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When old indurated swellings become painful, a disso. lution of the tumor may be expected.
Medicinal diseases are thrown off more easily than natural ones. Thus the homœopathic medicament can make a successful diversion in favor of health; for the artificial disease being easily removed by the patient ceasing to take medicine, the organism, after being long oppressed, acquires an accumulated power to react. Thus, medicines have no direct hoaling power, (which misunderstanding is the cause of many grievous errors) but merely the producers of morbid symptoms, surpassing, in intensity, those of the disease, against which they are employed. The original disease then yields, because it is overpowered by the artificial disease caused by the remedies: and this, on the discontinuance of the medicines, is, in its turn, speedily overcome by the powers of the constitution, In short, the morbific disease being destroyed by the medicinal one, and the medicinal ono by the reaction of the organism, the patient is restored to health.
The practice of medicine, then, has acquired, by the application of the principle similia similibus curantur, a great degree of certainty, and a great uniformity of procedure.
To the practice of medicine, the knowledge of these drug diseases is the most important. They form the armory of the practitioner. Without a clear and definito knowledge of the relation of medicines to the organs, its primary and secondary effect, no sure step can be taken
near the sick bed. Hahnemann's discovery of the relation of inorganic to organic bodies, is one of the deepest thoughts, and of vital importance to the medical science.
Investigation of the disease.
In entering on the study of any disease, it is obvious that the first step to be taken by the physician is, to acquire a perfect knowledge of every symptom by which that particular malady may be distinguished. Not only is this essential in homœopathic practice, but it is also indispensable to learn under what circumstances, and at what particular periods, the symptoms are manifested, and most strongly felt. It is, moreover, highly important to ascertain, if practicable, the cause which may have induced the malady; and lastly, whether there exist any inherent virus in the constitution of the patient. These conditions are indispensable for the successful treatment of maladies.
A thorough knowledge of all the functional derange ments, exciting causes of disease, and moral peculiarities of the patient, being the only sure guide to the choice of an accurate remedy, it is essential that the physician should carefully record the most minute and most ample details. It is, therefore, the object of this chapter, to point out a methodical and effective mode of obtaining the required information. He must first desire the patient to G
relate his case, and by allowing him to describe his sensations and sufferings in his own words and manner. The physician may depend upon receiving a more accurate and faithful statement of the characteristic symptoms of his complaint than can be obtained by interrogatories. The patient should be directed to express his sensation with as much perspicuity and correctness as he is able. This may be accomplished, after a few attempts, and by the aid of reflection. The physician need not, however, prescribe a methodical arrangement in doing so, nor should the patient be interrupted whilst making his statement, lest he should digress from the subject to speak on matters not connected with the complaint.
The physician having elicited all that the patient may have to communicate, the narration thus given will prove the most faithful image of his malady.
In certain cases, the friends of the patient should be questioned upon the observation they may have made, of what he may have complained, and how he may have acted. In short, nothing should be omitted that might throw light upon a complicated and dangerous case, inasmuch as many circumstances, seemingly unimportant in themselves, are valuable to the homeopathic physician.
The length and minuteness of these details, with the indispensible necessity of reverting to them during the treatment, exhibit the propriety of transferring the entire statement to paper.
This should be done at the moment of its dictation by
the patient, and as nearly as possible in his own words; and each distinct symptom should occupy a separate paragraph.
The advantage of this soon manifests itself in practice; for a patient, in his first statement, will readily disclose
all his ailments.
Various circumstances may render the first explanation vague and incomplete; but his communication becoming gradually more unreserved and minute, the physician is enabled not only to supply whatever may have been deficient, but to arrange each particular under its proper head.
Hitherto, the practitioner has strictly confined himself to listening to, and writing down, the patient's statement, and, at the same time, attentively observing his appearance, as well as any changes that may take place.
At this period, however, he begins to take a more active part, requiring the exercise of all his discretion and skill. He now enters upon the interrogation of the patient, with a view to complete the particulars already noted down, (as regards each symptom.) He then, for the purpose of more minute enquiry, reads over consecutively, all the details.
His mode of examination, however, must be very guarded, and his questions must be so framed as never to suggest the reply; for if, by the listlessness of the patient on the one hand, it may be difficult to obtain an accurate view of his malady, there may be danger, on the other
hand, of calling forth an erroneous statement, inevitably tending to mislead the physician in selecting the remedy. Not unfrequently, however, both the patient and his friends may be unable to give so full an account of his sufferings as may be desirable. In such cases, the practitioner must be satisfied with the amount of information elicited. This, assisted by the observation which he is himself enabled to make, will direct him to a suitable remedy.
As a general rule, it is desirable that the physician should learn whether the patient has been under previous medical treatment, that he muy ascertain whether any of the symptoms are the result of that treatment, or whether they were felt previous to the exhibition of medicine.
Having satisfied himself upon this point, he will enquire whether the pains are intermitting or permanent, and under what circumstances they increase or subside.
His investigation will next be directed to the particular seat of pain, and also to its precise character; whether aching, shooting, throbbing, pricking; the period at which the pain is principally felt; whether in the morning or in the evening, during the day, or in the night; and even the hour of its access, as well as its duration, should be noted..
Enquiry should also be made whether any, and what influence, may be induced by the position of the body. I must repeat, however, that if these queries be so directed as to lead the patient to give an incorrect definition of his sufferings, their character will necessarily be incorrect and the physician will be led into error