April 20, 2010
P.D., my first patient in rural, northern India, is a tall, elderly Tibetan man with a warm and generous spirit. In April of 2010, just a few months after I had settled in Bir, a small Tibetan Refugee Colony in the foothills of the Himalayas, a friend of mine brought P.D. to see me. My friend had found him living in a filthy, collapsing hovel, filled with discarded garments and blankets. She had also noticed large open sores on his left forearm, as well as extensive scarring on the same arm.
The first step was to visit the local health clinic and examine his medical records. I had never seen such large, open sores that had evidently persisted for so many years. The Tibetan pharmacist, posing as a doctor, informed me that it was a case of Tuberculosis of the skin. As a non-MD Homeopath practicing in America, I had treated a couple of inactive TB patients but never one with the active disease and never one with TB of the skin. When asked about his medications, the “doctor” informed me that the TB was “cured” and that P.D. was also taking medication for rheumatoid arthritis. Upon checking the arthritis medication, I discovered that it prevented granulation of skin tissue and was therefore contraindicated in this type of large open skin lesion.
I had come to this rugged area to establish a charitable clinic and to further my study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism. I had anticipated many obstacles and challenges but this, my first case, seemed as insurmountable as the steep, snow covered mountains outside my door. In America, I would have referred P.D. to a qualified dermatologist and probably not considered homeopathic treatment for him. Here, the nearest qualified skin specialist is a prohibitively expensive, seven hour taxi ride away. P.D. was clearly not doing well on his current allopathic medications. I decided that I should do what I could to help.
FACTS AND OBSERVATIONS
-My friend had raised some money to renovate P.D.’s filthy, dilapidated hovel. After tearing down walls, fixing plumbing problems, spreading fresh concrete, painting the walls, and cleaning thoroughly, P.D. had a lovely new home.
-When the work was completed, P.D. chose to rent out his nice new home and continued to live in the falling down structure that he had moved into for the duration of the renovations.
-P.D. collects bottles and cans for redemption
(lasted 3 minutes with a very poor translator)
D. Tell me about yourself. What is important about you?
P. I never had the opportunity to get an education. But, that’s ok. I don’t really care so much about it.
*As he spoke about his lack of education his hand gesture made a falling motion. He repeated this hand gesture. It was clear to me that P.D.’s spontaneous denial of the importance of his lack of education was very significant. I prescribed one dose, 200C, of remedy X and left on a two month trip to America the following week. He continued taking all of his allopathic medications.
FOLLOW UP 6/28/10
When I returned from America in June, P.D. greeted me on the street with a huge, radiant smile. He insisted upon buying me a cup of chai. As we sat sipping chai, he showed me his sore, which was almost completely healed over. I later learned that he had stopped collecting bottles and cans for redemption and had moved into his renovated apartment.
According to my western homeopathic training, this was highly improbable. I don’t doubt the power of homeopathy but I try to be “realistic”. I had thought that TB of the skin would be nearly impossible to treat, even with the best remedy, and that, due to the high doses of the contraindicated immunosuppressant medication, the sores might never heal. I had simply hoped that maybe, after six months, something would begin to move. Clearly, it was time for a radical paradigm shift!
The patient was given Sulphur. The facts that he chose to stay in the run down, old apartment combined with his habit of collecting rags, bottles and cans made me think of Sulphur. The one statement that the patient made was of not caring about his education. This shows indifference about his underlying inability to gain knowledge and to thereby become recognized in his community. I took the hand gesture as a symbol of energy going down, of giving up and sinking. This seemed to indicate a remedy on the right side of the periodic table. That was all there was.
RECENT FOLLOW UP 1/30/11
P.D. is now off most of his allopathic drugs, except for his blood pressure medication. He experiences a lot of ups and downs with his rheumatoid arthritis but, considering it is mid winter right now, he is doing well. He walks around town, talking to, smiling at and having chai with everyone. This is a man who is truly loved and recognized in his community. He is old and I worry about his longevity but the remedy has given him energy and, in a very Sulphur kind of way, a new kind of hope.