Vera Resnick-Weisz, DHom Med (Lic), IHM. Classical Homoeopathy. Local and online homoeopathic treatment available
Lady Gwendolyn Ponsonby-Blythe sat condescendingly in my consulting room. I have never seen anyone sit condescendingly before, but Lady Ponsonby-Blythe’s sitting had an expression all of its own. She looked around and sniffed, clearly unimpressed by my simple chairs, desk and unadorned walls.
I asked how I could help.
“It was the royal wedding, you know,” she confided. I must admit, I was impressed.
“You were invited?” I asked.
“One’s television screen in the main hall of one’s castle is set at the most inconvenient angle,” she continued, ignoring my question as an expression of plebeian ignorance. “Since the royal wedding, one’s neck hurts, every time one turns it, so,” and she turned her head to the left and to the right, wincing with the utmost gentility. I thought for a moment that she was about to wave to imaginary courtiers.
“It’s dreadfully cold in the big hall, impossible to heat, you know, and one cannot stand drafts.”
I asked about other complaints.
“Spring allergies, you know, most people have ‘em,” was the response. “One still suffers from the occasional cough and sneeze,” and she withdrew a small square of cambric and patted her nose.
“And does one – er, do you get neck pain often?”
“Oh yes,” she responded. “Since one was a child, always the drafts, one just can’t abide ’em . One asks Tompkins to draw one a hot bath, that and a small brandy, for medicinal purposes, you know.”
“Does that help?” I asked.
“Of course,” the lady snapped, clearly impatient with so many impertinent questions.
And suddenly, the small square of cambric emerged again as the lofty Lady Gwendolyn Ponsonby-Blythe dissolved into tears. I don’t know which one of us, whether it was “one” or myself, was the most surprised.
I handed her a glass of water and waited.
She sipped the water with a grimace, as if it was not sufficiently well-bred. When she spoke next, her voice was uneven but controlled.
“It was that damned wedding,” she explained. “Obviously Cedric and oneself must have been invited, but the bally thing never arrived, and without the invitation there would have been a fuss, don’t you know, and one does not like fuss. So common, you know. So one watched the event on the television – and now this!” she ended, turning her head gently but painfully from side to side.
“It’s just all too much!” The tears threatened again, but were subdued into silence by “one’s” iron will.
I asked some more questions, gave a remedy and instructions, and Lady Ponsonby-Blythe sailed, galleon-like, out of my consultation room into the masses of the great unwashed, cambric handkerchief held gently to her nose for protection.
As others greater and wiser than myself have said of this kind of story – it didn’t happen but it could have done… in a parallel universe or somewhere equally exotic…
* & * & * & *
So why am I telling you about a case that didn’t happen? I’d like to show you what happens to this story and others through the lens of homoeopathic treatment. What information is important to me in prescribing for such a case?
She came with pain on turning her neck from side to side – surely all such pains are created equal? one anti-inflammatory fits all?
Not for the homoeopath. The following elements show up in the case above:
– Her behaviour: She’s arrogant, dismissive. It may be relevant, but it must be noted that arrogance is usually more of a personality trait than a pathological symptom. We aren’t attempting to cure such patients of arrogance, or bashfulness, or even anger attacks unless there is some form of pathology involved.
– The nature of her pain: It’s worse for her when she turns the head to the left or the right. Neck pain can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, even though many tend to assume that the way they personally experience any pain must be the same for everyone else. Some sufferers are improved by movement, and worse for rest. Others feel worse when they tip their head backwards, or look downwards in front of them. For our purposes, there are substances which can cause a healthy person to experience pain which is worse when turning to the left or right. These substances are used to make remedies which may be relevant here.
– She’s worse in a draft. Some people are better in a draft, a fan, an airconditioner. Some people can’t stand them. It would seem here that the deadly draft was part of the trigger for the neck pain – but take heed, dear reader, there’s more…
– She generally has allergies, coughing and sneezing. May be relevant for the specific remedy, but may be part of her total picture and have relevance for the next prescription.
– The neck pain is an old problem – a-ha. Many of us have weaknesses which flare up any time we are under physical, emotional or mental stress. The headaches which come on just before exams. The problems in digestion which start just when we’re due to board a bus or a plane. When there’s an old problem it becomes even more important to see what will trigger it.
– A hot bath always helps her – this is a clear modality. Oddly enough – not everyone enjoys applying heat to a painful area. Our aristocratic patient is better for heat applied to the area, and better for hot bathing in general.
– She’s also better for a snifter of brandy…
– Another thing we notice is that our patient is emotionally fragile and breaks out in weeping. It’s difficult for her to cry in the clinic, but it is something she does. Not everyone cries. Some will never, ever cry in front of others. Certainly not in front of their inferiors…
Our fictitious patient has neck pain. It’s an old problem. So what triggered its re-emergence now?
She wasn’t invited to the ball. No fairy godmother, no wand, no carriage, no invite. It’s very possible that the draft, the angle of the television, all of these would have come together to cause her neck pain on their own. But her mental state has changed, she is mortally wounded by the lack of an invitation, and we have to include it as part of the change in her state just before the neck pain set in.
Homoeopathy has many remedies which can treat neck pain. But remedies given against an imprecise picture are more hit-and-miss than accurate prescribing. In order to pinpoint the substance which could help our patient, we need to find something that can cause all these symptoms in a healthy person – neck pain, worse turning right and left, worse for a draft, better for heat, better for alcohol, and a sense of being insulted and offended.
It can be difficult to understand the place of mental and emotional symptoms in homoeopathic prescribing but the basis is really quite simple. We work with substances that have been tested on healthy volunteers to see what symptoms they are capable of producing. As anyone who’s drunk a lot of coffee, gets maudlin from wine, or even gotten high on chocolate (or more restricted substances) and agree – eating, drinking or even using certain spices can change a person’s mental state. I will write more about this in a separate post.