Win a Few, Lose a Few
Joseph Kellerstein, DC, ND
Ken is about as friendly a guy as you could meet. He sat down, smiled, and made me feel like we had known each other for years. As I looked back at him, I noticed he blushed regularly throughout the consult.
Ken had suffered with psoriasis since his teens. Back then, his palms, knees, and elbows were covered. The feet became involved about 10 years ago, and this was followed by spots here and there on the legs. He uses ointments 3 or so times per month, mostly on the knees, which become red and manifest white scales. The knees can be quite raw. There will also be scales above the ear on the scalp. His real complaint, however, was not the skin but the accompanying psoriatic arthritis afflicting the ball of his right foot. Pain here would be severe.
Ken’s job as a technician for a telephone company required that he was on his feet for a long time every day, which was impossible with this degree of pain. The pain was described as sore and pulsating. His physician had prescribed anti-inflammatory medications, which gave a severe gastric proving. Once a reasonable medication was found, Ken needed lots to keep going, and he was concerned about the long-term effects these drugs might have, so he braved my office. The pain was worse when walking or when climbing a ladder. Around the time of onset, he had suffered the loss of his father in law. The grief affected him a lot. Just bringing this back to mind started him weeping. He told me that he did cry quite a bit when he was younger. As a teen, he would sometimes cry for no reason at all that he could ascertain. Ken was vulnerable and very emotional.
When we perform our homeopathic interviews, we poke around a lot in diverse areas in both space and time. Soon after the weeping came to light, Ken volunteered that he had difficulty with confrontation. If someone yelled at him, he trembled inside. He was suppressing anger but hated to act on it. Stress would make his scalp and face feel hot. He very much disliked the thought that someone would think badly of him: “I like being friendly.”
Ken showed a bit of embarrassment when we discussed his “weak bladder,” meaning that there was a sudden and powerful urge in the cold weather that required frequent stops at coffee shops to use the facilities. He had a heart murmur. About 2 to 3 times per week, he would miss a beat, catch his breath, and cough. He has a very active and vivid dream life: “I dream all night long.” Food cravings include butter tarts and cheesecake. Exposure to the direct sun aggravated him after 15 to 20 minutes. It would cause uncomfortable sensations of heat. There is episodic back pain, always worse when lying on the back. His back itches frequently. He has a history of ingrown toenails.
Yes, the case is quite straightforward. Why dredge it up then? Well, I found it interesting to get these Pulsatilla symptoms going back to his pubescent years (Ken is now in his late 50s), and the peculiarity lies in this causeless weeping. Here is a nice example of the key to a case lying in a past symptom. Of course, the confirmatories still exist, and on reflection the state is the same.
Gone for years but lighting the way now, Pulsatilla is not in the rubric “trembling from anger.” This symptom would make us consider Staphysagria, but nothing else in the case really does. However, Pulsatilla is in Allen’s rubric “trembling from anxiety,” in the second grade. After 3 weeks on the remedy (Pulsatilla 6 twice weekly, a mild dosing for fear of aggravating the psoriasis), Ken reports: “The next morning was stressful. I had a customer yell at me. Normally, I would shake and tremble inside for some time. I only felt the trembling for about 5 seconds. I even returned to the house after the fact to help with something, and there he was screaming and slamming doors. It was fine.”
The foot has progressively improved, and Ken is very “impressed” that he no longer has any need for the many medications he was once taking. Notably, Ken has just left the office and terminated treatment because he had met his goals. He was not interested in pursuing the treatment to the point of helping the skin lesions. Win a few, lose a few.
Joseph 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.