Clinical Cases

Revisiting: Mom, Where Are You?

Cropped Shana
Written by Elaine Lewis

Elaine gives the answer to last month’s quiz.

Hello, everybody! Welcome back to the Hpathy quiz! OK, I am totally mystified because only 15 people voted in last month’s quiz! Was it too hard? Here it is again, you tell me. The answer will follow:

Well, Shana, it looks like it’s just you and me again! Kelly’s family has been very disappointing lately…. They used to be such a wealth of pathology….

Yes, I know what you mean, but, look on the bright side mom, I had a really bizarre illness last Saturday!

Cropped Shana

I’ll say you did. You really came through for the ezine! Now, let’s see if we can remember it…. You got up in the morning and you were sniffing.

You gave me Ferrum phos. 30C for that.

Right, because it was the beginning of a cold with no characteristic symptoms, and it worked! Then, later in the day, I said we should have been more aggressive with the cold because the next thing I knew, you were complaining of a headache and leg pains!

You gave me Gelsemium 30C for that.

Right, because it sounded like the flu, and that worked too! And I thought everything was going to be fine after that, until you called me while I was out shopping and you were sounding very distressed: “Mom, where are you?”

I told you that the headache had come back and I was feeling nauseous!

Yeah, I didn’t like where this was heading, so I told you to take Arsenicum 30C on account of the nausea. I broke every speed record getting home, I thought the police were going to stop me at one point, and then when I got home, you were fine!

You walked in and I was sitting at the computer.

I was shocked! Totally shocked! I expected to find you in bed!

Hooray for homeopathy!

I was surprised it worked that fast! Well, I thought we were home free at that point, and I was quite shocked when later that night in bed you began complaining of a stomach ache–you couldn’t tell if you were having period cramps or what– and you were tossing and turning, back and forth, back and forth and making a complaining noise. Not really moaning, kind of like a whimper, I guess. It sounded like, “Eh?” (Well, it’s hard to spell a “noise”.) And you kept making it, over and over again!

And I kept having to go to the bathroom.

Right, for a bowel movement, but I don’t think it was diarrhea. And it was just before you got up to go the second time that I gave you a remedy in water, ____________200C, and when you came back to bed this time you went right to sleep and it was all over. What a day–and night– that was! Maybe someone else can get sick next time! Anyway, gang, what was the remedy? If you know, write to me at [email protected]. The answer will be in next month’s ezine.


Here’s how you voted:



Nux v.-3


Rhus tox-2





And the winner is….. Arsenicum album!!!!

Maybe if I had given a 200C in the afternoon, we wouldn’t have had that relapse at night.  But anyway….  The remedy you pick has to correspond to the state or diagnosis the patient has. We had a situation here where all day the patient was first coming down with a cold, then it seemed more like a flu, then a gastrointestinal flu at that; so, you ask yourself, “Which gastrointestinal flu remedy keeps getting up to have a bowel movement in the middle of the night, and is tossing and turning in bed and makes little noises to make sure you can hear how sick she is?” In that context, I think there’s only one answer: Arsenicum!

Nux vomica has a definite mental picture–they’re irritable and uncivil. We don’t have this picture here. You know if you have a concomitant mental image in a case, the remedy you choose has to match that.

I knew that someone would vote for Rhus tox because of the restlessness, but, Rhus tox’s restlessness doesn’t eminate from the mental plane, it’s more physical. They’re stiff and achy and must move. They are also BETTER for movement. Arsenicum moves, but is not really better for it. It stems more from their mental state, not from achiness and stiffness.

Now, a note about how to approach an acute case. First you need a concept of what’s wrong. You can call this knowing the main rubric, or at least the chapter of the repertory you’re supposed to be in. We can’t start by looking at the symptoms themselves; that’s like saying, “Out of 3,000 remedies, which one is right for this case?” No, it should be, “Out of 36 gastro-intestinal flu remedies, which one is right for this case?” Just by knowing the “issue”, the diagnosis, as it were, you’re down from 3,000 to 36 remedies!

I’ve told this story before but it bears repeating. This is based on a talk Steve Messer gave at a case conference. He said, “Imagine you’ve lost your cow! How are you going to find her? Are you going to go chasing after every cow in the country? If you at least know whose farm she wandered into, you’d only have to look for her among 25 to 30 other cows!”

Now, what is the metaphor here? The “farm” is the diagnosis! The “cow” is the peculiar “markings”–or, the characteristic symptoms–of the patient.

So, you have to know, what is this a case of? The flu? Pneumonia? Allergy? Since we know it’s a gastrointestinal flu, we know it’s not Cina, and it’s not Dulcamara. It’s not likely Coloc. either because Coloc. is only a 1 in that rubric. Arsenicum, however, is a 3; and it matches the characteristic symptoms in this case: the restlessness, the little complaining noises, getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, repeatedly, which looked like it was heading down the familiar road to the famous Arsenicum diarrhea, if we hadn’t acted fast!

So, don’t start a case by thinking it could be any one of 3,000 remedies; go to your general diagnosis and start from there.

And now, for our winners:

Nishita Gupta, Noor Asi, and Susan



This month’s winners will get a special 30% discount on one order of books from Hpathy Mall.

Click Here for Prize Guidelines

Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom takes online cases. Visit her website at:

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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