Without any warning of approach, he would be seized with the most violent spasms. His face and knees would be drawn together in an instant with great force (emprosthotonos). All the flexor muscles of the hands, feet, and body, were contracted, inflexible and rigid, and the whole person presented the form of a large clump or ball. The spasms of the intercostal muscles, diaphragm and abdomen, were so intense, they produced a large cavity at the base of thorax; apparently displacing all the internal organs of the body.
The face was suffused with a dark livid flush, and miserably disfigured by the perverted action of the muscles, which drew up the nose, wrinkled the forehead, and dragged the angles of the mouth toward the cheek bones, distorting the eyeballs, and producing the most hideous countenance. After remaining in that position from two to twenty minutes, in an instant his condition was reversed. The head thrown backward (opisthotonos), striking his feet with violence. The feet would sometimes pass the head nearly a foot, which curved the body in the shape of a hoop or ring. This curvation was so sudden and so forcible, he would be thrown far from the bed, if not held by assistants. All the extensor muscles of the body were rigidly contracted and inflexible, at the same time in a continual spasmodic twitching motion.
During these severe contortions, both shoulders, the lower jaw, and sometimes one of the hip joints would be dislocated, requiring each time much strength to reduce them. The head was drawn back upon the nucha, and the larynx thrown forward, the tongue dragged down the throat, or convulsively protruded, nearly causing suffocation. The blood at times gushing from the mouth and nostrils in large quantities; the eye alls spasmodically rolling, producing a frightful distortion of the face, expressing the greatest agony; he presented a more hideous spectacle than can be described. Sometimes the cramps affected one side of the body most, when they produced a lateral incurvation of the neck and body, constituting pleurosthotonos. When these spasms had lasted from a few moments to a half hour, they would leave him instantly.
All the muscles of the body would be relaxed and flexible, and the limbs could be easily placed in any position, but while in the spasms the greatest force could not move them. The first twenty-four hours I attended him, the spasms were so severe, that both shoulder joints and the lower jaw were dislocated twenty-seven times, and one or the other of the hips five times, requiring to be reduced each time, causing distinct snaps when the bones returned to their sockets. And when the head was raised from the nucha, a distinct snap could be heard in any part of the room.
During the severest spasms he was always delirious or unconscious, the pulse not perceptible and respiration nearly ceased, having the appearance of a person in a fit of epilepsy. The spasms left him greatly prostrated, his limbs and flesh sore, as if badly bruised, and sometimes with a heavy sleep. He was greatly reduced in flesh and strength, the face of a yellowish, sickly look, and the eyes deeply sunken in the head. His tongue coated yellowish brown; no appetite; continual thirst; obstinate constipation; stool only once in nine or ten days; evacuations, small, dry and dark colored; urine Scanty, without any sediment, brown red color and burning pain when voiding. In his moral symptoms – greatly depressed, morose and melancholy; easily enraged; nothing pleased him; despaired of being cured; confusion, drawings and shootings in the whole head.
He was aged 26 years, unmarried, dark complexion, five feet and seven inches in height, intelligent and always temperate in his habits. His father and one brother died with consumption at an early age. Enjoyed good health till he was seventeen, when he had a hemorrhage from the lungs supposed to have been caused by a severe fall two months before. But previous to this hemorrhage, from the age of fifteen to near seventeen, he had been troubled with chronic eruptions (scabies) very much; itching and burning, especially at night. From a few small pimples, it increased till it covered the whole body. After using various remedies, it was entirely suppressed and he supposed cured by a mercurial ointment.
Although this eruption annoyed him so long, he had forgotten it and no physician before, as he said, even asked him about “such a thing” and it required some skilful questions to remind him that he ever had any eruption. The cough and hemorrhage continued at intervals, nearly two years, till he was About nineteen, sometimes bringing him near the grave. During his nineteenth year, he occasionally had slight cramps in his hands and feet, but thought nothing of them at the time. January 20th, 1847, he was seized with cramps in the most terrible manner. The head was drawn forward, then backward, the muscles rigid and inflexible, the face livid, producing the most frightful contortions and great distress. These attacks would last from a few days to six months and then leave him suddenly, perhaps after having the severest ones. For some time he would be much be ter, or free from spasms, but they would always return as suddenly as they left and in an aggravated form.
In 1849 he had cholera, which relieved the spasms four months, when they returned with new vigor. In 1852 the joints were dislocated. First, the lower jaw, then the shoulders, and lastly the hips, then all three, would be dislocated in a spasm.
His treatment for seven years had been the most skilful the allopathic school could devise. After doing all they could here, he went to the Hospitals in Boston, Rio, N. Orleans, and San Francisco. He had the best medical advice of those cities. After a fair trial they all said his disease was incurable and could give no probable cause of his trouble, except the fall he received. A rigid diet, traveling, a sea voyage, mineral waters, warm and cold baths, no medicine, electricity, &c., were prescribed. He tried them all but with no permanent success. If he received any temporary benefit it was only to have the spasms return with renewed force. Large doses of turpentine, &c, were ordered for tape worms, and he once thought one eame away, but the spasms continued to grow worse.
His physicians prescribed issues, setons, blisters, bleeding, tobacco injections, opiates, and narcotics of all kinds. His physicians and attendants had repeatedly given him five ounces of laudanum when in the spasms, in the short time of one hour, with but little effect. Six ounces of chloroform were administered in one hour and a half and the spasms but very little checked by its use; it rather aggravated his. troubles. He also used ether, musk, hyoscyamus, valerian,. morphine, and brandy in large doses. He took the medicines. before the cramps, as he could not swallow while in them. All the statements of his case were verified by his physicians, as well as many other intelligent persons equally capable of judging.
After taking notes and thoroughly investigating the case, I commenced the treatment. All drugs and medicinal substances were strictly prohibited, externally and internally. For food, I gave him a little milk, old bread, gruel and ripe fruits. Drinks, cold water, and a little pure wine or brandy when the greatest prostration ensued from the, spasms. He was bathed in warm or cold water once in two or three days, and rubbed with a crash towel. He shaved a heavy beard that I advised him to carefully cultivate, to which he consented. The first remedy that I gave him was Stram.31 April 27th, 1855. After crushing six small pellets in a powder of Sac. lac, I dissolved them in ten tea-spoonfuls of pure cold water; gave him two tea-spoonfuls of the solution every four hours till all was used. Followed the Stram.32 with Sac lac, giving it in the same manner,, alternating daily between the two for eight days, then I gave him two powders, of Sac. lac. to one of Stram.31 for ten days longer. During the action of Stram31, there was a perceptible change in his symptoms. He said the pains were more acute, the spasms drew him different, and that he felt different from what he ever had before. But the most important effect of Stram.31 was the time of the appearance of the spasms. They were retarded to a later hour, they did not last so long and the time between them was shorter. I continued Sac. lac. one week, then gave him Bell.65 I prepared and gave it in the same way as the Stram.31 I chose the Bell, because the symptoms assumed more the form of epilepsy. There was violent congestion, face was ore livid and purple than ever before, foam at the mouth, & c, and a heavy sleep after the spasms. I continued the Bell.65 in alternation with Sac. lac. for about four weeks, till about the 15th of June, 1855, when there was the most decided improvement in all his symptoms. He had fewer spasms, they were not so severe or painful, the joints were not dislocated so often, the regularity of the time in coming on was partially changed, and he had passed several nights without spasms. The congestion decidedly better. The brandy, now the 15th of June, 1855, was omitted, and his diet made more liberal.
After letting the Bell, act a sufficient time, I gave him Sulph.100, June 20th, 1855. From the commencement it was my opinion Sulph. was the remedy to cure him, if such a thing was possible. It appeared to me his psoric affection was the only probable cause of all his troubles. Before commencing the antipsoric treatment I gave him Strain.31 and Bell.65, thinking they would relieve him somewhat; and I was not disappointed in their efficacy. I dissolved six small pellets of Sulph.100 in ten tea-spoonfuls of pure cold water, after crushing them in Sac. lac, and gave him two tea-spoonfuls every eight hours till all was used. After the Sulph. I gave Sac. lac. one week, when I repeated the Sulph.100 as before; continued this treatment for six weeks longer, then gave him Sulph.200 the same way, only continuing the Sac. lac. three weeks every time, after giving a powder of Sulph.200 followed this treatment for nearly one year.
After administering Sulph.100 began to improve rapidly. The spasms did not cease suddenly as they had before when he had temporary spells of relief; they gradually decreased, remaining absent one, two, and three or more days at a time. After September 1st, 1855, he scarcely ever dislocated his joints; and after November 1st, 1855, he never had a severe spasm. When he had taken the Sulph. a few weeks, on his face, and different parts of his body, a great number of small dark livid abscesses appeared, which were a long time in suppurating. Some were as large as a quarter of a dollar and left without discharging. These boils remained six months although he never had such an eruption before. Several weeks after discontinuing the Sulph. 200 prescribed Nux. v.55, given in the same manner as Sulph.100 ad no spasms then, but when excited would have some symptoms of them, and a dull feeling in the head, fullness in the stomach, seminal weakness and emissions, although he had never been addicted to secret vice. The Nux. v.55 few weeks removed all those symptoms. And now four years and more have elapsed, since taking any medicine, and he has enjoyed good health all the time, and has been able to labor vigorously, mentally, and physically, as he could not do for more than seven years before my treatment.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 02 No. 06, 1860, pages 276-282
|Chronic Tetanus of Seven Years Standing.
|Stramonium, Belladonna, Sulphur, Nux vomica
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