Our friend Gabi from Canada writes in with the following:
Santiago is quite sick [2-year-old boy], I may have to hire you for this one… I am lost! He doesn’t eat all day, at night he eats ravenously! Then in the morning he has cadaveric diarrhea containing undigested food and mucus, which in my opinion, is from milk, which he has to have or he screams his head off! He has a loose, rattling cough–green and bloody mucus, sometimes sticky yellow, worse lying down; drinks constantly–at first milk and juice, now just milk, he doesn’t like water. He’s out of humor and irritable. Warmth of the bed aggravates, he starts sweating and turns red. The illness started as a conjunctivitis with yellow discharge from the eyes, super-high fever that lasted two days and was brought down with Hydrastis and Belladonna, consecutively. Then after that part was over, he became scared of me leaving and had nightmares, so I gave Stramonium. He stopped being scared but the nose discharge and the rattling in the chest continued. I gave Sulphur; but, it stopped working and to be honest, I can’t keep up, I am exhausted with this case, I need your help! Hope you can do it!–Gabi.
Hi again, Elaine! The first thing that changed after giving the remedy you suggested was his good humour [returned], then the diarrhea [went away], and irritability, rattling in chest and milk craving went last.
I gave three doses of 30c in two days (3 in all). Then the third day just one of 200C–because I couldn’t find the 30C bottle!– and it was all gone–the whole illness!
How amazing it is!
It never ceases to amaze me. As soon as I gave the first dose, his sense of humor came back, it was immediate!
Eighteen enthusiastic responses came in! Here were the remedies you chose:
Aloe, Lycopodium, Mag-c., Phos-ac., Sulphur, China (2), Bryonia (2), Borax, Phosphorus (3), Psorinum, Chamomilla(2), Kali sulph., and Aethusa.
And the winner is, Aethusa! Sent in by clearly our smartest reader, but, unfortunately, not smart enough to sign his name! So, yes, the award goes to Anonymous!
Since Anonymous couldn’t be with us today, I suggest the award go to Alyona from Russia, who gave the most logical answer, and here it is:
“When I read this case I thought – it sounds like Sulphur (and my 4 y/o son too, who still craves milk at night, before taking Sulphur he had problems with stool, he is hot etc.) And as it is told, Sulphur worked in this case presented by you. The potency was not mentioned, so if a boy got ,say, 6C and it stopped working I would try 30C. It’s my first conclusion.”
Right, so, if a remedy works and it stops working, the first thing is to repeat it or go to a higher potency before giving up on it; and Gabi may have tried that. And of course, there is a lot of Sulphur in this case–sweating and turning red, worse heat of the bed, yellow mucus and so on. So, Sulphur in a higher potency was a good suggestion!
So, Alyona, send Dr. B a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him you’d like something special, like, maybe, a lake-front apartment.
So, here was how I came up with Aethusa. When we look at a case, we ask, as Hahnemann says in paragraph 153 of the Organon, what is the most striking, strange, rare or peculiar aspect of this case? What stands out? Clearly in this case, the milk obsession could be described as the most “striking” and the most “peculiar” part of the case. When I read “screams his head off” if you don’t give him milk; I thought, “This is quite striking!!”
Another way of looking at this is that the milk obsession is the “Concomitant” in the case. In case-taking, the concomitant–the symptom that comes with the complaint despite having nothing or little to do with the actual complaint, can be a deciding factor in determining the remedy. Here’s an example of this:
headache with vomiting–Ipecac
headache with despair–Aurum
headache with anguish–Arsenicum
headache with burping–Carbo veg.
So, you can see how the concomitant influences the choice of the remedy. So, in this case, I felt the concomitant was a milk craving–a craving that, at the same time, made him worse. So, I said to myself, “We need a milk allergy remedy here!” I had remembered that Aethusa was famous for this, and indeed, it is in bold in Murphy’s MM for “Milk allergy”, and as a confirmatory symptom I also found “burning thirst” under Aethusa, and clearly, Gabi mentioned that Santiago was drinking “constantly”. So, I went with Aethusa, a little trepidatious because I had never prescribed this remedy before, but, once again, it proves the value of a strong concomitant or striking, peculiar symptom in a case!