Fire and Brimstone

Monday, September 24th, 2012

This is a very short story about a very long case. The remedy is pretty run of the mill except that in Homeopathy there is no mill.

In the early years of my practice the big skill I was hoping to acquire was case taking. I’m sure those of you who have done Homeopathic initials know what I was up against.

We study so many unusual sounding symptoms and apparently see so few in practice. Reaching those keynotes seems like a mythical quest.

This very simple case was from that era of fogginess.

Now by then I was still practicing working with the case taking outline clinging to it like a life preserver.

The year is 1989.

Peter was 34 years old, slim and 6 feet 4 inches tall. His chief complaint was a severe eczema of the hand that had been there ‘forever’.

It would occur on the back of the fingers and between the fingers.

It was worse in the winter.

As the cycle renewed clear fluid filled vesicles appeared. They would itch and burn. In sleep he would scratch until bleeding.

The skin would then dry and flake.

Water is the most aggravating thing.

Speaking of water his urinary tract is also sensitive to water. He gets a strong urge to urinate very soon after drinking.

He is generally warm blooded. However his feet do get cold at night.



Likes chocolate and sweets. Coffee, popcorn and especially spicey.

Aversion to liver(that’s just normal).

He does get a sharp energy low at 2 to 3 pm and is fine the rest of the evening.

He likes to sleep on his left side.

Likes cold air in the bedroom for sleep.

Mercifully it was a case so clear even my ineptitude could not eclipse the indicators.

Looking back now I can see that only obvious keynote style information penetrated.

The original prescription was Sulphur 30c once per day.

The response was excellent. There was an initial brief aggravation followed by a longer term solid improvement.

This is where the learning began. Relapses are often the most imformative phase of case management.

The early relapses were very frustrating because I would sit there endlessly quizzing about diet and lifestyle just prior to the onset of the relapse and get no where.

It took months for the patient to finally ask if the solvents he was using in his work every day might aggravate the skin. Apparently in his tool and dye trade he was constantly bathing his hand in chemicals-but he was told they awere all safe so he excluded it from the equation. I was tempted to reach for the shotgun.

The next set of occult relapses were more difficult. Finally I reached the theory that his intake of healthy sweets had risen somewhat near Christmas. I had Peter do an elimination and challenge on sweets. A very sharp aggravation occurred on challenge and we knew. Out went the sweets(at least most of the time).

As the years went by other challenges emerged usually in the form of a relapse followed by some detective work and then a clearing away. One of the most elusive was the discovery of Peter’s emotional sensitivities.

Ultimately we found he was sensitive to the feeling of indignation—world events-newspaper articles.(Cannot support injustice)

Isn’t it interesting that these are all aggravations known under Sulphur.

Peter is mostly cured. I feel it took so long because of his being unable to avoid those solvents at work-but still his eczema improved steadily over the years.

His general health has been excellent.

We have made our way up the scale to occasional doses of MM these days.

The teaching points here really are to welcome the opportunity to encounter and solve the dreaded “antidotes” or relapses in Homeopathic treatment. These are hygeinic opportunity to really move forward in the process of cure.

Hahnemann tells us in Aphorism 3 of the Organon.

if, finally, he knows the obstacles to recovery in each case and is aware how to remove them, so that the restoration may be permanent, then he understands how to treat judiciously and rationally, and he is a true practitioner of the healing art”.