My brother was in the hospital, (a year and a half ago) with pleural-pneumonia (contracted in Africa) of the lower lobe of his right lung, an enlarged liver and spleen, and a constant fever. He was very, very ill and nothing, but nothing worked. After eight weeks of massive doses of different antibiotics (oral and intravenous), after exhaustive tests, after some good homeopathic prescriptions and herbs and acupuncture…after all this he was worse -and there was no conclusive diagnosis. The doctors could not isolate a bacterium. He had lost a great deal of weight -was down to 98 pounds (he is 5′ 6″ tall). He had a massive pleural effusion and repeated attempts to drain the fluid with pleural taps had failed. All that had come out was some scanty pus streaked with dark blood. His doctor booked him for a pleurectomy. At this point I knew that if he lived through the surgery his health would be forever weakened. He looked terrible and was incredibly weak. His vitality was very low: from the disease itself and the length of time he had been unwell, by the antibiotics -and by the daily suppression of his fever. I had fought long and hard with him over this, and with his nurses and his doctors. Unfortunately I had lost this particular fight.
I had been giving him well indicated remedies even though he had not really wanted homeopathic treatment. This meant that I couldn’t call another homeopath in to treat him, and since it was Xmas all the experienced homeopaths in his locality were away. I made an executive decision to try and help him inspite of his wishes and he agreed to let me! I engaged the help of other homeopaths, over the phone and on Homeonet, and this helped me to feel less isolated.
It was Friday night when I heard about the impending surgery and I spent all of Saturday afternoon at my desk, I decided to work ’till I got it, ’till I found the simillimum. And during that time I spoke with my brother for about three hours altogether, getting information, talking and philosophizing. Finally I got lucky and he gave me the key to his constitutional remedy. It was when I had taken a sideways step and was ‘chatting’ to him about stress and how ‘other people’ reacted that he interrupted me and said “The single most terrible thing for people under stress is that they live in constant fear and worry of others seeing that they are not coping.” I sat bolt upright and asked him “Do you like eggs?” There was a pause as this poor, sick, hard-boiled businessman tried to work out what on earth his older sister was doing, whether she was pulling his leg or just being stupid. He answered the question. “As it happens I adore them, I eat at least seven boiled eggs a week.” After so many hours trying to figure him out I just went for one keynote after another. Yes, his head did sweat in his sleep, and his feet and hands were always clammy. Swollen glands. Yes, with every cold, every cough, every earache. No he couldn’t tolerate dairy. Yes he had weak ankles. And so on. I knew that he was a slow person, but I had seen this as a perfectionistic streak, that he had to get everything right. After years of seeing him as a fastidious, chilly Arsenicum I realized how stupid I had been. He was a conscientious Calcarea carbonica.
Ah… but what about his chest. The effusion had loculated (hardened) which is why the doctors wanted to operate, and it had abscessed. Could Calcarea deal with that? This was a septic condition, with scanty discharges, blood-streaked, with an enlarged liver and spleen. Suddenly, I realized that I was dealing with a Crotalus picture. What to do?
I read more about Crotalus. I made a search through the mind section in MacRepertory for all the mentals. And then I got excited. My brother had been doing a few things that I had ignored. Because he was my brother. He was talking about dying. A lot. In a resigned way. He had The Tibetan Book of the Dead next to his bed and talked with every visitor about it. (Thoughts dwell on death). Also, he would not talk to his father, nor have him visit. (Aversion to family members -to certain persons.) He was irritable and snapped at anybody who was irritating to him.
I made my decisions and went over to the hospital late that night. I gave him Calcarea carbonica 10M, every 10 minutes until he started to brighten up (after 5 doses). I decided to give his constitutional remedy and see what it could do. This was logical to me -I needed to stimulate his vital force and since I now knew what his simillimum was I might as well give it.
He went to sleep, I went home. The next morning he felt better in himself and had slept better but that was all. He looked ill, bloated, pale and awful. We had 24 hours before his open chest surgery. Curiously, his tongue trembled on protruding it. He was definitely still in a septic state, internally, and so I gave him Crotalus horridus 30 (every half hour for 6 doses.) Just after mid-day his surgeon came to look him over and as he listened to his chest he frowned and asked the nurse for a scapel -and all the other stuff for a pleural tap! In went the knife and out poured an entire litre of pus. It was a truly beautiful sight! The surgery was cancelled and over the next 24 hours my brother literally leapt back into the land of the healthy. Over the next week he recovered enough to go home and was completely well within a month. Two months later his doctor and surgeon were mystified to find his chest x-ray completely clear, no adhesions, no evidence whatsoever of any illness.