(Editor’s Note: See Three Weeks in Ghana – A Homeopathic Experience, also in this issue)
1. Female, 30 years old. Farmer
A year ago she had an eruption on her back, which went around to the chest. After that eruption she started having ‘heart pain’. She is breathless in a sleeping position. She says she breathes in well, but has difficulties breathing out. When she breathes out it is as if something is ‘gripping the heart.’ There are pains around the heart. She also experiences some ‘trembling’. She cannot tell whether the pain comes from the sternum or the heart. The pain is not superficial but inside the body (pointing to heart region). The eruption mentioned before was vesicular, blisters were burning, painful, itching. There is no pain now, but still some itching where the eruption used to be.
Pulse rate: 126, strong pulse. Respiratory rate: 40. Temperature 37.8 Her body felt warm to the touch. She has a fever with a constant desire to drink water. The throat feels dry, there is a bitter taste in her mouth. She says that the pain is < when sleeping. She finds it difficult to walk. It is < lying on back and side. Last night she couldn’t sleep. She woke up in pain. She says there is some trembling from the heart. She feels > at rest, < when speaking. My observation of the patient was that she had great difficulty moving, as if every move hurt her. When she sat down she did so very gingerly and carefully, clutching her chest at the same time. Getting up from a seat clearly gave her a lot of discomfort. Once she settled in a sitting position she seemed to get calmer.
Remedy: Bryonia 30C, Liquid Potency (LP), every 2 hours today. After that tds. Advised patient that when the acute is over she should take one dose of Rhus Tox 10M for the history of shingles.
After having given the remedy we asked the patient to wait a while before riding home on a bike. Within half an hour patient said that she felt better. By the time she left, she could walk already more freely. Two days later we got feedback from her brother, that she is now totally fine.
2. Male, 27 years old (This is a case which was taken by one of the Ghanaian volunteers, in the process of learning homeopathy)
Patient has had burning in stomach for the last three years. It is < after eating okra, frytol and drinking ice cold water (which he likes). Has diarrhoea, vomiting with burning sensation in stomach. Wants to eat frequently. Has frequent hunger.
Remedy: Phosphorus 30C, bd, for 5 days.
At the next follow-up patient says that he is fine. There is no burning. He had ice cool water, but had no problem after it. He still wants to eat a lot. He says he wants more medication because it helped him so much. He wouldn’t accept any explanation why this was not necessary.
Prescription: Sac Lac, bd.
3. Male child, 3 years old. An important lesson
Child presents with fever since yesterday. Temperature now 37.9. Child cannot close the mouth, saliva is dribbling out of the mouth, breath smells foul. There is also saliva coming out of the mouth during sleep. The child is restless. When the mother asks the child ‘what’s wrong’, the child says ‘I’m sore’. Thirst is normal. There is no pain on eating. But child has no appetite since yesterday. Child does not sweat. He was restless last night. He wants to be carried. When child is wrapped up he wants clothes removed. On examination there are possibly some sore spots on upper palate. The child has a white coated tongue.
Remedy: Mercurius 30C, liquid potency, every two hours.
Mother was asked to come back with the child in the evening if he is not better.
When he returned in the evening the picture was as follows:
The temperature has risen to 38.4. He can’t swallow the saliva, which is still copious. There is even more saliva now than at lunchtime. He has to stretch his neck before swallowing anything. He does not want to eat or drink. He sweats after taking Paracetamol syrup. The tongue is still white, the smell from the mouth still bad, and there is still soreness in the mouth. Usually he is happy by himself, but he now wants to be with mum all the time. His temperament is still mild (he is normally like that).
Analysis: It appears that Mercurius has not done anything. The intention was to change the remedy to Pulsatilla 30C, liquid potency, to be given every two hours.
However, we also decided to do a malaria test, which turned out to be positive. The policy of the clinic is to treat malaria conventionally: Artesunate and Amodiaquine are given in combination (half a tablet each morning and evening).
Comment: Although the picture looked so clearly like Mercury, it was quite obviously not the right remedy. Mercury has no specific affinity with malaria. Since malaria is a killer for children here, and the conventional treatment works very well, homeopathic treatment is not advised, which can really only be used successfully by somebody who has extensive experience with treating malaria.
4. Female, 4 children, trader
Patient arrived in the evening at 8.30pm. Had diarrhoea on Thursday last week (today is Monday). It was better the next day. Then, today, it suddenly came back: Diarrhoea with blood and mucous. The blood is red, liquid, no clots.
She has also neck and arm pain.
She has a bitter taste in the mouth.
There is pain in the abdomen. Cramping pain. The skin on her abdomen is sensitive to touch.
She feels hot and cold at the same time.
There is no sweat.
She cannot think of any reason why she should have the diarrhoea.
She has pain in the throat and the heart area, which alternates.
She is more thirsty than usual. She wants normal water (temperature wise). She sips the water.
She has a dry mouth and a dry throat.
She is restless, and when she was at home changed her position all the time.
When asked about her mental state she said that her auntie just passed away. And that nobody helped her now. She fears she will die.
At this stage Aconite 200C was given, one dose. The case was then continued.
She has constant headache of a bursting nature. It is on the top of the head and goes down to the ears.
The pain in the abdomen is constant. She has to strain before stool. The pain in the abdomen and rectum is a wound-like pain. Raw? Burning?
There is gurgling noise in the abdomen as if there is a wound in the abdomen.
There is a sensation of numbness in hands and feet.
She has cramps in her abdomen.
She does not feel better after stool.
She has to go suddenly to the toilet. She has no cramps with the diarrhoea. She feels cold.
She feels nauseous. Stool smells bad, like dead meat, she said.
After half an hour there is no indication that Aconite is doing anything.
The second remedy given was Arsenicum 200C, one dry dose.
The remedy was given at 9.20 pm. At 9.35pm she says that the cramps are getting less. Shortly after she falls asleep in the chair. At 10pm she wakes up and says: ‘Everything is getting better, apart from the headache.’ She left around at 10.30pm. She was told to come back the next day, and drink water.
Next day the patient came back and said: ‘I’m fine. There is now only slight diarrhoea, no blood, less mucous, little headache.’ She has no pain in the abdomen, no bitterness in the mouth, the throat pain is gone. She is not restless. There is some pain in the heart on and off, some pain in the ribs, and some piercing pain in the region of the stomach. Appetite is normal, she does not feel cold, the stool still smells bad. She has taken the remedy altogether four times.
She was given Sac Lac to be taken once a day for seven days, and asked to return if things get worse again.
5. Male, 50 years old
He says he has pus discharge from his penis. The penis itches on the inside. He feels pain at the tip of the penis. The pain is < after urination. There is biting pain as if there is a living insect inside penis.
He had this two years ago. At that time he treated it with local herbs.
He has now had it for a week.
When he had the discharge two years ago he had sex with a partner outside his marriage. The same happened again now. He had sex with a different woman 2 weeks ago. Since one week he has had the discharge.
He has also pain in the left testicle. It’s a cutting pain.
Sometimes the pain rises from the testicles into the lower abdomen.
He has a forked urine stream.
Diagnosis is gonorrhoea with suspected epididymo-orchitis. He is told to abstain from sex with his wife until all symptoms are gone.
Remedy: Thuja LM1, bd, 5-6 succussions.
Two weeks later the patient comes for a follow-up. He has no discharge, no itching, no pain, no pain in the left testicle, no forked stream. His urine is tested and is free of leucocytes, erythrocytes and proteins. (Only now does the Canadian nurse believe that homeopathy can treat gonorrhoea).
He now complains about the following:
He has swollen feet.
It started in the hands two weeks ago. Right hand, first joint (thumb), index finger proximal inter-phalangeal joint is sensitive to pressure.
He has pain in the feet since the last week.
It’s the first time he has had it.
Left foot: 2nd, 3rd and 4th metatarso-phalangeal joint, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th inter-phalangeal joint, 2nd, 3rd and 4th metatarsal heads.
It is < when putting pressure of feet, < on walking.
Right foot: 1st metatarso-phalangeal joint (hallux) 1st inter-phalangeal joint.
He has pains in left elbow, in neck and chest.
Pains come on gradually. Pain is there all the time. It is < at night. Or from 4pm until daybreak. It is > from 8am. It starts with a chill, then comes the pain.
Pain does not allow him to sleep. The pain is biting, as if something is biting inside the bone.
It is < warm water.
He is restless, turning at night. Nothing makes it better.
He wants to stretch. He cannot stretch the arms as usual.
The joints are not warm to the touch.
Possible remedies are:
Guaicum, Mercury, Aurum and Ledum.
Remedy: Ledum 200C, liquid potency, tds, 5 succussions.
Waiting for feedback.
6. Female, 23 years.
Patient came at 9pm. She has abdominal cramps. The pain moves to the heart. It started yesterday, gradually.
She is 4 months pregnant. There is no bleeding. Piercing pain.
She strained herself pulling cassava out on her own.
That was five days ago. The pain is > bending double.
She cannot sleep, lies sideways, and doubled up. She would like to sleep on the belly, but cannot because she is pregnant.
The pains are > in the morning.
< in the evening (6pm onwards)
> on empty stomach
< after eating (immediately after)
Observation: She half lies on the chair doubled-up. She moans with the pains and can hardly answer the questions. A clearly intense painful state.
There is no problem with drinking.
There is a piercing pain in the heart area.
There is no nausea.
< on motion.
Remedy: Colocynthis 200c, dry dose.
Reaction: Fell asleep after 10 minutes.
When she woke up she said she is better.
She started laughing with the others.
She came back the next morning at 9am. She said she was ‘quite better’. The pain is gone. There are no other problems. She was advised to come back if the pain returns.
7. Male, 29 years old
Male patient arrives together with a female companion. When filling out the forms she puts down ‘married’, and points at the direction of the patient. He puts on his form ‘single’. When we point out this discrepancy, they both start laughing (he more than her).
He presents with a pain in the penis. He has a discharge ‘like sperm’.
When he tries to pee he feels a heat sensation in the penis.
There is a burning pain during and after urination, for about 2 minutes after.
When the discharge comes it sometimes hurts.
Before the urine comes out there is severe pain.
It is difficult to get the urine out, but when it comes out, it’s normal. At times the urine feels hot.
There are no other pains.
He has had this for 5 days.
When asked whether he had sex outside the relationship he said that this would be unthinkable to him. When we asked the partner whether she had any urinary symptoms or any unusual discharge she said that she had not.
[Later the Ghanaian volunteer told me that the patient kicked his shin when we continued pressing him on any extra-marital relationship. The ‘wife’ looked clearly unhappy with his answers].
The symptoms pointed clearly to the remedy Cantharis. The 30C was given, to be taken twice a day.
Two days later the patient came back and reported that the heat sensation is the same. The pain during urination is better, but it is still there after (for about 90 seconds).
The pain with the discharge is still the same.
There is now no severe pain before, during or after urination. It is easier to pee. The urine feels still hot.
Remedy: Cantharis 200C, liquid potency, bd , 5 succussions.
8. Male, 7 years old. A case of marasmus.
The mother says ‘My boy is growing lean’. He has a big belly and a small body. Thin legs.
Mother says he has a ‘stiff abdomen’.
He also has a headache.
All of this he has had for the last 6 months.
He has the headache once a week or every two weeks.
He is an outgoing, happy child. My observation is that he is friendly, slightly shy, very compliant during examination.
He does not sweat.
Digestion: Mother described it as ‘normal’. There is no diarrhoea, no constipation. Thirst: Can go for a long time without drinks (when he is out and about).
He can feel the cold, and likes being wrapped up.
Observation: He has dry lips, which is apparently normal for him.
There is no family history of TB. He had malaria.
On examination of abdomen: The abdomen is hard, tense, esp. the hypogastrium as if there was a mass. On further questioning we found out that he suffers from constipation, and finds it difficult to expel stool.
Remedy: Silica LM 1, bd, 6-8 succussions.
Waiting for feedback.
9. Male, 30 years old.
He came to the clinic from about 25km away.
Since one year he has severe headaches with nosebleeds. Or rather when he gets the headache he also gets nosebleeds.
Since the last 3-4 months he had blood coming from his nose occasionally. On this occasion it started at midnight until the next morning when he came to the clinic. The blood was thick and dark.
He has headaches with it. Pulsating, throbbing headaches, mostly on the left side of the head.
A year ago he had sever headache with yellow, thick discharge. Smelled like ‘water of a boil’, meaning ‘bad’.
Last night it started with sneezing. Then blood came.
Can get it 4-5 times in a month.
In the hospital they said it’s the consequences of malaria.
He has no fever, no temperature.
He has a bitter taste in the mouth. Feels dizzy [he has not eaten or drunk since yesterday. We advised to eat and drink something]. Yellow coat on tongue.
He is ‘worried about the whole thing’. Fearful.
Drinks alcohol now and again. Does not smoke.
Pulse: 84 (weak)
The remedy we wanted to give was Melilotus. But we could not find it in the pharmacy, so we gave a dose of Aconite 200C to deal with the immediate fear. We then found the remedy. We now asked the patient to eat, drink and lie down. We could keep him in the clinic for a few hours. We decided to give him the remedy a bit later.
On further questioning he said that the headache goes down when the bleeding goes down.
We kept him in the clinic for a few hours for observation. He had one more nosebleed with the headache. We now asked him to take the Melilotus. Two hours later there was no bleeding, but some headache. We released him.
10. Female, 45, Farmer
Last menses in April. No menses in May or June. Menses in July – lasted for 8 days. Scanty for 5 days, profuse for 3 days. Now menses again (case taken beginning of August). Started yesterday. Scanty. Then disappeared. Then started again this morning. Scanty. She ‘feels pregnant’. Sometimes she misses her period. Breasts grow bigger. Whole body feels trembling, with fever in-between menses. Fever comes until she has the menses. ‘Fever’ means she feels warmer. Evening 4-5pm some chills. Formerly menses 3-4 days, now 7-8 days. No flushes of heat. No sweat. Mood has changed. Now she is never happy. Sad mood. The main change is that she has very increased sexual desire. Feels hungry very often. Voracious appetite. Sexual desire is ‘surprisingly high’. Now she wants sex a lot. No pain during period. Not more tired. Thin blood.
Remedy: Murex LM1, bd, 6-8 succussions.
Waiting for feedback.
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