Mr. Ahmed was fifty-two years of age when he first came to me for a consultation. Besides resorting to allopathic doctors for his various complaints, he had also taken homeopathic treatment without any significant relief. The interview took place in Hindi. I have tried my best to translate it in the way the proceeding took place. In spite of all his deep pathology, he was surprisingly of a cheerful disposition.
“Doctor, I have had asthma since many years. The doctors had prescribed Deltacrotil. I took an overdose of it and this resulted in skin lesions. They were diagnosed as psoriasis by a dermatologist. He injected some medicines into these patches. I developed stones in the gall bladder. During that period, I was given some very strong medication, for my psoriasis. It seemed to be on an experimental basis. The doctor used to label the bottle as ‘danger doses’ (There was no information about this, but was probably some chemotherapeutic medicine). The doctors used to monitor me very carefully when these medications were going on. Unfortunately, my white blood cells started decreasing at an extremely alarming rate. The medication had to be discontinued.
As I had developed swelling and pain in my joints I consulted a rheumatologist. He told that I had psoriatic arthritis and started administering local cortisone injections.
At that time I happened to consult a reputed cardiologist, who had one look at me and said that you have wasted twelve years of your life with these medications. You can only be cured by homeopathy. (I found out later that the above cardiologist’s wife was a homeopath!)
I soon started homeopathic treatment from a local homeopath During his treatment I developed jaundice. This was preceded by an acute colic. This happened while I was at work, so they rushed me to a nearby municipal hospital. They had to administer pain relieving injections. This did settle the colic but the jaundice took a while to clear. Because of my frail health they were not too keen to take me for surgery. All these emergencies interrupted my homeopathic treatment. This upsets my homeopath a lot. He tells me that I am interfering with the action of the homeopathic treatment. I understand what he is saying, but what can I do? How many absentees can I take from work? And when I am taken to a hospital in an emergency, I cannot stop them from taking whatever steps they feel is right.
(Question) : During the gall stone colic, what were the symptoms?
(Answer) : I can only remember that there was an agonizing pain around this area (points at his right hypochondrium). It started with a dull pain that morning which gradually built up soon after my lunch break at work. I remember applying hard pressure on that area. I remember having relief in my pain from eructation. As there was also profuse sweat while they were rushing me in the ambulance, the doctor who was not familiar with my medical history started treating me for a heart ailment. But that was soon stopped when I reached the hospital.
(Question) : Tell me about your work?
(Answer) : I have been working at the docks since 1967. Due to my poor health, they have allocated me some light work which is mostly supervision.
(Question) : What ailment did you have in the beginning and how did it start ?
(Answer) : It started with asthma. As my parents had expired while I was only a child, I was taken care of by my maternal uncles. One of them was responsible for my education. He was a very strict man. I used to be very mischievous. When I was ten years old I had stolen a small amount of money from home. In anger my uncle pushed my head into a bucket of water and held it for some time. I remember swallowing a lot of water and gasping for breath. Soon after this incident I got my first attack of asthma. This uncle of mine had asthma as well. He was very concerned about my future. He strongly believed that if he did not curb my bad habits at this stage, I would get into wrong habits and develop a bad moral character. Even though I respected him I remember being very scared of him.
(Question) : Say more about your nature as a child ?
(Answer) : I was a scared and short-tempered child. Besides being scared of beating by my uncle, I also had a fear of any creature with wings. This exists to date. I have not had any bad experience for this to develop.
My uncle wanted me to study all the time. I was very fond of Cricket and Carrom. They used to feel these are all a waste of time. They were afraid I would fail. I always cleared my exams. I did not need to put in that much effort. But they would never understand that. Once out of fear of being beaten, I left my home. I wanted to die. My uncle found me after two days and brought me back home. After this incident he softened his stand towards me slightly.
I remember being a very good eater. I was in good health, in fact towards being obese. I had been teasingly nicknamed ‘Cupboard’ because of my capacity to keep storing food within me. But my asthma deteriorated my health and interfered in my studies. Even though I enjoyed studying, my uncle felt that after matriculation it would be best that I start service. That is when I joined the docks as an apprentice.
I was very embarrassed by the flakes of psoriasis that would peel off on scratching my scalp. I used to feel that I have suffered enough. Nobody else should the disease due to contamination from me. The skin doctor repeatedly told me that psoriaris is not contagious. But the fact is that people feel repulsed by the sight of my skin disease. People shake hands with me with some hesitation. I feel hurt as I am very sensitive by nature. I cannot tolerate disrespect by anybody. If I am angered I abuse. I can do anything to anybody. I lose all control.
If somebody is dishonest I get very angry. I can even beat him up. I have no patience. Our holy priest used to tell me that if I learnt patience it would be in my favour. But even though I try, I cannot help myself.
I get impatient if things are not being done on time. I shout in anger. Then I repent. If I had been patient it would have been good. I am only harming myself.
If my wife spends more than she should, I get angry on her, then I repent.
I am very outspoken. I point out faults even of my close friends. Then I feel bad as I have lost some good friends due to my nature. People say I am very fault finding.
I can be like that even with my doctor. I have close relations with him. If I spend money on a taxi to reach his clinic and he gives an excuse for not coming, I tell him that he is looking for the slightest pretext not to attend his clinic. When my words upset him, then I feel bad.
(Question) : What are your other areas of interest ?
(Answer) : I derive great pleasure in doing social work. Helping widows, poor students. I used to do it a lot. Now I can only do it at a smaller scale.
I feel good that I can be of help to someone. I am the secretary of a charitable trust that gives needy people financial aid. My uncles were like this. My strict uncle died a premature death. He was renowned for this charity. A week before he died he developed a disease that caused something like paralysis. The diagnosis was never made. Just before he died he gave me forty thousand rupees which he wanted to be distributed among the poor. That is how I started this trust along with some friends.
It is very important to me that only people who are needy and deserving get this money. If someone is not needy and is trying to make a false claim I make sure that he does not avail of these funds.
I sometimes think that if I were the Prime Minister, the state of our country would not be like this. When I see suffering of others, I imagine being of help to them in various ways but I cannot really do that.
When children do not study, I get angry and beat them. Their future will be dark. I must caution them for their own sake. Earlier the entire neighborhood used to get scared of me. Now times have changed. They back answer me when I advise them to study rather than waste their time playing. But they misunderstand my good intentions. They tell me, who am I to give them advice and why should they listen to me?
(Question) : Any other interests ?
(Answer) : Besides my religious prayers and my social work I do not get time for much more. But my passion is viewing or listening to the cricket commentary. I take the transistor to work during a match or even to the mosque or while attending a funeral ceremony.
(Question) : Tell me you dreams.
1) One dream that disturbs me a lot is regarding my dead uncle. I got this dream just before he died. I dreamt that my uncle had killed a child. He then buried it in our home. The police finds out and comes to arrest him. I plead with the police to spare him as he is a householder and arrest me instead. My uncle died eight days after this dream. While my uncle was still alive, I happened to relate this dream to our holy priest. He told me to remember the place where the child was buried. According to him someone may have cast a magical spell on my uncle. If we could dig out the ‘doll’ that represented my uncle, he would be able to save him (something like voodoo). I just could not remember that spot. Finally my uncle died. His death was a mystery. This dream yet haunts me. I feel very bad. I could have saved my uncle. I could not do anything for him, even though he did so much for me.
2) I get dreams of having intercourse with other women. This generally results in an emission. I don’t like these dreams. I feel as if I have done something very wrong.
Plan : Chelidonium 1 M, One dose.
Delusion, health, he has ruined.
Anxiety of conscience, as if guilty of a crime. Religious affections.
Children, desire to beat.
Injustice cannot support (Complete repertory)
Stomach, pain, eructations amel.
Follow up after fifteen days : within seven days of taking the dose, he had developed an attack of his gall stone colic. As it was not very acute and fairly bearable, he was continued on placebo. During this time, besides the relief from eructations which had already been mentioned, he told us that he also gets great relief from drinking extremely hot water. In fact, his skin condition also would always be relieved by pouring boiling hot water on the affected part. These additional symptoms were reassuring as they only further confirmed his remedy.
After three months : The psoriasis had got worse. On all other fronts he was better. He was continued on placebo.
After six months : His joint stiffness and pain had decreased considerably. General condition much better. Psoriasis was beginning to peel more easily. Placebo was continued.
After one year : He visited me during an acute attack of asthma. He told me that as his chest condition had improved he had overindulged in eating bananas and ice cream. He regretted doing this and said he should have been more careful. This aggravation was his undoing. His state indicated a repeat of his medicine. In the physicals he had a yellow coating of the tongue and flapping motion of his nostril which also indicated the same remedy. He was given Chelidonium 1M, one dose.
After two years : He has been much better. He is able to take more responsibilities at work. He has renewed his social work with more vigour. He does not need a waling stick any more. His asthma does not trouble him any more. His skin has improved a lot but flaking still takes place. He does not need to pour boiling water on the affected area, luke warm water suffices. His fear of birds still presists. On one more occasion I had to repeat the dose when he had the following dream. There are two lions sitting on either side of a staircase and he is not allowed to go up. The dream left him frightened. Along with this dream some of his physical symptoms too had got aggravated. He felt immediately better after the dose.
Discussion : Though a sonography was called for, I did not propose it as he was definitely feeling better and I did not want to put an extra expense on him till it was essential. The interesting thing about Chelidonium is that it belongs to the papaveraceae family along with Sanguinaria and Opium. Two important facts to the case are his cheerful disposition and positive approach towards the recovery of his case, (Sanguinaria – Hopeful of recovery) and his acute fears and the origin of his complaints Opium – Fright complaint from). This case highlights the value of understanding plants that belong to the same botanical family. They may share many similar features with one another and yet retain their own individuality.