From : Proceedings International Hahnemannian Association – 1897
Failures to cure all curable cases of disease, outside those requiring operative surgery, by thorough Hahnemannians, come not from any inefficiency of our principles of cure, but from an inability to select the true simillimum in its proper potential form, or from lack of intelligent, patient waiting for the well selected remedy to do its complete work.
Too urgent a desire to bring about a speedy cure may warp the judgement, and lead astray the most conscientious and devoted practitioner.
Many cases of chronic diseases of the skin require from six months to two years, or even a longer course of careful treatment, before any radical change in the appearance of the eruption is seen. It is my custom before taking charge of such cases, to have a distinct understanding with the patient or friends to that effect, and even this period of time may sometimes have to be extended in cases which ultimately result in recovery. Such cases try the metal of the physician fully as much as they tax the confidence of the patient.
From a therapeutical point of view every Homoeopath realizes the superior importance of subjective symptoms over objective conditions, yet at the same time he very properly strives to include both classes in his pathogenetic similitude.
He may sometimes be able to effect a cure, guided by the subjective symptoms alone, i. e., by employing a remedy which in its provings has never been known to develop the peculiar pathological feature seen in the patient, something like the interesting and instructive case related by Hartmann, where Hahnemann had cured a case of Syphilis with Chamomilla, and taught his students a valuable lesson by putting them on a fruitless search for the remedy employed, which they afterwards learned did not cover the pathological lesion at all.
He will occasionally find cases, especially among chronic diseases of the skin, where nearly all sensational phenomena are absent, and where the objective conditions seem to afford his only guide, but sometimes this very absence of subjective symptoms affords a significant cue.
For familiar illustration we refer briefly to syphilitic eruptions, which are free from itching and are usually unaccompanied by pain, yet the coppery hue, which does not fade under pressure of the finger, a purely objective symptom, gives about the only cue to a correct diagnosis, and often also to the indicated remedy.
Again, the peculiar thick, yellow, brittle, honey-like crust, sometimes seen upon the chin and about the mouth of otherwise healthy children, accompanied or not by burning and itching, is often met with when there are no marked concomitants, and such cases are often cured by Cicuta virosa. Antimonium crudum covers quite a similar eruption, when accompanied by a thickly coated, white tongue with gastric derangement.
Similar illustrations might easily be multiplied, exceptional as they are, demonstrating at times the therapeutic value of purely objective conditions.
Closely related to this class of maladies is the following case of chronic eczema which came to me through the courtesy of a very able Homoeopathic physician, Dr. Pulver, of Torrington, Conn., who wrote that he had given the patient without perceptible result, Sulphur, Silicea and Psorinum, all high.
I find the following record June 19, 1896.
A. P., age about 40, for past fourteen years has been afflicted with an eruption, the treatment of which has so far been unsatisfactory.
Present condition: red, dry, scaly, itching eruption covers entire perineal region, including genital organs and contiguous surfaces inside both thighs.
Scrotum relaxed, red, smooth, itching, moist (with offensive sweat?)
The eruption involves penis and glans penis. The latter is dry and rough, with quite large, hard flakes of peeling skin.
There is an itching patch of dry, scaly skin on outer surface of left forearm.
There are small, indurated, scaly spots in palms of both hands, size of peas, and smaller ones.
There is intolerable itching of scrotum, somewhat relieved by pinching and friction of the skin between the fingers.
General health excellent. No venereal taint. Three doses Petroleum 200 Dunham. June 30 – Says perhaps a little less itching. The patches or spots in palms of hands larger and more numerous.
Mucous surface on glans penis dry and inclined to crack. .
The eruption has spread perceptibly on thighs and now appears between toes, where it never appeared before.
July 4. No change.
One dose Petroleum
Aug. 18. Reports by mail “no change.”
One dose Petroleum TM Fincke.
Sept. 11. Reports by mail “perhaps a little better, certainly not increasing.”
Oct. 14. Upon personal examination I find the eruption about the same.
One dose Petroleum 40 Fincke.
Nov. 11. Less itching. Eruption slightly ameliorated.
Dec. 15. Decided improvement every way.
Jan. 6, 1897. Eruption almost gone.
Feb. 16. Eruption has disappeared.
Bowels sluggish. Itching at anus. One dose Sulphur M (million) Fincke.
Patient promised to report again if the eruption reappeared, but he has not done so up to the present time (June), although he has sent to me for treatment two other cases of chronic diseases of the skin. I have seriously questioned whether the preliminary treatment by Dr. Pulver did not prepare him for the successful use of Petroleum.
I recall another interesting case of chronic eczema, cured by the single remedy. Mrs. W., age 58, medium height, a decided blonde, blue eyes, light hair, has suffered for eight years and more from an eruption, which has been so severe at times as to interfere with her vocation as professional nurse.
Feb. 24, 1893. My record book shows following: Dry, itching, scaly eruption all over the body, accompanied by very general branny desquamation.
Thin, moist scabs cover the hairy scalp.
Behind the ears the skin is moist and smooth, shining as if varnished.
Itching, moist patch, 4×6 inches, with slightly elevated reddish margin on outside left calf, covered with loose flakes or large scales.
Finger and toe nails rough and brittle.
General aggravation from washing, from exercise, getting blood heated and from external heat.
Tired and sleepy all day.
Goes to sleep on going to bed, wakes 2 or 3 A. M. and can sleep no more, “Kept awake by constant thinking.”
Three doses Calcarea carb. 200 Dunham.
She got some relief from time to time for several weeks with steady improvement until May 8. Then one dose Calcarea carb. 1m.
July 8. Eruption gone. Leg smooth. Sleeps well. Bowels regular.
Have seen this patient frequently up to the present time (June ’97), have prescribed for other minor ailments and am glad to say there has been no return of the eruption.
Dr. Wesselhoeftâ€”I wish to say that there is nothing more important than to stick to your patient through thick and thin, when treating any form of chronic skin disease. It is oftentimes a most discouraging thing to do, but if you do not implant into that patient’s mind the idea the idea that Homoeopathy is the only earthly way to eradicate such troubles, you cannot keep your patients. They go off and into other and different folds.
I have under treatment now a man who has been under a dermatologist’s care for five years in Boston, who was covered from his thighs to his feet with eczema forming scales, larger than I have ever seen before, the size of at least two finger nails. These scales were thrown off in the evening when he undressed so that a sheet had to catch them. Also an eruption over the breast extending nearly to the navel. The eruption on the legs extended over the whole anterior and posterior surface; the itching was terrible. When he came to me after having gone through the arsenic treatment, external applications, he was a pitiable object to look upon. He had lost a great deal of flesh, was weak, and all the functions greatly disturbed. I have had him under treatment now over a year. When he came to me I told him: This dermatologist has had you five years; will you give me half of that time to cure you? Oh, doctor, he said, is it going to take so long? I said, yes, longer perhaps. The result was that for six months that man was immeasurably worse than he ever had been in his life before. The itchings and the scaling were terrible. I had all I could do to hold him. I told him, you have got to remain; you promised me you would give me half of the time the other man had to heal you, and you have got now to go through all this misery in order to get well. He went through that misery, but in going through it every function became again normal. The sleep, instead of being disturbed for the whole night, his wife and attendants having to be with him, scratching him, rubbing him, and annointing him, he had at least half of the night of comfortable, natural sleep. The bowels acted naturally and his digestion was restored. He gained twenty pounds of flesh during that time of this enormous increase of cutaneous exacerbation. It is now nearly the end of the second year, and there is only a patch left about as large as my hand on each shin.
I say it is of the greatest importance that we should prepare our patients, when we have troubles of this kind to care for, which usually come to us ruined, or partially ruined, from the dermatologist. We should have at least a chance, and I am very much in favor of telling these patients that the chance they give us should at least be half as long as the chance they give the allopathic dermatologist.