“People use mental models to explain how things work. The model is not reality, it is simply one way of describing how we see reality, based upon the totality of our observations and experiences. As we add to our understanding, we often need to refine our models to reflect this new view or reality“.
To begin a story about Stramonium without having an insight into Hercus’s perspective on the remedy and the cycles would be absurd. We can’t upgrade anything without its base. Paul Herscu invites us to build further on his insights by defining a way in which we should work – to refine our models to reflect this new view of reality.
When we analyse the symptoms of the patient in order to find a homeopathic remedy, many of us fall back on aphorism §153 of the Organon, …the most striking, strange, unusual, peculiar signs and symptoms in the case are especially, almost exclusively, the ones to which close attention should be given… And by making this choice, we settle for a middle ground. We are no longer paying attention to the whole patient, but rather to a part (Herscu.P, 1996.)
So this time, in order to get new insights into the case, let’s pay attention to the symptoms that are not striking, strange, unusual, peculiar, as well as the ones that we ignored in the past just because they were hard to understand and we haven’t seen them as parts of the bigger picture, even though we see them a lot in our practice. Let’s start with the case.
A man, 62, long-term heart patient, a diabetic, for the past 20 years on insulin, asthma. Former alcoholic. Over 50 years of smoking history. His legs are blue and swollen, skinny, abdomen swollen.
Case was taken 21.1.2015. Dijagnoza je uspostavljena 28.12.2014.
R91, Pulmo ad diagnosticam abnormalis;
Infiltratio pulmonis sinistri;
Meta in LGE mediastini susp;
J44 Morbus pulmonis obstructivus chronicus alius Diabetes Mellitus tip II;
St. post IM par. Anterioris aa XVI;
St. post PCI cum impl. Stenti No I in ACXI;
Cardiomyopathia ischaemica dilatativa decomp.;
Macroangiopathia et polyneuropathia diabetica;
Nephropathiadiabetica; Insuff. Renum chr. GR 2-3;
It was terminal phase, prognosis that he has about 6 months of life left.
His son asked me for help. His wife was in the last months of her pregnancy with their third child at the moment. Their children were going through puberty. His father in the terminal phase, his mother psychotic for a long period of time, his pregnant and mentally unstable wife and 2 kids all started living together in the small apartment because the patient wanted to be near the doctors and he moved from countryside to the city. The patient rarely left the apartment and the overall situation was heavy.
When I entered their apartment, the patient’s wife helped him to come to the livingroom and sit down. He could barely walk. When he finally sat down, he harshly pushed his wife away. She found her place at the most distant corner of the room, started staring outside the window and looked like she’s not with us anymore. The patient had a voice so quiet, I barely heard his words. He was avoiding eye contact. I asked him how can I help.
Patient: “There is not much help for me. I have trouble sleeping. I spend my nights sitting and thinking, then I fall into some dreams. I feel like I’m falling. I wake up every night around 12.10. Then I take a nap for half an hour. I get up at 5 in the morning and make myself a tea. I think about the ways to fight with myself, to ignore the illness. I struggle to master psychology. I have previous experience, when I had heart problems, asthma and diabetes. I’m certain that I will win again. I don’t want to give up. It’s only up to me and my psychology how well will I manage to ignore the pain and the illness. I’m taking diclofen, they also gave me patches for killing the pain. They told me that there is no cure for me because my heart works only 25% and they can’t give me any therapy. If there is something I should try, I’ll try it myself.
I sometimes feel nervous when there is too much happening around me, like slaming the doors, a crowd… otherwise I’m very disciplined. The thing I mind the most is being in Belgrade right now, instead of being in the nature. I have diabetes, heart problems and asthma. Having cancer was a shock for me, but I didn’t alow it to make me jump out of the track. I have the power to get through this. I want to fight. I prayed to God for my health earlier, but I stopped because, if he is true, he wouldn’t let me suffer this much. Maybe I carry someone else’s sin? I’ve been thinking about my sin and I realised that it doesn’t exist. I never killed no one, never mistreated anyone, never took anyone’s property.
I’ve been explaining myself that I have to stay strong, that there has to be cure for every disease. The hardest thing for me is to be traped inside these four walls and these horrible weather changes.
I have a feeling that the cancer stoped growing, eventhough they told me that it is galloping. I stopped taking insulin. The nights are the hardest because of insomnia.I was a smoker for 50 years. When I started coughting and choking, I quit smoking easilly. There were no problems.
Beldam (that is how he calls his wife) gets on my nerves because she has troubles hearing and I have to repeat everything for a hundred times, but she’s not bad enough for me to strike her. Insomnia is killing me because it makes me nervous. Give me something that can make me sleep better”.
His son told me that the patient used to be a cheerful, friendly man, loved by his friends and was always ready to have fun, going to the bar and hanging out.
I asked the patient what he longed for the most. He looked in the distance and it was obvious that the memories were going through his mind. His look became lustfuland shameless. Although his son and wife were in the room he answered: “Women… I miss being able to have all those women“. His wife was sitting in silence, with dull expression on her face, looking through the window.
Terminal cases themselves are hard, and with a lot of pathology and states of high intensity, they add even more pressure on homeopaths by expecting them to make a miracle. Often, we will search for the remedies for palliation in the rubrics DESPAIR; FEAR; death of; FEAR suffering of, RESIGATION… Once in awhile the person has hope, searches for some rare remedy, treatment or something like that, or is trying to understand why he/she got sick.
Even though he says that there is not much hope in the first sentence, he pretty fast lifted his own spirit from that state. So this case doesn’t belong to either of those two categories. Through the entire story, we can feel the patient’s attitude towards his illness, like he is going to cure himself with the power of will, his psychology (it’s wrong to use the term psyche). He will convince himself that he is healthy, and his illness will disappear, because there is a cure for every illness as he says, ”I have to ignore it and it will go away“, his strategy for fighting. a galloping cancer… a small thing for him. The attitude ”I am stronger than my illness, I can beat every illness“, has it’s rubrics in repertory:
MIND – DELUSIONS – power – diseases; he had power over all
MIND – DELUSIONS – small – things – appear small; things
To this, we can add the rubric EGOTISM, meaning having too much belief in himself and his abilities.
MIND – EGOTISM
He claims that he managed to beat the heart disease, asthma and the diabetes all by himself, even though it is obvious that he didn’t. Neither had had done his own heart surgery, nor did he feel well after it. He regularly takes medicines for asthma. For the past 20 years he has been taking insulin injections – how did he beat the diabetes then? He claims that he can cure the cancer with the power of his will, that he feels like the cancer stopped growing, and all that he want’s from me is a remedy which will help him sleep better.
He doesn’t believe in God. He used to belive along time ago, he used to pray, and then he gave up, because if the God was true, he wouldn’t let him suffer that much. Now he decided to solve his problems himself.
“Maybe I carry someone else’s sin? I’ve been thinking about my sin and I realised that it doesn’t exist. I never killed anyone, never mistreated anyone, never took anyone’s property“, he says. His perception of sin is that if he didn’t kill or mistreat anyone, and didn’t take anyone’s property, he is clean of sins. There’s nothing wrong in him.
MIND – DELUSIONS – pure; she is
His wife had obviously learnt how she has to be obedient to avoid being beaten. She wasn’t supposed to get on his nervs much. He however didn’t think that he was physicaly or mentaly abusing his her.
MIND – STRIKING – rage; with
He was using the wrong words while talking. For example, istead of psyche he said psychology, istead of “I have a sick heart“ he said “I have a heart“, “I should ignore the illness“ instead of “I should convince myself“…
MIND – MISTAKES; making – speaking, in – words – wrong words; using
To sum up, his heart is working at 25 % of capacity, he has asthma, an insulin dependant diabetes and galloping cancer. What is he thinking about? About women. With a lustful face expression.
MIND – LASCIVIOUS
MIND – DELIRIUM – erotic
MIND – SHAMELESS
The case is terminal, the intensity of the symptoms is very high, and the patient’s energy low, so I decided to start with the prescription of 30C potency once a week.
The remedy showed effects very fast. He managed to sleep better during the first night after taking it, and he was less nervous, more tolerant and more independent. He started leaving the apartment little by little. He got stronger every day. Three weeks later, his daughter in law gave birth to a little boy. He stayed in the city to see his grandson, and then went back home to the countryside with his wife. The winter was comming to an end, so it wasn’t that cold and heavy. He enjoyed walking through the fields and down the village streets. His son said how it is so hard to believe now that his father is going to die soon. He was getting better and better. I don’t have the information whether he continued taking the insulin injections.
He passed away unexpectedly around the middle of April. He noticed a wound on his arm and didn’t know how and when he got it. He scratched it, and it got inflamed. The local medicals gave him injections of antibiotics, the third day he passed away peacefully in his home, in his toilet, conscious and mobile till the very end. On the death certificate it was written that the cause of his death was sepsis.
This is the case of a high quality palliation. We can conclude that the Stramonium covered the totallity of the symptoms of this patient, and that the simillimum was reached
Doctor Kent says that if the patient suffers his whole from only one disease and that is the one he was born with, it progresses during his life and changes the ways in which it manifastes from smaller to heavy consequences. This patient got his remedy too late to be healed with it. On the other hand, he got it at the right time to help him spend the last weeks of his life peacefully and with dignity. Fortunately, most of our patients have some mental state and are not in the terminal phases.
Let’s take a look at what are the caracteristics of this case. First of all is the feeling of power over every illness, and believing that he only has to convince himself.
Religious affectation – too occupied by religion
This is the well known caracteristic of Stramonium who reads the Bible the whole day, prays and has the delusion that he is comunicating with God. How is that not seen in this case? He mentions God and he mentions praying, but also he mentions something else. He says that he doesn’t believe in God anymore, that God betrayed him because he used to pray and God allowed his suffering. He decided to solve his own problems with the power of will.
The delusion that he will beat his illness with a willpower.
MIND – REFUSING – medicine; to take the
MIND – DELUSIONS – power – diseases; he had power over all
MIND – DELUSIONS – head – disease will break out of head
MIND – DELUSIONS – small – things – appear small; things
MIND – EGOTISM
If we know that Stramonium is a scared, insecure person who spends his/her days reading the Bible and praying, it will be clear for us that this is the other polarity of his personality, rarely and hardly recognizable, but also real and present. This patient helped us to clarify how that other side activates, and what is it’s purpose.
Let’s start with familiar and often recognized rubrics:
MIND – AILMENTS FROM – excitement – religious
MIND – DELUSIONS – religious
MIND – DESPAIR – religious despair of salvation
MIND – ECCENTRICITY – religious
MIND – EXHILARATION – religious
MIND – INSANITY – religious
MIND – MANIA – religious
MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS – too occupied with religion
MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS – too occupied with religion – bible all day; wants to read the
MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS – too occupied with religion – children; in
MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS – too occupied with religion – fanaticism
MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS – too occupied with religion – melancholia
MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS – too occupied with religion – narrow-minded in religious questions
GENERALS – CATALEPSY – religious excitement, from
In this set we see that most of these rubrics have a small number of remedies, 4 or less remedies per rubric. In rubrics that have 20-30 remedies, Stramonium had the two points. Only the rubric MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTION – too occupied with religion, consists of 72 remedies. Stramonium is the only remedy that has 4 points in that rubric, which means that most of the provers showed the presence of this symptom. Rubrics with a small number of remedies give us the strange, rare and unusual effects of this remedy.
To define the term of religion is a huge and difficult task, but it’s important for our understanding of Stramonium’s occupation. Let’s use the most basic definition that will be enough for our purposes of understanding. Religion is a gathering of cultural systems, a system of beliefs and perspectives on the world which refer to the human being and his relation with the God and the world around him. Now we need to understand the relation that Stramonium has with God. In the repertory we find the following rubrics:
MIND – PRAYING – piety, nocturnal
MIND – PRAYING – kneeling and
MIND – DELIRIUM TREMENS – praying, with
Add the next rubrics:
MIND – EGOTISM
MIND – DELUSIONS – pure; she is
MIND – CLINGING – persons or furniture; to
Egotism – the fact of thinking that you are better or more important than anyone else:
Pure – not mixed with anything else; with nothing added (in the context of stramonium there is nothing bad, wrong or sinful in him)
Clinging – to hold on tightly to something or somebody
The rubric DELUSION, pure she is is one of the leading rubrics for recognizing the Stramonium personality. Let’s explain it a little more through the following case.
A 70 year old woman complained about a year long constipation. It seemed as if the case was going to be simple, symptoms were all clear, there were a lot of modalities that refered to Bryonia. However, Bryonia didn’t help, so she was given some other homeopatic remedies but the case didn’t progress at all, not until one day when she came to a follow up angry. She explained how she tried fasting for the last 7 days because she wanted to get communion for the first time after 30 years, although she was very religious. She went to church and when it was her turn to commune, the priest asked her if she had a confession, because he couldn’t remember. She felt offended. Why would she have to confess? She didn’t kill anybody, she hadn’t stolen anything! There was no reason for her to confess. She just wanted to get communion.
At that moment I managed to understand her constipation. The fact that she didn’t kill anyone or steal anything gave her the right to believe that there is nothing wrong with her, she was completely clean of sins. Stramonium 12c in split dose for the first 24 hours caused strong cleansing. Her comment was: “I didn’t have any idea that I had so much feces in me“.
Stramonium is not conscious that there is something wrong with him.
So what is the nature of Stramonium’s relationship with the God? First of all, there is no room for humility and acceptance of God’s will in that relationship. Stramonium actually doesn’t believe in God at all. He believes in his own excellence, his own pureness, sinless and the power of his own prayer. God should just hear his prayer and make it happen. His prayer is not a prayer, it’s a demand directed to God. It’s some kind of ultimatum: I did everything I should, I was good and I prayed – don’t you dare to fail me. The truth is that most Stramonium patients believe that they didn’t pray hard enough. That’s why they spend their days reading the Bible. Many of them stay in the previous state for a very long time, some even to the very end. But many of them will sooner or later become angry with god if their prayer doesn’t come true. Some will give up eventually, like this patient who said: “I was good, I havn’t done anything wrong, there’s no need for him to punish me, and he still made me suffer. I will have to fix it myself, with my power of will.“