A blocked nose and a dependency on nose drops that spanned two decades.
When EM, a 45 year old male, came to see me, his chief complaint was a blocked nose and things were blocking his business success. He sat in front of me dressed in a business suit, with his hands around his bottle of nose drops. After seeing a homeopath for 3 years who prescribed remedies such as Belladonna for headaches and Sulphur for his constitution, he felt he had achieved partial results and believed in homeopathy. Unfortunately, none of the remedies had addressed his main concerns: not being able to breathe because of his blocked nose. (He was taking drops on a daily basis changing the brand as one brand after another stopped working.) A symptom that had also not yet been addressed was his one leg that was always cold, while the other was hot. On the emotional level, he said his reaction of “embarrassment” when trying to tell his workers what they had not done correctly, had not changed. He felt I would go deeper into the cause of the problem.
The first seminar I ever went to was given by Divya Chhabra where she presented cases through her own understanding of the sensation method. I was looking for a woman’s perspective on the connection between the word and the source. I felt there was a cyclic connection, and when she explained how she took cases I was able to do what I instinctively felt was the best way for me to perceive my patient’s perspective. My understanding of and ultimate practicing of the sensation method is that in the consultation, the patient will tell me his/her perspective on life through words and gestures right from the very beginning, and provide hints to the dynamic expression of the source of this perspective, finally bringing the metaphors through the source to a full circle. Learning is about trying to understand what we experience and the best way to experience is to listen. So all I needed to do was listen and learn.
While listening, EM began to create a picture of two sides with wavelike movement from one side to the other; no movement and being in the middle was the ‘blocked’ position. EM experienced his blockage/barrier as the thing that stopped him from moving forward and a confusion of direction. Like his nose at night, the side that was facing the pillow would be blocked. The sensation was, according to EM, “Something moving back and forth, no liquid, like the gravity moves, if you move to the middle both sides are blocked.” He continued to explain this similar sensation with “like shock waves caused by putting a battery in the water, like a butterfly in the stomach, like going in an elevator going down at the high speed, like a drop of water, hits the water and creates a wave in the centre of the stomach.” And then again, he explained it was like a wave through a wet towel, the wave stopped when it didn’t have further power. A picture began to emerge.
Then he equated the wave with power. “The wave is like power,” he said, “It is the same feeling as a bowel movement. It is only when I think of embarrassing things, and telling about myself creates the same wave. Just when I think of embarrassing things, it happens.” Things that embarrassed EM included: having to do training when his English is not perfect; being in a situation where there is someone greater than him. He explained that when he was nervous to tell his employees off, his voice would go so high that he would get embarrassed and his hands would start shaking. As a result, he avoided the discussion needed with the employee, but eventually he would reach a limit and it would have to burst out. He also told me of the time he had to defend himself in court and decided he could be his own defence lawyer, (he was a gas station owner at that time). During the trial he was so nervous that he had butterflies in his stomach, a dry mouth, broken tone of voice, and he said it was similar to having to reprimand an employee. The judge told him he had to hire a lawyer after that.
Words are the metaphoric expressions of the soul and through them the patient is trying to tell me what the source is. And in this case, EM helped me by giving me both the perception and the source. The wave, EM said, “Is like the game all kids play where they like being caught by electricity.” He explained the ‘fun’ game they played where they would put a battery with the negative on the top and so if you put it in your mouth a moment, the shock comes and it gives way…
The feeling of the game for him was a feeling of power. He explained to me that power, authority and control are connected. “If someone has authority over me it is like slavery, so if I have power over let’s say my family there should be a balance. My son needs me to be in charge, so I can have everything under control.” I asked him what the most important word was to him. He said “power” was, because in life you are either the one with all the power or you are the slave.
People needing the remedy I chose for EM aspire to be lawyers, prominent people and people of literature. When I asked him what I could do for him if I were to have a magic wand- a question I ask my patients no matter their age- he said he wanted to be a lawyer to correct the laws and have high literature. Another question I asked was about the one blind eye he had from an injury in his youth. He said a possible advantage to having it, is that he would have had to go to the army where he would most certainly have died, and because he has calcium deposits on the eye, people remember him even 30 years later.
Jan Scholten understands the mind of the patient needing a mineral remedy and I knew (thanks to Sankaran’s teachings) that I was looking for a mineral remedy. As a novice in homeopathy, I take at least 10 extra hours after the 3 hour intake to look for and allow the remedy to take form. This remedy though, had formed in my mind despite the fact that I did not know it well at all at the time. We had done the periodic table during my homeopathic studies, but I had never prescribed it in the three years of clinical work, or the year of being in practice.
The essence of Niccolum metallicum according to Jan Scholten is that the patient needing this remedy: “must be on top and have everything under control.” I was so surprised when I saw that, because I got to Niccolum in a totally different fashion. The words he used: charge and waves passing in liquid, the one cold and one hot leg, and the childhood game he had so fondly explained to me, pointed me towards an element that was a battery substance. I spent the next day researching the nature of batteries and then looked up cobalt and nickel batteries. Scholten confirmed the picture. Even the problem with exams which he had mentioned right in the first 2 minutes of the interview, when I asked him what I could help him with: “Start with the easy questions and then go back to those you don’t get right away; that is what I learned from exams.”
The remedy I prescribed was Niccolum Metallicum. Niccolum has the cold feet (2), sinus infections, stomach with sensations; his love of alcohol, tobacco and spices. It also has the quarrelsome, contradictory, as well as numb and confused qualities. What is interesting is the self-evident way he gave his case, which was a great help and is part of what Scholten believes is stage 10. I repertorized in Mac Reference works the words: charge, embarrassing, power, authority, and battery to find remedies that may include these metaphoric expressions and found that Niccolum included them all (Cadmium, Lithium did not include embarrassing).
EM came to see me in November of 2011. His first follow up after being given Niccolum Metallicum 200C was a month later, where the interview began with “I am absolutely phenomenal, hard to believe.” (He also wasn’t holding his nose medication in his hand as he had no use for it.) I usually schedule follow ups at the beginning for a month after taking a dose, and then the patient during that month can send me emails with any returning/new symptoms so I can print them and put them in his file. Old symptoms returned during that month and each time they came and went, with a rash and brown discharge just to mention two, but in the end his nose remained unblocked. The effect of the remedy was curative including the moment when he had a feeling of having heat go down his cold leg, and then both legs being normal, and the craving for hot peppers he had had as a child which came back too.
As this had been a chronic problem, he has had a repetition of the remedy and he will tell me how things are going. After the first re-dose, I have given him an extra dose for his own administration. He now needs to re-dose every 2-3 months, as symptoms he has not experienced in years come back and experience curative action.
EM has more energy and has started running again. He wants to go back into hockey himself- something he helps his son with, but never thought he too could do. He explained how the remedy was helping him: “It brings the challenges to the higher level and then gradually going down.” Within a month of taking his first dose, EM experienced confidence talking to his staff. He is in the financial world today and he described the changes in what would have been previous confrontations. When he needed to tell a staff member that he was not satisfied with their performance, he would have “red ears, get angry and then keep it in his head,” but this time EM said: “ I was in the office and didn’t feel nervous; interesting that I kept a normal tone of voice, usually I try to hide my tone of voice. This time I felt that this is me; I speak my mind, and if you don’t like it, this is what I feel about it. And I didn’t take it home!”
Cobalt is right next to Niccolum, sharing the series, but positioned in stage 9 on the periodic table. What is interesting in Cobalt is that it has the opaque eye which is what Em also has after the accident in his childhood. Cobalt is a DD to Niccolum, and I keep my mind open to a future where he may tell me that a battery needs some of the opposite charge!
And in the meantime, I will keep learning.
Thanks Natasha Lewis for this clinical case.
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