May 9th, 1861. J. W., paper-hanger and frescoer, formerly healthy and temperate, came under my care. His wife, who came with him, stated that three months before, while at work, he was suddenly taken with a fit, he fell down, was convulsed, foamed at the mouth, bit his tongue and was unconscious for several hours. He was then treated with purgatives and the “heroic” remedies of the old school.
About six weeks from the first fit he was again taken while at stool, and then had three fits in succession, and was insensible for twelve hours after them. The day before I saw him he had three more fits which left his mind much confused. The patient looked pale and haggard; mouth half open; eyes staring; starting at the least noise; hands cold, clammy and trembling; he continually interrupted his wife saying “let me tell,” and then would seem to forget and say, “yes, yes, yes,” the words would seem to stick in his mouth as if his tongue was too large. The fits, of yesterday, had convulsions only on one side, the left; they began with a cold feeling in the hand which crept up the arm to the cheek, when a gush of ice-cold water came from his mouth, which water “gave the mouth a nasty taste” for some time after. This peculiar sensation was repeated three or four times before the fit came on. During the fit the left side of the face was red, the right side, the hands and feet were cold and white. After the fit he constantly complained of ringing in the ears as of a hundred bells.
July 25th. Had three fits much lighter than the previous ones, and he was conscious throughout them all, though he could not control them; bit his tongue somewhat until a spoon was put in his mouth. The fits were followed by a
August 15th. Was taken with dizziness in the head; confused noises in the ear, and thick talking (the tongue seemed too large), which symptoms were followed by three severe fits, after which he entirely lost his speech for twelve hours; he also had cramps in the hands and fingers with soreness of the bowels. I gave Calc. carb.2000, since that time he has had no fits. In October I repeated the remedy owing to some of the premonitory symptoms reappearing. In March, 1862, I gave Lycopodium for other troubles and have not seen the patient since April.
Note. — The following symptoms of Calcarea carb. from Hahnemann's Chronische Krankheiten, Second Ed., Vol. II, pp. 308, et seq., show the correspondence between the individual characteristic symptoms of this remarkable case and of the remedy which cured it:
“17., Anxious restlessness and disposition to busy oneself; she is constantly disposed to do a variety of things, but does not succeed in accomplishing anything; after this display zeal, she is very much exhausted.
“65. Great weakness of the faculty of conception and expression, after a very trifling effort at speaking, it seemed as if the brain were paralysed, chiefly in the occiput; he could not think of anything, nor remember the subject of conversation, by reason of the confusion of his head.
We have here a general condition strongly resembling that of the patient whose cure was so successfully made with Calcarea. The affections of the muscular and nervous system are such as we should look for, as precursors of an epileptic attack. That Calcarea, however, does actually produce an epileptic attack the following symptom shows:
“1445. Epileptic attack; while standing engaged in manual labor, he suddenly fell sideways to the floor without consciousness, and when he came to his senses, he found himself lying with outstretched arms; this was followed by heat and somewhat of sweat.” Dunham.
September 19th, 1861. For nine months has had severe epileptic fits, generally one every two weeks. The morning before the attack plainly indicates that the dreaded paroxysm will overtake her before nightfall, she rises with a severe boring pain in the crown of the head, which extends to the occiput, and in an hour or two a most severe pain in the pit of the stomach also arises. This last pain is so severe that she bends double, lays herself across anything hard and resorts to all kinds of postures to relieve herself. Generally about six, p.m., the spasm sets in attended with unconsciousness; convulsions of the head and limbs; rolling of the eyes, especially so, as to appear “cross-eyed,” both eyes being drawn inwards; foaming at the mouth; grating the teeth; biting the tongue, and invariably opisthotonos so that two men could not keep her body straight. These fits last about two hours, when she falls into a deep sleep, from which she wakes the next morning with severe pain across the forehead, severe retching and vomiting, and for a few days her evacuations consist of clear water covered on the top by white flakes. She is gradually becoming more and more dull and stupid, inclined to sleep a great deal; her sleep being full of starlings up from dreams of falling into the water. I prescribed Nux vom. 200 every other day for two weeks.
October 19th. No fit until to day, about four weeks, which was attended with the same severity of symptoms. I repeated the remedy. November 1st. Another fit; no change. Nux vom. 30 November 12th. Another fit; no change. Bell. 30 November 24th. Another fit; has been better; has ceased to dream of water and has seemed brighter. Bell.200 once. November 30th. Another fit; seems worse again. Hyos.30 December 6th. Had a slight fit; is every way much improved; no more retching and vomiting; evacuations more natural; seems brighter. Hyos.” twice a week.
III. Child, boy, aged eleven months, of the size of a small child of six months. Head large and triangular; anterior fontanelle widely open; eyes large, protruding, vacant, fixed. Two red marks one between the eyes the other below the occiput which the mother says were caused by the forceps with which the child was delivered.
The father is tuberculous, has cough, night sweats, emaciation and physical signs of pulmonary paths is. The child is not able to hold the head up straight and it rolls about on the shoulders. The left arm and hand seem nearly powerless, as the mother remarks, that he does not throw it about as he used to and will not close the fingers as with the other hand. The child has not grown any since it was seven months old; has no signs of any teeth; never crept, nor stood alone.
When seven months old, was taken with screaming violently and continued restlessness. In about a week each fit of screaming would terminate in a convulsion, with rolling the eyes upward into the head, foaming at the mouth and violent struggles; the child in a few minutes went to sleep, and when it awoke the eyes for some time seemed turned up onto the head, the child “looking as if dead.”
The convulsions gradually increased in frequency until the child had them every other day every ten or fifteen minutes, and the alternate days every one or two hours. The child seemed perfectly idiotic, was treated by all the heroism of the old school for four months with no effect. I saw the child on
June 20th. Left arm and leg paralysed apparently, as the child did not move them; the tongue seemed too large, the mother said it almost prevented it swallowing; urine very scanty. I gave one powder of Sulph.30 and waited five days.
July 1st. Left arm and leg seemingly well, as the child moved them as well as the other side; swallowed easily; urine copious, frequent and very offensive; spasms not so frequent and only on alternate days; child awakes with eyes natural; can hold its head up straight for a short time. Apis 200 once a day.
July 4th. The fits came on, on the wrong day every two hours, but has none for one day; has been continually screaming with all its might, and indeed it was doing so when I saw it. Last night they gave it “Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup,” but without effect!!! I gave Ars.200
July 7th. The child stopped screaming in one hour after taking the Ars., and has rested quietly and seemed much better; no convulsions; but has diarrhea of water and some fecal matter; urine offensive and copious; “the child's hat is too large,” says the mother. Gave Sacc. lac.
July 15th. The child moans during the day as if in pain, and rolls the head about; the head is hot, especially the occiput; rests well at night; diarrhea gone; the child seems bright and notices things and people. Ars.200 once a day.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 03 No. 05, 1862, pages 222-227
|Cases of Epilepsy
|errors only; interlinks; formatting