In a previous issue, I stated that Dr. J.T. Kent thought prescribing on keynotes was suppressive and since I consider myself to be Kentian, a few of the cases below may come as a surprise to many of you. However, I would like to pass on some of my experiences. Several of these were in my first year of practice, when (in hind site) I didn’t really know much of anything about case taking or even much about the remedies. They were what I call the miracle cures which gave me hope and sustained me while I struggled with becoming a homeopath. In retrospect, maybe the real miracle isn’t that the remedies worked, but that I was able to find them at all with my limited skills.
One evening, I got a call from a neighbor who said she was feeling sick and wondered if I could help her. It was a pleasant night, so she walked the few blocks to my house. When she arrived about ½ hour after she called, I asked her what time she left her house. It had been about 20 minutes earlier. I then asked her to tell me what was happening and she replied that she just didn’t feel good, but didn’t have any particular symptoms and that she began to feel better as she strolled toward my house. I was still fairly new to homeopathy and was not able to elicit any additional symptoms from her. Based on her not having any definite symptoms and feeling better after a slow walk outside, I gave her Ferr-phos. She called me the next morning and said she felt 100% better!
Another time, someone came to my office with the flu. On her way in, she tripped over the curve and hurt her knee and ankle. The ankle was starting to swell and she was in a lot of pain. I decided that the injury was more pressing than the flu, so I gave her Arnica, which cured the flu. At the time, I only knew Arnica as a first aid remedy. Now, of course, I know it more fully, but at the time the result really surprised me. I also realized that sometimes when a person needs a particular remedy, something comes into their life that forces the situation. If she hadn’t injured herself, I don’t think I would have found the remedy.
This next case is one of the most amazing I’ve had and a real miracle cure! He was a gentleman in his early 30’s who came to me for a problem with hemorrhoids. He didn’t have a lot of symptoms to go on and I wasn’t skilled enough to ask the right questions to get a better case. From the information he gave me, there were four remedies that seemed equally indicated. He seemed both temperamentally and by body type to be a typical Nux-v: dark complexioned and wiry, with a type A personality. Since he drank a dozen cups of coffee a day and was a three pack a day smoker, I was concerned about his antidoting a higher potency, so I gave him a 6X Nux-v on the spot. I was giving him instructions for taking the remedy at home when he put his head down on the desk and fell asleep! He used the Nux-v off and on for several months and cured his hemorrhoids.
When he came back a few months later, he was down to three cups of coffee a day and half a pack of cigarettes. He also reported that he hadn’t told me during the initial interview, but he had Thalassaemia anemia. Since taking the remedy, he had gone almost twice as long before needing a transfusion! What was even more astounding to me was that he had dated the same lady for almost 12 years and had avoided all hints of marriage, even breaking up with her for short periods when she pressed him. Yet a few months after starting the remedy, he proposed to her. Shortly thereafter, they married, had a family and seemed to be quite happy for many years, at which time I lost contact with them. I’ve since recognized that Nux-v can have a fear of marriage, but at the time it surprised me. It also brought home to me the fact that the right remedy, even in a very low potency can produce life changing experiences for a person. And it also convinced me that ‘constitutional’ prescribing is valid. If I had had the whole case, I may have found Nux-v to fit his symptoms perfectly, but I didn’t have the whole case and used his constitution to make the differential.
Another interesting case was that of a gentle-natured nine year old boy who had done very well on infrequent doses of high potency Pulsatilla for OCD and tics. His mother called and reported that he had come home from school with what appeared to be a stomach virus. She was unable to report any particular symptoms other than the fact the he very sweetly asked her to leave his room because he was afraid if she stayed, he would get mad at her and he didn’t want to do that. Given how gentle and affectionate the boy generally was, I decided that for him to ask his mother to leave the room, even very sweetly, was a Pulsatilla way of expressing irritability, so I suggested Nux-v. She called back a little while later and reported that shortly after taking the remedy, he went into the bathroom and vomited. When he came out, he told her he felt fine and wanted to go out and play. That’s how I learned that emotional states need to be considered relative to how the person is when they are well. Irritability in someone who has a gentle nature will be expressed quite differently than by someone who is more irritable by nature.
Then there was the case of my own German Sheperd dog, Blackie. Most German Sheperds lose their proprioception by their mid teens and need to be put down. Blackie was no exception. By age 14, he found it harder and harder to use his hind legs. He was an exceptionally sweet natured dog and always tried very hard to do what we asked. He would find birds that had fallen out of a tree in our yard and bring them to me, carrying them in his mouth. He would never hurt them. Just based on his gentleness, I gave him a high potency of Pulsatilla which removed all of his symptoms. I repeated it over the years whenever he had trouble standing up. He lived to be 21 years old, which is practically unheard of for German Sheperds. Another ‘constitutional’ prescription.
Another incident with Blackie occurred when he was six. This is actually not one of my cases, but one in which my homeopath prescribed the remedy. However, I learned a lot from it. When we opened the front door, he spied a cat across the street and took out after it (he was very good with our own cats, but always wanted to chase the neighbor cats). Just then a pickup truck came around the corner and hit him. When our vet examined him, he said there was nerve damage and he would probably never walk again. He suggested we put him down. I called our homeopath. After he took the case, he said, “With homeopathy, it doesn’t matter if your patient has two legs or four; you prescribe the same”. Based on a greenish discharge coming from Blackie’s urethra, he prescribed Equisetum. A few days later, Blackie was standing on his own. He continued to improve for the next six months, at which time he was able to run with a slight sideways motion, which he had the rest of his life. This taught me that one really needs to look at what is unique about the case and not prescribe automatically. Most people would think of Arnica or possibly Hypericum due to nerve damage, but the green discharge was something unique that didn’t seem to be connected to the accident, but led directly to the remedy.
Another interesting case was that of a friend of mine who came to my house for lunch. She mentioned that she hadn’t felt well for a few days, like she might be coming down with something. Nothing more was mentioned and we ate. As soon as we had finished, she said that it was weird, but she felt a chill up her spine. I asked her if she would mind if I gave her a remedy. Based on the chill up her back after eating, I gave her Argentrum-nitricum and a few minutes later she volunteered that the feeling of coming down with something had gone. Arg-nit was the only remedy I found that had the sensation of cold up the back after eating.
Then there was the elderly lady with a flare up of Spondylolisthesis of the lumbar spine. She had a number of other health problems and I was feeling quite overwhelmed with the complexity of her case. She was taking allopathic meds, which she reported helped her other conditions, but the pain from her back was almost unbearable. If I were doing her case today, I would probably send her to a chiropractor. I really didn’t know where to start, but the most striking, and also the most problematic, symptom she reported was a sharp pain that radiated around her left hip into her groin, making movement and especially walking excruciating. I was only able to find one remedy that had pain radiating from the lumbar vertebrae into the groin. It was Kali-bich. It seemed an unlikely candidate to me, but since it was the only remedy that had this very striking symptom, I went ahead and gave it to her in a 30C to take as needed. It not only alleviated the pain, it also cleared up a rash on her left ankle that she had been treating for months with cortisone cream, which she had neglected to mention. I learned from this experience that the right remedy will work through even very suppressive drugs, the right remedy will cure things it wasn’t prescribed for, and the right remedy will not necessarily be one of the first ones that come to mind in a case. I wish now I could have followed her entire case, but she was happy with her results and I never saw her again as a patient. For years after that, whenever I happened to see her, she told me how she swore by her ‘back remedy’ any time she got a flare up, which now occurred very infrequently!
Ending on a lighter note, the last case is that of an elderly gentleman who came to me with purpura. He was on a number of allopathic meds, so after taking his case, I suggested that he go to the local health food store and get a low potency of Lacheses, since I generally don’t keep many low potencies on hand. A few hours later, I got a call from him. “I can’t take this”, he told me. “Why not?”, I asked. He answered, “The label says it’s for menopause!” I explained about the FDA labeling laws and how not all the symptoms could possibly fit on the label. Luckily, after I explained the labeling laws, he checked out another brand of Lachese, which said it was for left sided sore throat, so I guess that convinced him my explanation was valid and he took the remedy to good effect. I learned from that experience to always explain the FDA labeling laws before sending someone to buy a remedy at the health food store.
What all of these different cases taught me is that there are multiple ways of coming to a remedy. Saying it in a different way, there are many different ways of coming to what needs to be cured in the patient, i.e., different methods of case analysis, but still all following Paragraph 3a of the Organon. The difficulty, of course, is getting the full case, particularly when one is new to the practice and not experienced in the interviewing process. As someone once said, if you take the case correctly, your work is almost done.