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Case Study

The Case of the Grounded Journalist
Dr Diwan Harish.
` Calc / Thuj

I want to give an old, but interesting case of mine, which brought considerable publicity to Homoeopathy as the patient was a journalist.
In the summer of 1978, I was asked if Homoeopathy could treat Osteoporosis. I replied "Homoeopathy treats sick individuals and not diseases, therefore I need a detailed history". Thereafter I received a request to see this patient in Milan during a forthcoming trip to Europe, as the patient was confined to a wheel chair.

I confess to considerable anxiety, not unmixed with some nervousness, at being called to a far off country, to undertake treatment of a condition where chances of recovery were quite minimal. While in Europe I took various professional opinions for Osteoporosis and all came to Calcarea.
I saw Miss E.H., aged 70 years, on 29th October 1978. A reputed photo journalist, she had hitherto lead a very active life and travelled extensively all over the world. Thus she was extremely depressed at her present state. "My whole life has changed. It is awful to be disabled like this".

Present complaints: Her present complaints were pain and swelling in the lower limbs but especially knees, which greatly restricted her movements; worse since 1975. In the mornings she felt a general stiffness of the body, especially in the lumbar region, which was better by motion and worse in the rains.

Her condition had been diagnosed as Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis of the knee and lumbosacral spine. So far she had received six intra articular steroid injections in the right knee. She had also been given Calcium, orally.
In October 1977, she fell down in the kitchen and sustained a fracture of the neck of femur. Hospitalized for three months and needed neck-femur fixation with a steel plate and screws. On 27th August 1978, she fell down again; fortunately she sustained minor injuries which took a month to heal, but no fracture.

Personal history: (includes only the relevant part) Chilly patient since last five years. Previously enjoyed cold. Anger (2+) "I feel more angry than depressed at my condition". Sensitive (3-). She feels the vibrations of the person she meets. "All sufferings have a limit and then indifference. Now I am indifferent".
Vaccinations and inoculations had been frequent (for international travel) but none after 1973 as that was the last time she travelled.
A part of the questioning gave in actual sequence:
"How is your sleep?"
"Do you have any dreams?"
"Dreams of what?"
"Of falling".
"How often?"
"Every night".
"From where?"
"From the balcony of my house".(She stays on the 7th floor).
"You never considered marriage?"
"I like meeting people but afterwards like to be alone, so I never married. Besides I did not wish to go to bed with a man".

Past illness: (Prior to 1975)
1941- Jaundice, Dysentery.
1971- ?Migraine attacks. Had a lot of mental tension that year.
1972- ?Pericarditis.
1973- Bronchitis or pneumonia (Bronchopulmonito in Italian) thrice. A routine investigation while at the hospital for the treatment of pneumonia revealed a staghorn calculus in right kidney. She was operated for this in 1973. She also had Cholesterolaemia. 
1974- Had a fracture of the left wrist and an operation of the right knee. It is not clear whether that was for Osteoarthritis or for removal of knee cartilage.


  1. X Rays

a.   Knees- bilateral osteoarthritis with osteophytes tibial margins.

b.   Lumbosacral spine- osteoporosis diffusa. Modest manifestation of spondylosis, marginal osteophytes IV spaces normal.

  1. Barium enema-multiple diverticulosis.
  2. Oral Cholecystogram- poor contraction of gall bladder after a fatty meal. Hypofunctioning of GB.

Treatment and follow-up:
I pondered on the case for a whole week. Should I prescribe one of the Calcareas or not? But the dream was so unusual and persistent. So a rubric from Kents repertory page 1239 Dreams, falling of from high places was used. Accordingly she was given Thuja-oc 10M three powders to be taken at half hourly intervals followed by SL. She started treatment on 15th November 1978.

Not expecting anything dramatic, I wrote in the covering letter "I hope and pray I can help you improve to the extent of being more mobile. I am sure we both fully realise that it cannot be a complete recovery, both for reasons of age as well as the operation and the steel plate fixed at the hip".

However the medicine did more than anticipated. I received a letter dated 29thNovember 1978. She wrote, "I am happy to inform you that after two weeks of taking your medicine, I can see good progress. My knees are now back to normal and I can walk much better. So I am thinking of coming to India at the beginning of January and want to stay for about 3-5 days at New Delhi and some days at Banaras before going to Pondichery. I have arranged different report ages (assignments) one these places. "She must have felt really better to have dared such a strenuous trip.

She was able to undertake the journey and when she came to see me on 22ndJanuary 1979, she was completely transformed, feeling bright and cheerful. Her first remark was: see I can walk well and even though I have a stick, I do not need it and therefore I sometimes forget it at my friends home. I asked about the dreams of falling. To this she replied, "Did I tell you about them? Now that you ask me, I realise that I don't get them any more".

In addition to the above places, she went to Mathura and roughed it out, by sleeping on the cold ground in January. She made pictures for an article to cover WHO International Year of the Child. Incidentally, Mathura is a place of pilgrimage and arrangements there are quite austere.

A letter dated 27th April 1979 said "I feel quite perfect thanks to your care". 
Prescriptions naturally continued to be SL till received a letter dated 6th and 8thMay 1980 from Tunis (Tuisia) where she went on a weeks assignment and incidentally showed her fitness and her activity. She wrote, "Now it is two months that I have finished the medicines and I am beginning to feel trouble at the knees. Also, for sometime I have not been able to sleep undisturbed. I think in should be better to continue with the medicine". So I repeated Thuja 10M one powder. (May 1979). There has been no trouble ever since and no medicine (not even SL) has been sent after September 1979. She wrote, "I feel very good. I have finished the medicine and I ask you if I must stop for sometime, or to continue? Perhaps it could be useful if your sent me some, to have it when it should be necessary".

Letter dated 6th October 1979, "I send you the article on Homoeopathy with photos by Airmail. They are five pages. My health is very good, thanks to your cure and I think there should be no recurrence.

She continues to be well, as would be seen from her letter dated 10th June 1980. "Last month I was 72 years old. But when I am in good health, like as I am now and am able to work, I completely forget my age".

Comments: This case highlights:

  1. The place of dreams in our anamnesis, and how an unusually marked mental general" may overrule the particulars.
  2. The long action of potentised remedies and,
  3. The rule of follow-up: no repetition as long as improvement lasts.