horses also… I watch the TV ‘Ox’s Channel’…”
Observation: The fistula wasn’t expected to close completely, because under the skin was a large empty space where the muscle necroses.
On Nov, 24, 09: paleness, low fever, chills and persistent nauseas. This acute picture responded well to another dose of Pyrogenium 30C every 3 hours.
In the meantime I learned that Dr. Jonathan Wright (Tahoma Clinic in Washington State) was treating bladder infection: “Instead of antibiotics, D-Mannose, found in health food stores, can be effective in curing bladder infections”. I put him in this supplement, the urinary tract infection subsides, and the urine became clear in its collector.
On Jan 16, 2010 another crisis; his wife phoned me ? “He can’t see anymore. His left eye wasn’t good for a long time, but now he can’t see the objects’ upper parts. The ophthalmologist did an X-ray angiofluorescein test finding “macular degeneration” and closed the question: “He’s going to go blind and I can’t do anything”; He gave him vitamin E and no further hope.
On a Saturday night I talked to him…”tell me about that?”
“I’m getting stone blind… I get closer trying to see, but I can’t… I lost the desire to chat… I feel ill and down… I can’t eat… I threw up bitter water twice … plenty of nauseas… I used to drink 2 liters of water a day, but now I can’t drink any without throwing up… How can I feel? Completely helpless… in a wheelchair and now blind! How will it be my acquaintanceship? …my eyes burn as if they have sand or dust inside… my legs jerks as never before… my head aches.”
Hemianopsy vertical transient isn’t an unusual symptom, but a horizontal one I never saw before. I went to Kent’s Repertory and there was: “Hemiopia horizontal (loses vision superior part): Ars, Aur, aur-s, camph, dig, gels”.
I recall Lathoud’s MM: “There is a quadrivalent influence like Arnica, Eupatorium perf, Arsenicum album and Rhus tox”… and did my choice: Arsenicum album 200 1 dose.
The patient calms down progressively and in 2 weeks he was seeing TV again although with difficultly.
Again, I learned from Dr. Jonathan Wright: “Macular degeneration often originates in the stomach due to poor nutrient digestion from lack of sufficient hydrochloridric acid – intravenous treatments with zinc, selenium, and other minerals can also reverse eyesight loss”. I can’t do this treatment, but I asked “Life Extension Foundation” for capsules of zinc and selenium. The patient took it till today and recently (1 year after the blindness sentence) an eye check from the ophthalmologist found: “The situation is the same… the glasses are OK”. Although he is seeing TV, can read only taking out the glasses and getting close, but he didn’t complain anymore about his eyes.
On June, 4, 2010 he was ready to undergo another plastic surgery to close the fistula, but two days before the procedure I gave him a dose of Pyrogenium 200 diluted in 500 ml of mineral water to be sipped every 3 hours. One never knows!
On July 25, 2010, 30 days after he came back home, his wife called me: “Joe is badly depressed”. I found him closed in his room, lights and TV off (unusual for him) prostrated, discouraged, sighing. He just returned from the capital where the surgical stitches were removed.
What’s up ‘compadre’?
“My sleep is bad… I wake up every hour from restlessness… I dream too much, but I forget them… They are boring dreams… I’m worried about my hypertension (180/190 – 100)… this way I can get an infarct… I’m short of breath… I can’t pull my respiration to the button… I know I did things I shouldn’t long time ago, but who didn’t! (Veiled reference to an extramarital affair related to his accident) (Kent’s: Anxiety of conscience – ARS). I’m discouraged, no appetite, no thirst… (He wants to drink a lot, conscientiously following the doctors’ instructions).
Which were your worries before the surgery?
“I was worried about the surgery’s success… the surgeon told me it was my last chance… there wasn’t new surgery at all… How will it be if the problem does not have a solution… After a hard, prolonged and difficult surgery like this… I’m in this position (on abdomen) for 30 days and I must go on for two more months… I’ll lose all this?”
(After a while, spontaneously) “I don’t like to be alone… the worst comes to the worst… Now, diabetes is OK: 130. I fear a stroke, to become more dependent, can’t help anything…
(His wife intervenes impulsively) “He’s always predicting disgraces… his problem is money. He was worried about money since before our marriage: bills, spending… I did a banking loan to repair our son’s house and I guess this was the main reason. Expenses are always his worries”.
What about debts? I asked him.
“What if we can’t pay it?”
(At this point the wife was very upset and blew off steam): “He wants to save money, fears the future, he’s ill humored, irritable, always complaining, unhappy, conscientious, “sarna” (Portuguese pejorative word for dog’s itch), always discontented, everything must be his way (patient sighs)… I do everything for him, but he’s always unhappy, moody… when he’s upset he turns taciturn and becomes ill…” (She cries a lot releasing the internal pressure). (Pause)
Why did you call him “sarna”? ? “If he’s able to leave the bed, he’ll open the fridge and cupboards to fit caps and lids in, pots, boxes… this makes him crazy, complaining and whining if things aren’t properly caped and on their places… I can’t stand that…. He’s stuck in bed and worried about plastic little shits: stop it, for God sake (She was almost out of herself; after a while she continues, a little bit calmer !” (Patient just sighs)
“Let me tell you two old stories: (1) We weren’t married yet. He saved enough money to make some repairs in his house and for our honeymoon trip. He hid the money in the house’s ceiling. One day someone (she suspects his brother-in-law) came and took the money away… (2) ” On another occasion I was cleaning the ‘fusca’ (Volkswagen) and I found a plastic bag with money under the linen cover in the trunk. He never used bank accounts because he doesn’t trust it.”
At this point I made up my mind: Arsenicum album 1M single dose.
If we remember that Arsenicum is the Ar2O3, it explains the patient’s constant sighing.
O2 in periodic table: 2nd row – “he’s separated and takes his first breath…” By other side: 16th column: “Useless… the end is coming… the structure has lost its utility completely… loss of capacity, energy and ability… everything useful has been taken out…” (Sankaran). Ars is “the collector” (Vithoulkas)
Follow up: in a few days he was back to his routine. ARS acted beautifully again.
Surgery final aspect (8 months after)
End of story? Not yet: On December 11, 2010, his wife phoned me in her characteristic dramatic tone: “His mother got a stroke and she’s in the ICU. Joe doesn’t want to eat, or if agrees to have some, refuses it later… he doesn’t chat with visitors…” (This is considered improper among us)
When I checked, he really was very sad, TV off: “See my mother’s situation: unconscientious in the ICU, getting food by a catheter in stomach… should I be cheerful?”
Of course I agreed with him and gave a single dose of Ignatia 1M. In time his mother had a partial recovery and my friend was back to his ‘normal’.
The plastic surgery went OK and he was supposed to be on his belly for 3 months. After that he wasn’t feeling like sitting up, fearing to get back the fistula.
Since then he is OK: good faced, alternating between wheelchair and the bed, feeding himself well. The urine is clear and odorless.
Finally, end of case.
For me, homeopathy showed its beauty once more:
- Old and modern knowledge goe along without clashes, giving hope when everything was apparently lost.
- Pyrogenium ? in classic literature there is a statement about Nosodes: it must be used when well chosen remedies don’t act, or when a case is confused. The nosode will open up the case and another remedy shows up clearly. In this case it seems confirmed.
- Even if the patient is a close friend or a relative it’s our job to keep objectivity and to be attentive for what has to be cured (Hahnemann) at the very moment. Besides, it keeps us alert in order to prevent despair.
The author with Joe and his wife