A case from Vera Resnick D.Hom med.(I.H.M.)
Disclaimer: this is a case from my clinic, but details have been changed in order to preserve the anonymity of the patient.
Several years ago, a 55 year-old woman came to me for treatment. She had come to Israel on vacation, but a sudden sharp bout of flu was ruining her holiday.
It turned out that in addition to the flu, she had an underlying weakness. As a child she had had very invasive treatments on her left ear, which left her without an eardrum. Her eardrum had been surgically built up, but due to chronic infections in the ear, the surgery had been repeated several times over the years.
So the first question: what to treat – the flu or the ear problem?
The ear problem constitutes an underlying weakness – as I have seen many times in my practice, treatment for acute almost always leads into treatment of chronic underlying issues. At the time the patient came to me, the presenting symptoms were those of the acute, but symptoms of the chronic were also present. I treated the presenting symptoms, but it was clear to me that I was treating the chronic, not just the acute.
She caught the flu from someone else, but it got much worse after an accidental shower in cold water. She had a high fever, very low vitality, and a clear, itching discharge from the left ear. Cold aggravates for this patient. She had no appetite, and had a barking cough which caused a burning sensation in her chest. The cough was dry, no expectoration.
I repertorized using basic marked symptoms in the case:
The repertorization narrowed the symptoms down to the following group:
(click on picture to enlarge).
On reading the provings, and especially comparing Causticum and Mercury, I decided to go with Mercury LM1, once daily for 3 days. After 3 days, the patient reported that she felt almost completely better, was coughing less at night, had much less burning pain during the cough and that her general vitality was much improved. She was producing more phlegm, and was experiencing clear coryza. Although a little pale, she was much improved. In addition, she still had a very slight ear discharge at night. The improvement continued and I felt there was no need to repeat the remedy.
The patient then went abroad, and contacted me several years later for a different issue. She reported that she had experienced very occasional mild repeated occurrences of the ear infection, and had treated herself with Merc LM1 each time which had resolved the symptoms.
I feel it is important to note several aspects of this case:
1. Chronic/Acute: Although we often find out about underlying chronic weaknesses while examining the patient, if no symptoms are presenting we cannot use them in repertorisation. We would not be building an accurate picture that can be used for the sweep through material medica to find a simillimum. However, in cases where there is such a weakness, it is rare that the remedy emerging for the acute does not demonstrate some aspects of the chronic disease in its proving.
2. I was surprised that she turned to homoeopathy at all. It turned out that she had been treated by a homoeopath prior to her visit, for the ear infections. The “homoeopath” had been alternating Sulphur 12C and Aurum 12C on a weekly basis. The “homoeopath” was “very nice”, and “trying very hard”, but the results were negligible.
Hahnemann was very definite when he stated that the homoeopathic principle is the basic principle of healing. I like to refer to this as “the default”. Hahnemann said that where healing has taken place, it is certain that the homoeopathic principle of “like cures like” is involved – even if utilized without deliberate intent. If case-taking is correctly carried out, and repertorization is made of clear, central, certain symptoms, the remedies found through this process to reflect the disease picture in proving symptoms will be those that can trigger the healing default mechanism, that of “like cures like”.