Clinical Cases

Trauma and Triumph in the Pandemic – A Homeopathic Perspective -Part II

Written by Sunil Anand

Dr. Sunil Anand shares a case of severe environmental sensitivity and oozing eczema in a woman of 71. The case is analyzed using Dr. Anand’s variation on Dr. Boenninghausen concept of 7 W’s.

I Have Been An Unwanted Child: Case Study

Key Words:
Friction, Gluey, Toxic, Elastic, Viscosity, Unnatural, Unsafe, Abandoned, Insulated, Stuck, Stretched, Stiffness, Roughness

This is a case of a 71- year- old lady who has been under my treatment since the last four years. She presents with severe environmental sensitivity and oozing eczema. She refers to it as a ‘weeping eczema’ which highlights her deep psychological state of internal grief and sadness.

She is in a second marriage, and while both follow intense spiritual practices and meditation, and are also teachers of meditation to several, she finds it hard to find solace from meditation due to her disconnection from her young daughter. She uses the term ‘friction’ while talking about this relationship and there are frequent ‘flare ups’: another word she uses often while talking about her relationship with her daughter and while there is an escalation of the skin as well.

There is extreme dryness of the skin which leads to cracks on the heels and she needs to remove dead skin daily. She loves outings and hiking but cannot do that as much as she would like to, as the boots cause friction and pressure to the heels.

Her daughter’s behavior leaves her shocked, stunned, voiceless and with an overwhelming sense of sadness. ‘Her behavior makes me defensive and I don’t want to be exposed to her toxic and violent behavior anymore. There is sadness from this loss of connection but at least it leaves us insulated from her rude behavior.’

I have not had a golden childhood myself. So I wish that our grandchildren can live in harmony. It takes hours to repair and reassemble hurt emotions. My own mother blew up a lot just before she died as she disapproved of my spiritual lifestyle and second marriage. She suppressed me a lot.

She used to tell me often that I should never have come in to this world! She was in a severe depression for years before she died and was extremely uncaring towards me. It seems she got pregnant from a janitor who got very violent when he found out about the pregnancy.

I must have absorbed all of that as my mother got him arrested when she found out that he was into trafficking of drugs and women. She had not disclosed much of this to me, but I found out much later from my school documents.

I was raised in a very unsafe and poverty stricken environment. But as a child my mother was my only pillar of existence and so I would feel safe only once she would return back home. I had a very rude boss who fired me from my job and soon after that I developed eczema around the nipples which led to painful cracks. These cracks have appeared again and are very painful.

(As there was acute sensitivity at the emotional level along with such dryness and painful cracks of the nipples, I gave her Croton.Tig 200 but there was an initial minimal response followed by worsening of the condition as well as emotional state. I continued to track the case and stay alert to what could have been overlooked by me.)

Now this weeping eczema has become worse. The discharge is so gluey and sticky, almost elastic, like gum. It is like the stuff that has been coming out from my sinuses only after steam inhalation. This phlegm causes nausea as it just sticks and stays there and is very hard to expel. There is very low energy.

I have had a very bad pregnancy when younger that resulted in a still child. I am unable to get over that trauma till today. I was very sick during that entire pregnancy. I went into a severe depression. I recall getting a dream during that pregnancy of a baby that has drowned in its cradle.

Within four days of that dream my water bag broke and we rushed to the hospital. The mid-wife didn’t say a word. Three hours later a still born baby was delivered. The doctor arrived too late and embraced me and said ‘Good Lord’.

I just collapsed and got involuntary diarrhea with the shock and it took me very long to recover from that trauma. I was only twenty-three then and it was so unnatural that I had to leave the maternity ward with empty hands. I had started to lactate, but there was no baby! It filled me with guilt as I felt that I was spending too many hours working at the lab and must have contracted an infection from there, and it was my fault that my baby had died. I remember walking out to the street and collapsing. Soon after that I had an acute pain in abdomen with fever and was rushed once again to hospital with a burst appendix.

Now with the eczema on my fingers, that area becomes so hot that I need to use a cold pack to get some relief. At the same time, I get shivers too as the extreme dryness of the skin causes intense stinging like pains. It started with little vesicles which were very itchy but now it’s turned into painful vesicles. I just cannot use my hands.

Dream: ‘I had a scary dream a few days ago. It is the home we live in, but it’s very deserted. Everything is ripped off and abandoned and desolated. All the furniture has gone, and even the hard wooden floors were ripped off, like a home abandoned for many centuries or the destruction after a war. Just the raw ground. It was very shocking and scary as I don’t see my husband around, and that can only mean that he has died as well’.

I remember being terrified as a child. I had anorexia as an infant and would throw up if anyone approached me. There were not many photos of me as a child, except one as a baby, and one can see the terror in my eyes in that photo. I used to be scared even at the sight of a bird feather moving!

We were from a very wealthy family in Russia but became refugees when we had to flee our country. There was no father or money at home and so I was scared of my mother dying and would pray for her safety that she return alive, every time she left for work. This must have been the start of my spiritual journey.

Such a life of poverty and hardship after being wealthy made my mother very hard at heart as she had to survive the bombings and camps. She would share such stories of horror with me of a dead corpse whose skin was peeled off and the eyeballs were out of the socket. Since then, I can’t stand war scenes and they make me sick and shudder internally.

I remember seeing a suspense movie when twelve and felt so scary at night that I was terrorized and started to shake so badly that I couldn’t sleep. We are blessed to have a Divine Master from India, who though has passed away, is moving out our samskaras. We feel insulated from the harshness of the world due to his divine grace.

Talking about my fears, we had cats at home when I was twelve. One cat at that time fell down and died, so they got me a black cat. One night the cat went into a black dress which started to move in the dark. I felt it was a man in my room and it made me startle with fear. I am very scared of men as I see them as a threat.

When I am scared, it makes me retreat. I am very scared of fire too. There were gas stoves in our house as a child. I was only four when I saw a shoe shop close to our home that had a gas stove light up in flames. I remember shaking with fear and felt relieved after urinating.

Since then, I was very scared of lighting gas stoves. I would become very silent and go dead mute when scared as a child. I would even develop fever when scared. I loved religious hymns as a child and would often recite them when scared.

As the eczema has gotten worse, there is a feeling of ebullitions from within. It feels as if there is swelling internally and at the same time the outer skin gets inflamed as well. This causes a sensation of heat in the whole body, even within, and everything gets warm. And yet the skin is very sensitive to the contact of cold water. In fact, it feels slightly better with heat and warmth and so there is some pleasure under a lukewarm shower.

(ebullition : a sudden violent outburst or display : the act, process, or state of boiling or bubbling up.)

My skin retracts in the centre, and so my hands can’t get stretched until I put them in luke warm water. My skin cracks and bleeds if stretched. And yet, I need to wear a fabric to protect my hands from the warm rays of the sun while gardening or going outdoors. This is a paradox as I have loved the sunshine. If the temperature gets cold, I get chills. It’s as if my nervous system is worn out and there is a tsunami of sadness about which nothing can be done.

There is a dental issue that has come up as well. It’s actually a gum issue since my wisdom tooth has been extracted. The gum gets inflamed – it’s hot and painful when I put my tongue there and it seems as if it is infected. I have always had a tendency for pus and infection. When I was younger, I had a burst appendix and it became an emergency surgery.’

With the pandemic I had stepped out for groceries and wore cheap gloves and as soon as I returned it started with itchy vesicles on my hands. It could have been the gloves. It was as if I had been poisoned.

My system is very active, reactive and sensitive so please give me very gentle doses. I cannot take anything harsh. The behavior of my daughter has been very harsh, rough and vulgar. Her aggression and resentment towards me and her step-father in particular makes me very sad but I need to move forward. Her rejection of her roots really saddens me. I was born without any country on my passport as we were fleeing during the war. I was born as a foreign refugee, and so I don’t have bonds with any country. I don’t have any roots to make me feel insulated.

Dream: My grandson and myself are walking in nature, hand in hand. It is my left hand which is fine. It is a light and joyful contact with him. (In reality it is cut due to my daughter ) It is a very light contact, like a sensation of communion where nothing needs to be said.

As a Russian refugee at a camp, I met my first true friend, other than my biological mother. It was a girl and we were in such a communion that we would sleep asleep hand in hand. She died at the age of fifty with cancer’.

Dream: There are sea waves and the water is not very clear. The cliffs are eaten up by the waves.

Case Analysis:

In order to analyze this case thoroughly, let me introduce you to a wider and an easier understanding laid by Dr. Boenninghausen (the concept of 7 W’s) and further refined by me for a better understanding and approach towards the case; the CONCEPT OF 10 W’s.

10W’s OF CASE TAKING – A prelude :

(AN EXTENSION OF THE BOENNINGHAUSEN METHOD)

Boenninghausen stated years ago, that there are 7 universal questions that are all important. These include:

1.Who (who suffers)
2.What (sensation)?
3.Where (location)?
4.When (onset and sequence of progression)?
5.With what (concomitants)?
6.What effects (modalities)?
7.Why (ailments from/causation)?
8.Watch out (subjective signs/symptoms and source words)?
9.Which kingdom (plant, mineral or animal)?
10.What mode (intensity and depth)?

No one question can cover all situations all of the time. So it is worth paying close attention to all of the above parameters.

The questioning model suggested ensures that all essential parameters of a case, whether acute or chronic, and irrespective of the age of the patient, are covered by the end of case taking.

Keeping recent developments in the field of homeopathy in mind, and as my own clinical practice has evolved, adding the last three (W’s) as an extension to the earlier Boenninghausen method, has proven to be very useful leading to accuracy and quickness in selection of the remedy.

Working of above case to illustrate the concept of the 10 W’s model of case taking:

10W’s case analysis:

1) Who?

Case of a 71 years old lady who has been under my treatment since the last four years. She presents with severe environmental sensitivity and oozing eczema, refers to it as a ‘weeping eczema’ which highlights her deep psychological state of internal grief and sadness.

In a second marriage, follows intense spiritual practices and meditation from, teachers of meditation but finds it hard to find solace from meditation for her own inner turmoil due to her disconnection from her young daughter. The terms ‘friction’ and ‘flare ups’- used often while talking about her relationship with daughter and while there is an escalation of the skin as well.

Her daughter’s behavior leaves her shocked, stunned, voiceless and with an overwhelming sense of sadness.

‘Her behavior makes me defensive, don’t want to be exposed to her toxic and violent behavior anymore. There is sadness from this loss of connection but at least it leaves us insulated from her rude behavior. I have not had a golden childhood myself. So, I wish that our grandchildren can live in harmony.

It takes hours to repair and reassemble things. My own mother blew up a lot just before she died as she disapproved of my spiritual lifestyle and second marriage. She suppressed me a lot. She used to tell me often that I should never have come to this world! She was in a severe depression for years before she died and was extremely uncaring towards me.

It seems she got pregnant from a janitor who got very violent when he found out about the pregnancy. I must have absorbed all of that as my mother got him arrested, when she found out that he was into trafficking of drugs and women. She had not disclosed much of this to me, but I found out much later from my school documents.

I was raised in a very unsafe and poverty-stricken environment. But as a child my mother was my only pillar of existence and so I would feel safe only once she would return back home. I had a very rude boss who fired me from my job and soon after that I developed eczema around the nipples which led to painful cracks. These cracks have appeared again and are very painful.’

‘I remember being terrified as a child. I had anorexia as an infant and would throw up if anyone approached me. There were not many photos of me as a child, except one as a baby, and one can see the terror in my eyes in that photo. I used to be scared even at the sight of a bird feather moving!

We were from a very wealthy family in Russia but became a refugee when he had to flee our country. There was no father or money at home and so I was scared of my mother dying and would pray for her safety that she would return alive, every time she left for work. This must have been the start of my spiritual journey.

Such a life of poverty and hardship after being wealthy made my mother very hard at heart as she had to survive the bombings and camps. She would share such stories of horror with me of a dead corpse whose skin was peeled off and the eyeballs were out of the socket. Since then, I can’t stand war scenes and they make me sick and shudder internally.

I remember seeing a suspense movie when twelve and felt so scary at night that I was terrorized and started to shake so badly that I couldn’t sleep.

We are blessed to have a Divine Master from India, who though has passed away, is moving out our samskaras. We feel insulated from the harshness of the world due to his divine grace.

Talking about my fears, we had cats at home when I was twelve. One cat at that time fell down and died. So, they got me a black cat. One night the cat went into a black dress which started to move in the dark. I felt it was a man in my room and it made me startle with fear. I am very scared of men as I see them as a threat.

When I am scared, it makes me retreat. I am very scared of fire too. There were gas stoves in our house as a child. I was only four when I saw a shoe shop close to our home that had a gas stove light up in flames. I remember shaking with fear and feel relieved after urinating. Since then, I was very scared of lighting gas stoves. I would become very silent and go dead mute when scared as a child. I would even develop fever when scared. I loved religious hymns as a child and would often recite them when scared.

My system is very active, reactive and sensitive so please give me very gentle doses. I cannot take anything harsh. The behavior of my daughter has been very harsh, rough and vulgar. Her aggression and resentment towards me and her step-father in particular makes me very sad but I need to move forward.

Her rejection of her roots really saddens me. I was born without any country on my passport as we were fleeing during the war. I was born as a foreign refugee, and so I don’t have bonds with any country. I don’t have any roots to make me feel insulated.’

Dream: ‘I had a scary dream a few days ago. It is the home we live in, but it’s very deserted. Everything is ripped off and abandoned and desolated. All the furniture has gone, and even the hard wooden floors were ripped off. Like a home abandoned for many centuries or the destruction after a war. Just the raw ground. It was very shocking and scary as I don’t see my husband around, and that can only mean that he has died as well.’

Dream: ‘My grandson and myself are walking in nature, hand in hand. It is my left hand which is fine. It is a light and joyful contact with him. (In reality it is cut due to my daughter) It is a very light contact, like a sensation of communion where nothing needs to be said. As a Russian refugee at a camp, I met my first love, other than my biological mother. It was a girl and we were in such a communion that we would sleep hand in hand. She died at the age of fifty with cancer.’

Dream: ‘There are sea waves and the water is not very clear. The cliffs are eaten up by the waves.’

She loves outings and hiking but cannot do that as much as she would like to, as the boots cause friction and pressure to the heels.

2) What?

-There is extreme dryness of the skin which leads to cracks on the heels and she needs to remove dead skin daily.

‘With the pandemic I had stepped out for groceries and wore cheap gloves and as soon as I returned it started with itchy vesicles on my hands. It could have been the gloves. It was as if I had been poisoned.

(On closer enquiry, these were latex gloves that she had used)

Now with the eczema on my fingers, that area becomes so hot that I need to use a cold pack to get some relief. At the same time, I get shivers too as the extreme dryness of the skin causes intense stinging like pains. It started with little vesicles which were very itchy but now it’s turned into painful vesicles. I just cannot use my hands.

My skin retracts in the center, and so my hands can’t get stretched until I put them in lukewarm water. My skin cracks and bleeds if stretched. And yet, I need to wear a fabric to protect my hands from the warm rays of the sun while gardening or going outdoors. This is a paradox as I have loved the sunshine. If the temperature gets cold, I get chills. It is as if my nervous system is worn out and there is a tsunami of sadness about which nothing can be done.

As the eczema has gotten worse, there is feeling of ebullitions from within. It feels as if there is swelling internally and at the same time the outer skin gets inflamed as well. This causes a sensation of heat in the whole body, even within, and everything gets warm. And yet the skin is very sensitive to the contact of cold water. In fact, it feels slightly better with heat and warmth and so there is some pleasure under a lukewarm shower.

Now this weeping eczema has become worse. The discharge is so gluey and sticky, almost elastic, like gum. It is like the stuff that has been coming out from my sinuses only after steam inhalation. This phlegm causes nausea as it just sticks and stays there and is very hard to expel. There is very low energy.

-There is a dental issue that has come up as well. It is actually a gum issue since my wisdom tooth has been extracted. The gum gets inflamed – it’s hot and painful when I put my tongue there and it seems as if it is infected. I have always had a tendency for pus and infection. When I was younger, I had a burst appendix and it became an emergency surgery.’

3) Where?
-Skin of the hands
-Mouth, gums
-Mind, emotions

4) When?
Skin complaint since the pandemic.
Gum problem since wisdom tooth extraction.
Emotional disconnect since harsh treatment from loved ones ( as a child and as an adult)

5) With what?
Obstetric history:
‘I have had a very bad pregnancy when younger that resulted in a still child. I am unable to get over that trauma till today. I was very sick during that entire pregnancy. I went into a severe depression. I recall getting a dream during that pregnancy of a baby that has drowned in its cradle.

Within four days of that dream my water bag broke and we rushed to the hospital. The mid-wife didn’t say a word. Three hours later a still born baby was delivered. The doctor arrived too late and embraced me and said ‘Good Lord’. I just collapsed and got involuntary diarrhea with the shock and it took me very long to recover from that trauma.

I was only twenty-three then and it was so unnatural that I had to leave the maternity ward with empty hands. I had started to lactate, but there was no baby! It filled me with guilt as I felt that I was spending too many hours working at the lab and must have contracted an infection from there, and it was my fault that my baby had died. I remember walking out to the street and collapsing. Soon after that I had an acute pain in abdomen with fever and was rushed once again to hospital with a burst appendix.’

6) What effects?
Eczema <contact of cold water, <stretching >lukewarm shower

7) Why?
Physical:
A/f- use of latex gloves
Emotional:
A/f- humiliation by her boss, being fired
A/f- rejection due to abandonment (by mother and then by daughter)

8) Watch out!
She refers to the skin problem as a ‘weeping eczema’ which highlights her deep psychological state of internal grief and sadness.

She uses the terms ‘friction’ and that there are frequent ‘flare ups’- another word she uses often while talking about her relationship with her daughter and while there is an escalation of the skin as well.While referring to her skin she contorts her face when trying to stretch her skin. When asked about what she is experiencing, she says that it is as of the skin has lost its elasticity.

9) Which kingdom and sub-kingdom
Plant

Sub kingdom: EUPHORBIACEAE

(Rajan Sankaran)
Sensation keywords:
Tied, bound, bind, get entangled, straight jacket, arrest, captive, capture, catch, clasp, clutch, detain, ensnare, entrap, get snarled, strangle, get stuck, get tangled, get trapped in, grab, grasp, hold of, hold, net, seize, snag, snare, stifle, suffocate, take prisoner, prisoner, throttle, trap.

Active reaction keywords:
At liberty, boundless, break away, break free, free, freed, liberated, not tied up, release, untied, released, unbound, unchained, flowing open, limitless, uncontrolled, escape, separate, separate from, disentangle yourself and get away from.

10) Which miasm, remedy and potency?
There is a lot of shock and collapse seen in remedies of the Magnoliae family and hence Camphor was selected, but the sensation that emerged later revealed the extreme dryness and hide bound sensation of the Euphorbiaceae family. Clarity and precision of the corresponding miasm was equally important. Though the expressions seem more acute, the self-loathing and feeling of an outcast is more suggestive of the leprous miasm. No wonder Croton Tig was not able to help much.

The use of the gloves and the feeling of being poisoned by something toxic in the form of latex takes us to the source word itself – Latex or rubber.

The themes of insulation, lack of connection and artificial relationships emerges in the proving of Latex vulcani done by Misha Norland in 2002.

Themes of Sulphur would doubtlessly emerge. In the case of latex, Sulphur is the binding agent, turning soft sap into the tough, elastic material, which we find so useful. Vulcanisation of latex constitutes the major demand upon the world’s sulphur resource. So itching eruptions, skin symptoms and problems at orifices, muco-cutaneous junctions and in the stomach in the form of gastritis is seen.

‘The “glue” which Sulphur is to hydrocarbon molecules, as it is in rubber, might express itself in the psyche of the provers as relationship breakdowns (lack of glue) as well as insulation, lack of connection and indifference. Latex is used in the manufacture of baby teats and dummies therefore it could have a place in the treatment of bottle-fed babies, further amplifying the theme of disconnection/disgust, those who have suffered neglect rubber in the place of nurturing nipple and sweet breast. Since physical contact is mediated by skin, it follows that these symptoms should have a particular meaning within the context of patients who had been bottle fed babies’ – Misha Norland

Now the theme of the unwanted child (for which we would typically think of remedies from the Magnesium group) emerges more clearly along with the sensations of the Euphorbiaceae family and the proposed leprous miasm.

Miasm:
Self-loathing and feeling of an outcast are suggestive of the leprous miasm. The dreams revolve around abandonment, desolation and cliffs being eaten way. This is very destructive and further confirms the leprous miasm.

Posology:
In view of her state of delicacy and request for most gentle dosing without any harshness, a dose of 200 in 100ml water and just a single teaspoon from this medicinal solution was administered. The result was instant and prolonged. No dose needed to be repeated for almost 8 weeks. The skin started to clear and her energy was gradually restored. The gum inflammation settled down parallel to the skin clearing up as well.

The dose would act as an insulation against any harshness from her daughter and would be repeated as and when she was exposed to the same. While her relationship with the daughter is still distant, at least it is more cordial and respectful.

There is better connection with her grandson and much like the dream they walk hand in hand and she feels the bliss of return of communion with her loving grandchild. In many ways she has moved on, and is able to indulge in all her outdoor activities such as gardening and is also back full time to her meditation teaching which gives her immense pleasure. In that sense she feels liberated finally.

There has been no need to step up to a 1M or move on to the use of LM potencies, but it is definitely a plan in the near future, in case the need arises, and if the use of the 200 is no longer serving her needs.

Useful clinical observation noted from other cases that required the remedy Latex:

Those with a latex allergy, can sometimes have reactions to certain fruits and vegetables. These reactions occur in 30-50% of people with latex allergy. Latex reactions to certain fruits and vegetables can happen because these foods share similarly structured proteins that the body mistakenly recognizes as latex.

Latex reactive foods include nuts and fruit, particularly:
Avocado, banana, chestnut, kiwi, apple, carrot, celery and papaya.

About the author

Sunil Anand

Dr. Sunil Anand is a leading Classical Homoeopathic Practitioner and Teacher, now based in Pune. He has been practicing homoeopathy for the past 20 years and is specially recognized for his cures in pediatric cases. His special approach and simplicity have made him an internationally acclaimed teacher. His seminars and workshops have been widely attended both in India and abroad. Dr. Anand's recent workshop for students and doctors from South Africa was well received. He is Associated with the C.M.P. Homoeopathic Medical College Mumbai and is presently an honorary visiting professor in D.S. Homoeopathic Medical College, Pune.

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