Denise is a southern belle

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Denise is a southern belle if there ever was one. At least she sounds that way on the phone. That’s the nature of our relationship. We have not met in person. She has been seen by a good Homeopathic practitioner locally who referred her because he was having trouble. This 69 year old patient has a warm heart and incredible resilience.

“If unpleasant, fearful things happen to my family,…if they hurt, I hurt. We lost my husband in a horrible way in ‘80. There has been no closure. ‘06 has been a bad year as well. We lost 5 people this last year. My son has been involved in motor vehicle accidents which have left him physically impaired. There have been divorces. My daughter is bipolar. I’ve had reconstructive surgery for the bladder and vaginal area which took 5 months to recover from.

The joy is gone. When my kids hurt so do I. It’s non stop.”

Her presenting complaint was an acute bronchitis. There was a tight chest with lots of phlegm. Her eyes would tear easily - especially from reading. There was ‘hot water’ running from her nose.

The left ear and the left eye were red.

Teeth ached.

When she sneezed it provoked a deep cough.

Tiredness. Walking to the living room exhausted. She felt anxious when the phone rang. There was no interest in talking. “It’s the disappointments. I am just a big baby with the disappointments.”

There is a history of two serious car accidents in ‘86 and ‘97. “I had a near death experience with one and a huge amount of physical therapy”.

There is burning in the left shoulder blade area.

Burning in the sacroiliac area which has been worsening over the last year. This pain shoots over top of the left hip. Sweeping is a killer.

“Seems like the heat of the summer makes me irritable. I like cool flowing air.”

“I enjoy people.”

Now I was eager to prescribe for the respiratory tract issues and in fact I did. The patient elected to use antibiotics simultaneous to the remedy and so I will refrain from commenting on the unassessable.

Two months later the call was of a different nature. Now the low back had aggravated. It was described as being so hot and burning it felt like a piece of charcoal. As always it was on the left extending to the thigh. By late afternoon it was unbearable and forced Denise to lie down with an ice pack.

The MRI showed multi level spondylosis. Disc space narrowing worst at L2-3. Foraminal narrowing most at the left of L2-3. Less on the right at L3-4 and L4-5. No evidence of associated stenosis.

This certainly adds up to a very bad back (brilliant deduction?).

I asked her how else she was doing and the flood gates opened. There were very sad issues regarding her son and daughter and a multitude of other stresses on this noble lady’s shoulders. She was right in the thick of things advocating and doing for everyone.

When we spoke of these emotional issues the weeping was loud and unstoppable.

When taking a case take the whole case. Never (aside from first aid) settle for just the complaint and here is a good example of why.

We can conceptually divide the case into several areas. The various complaints or syndromes. The general chronic case. The hygienic environment of the person. Lastly the observational field of the patient and his behaviour (observed both by the physician and those who have attended him).The characterizing element - those symptoms of illness that narrow the selection of the remedy dramatically - can be in any of these data fields. This is what draws our initial attention and guides us into the study of Materia Medica.

In this situation the pain is intense and striking but nothing characterizes it sufficiently to guide us anywhere. Even more striking is the preoccupation with others despite her intense pain.

The mental symptoms - multiple grief episodes - especially the unresolved death of her husband years ago. The sensitivity to disappointment and lastly the spasmodic weeping tend to implicate Ignatia.

My reaction to this possibility was that I seem driven to it by the lack of evidence for something more compelling.There was so much physical degeneration in the spine that I intuitively wanted something that directly corresponded. I didn’t have it.

Ignatia 30 daily and within one week, no burning, no ice packs and the emotions are so much smoother. It’s been almost a year and Ignatia is still frequently needed - now in 200’s about once every three days.

True, the effect so far seems only palliative but still an amazing and repeatable response.