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To attempt to instruct men and women how to live, what to do and what not to do, in order to influence the next generation for good would seem quite superfluous, as according to present day ideas there is seemingly so little thought given by young people to the raising of a family, not even among those who contemplate marriage, as upon inquiry you will find that as a rule men and women marry with seemingly scarcely a thought beyond the wedding day, and, if at all, only in so far as their own selfish desires and pleasures are concerned; but when the wedding day is over and they once realize the fact that they have begun family life, and more particularly when they appreciate that conception has taken place, it is possible that life may begin to assume a more serious phase to them, provided they do not promptly succeed in effecting an abortion and thus intercept pregnancy.
We now have nine months of close intimacy between mother and the future son or daughter, a time when much can be done for or against the little one's welfare, and strange to say, so little effort is put forth by physicians to direct the coming parents, although clinicians talk, plan and study so-called preventive medicine along other lines.
No sooner is the infant living an independent life than we begin with vaccination to prevent small-pox, we study carefully the diet to avoid illness and help build up a strong, healthy body. In a few years we begin to train and develop the child mentally, etc., all of which are right and proper; but it does seem to me that a greater effort should be made during these nine months of fætal life to direct parents that they may bring forth and produce the very best possible.
Nevertheless there is one singular fact, viz. : that a large proportion of children who are conceived, matured and born in lust are not only pretty boys and girls but many times exceedingly bright and active mentally; although perhaps the more liable to go wrong morally. Now, how can we account for these facts? First, possibly, because they are ofttimes conceived in that first gush of youthful love and enthusiasm, when all the world is blended in the union of two souls, and then when conception is recognized to have taken place, the serious aspect of life assumes control over the coming mother and she dwells just sufficiently upon her unfortunate condition to make a lasting impression upon the future son or daughter ;-but, as Prof. Farington would have said, “This probably comes under another rule.”
When men wish to raise horses, cattle, dogs or almost any animal or living creature, they not only study more or less carefully the pedigree of each of the two sexes, but guard carefully the parent during the months of travail; they do not want the mare overworked nor under or overfed; they care especially for the proper stabling and feeding of the cow; they endeavor to be kind to the animal and thus bring to bear all good influences. But how many men manifest any special consideration for the faithful wife, to see that life is made agreeable to her during these nine months, but ofttimes they become the more irritable and cross with her, subject her to all manner of sensual abuse, urge her to greater efforts of endurance, allow more hard and fatiguing work to be her lot.
A fellow physician once remarked that a certain nervous affection which he suffered all his life was in his judgment, largely due to the unusual efforts his mother had put forth in working during his intra-uterine life to help pay for that darn little farm. “Oh!” said he, “would that she had let the farm go and saved my nerves.”
Sexual intercourse should be nearly, if not quite discontinued during these nine months, and thus save the fætus from this excitement. However, many good wives subject themselves to all manner of sensual abuse during these periods to keep the husband at home. And yet it would appear that the man brute, who has no more regard for his wife and future child, will scarcely be kept from transgressing by a submissive wife, but on the other hand would be liable to carry home to that poor wife disease which would be likely to prove detrimental to both her and babe. Only recently my attention was especially called to this danger, owing to the unfortunate experiences of a family; talk of remorse, but it did no good except the husband concluded the law should make provision for and give protection to the man during these nine months.
It is true there are many conditions which influence for evil at these times over which we or the mother have no controlling influence, viz.: The sudden and unexpected loss of friends or family, loss of money and property, shock or fright of any kind. Again, accidents which may cause a pre-natal effect to offspring even to the extent of suspending physical or mental development, and child be born minus one or more limbs, or possibly become an imbecile.
What amount of harm is done to the fætus many times by the pernicious practice of the mother attempting to produce abortion is beyond our comprehension; but I fear even more than we anticipate; that abominable knitting needle or hooked crochet needle is possibly just as liable to make a physical or mental impression as shock from some other source.
Unquestionably we all agree that women in poor or ill health
should not become pregnant, but an allwise Creator has so constructed men and women that there is a propelling force governing the procreative tendencies of human nature which is stronger and of greater controlling power than reason and the mind, and, it not being the purpose of this paper to object to the governing influences of the universe, we refrain from arguing this side of the question.
However, we do have the privilege, nay, duty, of instructing women to endeavor to maintain the very best possible condition of health. The tubercular woman should live in the open air, the frail or sickly one should not overtax, but live an even regular life, with just as congenial environments as possible. She should not be required to nurse a sick husband, child or friend during pregnancy, if at all avoidable; ungainly sights and objects should not be dwelt upon, and for this reason certain deformed and dwarfed creatures should not be allowed to roam our streets as at present;--now, doubtless, some may say I am uncharitable. Not so, “the greatest good to the greatest number” would be the idea, and thus save the community from future objects of pity and charity.
There should be no operative work done upon the mother's teeth, nor any teeth extracted, fearful lest it leave an impression upon the life within. Any abnormal heart action should receive prompt attention; there ought to be regular hours for rest, and while an idle life is decidedly objectionable, too laborious a one or even too active a social life is equally undesirable.
A cheerful happy disposition should be cultivated; as much can be accomplished in this line. While the husband's influence here must entirely indirect, it is, however, very marked for good or evil through association with the wife; if they are in close sympathy one with the other, his conduct and bearing will be helpful, although the mother can exert the greater influence.
It would seem better that the child should never be born, than to come into the world deformed, sickly, or with any mental or physical blight that might have been averted by the careful conduct of parents.
Every woman should be in close touch and sympathy with her physician during these nine months. If a backache or headache occur, if especially nervous or any pelvic pains, an irritable bladder or indigestion with constipation or diarrhea or any other line of ills supervene, she should immediately apply for advice and help. The physician should in many instances counsel as to mode and manner of dress; the amount and character of exercise and recreation ; she should avoid overcrowded assemblies; the theatres should be selected with due regard to her condition, that nothing shocking or demoralizing occur; her reading ought to be along an elevating line; she should remember that her associates at this time may influence her future offspring. I would not have her become morbid or oversensitive, but just to exercise reasonable care.
When the general practitioner and parents awaken to their responsibility in these matters and think and live accordingly, we will see better results.
I am not pessimistic regarding these questions, but in this age of extreme strenuous life, with so much hustle and bustle, we are given to considering only the immediate conditions that interrupt us, hencethe unborn child may not receive due consideration or attention.
Along the line of medicinal treatment the careful Homeopathic prescriber can be very helpful in developing a strong and healthy fætus. If the mother is of frail and sickly constitution by the judicious use of the Calcareas, Silica, Ars., etc., we may have a healthier babe.
If of a tubercular diathesis, do not fail to remember Iod. of Ars. Iodoform, and other remedies in conjunction with suitable dietetic and hygienic treatment, or if a scrofulous tendency, keep in mind Sulph., Mercury, the lodides, Baryta, etc. Where constipation 'supervenes in an exaggerated form, endeavor by all means to overcome it. with mild methods of treatment, and absolutely refuse severe cathartics, fearful of causing an abortion.
When the woman suffers from indigestion or morning sickness, Nux V., Ars., Cuprum Ars., Merc sol., etc., may be administered.
In other words, endeavor to keep the mother in the best possible health, free from troubles and care, and thus you may start a succession of waves for good in the life of that unborn babe (who comes into the world without any act of volition on his part) that may roll on through succeeding generations.
THE TREATMENT OF ASTHMA.*
By T. H. Waters, M. D., Atlanta, lll. I have chosen the above subject for discussion because it relates to the treatment of a disease that is often more or less difficult, and the results one frequently gets are not the most encouraging.
A few words in regard to the disease itself. Asthma is a disease caused by the spasmodic contraction of the circular fibres of the bronchial tubes causing the consequent paroxysmal attacks of dysp
* Read before the Central Illinois Homeopathic Medical Association, Bloomington, Ill.
næa. Among the etiological factors might be named heredity, some direct or reflex irritation of the respiratory mucous membrane, or a complication of some other disease, as rheumatism, Bright's disease, or a cardiac affection.
In the treatment of these cases of course the first thing to do is to find the cause and remove it, and this is often difficult to do. But one can, by going carefully into the case, usually get some hint that will lead to the prescribing of a properly indicated remedy. Sending the patient to a high, dry atmosphere is, of course, the best thing to do, but this is often impossible, so palliation must be resorted to, to help us out of a present difficulty. When called, the first thing to be done is to get the patient into a room where there is a plentiful supply of fresh air, which should be kept moist, as the patient breathes much easier in air containing moisture. A few drops of Amyl nitrite on a cloth as an inhalant is often useful, as is also the administration of chloroform or ether. A few drops of either of the latter drugs may be given internally with frequently surprising results, but often with transitory effect. A piece of blotting paper saturated with strong solution of potassium nitrite, allowed to dry, then burned, the patient inhaling the fumes, will often relieve your patient greatly. In some cases the fumes of dry tobacco and stramonium leaves have been used with success. In extreme cases, with much agitation and anxiety of patient Morphine 14 gr. combined with atropine 1/150 gr. has given good results. It seems to have a relaxing effect on too tightly contracted bronchial muscles, in this way relieving dyspnea. When there is great mental excitement Hydrobromate of Hyoscine 1/150 gr., given in increasing doses, is of great assistance, and in some cases relieves the paroxysm. Adrenal extract, one of the newer remedies, has been used in some of these cases, but as yet nothing is definitely known of its virtues. Atropine 1/100 to 1/150 gr. given in increasing doses has in some cases given excellent results, by relaxing spasm of bronchi.
As regards internal medication, one of the first thought of remedies is Ipecac. This remedy when indicated has sensation of great weight and anxiety about the chest, wheezing dyspnea and threatening suffocation, aggravated by motion, the cough causing gagging and vomiting. The chest seems full of mucus, which it seems impossible to expel.
Lobelia, similar to Ipecac, has the oppression of chest and weakness which seems to come from the epigastrium, with feeling of lump in stomach. The attack is preceded by a prickling sensation. Breathing is difficult and is relieved by moving, under this remedy.