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Aurum and Despair

by Dr Angela Jones(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 47 - December 1999

Margaret came with her husband to see me, very much as a last resort. Her history was an extraordinary one. She'd had a major operation for malignancy some years earlier and had borne the whole episode, with a number of unpleasant and long-lasting complications, with great fortitude. In fact, one could almost say that she had sailed through, except that this underestimated the strength of will and mind which had been required to do so.

More recently, however, two medical happenings had occurred one after another. She had been treated for a small slow-growing rodent ulcer and had also needed to have gynaecological attention for a prolapse of the womb. The ulcer had been neatly removed, but somehow, the area still worried Margaret and she needed to inspect it very frequently, to ensure that the ulcer was not returning.

Worse still, since the pessary had been fitted to control the prolapse she had developed a number of horrible symptoms: she had a nasty sensation in her back, another sensation as if her bladder was not emptying completely and a fearful swelling of the lower abdomen accompanied by a heavy feeling. This last problem was so severe that both Margaret and her husband, having had no satisfactory explanation from their doctor, had begun to fear the worst.

Confronted with this situation, and without the benefit of scanning equipment to reassure myself and the patient, I was left with the old fashioned method of clinical history taking and examination. Margaret dated the onset of these distressing symptoms to the fitting of the pessary. On physical examination of the patient, I could find no growth to explain the swelling. It therefore seemed logical that she should return to a gynaecologist to have the prolapse reassessed and to see if the peassary could be causing problems by pressing on the bladder neck and lower bowel.

A month later, Margaret returned. The good news was that the symptoms had resolved completely after the pessary was removed and that she was being encouraged to control her prolapse by performing pelvic floor exercises. The bad news was that, despite this improvement in the physical symptoms, Margaret was as unhappy as ever, psychologically. It transpired that, for a number of months since these new health problems had begun, Margaret had felt quite sure that she was going to die. She felt that there was no point in doing anything or going anywhere. She totally despaired of her own recovery and doubted that she would see her next Christmas which was only six months away.

Where this despair had come from was completely inexplicable. By all accounts, she and her husband were a devoted couple and there was no medical suspicion that she had a terminal illness. Indeed, she had been given the all-clear from the cancer specialist some time earlier. Nonetheless, out of the blue came this terrible state of mind which appeared totally fixed and immovable and was certainly uncharacteristic for Margaret as was the accompanying almost hypochondriacal anxiety about her skin and other small symptoms.

She now had few physical symptoms. The only unusual thing was that this, normally chilly individual was having bouts of heat and burning in her body. She is well past the menopause and therefore these bouts did not represent hormonal hot flushes. The combination of this burning with despair of recovery led me to consider the medicine Aurum metallicum, metallic gold.

Aurum is an excellent medicine for true and deep depression. The picture is of a rather testy individual who dislikes contradiction and who is convinced that their despair is wholly justified and complete. They are sure that they will never recover and can often be suicidal in that they see death as a welcome release from the mental agony which they are going through.

Margaret had a dose of Aurum met. 30c after which she slept well for one night only. A second dose one week later produced a slight improvement for two days. However, she was still tortured by anxiety about the site of the rodent ulcer and both she and her husband were finding things very hard. I gave them a further supply of tablets and suggested that she should repeat the Aurum 30c every two weeks until a sustained improvement
was achieved.

Imagine my surprise and delight when, one month later. Margaret and her husband returned with the good news that she had not needed any more medication. As she was maintaining a slow but steady improvement, they decided to hold back on further doses and just watched and waited. Over the month, Margaret had gradually returned to her old self and was able to function again. They were going out shopping and entertaining their grandchildren, feats that had ceased to be possible over the previous months. In fact, they had even decided to book a holiday and were due to leave in a few days time.

I suggested that, rather than to return the remaining tablets, Margaret should keep them by her to use in case she noticed any sign of deterioration in which case the correct course of action would be to take another dose straight away. I have also supplied her with some Urtica urens 6c to use when she gets a recurrence of allergy symptoms which she first developed while being treated for stomach acid with ranitidine, a conventional anti acid medication.

I do not know if they have done the trick. They certainly should work as they are derived from the nettle and she described her allergy symptom as being as if stung by nettles although without the characteristic "nettle rash". For anyone who has qualms about using homoeopathy for local symptoms of intercurrent infections whilst having homoeopathic treatment for a chronic illness, I have to say that different practitioners have different opinions. Vithoulkas, an influential Greek homoeopath and teacher maintains that it is best not to mix. However, many experienced homoeopaths feel that using the weaker 6c potency is unlikely to disturb the course of the "cure". It is nonetheless important to consult your homeopath before taking any other homoeopathic medicine, if only to keep him or her informed of the situation.


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About Dr Angela Jones

Dr Angela Jones works in NHS general practice and also privately, using homeopathy alongside conventional medicine. Dr Jones can be contacted via the Faculty of Homeopathy on Tel: 020-7566 7800.

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