Taking a case means taking sides

Spot the Difference

cold sore on the right            this cold sore is on the left

Ok, apart from the size, what is the difference between the two? This is important for prescribing reasons. While being the same “disease” they might require different remedies. The reason; the eruptions are on different sides of the body. Medicines are like disease (that’s why we use them to treat symptoms) because medicines produce symptoms too, and the more similar the symptoms of the medicine to those of the disease, the more relevant that remedy becomes.

But as homeopaths we don’t treat one symptom, you might say. No, one symptom is a particular with which to build a general picture of the patient. Having gathered all the particulars, the chances are we will find almost all the particulars fit the general picture of an overall one-sidedness of all the symptoms – past and present.

What Side is the Patient On?

So, when a client sits in front of you with a cold sore on, say the left side, and you ask if they have any other symptoms to which they reply they have a sore knee, for example, you are justified in assuming – and impressing them – it is their left knee. They frequently reply in surprise, “How did you know that?” You knew it the second you saw them coming up your driveway!

Even if a patient, like the one above, with left-sided symptoms broke 20 bones, I can guarantee you almost all those bones would be on the left side. Injuries, symptoms, all appear on the “weaker” side. (Even in the photo below, while we can say there’s a cold sore in the middle, there’s still a right-sided predominance.)

side right left unilateral bilateral

a right-sided predominance

How can we explain this? I don’t know but I do know orthodox physicians never notice this or give significance to it – and therefore will never cure the whole patient because they won’t be treating the whole disease. Which reminds me of the old joke.
Patient: my left knee is killing me.
Doctor: It’s your age.
Patient: Yes, but my other knee is the same age!

From the homeopathic repertories and materiae medica, it is evident Hahnemann and his followers refined sidedness to a fine art and science.

This overall one-sidedness (and other patterns such as diagonal and wandering) does show one thing though; because the totality of a person’s symptoms are all on one side, it shows they are all connected. Consequently, these symptoms, because they are connected, cannot, must not, be treated in isolation to each other, but as one whole totality – with one remedy.

“Are the symptoms connected?” a patient may ask. Yes, they are all part of you and there’s only one you!

So from where does this one-sided disposition come from? Is it genetic? I’ve never heard of a gene for left-knee pain or any sidedness of symptoms. Even people with inherited illnesses still have their own individual patterns of symptoms.

Someone once suggested it depends where your birth place is in the family. My first patient the next morning disproved her theory. My next clients made me think some more – they were non-identical twins. One had all her symptoms on her left side, the other all down her right side. Could they have been conceived from different ovaries and if so, would the side they were conceived on have something to do with this phenomenon? If this is the case, then this pattern/disposition shows we are more than just a physical “mass of tissue” (as Prof John Crown crudely put it in the Sunday Independent) – from the moment of fertilisation on – or even prior to that.

That’s hypothetical but if there is more to early human life, it raises obvious ethical questions about the treatment of such life.

Photo credits: Wikicommons link

Posted in Ethics, Medicines, Philosophy of Medicine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .