I saw a woman in the urgent care with an infected leg. She was obese, diabetic, and there with her friend. “My leg is infected again” she said. both legs were swollen, and had dark purplish skin over the front part of her lower legs. The sign of chronic edema and stasis changes. But the left leg was redder, and a little tender in a circular area on the lower shin. “What happened?” I asked, “any trauma or anything?” “No, nothing is different, this started a few weeks ago. I’ve just been depressed for a month, but we won’t go there, she said, I don’t want to cry.”
It was a simple matter to check her usual medications, check her glucose level, and prescribe an antibiotic to cover the infection. But before I left, I asked her what happened, and told her I had plenty of kleenex, as I handed her the box.
The tears started to flow, and she told the story of her dog a Westy, had died. It had been her constant friend, companion. She said she was almost human, and understood everything she said. She slept with, and went everywhere with her. It had been a month since she died, and she couldn’t get past it.She had pictures and showed them to me. One was an older photo of the two of them together, she looked younger, lighter, happier in that picture.
I talked to her, and counseled her the best I could. She was stuck. Stuck in the grieving state. I knew that this is partly why she might have gotten the leg infection again. Another blow to the immune system. And getting her better meant doing more than just giving her some antibiotics.
I suggested it was time for her to try and move on, and help another dog less fortunate than hers had been. She wasn’t well enough to get a new dog, but she could go the the no-kill dog shelter and be a volunteer to walk the dogs that were there.They always need help, and even that would be of use. Her eyes stopped tearing and she agreed that was a great idea.
I also remember the homeopathic remedies for grief. Ignatia is the famous one for chronic effects from grief. But there are others:
- Sadness + Depression= Aur. met
- Sadness + Apathy(suicidal)= Phos acid
- Sadness + Disgust = Sepia
- Sadness + Irritability = Nat mur.
- Sadness + Tearfulness = Pulsatilla
- Sadness + Quarrelsome= Staphysagria
- Sadness + Hysterical = Cimicifuga
The quick lines above don’t tell all about the remedies though, and don’t prescribe just on that alone. At that moment, Nat mur came to mind. She didn’t want to talk about the situation and her friend was arguing with her about it. It was more than the loss of a friend, it was the loss of her only companion. This also fit with Nat mur. Her loved one had left her. So, I suggested she go to the store and get some Nat mur 30C and take it twice a day for 3 days, and then stop.
I ran into her when I was going in to work a shift, 3 days later. She was being helped into her car by her friend, having just had a follow-up appointment with her regular doctor.
“I’m better, you saved me,” she said. “That’s great,” I said, “glad the leg is doing better, and the antibiotics are helping.” Then she said, “I went and got those pills you said to try, and took them twice a day, and I feel so much better. And I am going to go volunteer like you said.”
It’s hard to say what made the dramatic change in her….but who cares. Treat the mental and physical, not just the symptom. That’s wholistic medicine, treating the whole person, on all levels.