This is the case of ‘J’. He has seen some of the best homeopaths in the United States and no one has been able to help him. Last month, as Elaine Lewis was interviewing me for “Homeopath in the Hot Seat“, she offered to throw my J’s case open to the Hpathy community with the idea that most people would want to help and secondly that it would be an interesting educational experience for all of us. To that end, if you think you can solve this case, please send your analysis and remedy recommendation to Elaine at [email protected] and your replies will be showcased in next month’s ezine. We will continue to follow the case in these pages and I’m sure Dr. B will have a wonder prize for the winner–or perhaps I should be giving out a wonderful prize! If you need to ask me follow-up questions, please email me at [email protected].
And now for ‘J”s case:
J is eight years old; born 1998. He was born 7 pounds, 13 ounces; brown hair, dark brown eyes; average in stature and size. Chief complaint: Separation anxiety; particularly from my wife at night for the past 5+ years, causing my wife to have to sleep with him every night.
J has expressed deep anxiety that she is not going to be here when he wakes up, or that she will be taken away by a spaceship!
This anxiety is so deep that on the occasion that we get a sitter on a Saturday night, ‘J’ will no longer go to sleep, even if she lies beside him, which he did used to do.
My wife will typically lie down with him until he falls asleep. He will often wake up a few times a night to make sure she is still there. My wife has tried to break his waking pattern by going to his room before he wakes up.
This problem started virtually from birth, as even at 24 hours old, ‘J’ was not able to be separated from my wife for any normal length of time. He would cry and only be consoled by being near her. This early frequent crying was later assumed to be due to colic and sensitivity to my wife’s milk, forcing us to go quickly to artificial milk replacements like nutramigen–as soy, goats milk, etc. all gave him gas.
‘J’ was quite jaundiced the first several days of life, which was dealt with by placing him under special fluorescent lamps at home.
He also had an early fire-red diaper rash around his anus, which was initially suppressed with ointments and has occasionally returned from time to time in mild form and this area is now described as a brownish black discoloration.
Also, in the first year of life he would “cheese up” or regurgitate quite frequently due to these various milk products, and he also had a BAD case of cradle cap on top of his head, at one point almost looking like snake scales. He also had eczematous-like eruptions behind his ears at various points.
Walking was normal but ‘J’ DID NOT SPEAK until he was two and a half to three years old, being very alarmingly delayed in this area, and early speech was quite difficult. He was diagnosed with motor planning issues called developmental apraxia, which also affected his muscular strength as well. He also had sensory integration issues and had very lax, weak hypotonic muscles, for which he received early intervention and special ed physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. He made remarkable progress, and has been mainstreamed into first and then second grade in school.
His permanent teeth were quite late erupting, and some of his later molars remain a bit behind. He has had NUMEROUS cavities starting at age 4-5, which we have taken care of with holistic dentistry.
He was always sensitive to moving away from his midline, having motion issues which remain to this day, as he will not go near any sorts of moving rides, go-carts, etc. It took him quite a long time to actually be allowed to sit on a swing.
As for the anxiety at night, it is made extremely worse by closing the door! Initially when this behavior started around two years of age, ‘J’ would simply cry out, and would not stop until my wife came and rocked him to sleep. At some points he would panic and scream and as he got older, he would simply just come into our room looking for my wife. Even at a very young age, my wife would have to rock him to get him to go to sleep as he would never fall asleep on his own when layed down in a crib. Interestingly, form age six to eighteen months of age, he actually did sleep on his own in his crib but this went backwards until by two years of age it was impossible for him to sleep by himself without my wife rocking him first.
I think much of his insecurities/anxieties might revolve around much quarreling my wife and I did while he was in utero, which also occurred around the time he went backwards with his sleep.
The worst time of day for ‘J’ is probably in the morning after not getting a steady rested night’s sleep, and it is sometimes hard to get him up and rolling to go to school. There were no health problems in either parent at the time of conception; however, my wife did have hyperthyroidism –Graves Disease–which was suppressed a few years earlier with PTU.
The only shocks or traumas were likely emotional conflicts between my wife and me. Also, interestingly enough, when it was finally time for my wife to deliver, there were no contactions, which were quite weak and she therefore needed oxytocin to help force her contractions to deliver him vaginally. No unusual dreams or drugs during pregnancy. ‘J’ loves his younger sibling Shira, although they sometimes quarrel as you might expect with young children. (Shira is 5.)
Whenever attempting to leave ‘J’ for a sleep-over or night out with a friend, he won’t have it unless my wife is there. When we used to travel in his earlier years, it was quite difficult especially during his colic times when he would not go to anyone or be held by anyone except my wife or me. He would be overwhelmed in large crowds of people or strangers, and to this day he will not open up at family functions and not allow even grandparents or aunts or uncles to embrace him with a kiss, etc. They will only get as close as a “high-five”, but he is very affectionate with my wife and me. The basic theme here is closing off to others. Even with his mom and dad he will often not express what is going on inside, often holding back tears when he is physically or emotionally hurt. He seems to set up a wall at this time. Similarly with animals, despite my being a vet and his being around animals all his life, he feels safer observing them through a cage. He is quite frightened of big dogs. If you put a small animal on his lap, he is quite uncomfortable. You would almost think that a little tail-wagging puppy seeking affection was no different than his grandmother or grandfather trying to approach him.
As far as what he really likes to do is concerned, I have a hard time figuring that out–other than playing computer video games. It definitely is not sports, movies, bowling, or going to museums. If ‘J’ had his way right now, he would be home playing a video game at the computer with me watching.
On the other hand, ‘J’ is quite sensitive to other living beings and enjoys nature. I don’t see much sympathy demonstrated towards others, but he is most gentle in his interaction with peers, etc. and is a delight for his teachers to have in class. He is somewhat passive and at times not very assertive with his peers, but will stand up for himself when challenged. When nervous, ‘J’ will often bite his nails. This at one point had even extended to his toenails.
As stated above, he is very cautious; yet, will greet animals, although they do appear to make him a bit uncomfortable if they get too close.
Starting school was OK but at one point when he was four or so, he did go through a period at school where he did go backwards and was quite upset and crying to go home to be with my wife after one day that she was a few minutes late at the bus stop to greet him home from school.
‘J’ has had no childhood diseases and has received NO vaccinations or antibiotics, thank goodness.
When he has been ill, in early years, he USED TO CLING TO MY WIFE and demand for her to cuddle or sit by him. Now there is not much emotional shift either way, just getting quiet or less active. ‘J’ enjoys music and I am about to see if he would like to take piano lessons, although he does not demonstrate a great enthusiasm for that either.
Interesting food cravings would be spicy and sometimes hot, spicy things. He likes pungent things like horse radish. He used to really like pickles and still likes olives. I think there is a liking for vinegar, given his liking for mustard and some of the above-mentioned things. He is definitely averse to most milk products, except ice cream, and while he will eat it in his cereal, he will almost never drink it in any form, even chocolate milk, on most occasions. My wife thinks that milk makes him gassy, and there was the milk sensitivity during his colic days.
‘J’ is not at all fastidious nor neat nor orderly nor precise and if it were up to him, he would never take a bath.
He is quite sensitive to reprimand and will vehemently argue back, cry, or refuse to do what you are trying to get him to do, unless he perceives a threat, like being put in his room with the door closed.
He has average appetite but very capricious and usually has to be doing something in order for him to sit down to eat a meal. He will rarely try new things, which makes his diet quite simple. He tends to be constipated, going three times a week at most, not surprising as he eats practically no vegetables and consequently lacks fiber in his diet.
As for sleep position, he usually sleeps on his back, although as a younger child, he often slept in the genupectoral position with his butt straight up in the air. He used to throw the covers right off at night, as he has always been somewhat of a restless sleeper, however my wife reports that in the past few months, he sleeps mostly totally under the covers for hours at a time except occasionally for his head sometimes coming out. He does not currently sweat during his sleep.
‘J’ is not overly thirsty and does not drink much at alll, except when heated, which he does appear to be more sensitive to than the cold, although if too cold outside, he will not want to go out , unlike my daughter who will venture out in any kind of weather. The drinks can be any temperature.
In thinking of outstanding characteristics, it’s hard to come up with anything, except his sensitivity to external stimuli, which at one time even extended to the labels in his clothes, which always had to be cut off, and at times he even resists wearing underware and socks.
He is quite cooperative with adults and teachers and engaging with other children; however, he is not very assertive with them and tends toward being a loner in large groups. I think it is his unwillingness to let others inside emotionally or physically that might be holding him back. There appears to be some sort of insecurity/fear about the outside world, which includes extended family, pets, etc. that creates anxiety and the need to cling to his parents, especially his mom. It is this closing off that makes it hard to discern his passions, other than than the computer games on his Game Cube.
A few times a year, ‘J’ gets sick with some mild respiratory issues– interestingly, RARELY with any discharge or significant fever. I believe he had a stomach issue only once, with diarrhea, etc.
Overall, in public and at school, he is cooperative and quite reserved; but, around his parents at home, he tries to do what he wants and will fight fervently and oppose our reprimands.
Michael [Elaine speaking], can you tell me about diseases in the family?
In my wife’s family, major autoimmune diseases are present, including her own Graves disease, as well as other autoimmune diseases in cousins, uncles like rheumatoid arthritis, etc. ‘J”s maternal grandmother on my wife’s side died quite young in her 40s of autoimmune disease called scleroderma.. My wifes Grandmother (his great grandmother) recently died at the ripe old mid 80’s range of complications of heart disease. NO CANCER in either family. My father died prematurely at age 72 after a series of strokes starting when he was age 68. My mother is brittle, a diabetic but alive and kicking at age 73. Paternal grandparents lived to ripe old ages. Some degree of mental illness i.e. bipolarity, depression runs on my side of family.
As for remedies he has received, I think he has received the entire polycrest materia medica as well as some small remedies. I will list them as I remember them. All were evaluated classically over at least several weeks’ time, and never done in combination or inappropriately against classical homeopathic principles. He has NOT had any remedies in at least the past several months, which I think was good to allow his body to reach some sort of a steady state of balance rather than a mish mash of remedy responses.
Remedies (NOT IN ANY ORDER): Arnica (after 8 day circumcison), Calcaria carbonica in 1M and later in 10M. Lycopodium 200C, 30c, and later 1M. Sulphur 30c, 10M; Psorinum 200c; Tuberculinum 200c; Bacillinum 200c; Stramonium 200c; Phosphorus 200c; Natrum mur 200c, Belladona 200c; Aconitum 200c. Mag-carb 200c; calcaria phosphorica 1M; Chamomilla 200c; Lac humanum LM1 and LM2., Baryta Carb LM1 and LM2; plutonium? Borax 200c; Cina 200c; Nitric acid 200c; Silica LM1; Mercurius 12c once, pulsatilla in various potencies..
He did receive Aconitum 200c prescribed only one time. I think he also got Arsenicum album in 30c potency sometime along the way.
What about Carcinosin, Gelsemium, Medorrhinum?
No Carcinocin or Gelsemium. He did receive Medorrinum one time. Difficult to recall much significant responses, as most of the prescriptions never touched anxiety separation symptom and at certain points even worsened it to point where my wife could not walk down a grocery store aisle without him having a panic about it.
I do know that when we initially started working with our first homeopath, that he might have given him Pulsatilla to start but I am not sure as I might have read that by glancing over his page, but we were initially quite optimistic as at that time, we were TRANSIENTLY able to wish ‘J’ a good night and he actually went to sleep on his own, however only short lived and did not really continue on to involve the whole night. Since that first early prescription or two from our homeopath, there has been really been no touching of the night time symptom. I do have to admit though that we of course were at the point where my wife will often just to go his bed to try and avoid having him wake and break his sleep cycle, but if she happens to fall asleep in our room, he will later come out at 3 to 5AM to look for her, which is quite disruptive to all.
Michael, is he into electronics?
Tough to say as he is still so young and has not had much detailed computer exposure/instruction yet in school for me to say. He has figured alot of his game cube games out on his own, and I suspect that he will be very literate when it comes to this area, but I have no indication that he is some sort of genius in this area at this time. He does try and explain to me in excruciating detail all of the characters in the game cubes and what they are doing and how they appear to him. Sometimes his telling of them to me is somewhat fragmented and a bit hard for me to follow or understand, most likely because of my own brain fog but also because he might ramble a bit about such thing. As well as these games plot lines really don’t make much sense to me anyway.
He indeed has quite an affinity for these electronic games. As soon as he comes home from school that is first place he goes to. Yesterday in Kung Fu, he had to be reminded several times to pay attention. When I asked him why he wasn’t focused on the instruction, he simply said that his mind was on Luigis Mansion, which is the latest Game Cube he has been playing.
I do remember MANY of the negative responses to some of the remedies he took; for example, the month after the Stramonium was AWFUl. He immediately became much more clingy in the car (this was 3-4 years ago), and had to hold our hands all the way down to beach, and subseqently when there was quite nervous, etc. Other aggravations with other remedies centered mostly around mental/emotional issues of separation anxiety from my wife, with not much in terms of physical symptoms, discharges, etc. to speak of. His life force in my opinion has not demonstrated much vitality in terms of discharges, significant fevers(only a rarity), eruptions, etc. Perhaps he could be considered in a suppressed latent state, however the fact that he is doing remarkably better (although certainly average) at school and even Hebrew school which I was nervous about has truly impressed me as I was unsure how he would do and somewhat nervous about it. Remember this was a kid who did not speak much for the first 2.5 years, and we were concerned about pervasive developmental disorder, autism spectrum, etc. In fact I am convinced that if I had chosen to give him even a SINGLE vaccine, that these disorders were distinct possibilities given especially the autoimmune genetics of my wife’s family. I am still somewhat nervous as he gets older, in terms of other more athletic or outgoing children intimidating him, etc. as I was at a younger age.
Some new developments with him today, for the first time ever, we got call from his second grade school teacher, saying that ‘J’ was not handing in his homework , in that he was putting it in a desk rather than in a specific homework bin that teacher has for it. When he was asked about the homework, he told the teacher that he hadn’t done the work, when it was sitting right in his desk. She is not sure if he is being “sneaky”, which is not like him, or if it could be an organizational issue or forgetting, or possibly even a self-esteem issue. My wife Elise will be asking him about this tonight.
Also oddly enough when I sat down with him last night to do his Hebrew school homework, one of the assigments (that is usually listed on an index card in his backpack) was crossed out with a pencil. When I asked ‘J’ about it, he said that the teacher had not had time to prepare that specific homework packet for them to take home, and instructed them to cross it out. When I looked for the other part of his homework, which was completing a Hebrew letter puzzle, it was not in the usual spot where his homework is that he brings home. In fact I could not find it anywhere in his backpack. So, I dont know if there is a relationship between these two incidents, so I have emailed his Hebrew school teacher asking about this issue, but it was odd that we got this call from regular school today. I will let you know results of this first ever issue with regards to any school.
Good luck; kids are often not known for their candor.
Note from Dr. B – I am offering a SPECIAL PRIZE for this case. The person who is able to find the right remedy and the right potency/dosage for this case will get a special prize of $250 USD. The only condition is that ‘J’ should remain in remission for 6 months after your remedy. If there are more than one correct suggestions, we will hold a lucky draw.