This article was first published in the ARH magazine, “Homeopathy in Practice”, Summer 2005 edition. Alison Pittendrigh, a UK trained Homeopathy, who runs the Frontline Homeopathy project near Mombasa in Kenya, was the author.
No day of rest
It was a Sunday afternoon, just the time when I don’t really want to see a patient. One of the workers told me that a man had arrived with a very sore hand.
“How sore” I asked.
“It’s very bad” he replied
I have to admit I sighed. “Very bad” is something that is seen every day here and I really needed a break.
A bit more than just sore
The patient was sweating and clearly in agony. The story he was was that he’d been arrested because he ‘d lost his ID card (everyone has to carry one here) and while in prison something had bitten him. It started as a small itchy spot and within two weeks it had turned to this – the flesh across the bridge of his hand had been eaten away and his fingers were beginning to fall off (he is supporting them in the photograph as even through the lens it was hard to look). I could see the tendons and bones behind all the pus and within seconds of removing the old cloth bandage the flies buzzed around us.
He had been released from prison but had nowhere to go, so he had been living in the rough scrub between the main road and my house and someone had told him I may be able to help. What? I thought, no, no, no, not even homeopathy can fix this. He told me he had come to the coast to look for work but had found himself in prison instead. His home town was over 600 miles away.
I had heard a similar story where the person also thought he had been bitten by an insect of some sort. I remembered that in that instance the person had enlisted the help of a witchdoctor who had saved the hand and one finger and thumb. I decided the best thing was to give him the bus fare home, where he would be fed and looked after, some money for a decent meal while he was travelling and suggested he went to see his witchdoctor in his home area. I gave him some remedies.
The remedies I chose were:
Pyrogenium 200c (truly bad meat here)
Mercurius Viva 200c (eating away at tissues)
Calcarea Sulphurica 30c (just to keep it all coming)
The remedies were made by machine into one tablet, and I told him to take them as often as he liked really. I gave him enough for 2 a day for about 3 weeks. I also gave him Syphilinum 200c (why did it happen to him?) to take weekly for 4 weeks. I honestly never thought I would see him again and had no expectation of a good result from the prescription. Would it really save his hand?
I took a photograph. It is not something I like to do because it feels so inappropriate and intrusive when a patient is suffering so much, but something was nudging me and the patient himself was not too concerned.
Well, imagine my surprise when he returned some months later and showed me his hand. There was only one small hole just at the base of his third finger which was still producing a small amount of pus. I asked him if he had seen the witchdoctor.
Had he been to hospital?
What, he only took the remedies?
And he went home?
I wondered if he was just saying that so that I might give him some more money but he said he didn’t want any money. He told me he had returned to collect a few possessions and he just wanted to thank me, and to show me his hand. He told me that the pain went within a couple of days and over three weeks he watched as his hand began to heal. He said there was still some pain if he carried heavy items, so I gave him some more Calc-s and suggested he came back if there was still some residual problem.
He hasn’t returned – I suspect he has gone home so I really won’t see him again.
This is quite an amazing story, and highlights just how, sometimes, especially when we are not expecting anything to happen, it does. It is the amazing power of homeopathy at work.