Page images

witness of the facts, for the sake of the general health. As this was unaffected, during the course of this disease, it effected whatever could be reasonably expected from it.

The remaining children have suffered nothing but the most trifling ephemeral attacks, hardly worth mentioning; real illness, such as to require confinement, they have never suffered. The slight affections which have occurred, have been just sufficient to prove that, had they been treated like other children, they would have had no exemption from the common lot.

CASE VII. Cough, Difficult Breathing, and General Debility. 220 November, 1814.-I am acquainted with this case only from the relation of the patient, the disease having existed before I became acquainted with her. It is shortly as follows:

M , a female servant of Mr. Newton's, about thirty-six years old, had a very indifferent state of health ; she was subject to very bad coughs, and had twice attacks, which, from the description given of them, I judge to have been a kind of cynanche laryngea. She had great stricture and difficulty of respiration, and coughed with a hoarse and croupy noise, the perspiration at the same time running off her forehead in torrents. This must have been about the years 1804 or 1805.

This woman, living with and being the nurse-maid to Mr. Newton's children, was easily persuaded to conform to their habits; and the consequence has been very salutary to herself. The disposition to catarrh is removed ; nor has she again had any of the apparently croupy attacks. The general health also very much improved, and has indeed been perfectly good.

She lost neither flesh nor color from leaving off animal food, and the strength was unimpaired. She is a woman who looks worn, and would pass for several years older than she really is. But this appearance was formed wholly before she adopted her new habits.


Asthma, Debility, and Loss of Flesh. Sept. 16, 1813.-Mr. P- , a gentleman resident in London, aged thirty-four, had an attack, which was called pleuritic, twelve or fourteen years ago. After this illness, he found himself subject to fits of asthma. The disease increased gradually upon him, and during the years 1806 and 1807, its severity was so great as to render his life miserable. During these years he put himself under the care of Dr. Bree; but the violence of the disorder continued unabated. In the beginning of 1808 he consulted me, and consented to give a fair trial to the regimen I advise in chronic diseases.

Í found him thin and pallid, and with the appearance of languor. The bowels were habitually bound, and the evacuations foul and dark. Besides his asthma, he complained of frequent pains of the side. But the pulse was not accelerated. He began his regimen in February, 1808.

During the first ten months, this gentleman experienced no alleviation of his disease. It was to this case I alluded in my “Reports on Cancer,” p. 184, in these words : “But in a third, nine complete months have elapsed without the smallest apparent alleviation of the symptoms.” A large portion of this time was spent under the paroxysms of this painful disease, breathing with much difficulty, unable to lie down in bed, and at the height of the paroxysm, the legs swelled. This last observation was made by Dr. Frampton, senior physician of the London Hospital, who, on one occasion, saw him for me.

At the end of ten months, he began to receive sensible benefit, and he enjoyed an interval of eight months of improved health, and was free from asthma. He then suffered a relapse of considerable severity; the asthma returned, so that for a fortnight, he was unable to get into a bed; and it hung upon him in a less degree for six weeks or two months longer. This relapse came on when he was a short time at Cambridge; but the connection between it and the change of situation was not at that time observed. During the remainder of the year, he had some dyspnoea daily, but nothing that amounted to asthma, or that prevented him from lying comfortably in bed the whole night.

In the beginning of 1810 he had another asthmatic paroxysm, but it was very slight, and of short duration. After this time the health greatly improved. During the remainder of the year he was free from asthma. He rose in the morning with some thickness of breathing, but it wore off in two or three hours.

The year 1811 was also passed without any asthmatic paroxysm. He was often, from his sensations, under apprehensions that it would return, but it never did so in fact. The approaches to the disease speedily disappeared by an easy and copious expectoration. About this time smoking of stramonium was extolled as a cure of the asthma. Mr. P- used it, and found frow it considerable advantage. It relieved the breath, and promoted the expectoration. It is obvious, however, that in these circumstances it is hardly possible to determine what was really gained by this practice.

During these last two years he was very thin, and the countenance, which was naturally pallid, became still more so, with the marks of a diseased habit strongly impressed upon it. But in 1812, the appearance much improved, the color became stronger, the expression of languor vanished from the face, and he was sensible of a considerable increase both of general health and of bodily strength. The tendency to asthma appeared very nearly, if not wholly conquered. Under these circumstances he went on a party of pleasure, at the end of the spring, to the sea side,

He had not, however, left London two days before his asthma returned with all its attendant circumstances. The breathing become laborious, and for a fortnight, nearly, he was unable to lie down in his bed. He returned to London with the asthma still upon him; in town it quickly declined, and left him.

Since that time, now fifteen months, he has had no return of asthmatie paroxysm. In the spring of.1813, he had some thickness of breathing, which was an approach toward his old disan, but it did not force him to quit his bed, or to raise himself from a horizontal posture. The general state of health is So much improved, that from being an habitual and almost a deste invalid, he is habitually and permanently well.

tiis perfectlr clear that the immediate exciting cause of the Asthanthe paroxism which took place in 1812 (the only circumStare like a serious return of the disease for the space of nearly four purs), was the removal out of the atmosphere of London

a ho of the sew coast. Now the impurities of the London atbrahere must be reckoned an unnatural and morbid irritation

Ave surface of the lungs, and that this irritation causes no Walans can be accounted for only by the power of habit.

u ence of this habit, a harmony is established between

[ocr errors]

the different surfaces or membranes of the body, and the substances which are habitually applied to them. Uneasiness is occasioned when this harmony is disturbed by a change of the , properties of the substances applied. We may see, therefore, from this example, how inconsequently we reason when we sup- . pose that a change is unwholesome or improper because it may at first excite uneasy sensation.

This may be applied to the food and the drink we apply to the stomach, as much as to the air applied to the lungs. The very change may excite uneasy feeling, though the new habit may be much more salubrious than the old one.

If it be asked what proof the case just related affords of the utility of the distilled water, it must be granted that it affords none which is direct, for there was certainly no perceptible advantage from the first change of regimen. But the fact of the cure (for such it may very fairly be called) is a sufficient proof of its utility, since there can be no doubt that vegetable diet alone would not have effected it. Mr. P. had received the common advice, to be sparing of vegetables, and to avoid all fruit, salads, etc. I ventured to give the very opposite advice to this, and no detriment whatever has been observed from the use of matters of this kind.

16th December, 1814.--I have great pleasure in stating that this gentleman continues in greatly improved health, and without asthma. It may be said that, according to all appearance, this most painful and dangerous disease has, in this instance, been fairly subdued. He is still affected, occasionally, with pains of the side, and the bowels are not quite free. But the health is, upon the whole, good, and the general appearance very much improved.



23d September, 1813.-Mrs. 0 -, a married lady, aged about forty-seven, of a plethoric habit of body, was attacked in the spring of 1809 with a palsy of the left eye and cheek. She could not close the eyelids of that side, and the mouth was drawn considerably awry on the opposite side. She had also frequent vertigo, so that she was under continual apprehensions

of a fresh attack. She was bled, cupped, and frequently purged copiously, and put upon a vegetable diet. But by this plan she felt her strength impaired, but the disease showed no disposition to yield. The eyes were so susceptible of the light that she was obliged to wear a shade. Besides this, the spirits were so low that she was the prey to a constant melancholy. The mus cular strength was entire.

As she found no benefit from low living, she had resumed the common diet. But, at my suggestion, she returned to her vegetable regimen in the summer of that year, and she united with it the use of distilled water. By this method she felt no sinking of the strength. In about two months she began to regain some power of closing the eyelids, and in a twelvemonih it was completely restored. But during the whole of the first year she continued in a wretched state of low spirits, looked extremely ill, and continued under constant apprehensions of a fresh attack.

After this time the amendment of the general health became more evident. She regained her looks, from having been pallid she became florid, and was able to amuse herself and to attend to her domestic occupations. The painful impression of light upon the sensorium was removed, so that the shade over her eyes was no longer necessary, the vertigo in a great measure disappeared, and her great lowness of spirits was removed. But the affection of the sensorium was not removed, it was only alleviated. Frequent pains of the head recurred, for which she had often recourse to cupping.

And in this condition she has continued nearly ever since, the general health rather improving than otherwise, enjoying a state that is comparatively very comfortable, though by no means restored to that in which she was previous to the attack.

This lady has neither lost flesh nor color by abstaining from animal food. But her muscular strength is certainly diminished. It is, however, to be considered that she was probably morbidly strong at the time of this attack. It is, indeed, evident that a person may have too much strength, as well as too little. In such cases, to have this unnatural and morbid strength removed, cannot, with any appearance of reason, be deemed injurious.

What I wish particularly to call the attention of the reader to, in the present case, is the phencmena of the eye, since they afford an ocular demonstration of the effect of the septic poison of water on the system, and of the consequent beneficial effects of the distilled water. Palsy is one of the diseases which I

« PreviousContinue »