What Are You Doing?
In my Acute Case Questionnaire, which you can find on my website, one of the questions I ask is, “What are you doing?” I then give examples because otherwise, the answer you’ll get is “Nothing”! But what the patient is “doing” is often a big clue to the remedy! For example, Shana was grasping her throat on coughing, another symptom that goes for Allium cepa! And this is a very unusual cough remedy! I’ve never heard of giving Allium cepa for coughs! But all the usual cough remedies were failing! Spongia, Phosphorus, Rumex, you name it…one failure after another until she finally said her eyes were running; so, you see, the Concomitant…so important! But anyway, yes, ask your patient “What are you doing?” Here are some examples from the Coughing chapter.
- They may be changing position in bed, tossing back and forth. The rubric is “Coughing: bed”; not “Coughing: restless”, as you might expect!
- Bending. They may be forced to bend double or bend their head forward or backward, or bending forward or backward may make them worse.
- Closing the eyes. Hepar sulph. is in bold, and the only remedy listed, for “Closing eyes at night excites cough”.
- Fears to cough. Some people may be making a concerted effort not to cough because of how painful it is. You’d have to think of Bryonia right away, but, Phosphorus too.
- Grasping Larynx at every [cough]–this is what Shana was doing. Allium cepa is the only remedy–though there is a subrubric “Grasping throat”, and I’m hard-pressed to tell the difference between the two, frankly!
- “Hands, holding” and all the subrubrics. What this rubric means is that the hands are holding one part of the body or another while coughing; for instance, holding the abdomen, holding the chest, holding the head, holding the larynx–again, only Allium cepa listed for that.
- Hold and Holds. Same as “Hands” above, patient holds himself while coughing due to pain.
- Holding very still, lying still, not moving. The rubric is “Coughing: motion agg.” It means least motion brings on the cough.
- Moving. Some people are better moving, worse sitting still. The rubric is “Coughing: motion amel.”
- Sitting up. The rubric is, “Coughing: sit up, must”. See also, “Coughing: sitting, while” and all the subrubrics regarding sitting bent, sitting erect, sitting long and sitting still.
- Sleep. Cough during sleep, and all the subrubrics including on going to sleep, cough prevents sleep, wakes from sleep, disturbs sleep, after waking up, and so on.
- Standing agg.
- Talking–in the sense that he may not be able to talk because of the cough.
- Uncovering–in the sense that because uncovering makes him worse, he dares not uncover! Hepar, Rumex, Rhus tox and Silica are main ones.
Finally, etiology! The way we express etiology in the Repertory is by saying, “Ailments from __________”. There is nothing more important than the etiology. Etiology is right at the top of our “Hierarchy of Symptoms”. Etiology overrules symptomatology (overrules the totality of symptoms) For example, Coughing from blunt trama–Arnica. Coughing from acute grief–Ignatia, and so on.
Most homeopaths have a lot of trouble with this. They add etiology into the repertorization along with all the other symptoms. They don’t see that all the other symptoms disappear in its shadow.
The reason we have a Hierarchy of Symptoms is because the symptom at the highest level over-shadows all the rest of them. Let’s say we don’t have an etiology in our case, but, we do have a “Peculiar”, like Shana did (grasps larynx with each cough). Then, in that case, the Peculiar would over-shadow all the symptoms that come below it–not take equal weight with them! People should read my article “Acute Vs. Chronic Remedies, The Hierarchy of Symptoms, and the Kitchen Sink”–oh yeah, that’s a great title!
You see, this explains why when homeopaths take a case, they’re always trying to find the “Essence”–the mental picture–because the mental/emotionals are right at or near the top of the Hierarchy! They over-shadow everything that comes beneath them, they make everything else virtually irrelevant!
I’ll give you an example, speaking of coughs. About 20 years ago, I had an Ignatia cough, which means that every cough leads to the next cough, which can inevitably lead to fear that you will never be able to stop coughing! When this happened to me, I would take Aconite and the cough would stop! Now, is Aconite a “cough remedy”? No! But it was the “mental” part of the case!!!! You see? It made everything else disappear!
This is why no one ever repertorizes an Arnica case! Isn’t that right? Who repertorizes an Arnica case? You get injured, you get Arnica! Am I right? “Ailments from blunt trauma”–Arnica! Boom! Case closed! Blunt trauma is the etiology. Etiology is at the top of the Hierarchy. Therefore, it overrules everything else in the case! Now you think about that while I take the potatoes out of the oven!
OK, I’m back. Now, here are some of the etiologies from the Coughing chapter:
- Ascending stairs
- Cellar air (see also Damp room)
- Cold temperatures
- Dryness of air passages
- Fluids, loss of
- Heated, on becoming
- Injuries, after
- Wet, getting wet
Now, listen, if the cough is a concomitant to some disease the patient has, like Measles, go to your Measles rubric. Ask yourself, “Which of these measles remedies most closely resembles the patient?” 80% of the time, the remedy you need is in that rubric. For measles, the main two remedies are Pulsatilla and Euphrasia. They’re “bold/underlined”, or a “4” as we call it.
Now, you know, I can’t cover everything here, there are other chapters of the Repertory you may have to visit, like Generals, Nose, Breathing, and so on; and you’ll need to get the color, odor and consistency of any discharges the patient has. Go to Generals: mucus.
OK, I gotta make my salad now. My cough is much better, thank you. I’ve been taking Allium cepa.
Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine takes online cases! Write to her at LEWRA@aol.com
Visit her website: elaineLewis.hpathy.com