« PreviousContinue »
confine himself wholly to vegetable food. This determination he put in execution the second week of February, 1806, and be has adhered to it with perfect regularity to the present time, His only subject of repentance with regard to it has been, that it had not been adopted much earlier in life.
He never found the smallest real ill consequence from this change. He neither sunk in strength, flesh, nor spirits. He was at all times of a very thin and slender habit, and so he has continued to be ; but upon the whole be has rather gained than lost flesh. He has experienced neither indigestion nor flatulence, even from the sort of vegetables which are commonly experienced to be the most oppressive and windy, as beans, peas, pens-soup, etc. Nor has the stomach suffered from any vegetable matter though unchanged by culinary art, or uncorrected by condiments. These results, so opposite to common experience, and even to his own in the former part of his life, can be accounted for only by considering the changes introduoed into the state of the digesting organs by the previous use of the purified water. The only unpleasant consequence of the change was a sense of emptiness of the stomach, which continued many months. In about a year, however, he became fully reconciled to the new habit; and felt as well satisfied with his vegetable meal, as he had been formerly with his dinner of flesh,
He can truly say that since he has acted upon this resolution, no year has passed in which he has not enjoyed better health than in that which preceded it. But he has found that the Whanges introduced into the body by a vegetable regimen take place with extreme slowness; that it is in vain to expect any oonsiderable amendment in successive weeks, or in successive months; we are to look rather to the intervals of half years, or years.
But a perceptible benefit was very soon obtained. The severity of the pain became quickly mitigated, so that it never once, from the time at which he made this change, forced him to take to his bed. But it recurred again and again for three or four years, at irregular but no very distant periods; perhaps a week rarely passed without one or two paroxysms. And for three years at least he constantly awoke with pain in the back of the neck, near the insertion of the muscles of the neck into the occipital bone, and from thence spreading over the whole head.
So much was the sensorium affected, that repeatedly, while walking through the streets during the first year, he was insensible of the part of his body, and could not feel the pressure
of his feet upon the pavement. He presumes that this sensation, or rather this want of sensation, must approach nearly to the state of those who suffer apoplectic attacks. This very unpleasant state continued recurring for near twelve months. Since that time it has never been experienced.
When this symptom disappeared, the paroxysms of uneasiness over the head were accompanied with a more evident sensation of fullness and oppression; and these continued to recur as the former paroxysms had done. It was evident, therefore, that the morbid changes which were attended with a temporary abolition of sensibility, in an inferior degree of intensity, produced the sense of local fullness and oppression. This continued to be considerably oppressive, even during the fifth year of this course (1810).
In the autumn of the preceding year (1809), he was exposed during a journey to the joltings of a stage coach. The common asperities of the road did not affect the head, but a violent jolt gave the sense of a deep internal pain in the interior of the brain.
And-to bring into one point of view this part of the casa-even now, during the eighth year of this mode of living, these pains recur very nearly in the same manner as they have for the last three or four years. Sometimes two or three times in the week, occasionally not above once in a fortnight, he awakes (having been restless the preceding night) with a pain at the back of the neck, and some uneasiness over the head; it continues sometimes ten minutes, very rarely half an hour, and then subsides, with perhaps a trifling depression of strength. It will happen, though very rarely, that it continues to be felt, but in a very trifling degree, during the whole of the day. But the sense of fullness and oppression is completely gone, and the whole is so trifling as not to deserve the name of disease, nor even of inconvenience, since it does not in any degree interfere with the common duties and occupations of life.
All these circumstances sufficiently demonstrate that there was formed in this case deep-seated disease of the substance of the brain, and it appears very evident that this disease was proceeding with a rapid pace toward an apoplectic or paralytic attack. What sets this beyond dispute is, that in the worst of these pains of the head, the tongue has been so affected that he could not speak with perfect freedom. The effect of the vegetable regimen, even during seven years and a half, has not been enough wholly to subdue the disease. But it has regularly and progressively diminished its intensity. The paroxysms have returned nearly in the same manner during the last year as during the first; but in each successive year the strength or intensity of them has been uniformly diminished.
And granting the representation of facts to be correct, and the nature of this case to be justly determined, I must be permitted to ask, what other method than that which has been adopted would have produced the same benefit? If such methods exist, I confess my own ignorance of them. Bleeding, either general or topical, is that which is most resorted to, and is that which gives the greatest relief to urgent symptoms. But it can do no more than this; the morbid diathesis of the system, that which exists equally during the paroxysms of disease and during the intervals, remains unchanged. All the symptoms of oppression of the brain will persist, and gradually increase, though the patient be cupped repeatedly and regularly, as I have myself frequently witnessed.
If it be thought that if a cure were possible by this method of treatment, it ought surely to be effected in the long period of seven years and a half; let it, on the other hand, be considered how long there had been signs of the formation of this disease before it had arrived at that degree of severity which enforces attention, and excites apprehension. I have shown, from the tenderness of the forehead, that there existed a morbid predisposition in these parts in the eighth or ninth year of life. It is clear enough, likewise, from the dizziness and heat about the head, which I have mentioned, that some morbid change had taken place nine or ten years before these pains came on. It cannot be thought strange or unnatural if it should be proved, that wholly to eradicate these symptoms requires some such time as from the appearance of the first unequivocal signs of disease having taken place.
But though these pains still recur in a trifling degree, the relief given to the brain in general has been decided and most essential. It has appeared in an increased sensibility of all the organs, particularly of the senses—the touch, the taste, and the sight-in greater muscular activity, in greater freedom and strength of respiration, greater freedom of all the secretions, and in increased intellectual power. It has been extended to the night as much as to the day. The sleep is more tranquil, less disturbed by dreams, and more refreshing. Less sleep upon the whole appears to be required. But the loss of quantity is more than compensated by its being sound and uninterrupted.
In about three years that vibratory motion of visible objects
was either gone or hardly perceptible. The impression of light is no longer painful; the eye rather courts than avoids it. The ear has received a corresponding benefit. Sounds had become oppressive to him ; the noises of children had in particular be. come irksome. But this morbid feeling has wholly vanished. He is much more patient of the changes of the atmosphere, but particularly the cold. He had been clothed both in summer and winter in flannels. But he has been enabled to quit them without injury. Flannel drawers, and flannel linings to the coat sleeves, during the winter months, is all that he has retained. Wet clothes or wet feet are no longer objects of terror, They cause no injury worth regarding.
About the same time the burning heat of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet went away. The skin, which had been parched and dry, became moist and perspirable. The tongue, which had been habitually foul, became clean. The saliva lost all clamminess and viscidity; and the secretion by the kidneys was much increased, though the quantity of watery fluids taken into the stomach was, at the same time, greatly diminished.
The hypochondriacal symptoms continued to be occasionally very oppressive during the second year, particularly during the earlier part of it; but they afterward very suddenly declined, and at present he enjoys more uniform and regular spirits than he had done for many years upon mixed diet.
From the whole of these facts it follows, that all the organs, and, indeed, every fibre of the body is simultaneously affected by the matters habitually conveyed into the stomach; and that it is the incongruity of these matters to the system which gradually forms that morbid diathesis, which exists alike both in apparent health and in disease. I might illustrate this fact still more minutely by observations on the teeth, on the hair, and on the skin. I might show that, by a steady attention to regimen, the skin of the palms of the hand, or between the toes, becomes of a firmer and stronger texture; that even a corn upon the toe, which had for twenty years and upward been growing more fixed, firm, and deep, had first its habitudes altered, and finally was softened and disappeared; but perhaps enough has been said already to give a pretty clear idea both of the kind of change introduced into the habit by diet, and of the extent to which it may be carried.
I proceed, therefore, to relate some new phenomena which took place during the course of this regimen, which are both curious in theniselves, and lead to important conclusions,
I have said that, at the age of twenty-three or twenty-four, the subject of this case was liable to sudden lamenesses, which were thought by a gentleman much experienced in gout, from having been himself a great sufferer, to portend that disease. These lamenesses disappeared and were no more thought of, certainly before the twenty-sixth or twenty-seventh year. Neither did any thing like a gouty affection of the limbs appear, when the stomach and bowels were so much relieved by the use of the pure water. But he had not confined himself to vegetables for two months before he began to have slight pains in the feet. In the course of the year these pains much increased; they became strong and beating, but of short duration, and unattended by any swelling or discoloration. Toward the close of the second year (1807), the determination to the feet was still stronger; there were about that time frequent violent pains through the ankles and metatarsal bones ; they were internal but sudden, like the infliction of a blow; he used to say, it was as if his feet had been struck with a sledge-hammer; there were also sudden twinges through the toes, so sharp as to oblige him suddenly to raise his foot from the ground. In the course of the third year he became lame in one of his feet for two or three months. He was accustomed to awake in the morning without any lameness, but before he could dress himself the lameness would come on, and remain for an hour or two, after which it went off, and he could walk perfectly well for the rest of the day. There was redness and slight tumefaction upon the upper part of the foot, over the seat of the disease. During the whole of the succeeding winter, though the beating pains of the feet were much diminished in violence, the gouty affection was more firmly settled in the feet. One of the little toes was so constantly painful, that for many months of this winter and the ensuing spring, the pressure even of the bedclothes was painful. For a year and a half longer he had almost constantly some gouty pains of the toes, and frequent fits of lameness. The last time that this occurred was in August, 1810, when, for one evening, he was so lame as not to be able to walk freely without support.
This happened when he had continued the vegetable regimen four years and a half. Here again, then, let us pause for a moment and consider the obvious deductions from these facts.
I shall confine myself to four observations :
1st. It is clear that these pains of the extremities were essentially the same affection as had appeared in the early part