Clinical Cases

Revisiting: Has Anybody Seen Kelly?

Written by Elaine Lewis

Elaine gives the answer to last month’s quiz about the child with tonsillitis.

OK!  Who remembers last month’s exciting quiz?  I’ll tell you what I’ll do, I’ll underline the symptoms that helped solve the case.  Are you ready?  Then here we go!

Will someone please put out an All Points Bulletin on Kelly?

I hate it when people disappear into thin air!  She must be traveling around with her daughter’s soccer team; well fine!  Who needs Kelly when I have my own spectacular cases?  Ahem!  Shana!!!!  I need one of our spectacular cases!

Here’s one, Mom; a teenager with acne!  

A teenager with acne?  What teenager doesn’t have acne?!

OK.  Here’s one!  A child with tonsillitis! 

Hmm….. Tonsillitis, you say….  It is popular these days….  Okay, let’s go with tonsillitis!  So this is the case of Samantha’s daughter whom we shall call….


Too ethnic.


No, that’s no good either!  



I’ll just be leaving now….

You might want to consider doing your homework!  Okay, so, Samantha wrote to me about her 4 year old daughter, Inez, and here’s what she said:

Chief Complaint:

Last night Inez came home from a playdate with a scratchy voice and clearing her throat a lot.  She coughed in bed with a little old lady cough, hmmmmm-mmmm.  From oh, 11 ish to 12ish.  This morning more throat clearing coughing and some droopy-ness physically though not in spirit.  Around 2:30 she had a fever of 99.9 and took a nap. Woke at 4:30 no fever small appetite.  She ate and then gagged some and said she felt like throwing up and her head hurt.  Fever returned at 100.8.  Still droopy but liked a popsicle.

Weird weather, warm to cool and back.  Thunderstorms.  Flu going around.  At least one kid we know has strep throat.  We just started back to school last Wednesday, a short week.

Her oldest sister was away the whole weekend, I know Inez missed her.


Dull and achy. bruised.  She says she has a heavy dull headache.

She looks peaked.  Pale skin chapped lips.  Her tonsils are touching and the right one has a red streak through the middle of it. they are not really red otherwise.  Tongue is white-ish with a red tip.

A nap helped the fever.  A popsicle helped the sore throat.


Slightly clammy skin, fever. clearing throat and coughing.  Thirsty for cold water


None.  No runny nose, only one pee, no sweat with fever.


She said she was uncomfortable lying down, was a bit restlees.  Now she is lying still on the couch with her papa.


She is LESS whiny and bossy than usual.  She is in good spirits and is talking to herself and playing in her mind right now.  She is much less talkative than usual.

What is she saying?

Just “I don’t feel good”.

What is she doing?

She is humming and singing to herself.  “Twinkle twinkle little star” right now….. She was pacing earlier, but is lying still now.


as high as 100.8 at about 5pm




no, not even with yucky looking tonsils.

What is most striking about the condition or most peculiar?

She is in a good mood though clearly ill.

Is there a diagnosis?  For instance, flu, teething, etc.

Probably strep throat.

Describe her energy:

Sleepy, then after a nap restless and pacing then quiet again, now still but talking and humming.


Thirsty for cold water, little sips.

Information I received from follow-up questions:

She was better for Cold, she enjoyed a popsicle.

She was restless pacing before the popsicle, now she is lying down happily.

She is warmly dressed but not covered and is always kicking covers off.

Mostly she is a bit sallow, pale.

Yes the big issue is tonsils.  She says only that the pain is dull and bruise-y.  The tonsils are very swollen so her voice is thick and she grimaces slightly when swallowing.  She is clearing her throat and coughing frequently.  So, I would say, slight difficulty swallowing.

Her glands are not swollen and she has not complained with her ears at all. She is turning her head normally.

No shooting pains.

No pain on swallowing she “just has to gulp”.

Her tonsils are swollen, touching each other, with the right one having a dark red streak through it.  No other colors, no ulcers or white spots.

Yes, she is peeing less than you’d expect, now that you ask.  She really has not had much to drink today considering the fever, only little sips.  So there is not much intake, still she has only peed twice that I know of since she got up this morning.

When does she take sips?

Only when we remind her so I guess she is really NOT thirsty, she only asked for water when she heard me ask her dad if she looked dehydrated since I realized she has not drunk much all day.

What’s her energy?

She was more stuporous right after her nap, now very present.

She does not currently have a fever.

I just caught her eating butter off the stick, if that helps.

Dave has just reminded me that the last time she had strep we didn’t know it for a while because she was “cheerful” a word he has not seen me type, so that is a good clue.

Yes, please use Inez for the quiz, I will finally know an answer!


Well, I must say I am shocked!  Totally shocked!  I said to myself, “As soon as people see that she’s eating butter off the stick, EVERYBODY’S gonna know the answer!”  Boy, was I wrong!  Well, this being the case, it’s really good that we’re doing this because it teaches an important lesson about the value we ascribe to symptoms.

When someone comes to me or posts on the Discussion Forum that they have some illness like eczema or sore throat or whatever, and they give loads of detail about their diagnosis, they actually think they’re helping me, and I always have to say, “You STILL have to fill out the Questionnaire!”  And what more proof do you need than this case where eating butter off the stick is the key to the the case!!!!!

Geez, you’d think “Strep Throat” or “Tonsilitis” would be enough information, wouldn’t you?  How many remedies for strep throat can there possibly be?  Well, we don’t have remedies for “strep throat”, we have remedies for People!   As soon as Samantha said, “She’s eating butter off the stick,” I said, “Pulsatilla!

It’s really amazing how we prescribe in homeopathy, isn’t it?  Who would believe it if you told them how we come up with remedies?  The point is, there aren’t too many remedies that eat butter off the stick.  Mercury and Pulsatilla are the only two I’m aware of, and it was easy to discount Mercury when it couldn’t be supported by bad odors, bad breath or thirst…and there was no sweating and no excessive salivating, so, that put me right off Mercury, leaving Pulsatilla standing alone; so, all that was left to do was confirm Pulsatilla; can we confirm Pulsatilla?  We sure can!

The fact that not only was the throat better from a popsicle but she was actually better from the ice cold popsicle IN GENERAL, it calmed her down, remember?  Stopped the restlessness, which makes this a very important symptom!  She’s better cold!  That’s a big indication for Pulsatilla!

What else?  “Kicks off the covers!”  There are only a few remedies that do that and Pulsatilla is one of them!  It’s a 3 for “Generals: covers, kicks off covers”.  Oh, and here’s another one–Thirstlessness!  Pulsatilla is famous for that.  Then we have a possible etiology of changeable weather and her sister going away and leaving her (Pulsatilla–the remedy that feels abandoned).  So, we’ve got an amazingly solid case for Pulsatilla!

The remedies our audience picked were mostly Gelsemium for the droopiness and Rhus tox for the restlessness (but Rhus tox is not better for cold).  Someone picked Ignatia for the etiology–the older sister going away.

Well, you know, these are all nice ideas but, if you’ve got a great big peculiar symptom in the case?  You’ve got to go with that!  A “super keynote“, it’s called, and then you look back in the case and see if there are any confirmatory symptoms to back up your choice.  Are you familiar with paragraph 153 of The Organon?  We call it the “Strange, Rare and Peculiar” clause!  In it, Hahnemann says:

In this search for a homoeopathic specific remedy… in order to find [one] corresponding by similarity to the disease to be cured, the more striking, singular, uncommon and peculiar (characteristic) signs and symptoms1 of the case of disease are chiefly and most solely to be kept in view…in order to constitute…the most suitable [remedy] for effecting the cure. The more general and undefined symptoms: loss of appetite, headache, debility, restless sleep, discomfort, and so forth, demand but little attention….

So there you have it.  (The underlining was mine.)  This is why I say to people, “No, I don’t know what your remedy is, you haven’t told me anything except that you have a fever, strep throat, tiredness, low energy, trouble swallowing…I’ve got nothing, nothing!  You have to fill out the questionnaire!”

Now, wait ’til you see our quiz this month!   The same child relapsed, same diagnosis, the mother gives Pulsatilla again, and guess what?  It doesn’t work!  Why not?  What will you do now?   Tune in next month to find out!


Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom

Elaine takes online cases, send her an email: [email protected]

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About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at: and

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