Lessons Learned: Case Provides Several Teaching Points for Practitioners
Joseph Kellerstein, DC, ND
Jonathan carries himself well. Well, that is to say he sure turned the head of my receptionist. This 6-foot, 4-inch basketball player has been a patient for about eight months, and his case has a number of important teaching points.
Jonathan had been hosting a nasty chronic cough for about one year. He described it as a chest cough. It was attended by a lot of tightness in the region of the sternum. His voice ultimately became hoarse, weak and creaking. With the cough there was a shortness of breath. The cough was aggravated by talking and made better from taking a drink of water. This aggravation from talking was an issue in particular because that’s how his living is earned: Jonathan is a lecturer at a local university. Oddly enough, there was no cough while sleeping.
In the last several months, there has been the development of a frontal sinus pressure. It is of course, felt especially in the forehead. He described it as the kind of pain that makes you want to close your eyes to get relief from the pressure. There was also expectoration of a small amount of green mucus on occasion.
For the last three to four years, Jonathan experienced the need to wake once or twice every night to urinate.
There’s really nothing more to report … oh yes, I did dredge up something about this athlete needing to wear socks in bed at night because his feet were cold.
This was all going on in a medium of perceived high stress – a very full schedule with lots of hurry. When the stress reached a critical mass, Jonathan would be unable to return to sleep after one of the awakenings. This would create a cycle of fatigue, tension and poor overall sense of health.
We started with Calcarea 200. The results seemed good. After the first day there was a 20% improvement in the frequency of cough. It became even clearer that the prime aggravation was talking. Within one week there was no further improvement. I decided to up the potency to Calc 10m, one dose. Again, an improvement; we reached 50%. At the one-month mark, there was no more cough. However, there was an intimation of a respiratory problem one time only where some transient shortness of breath woke him from sleep. I was tempted, but resisted prescribing.
Two months later, Jonathan had an increased workload and some anticipation regarding work projects. Sleep became more restless. There was that difficult waking and, yes, the return of an occasional cough. I advised the 10m as needed, as soon as this syndrome reared its ugly head.
Jonathan’s report is that the remedy seemed to take away the symptoms immediately. The next few months saw consistent work challenges for Jonathan, and I held course with repeating the remedy as needed based on the recurrence of even a slightly restless sleep or one or two good coughs. Repetition seemed to be needed about once per three to five days. I also asked Jonathan to take careful note of the transition times when it seems as if the need for a dose is coming on. His feedback was that when the remedy is working well there is a sense that there is dreaming, and the big point is the ease of returning to sleep.
Another two months passed, and although the cough and the sleep are controlled, the frequent waking was getting worse, often reaching a frequency of three to four times per night.
Because the response to the remedy is so reliable, I am hesitant to change that. It therefore feels as if a hygienic error is aggravating. Here I ask that the patient note the especially bad nights and what he consumed the previous 24 hours. Then we could compare to search for patterns.
Jonathan reported quickly noting that the infrequent consumption of wine seemed to be the culprit. It also had quite an extended aggravation. Stopping the wine had decreased the waking to one or two times per night. The overall quality of sleep was again improved and, interestingly, stopped the need for any repetition of the remedy!
So, what are the important points here?
- The patient responded to the remedy in a clear, perceptible way, so the dynamic distortion was alleviated.
- The patient’s sensitivities stood out in relief, so when they reached a critical intensity there was a relapse, and we must respect that communication from the system by re-dosing. There is no religious time frame to wait out; we respond to the communications of the system once we feel we comprehend them.
- Lastly, when the remedy is in order it is easier sometimes to see that other interfering lifestyle factors (wine, in this case) have a clear and direct bearing on symptoms.
Yep – a nice, neat package!
Joe Kellerstein, DC, ND graduated as a chiropractor in 1980 and as an ND in 1984. He graduated with a specialty in homeopathy from the Canadian Academy for Homeopathy, and subsequently lectured there for two years. He also lectured in homeopathy for several years at CCNM; for eight years at the Toronto School of Homeopathic Medicine; and for two years at the British Institute for Homeopathy. Dr. Kellerstein’s mission is the exploration of natural medicine in a holistic context, especially homeopathy and facilitating the experience of healing in clients.