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Medical ArticlesBurns Case Xxxiii
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Source: Papers On Health
To wisely alter and arrange the treatment in any
case is of the utmost importance. Treatment which at first gives great
relief will often become ineffective or even painful. Then some other
way of cure must be tried. Sometimes cold applications will become
painfully cold. Heating for a time is then effective, and cooling can
again be given after the heating. Soapy lather on an inflamed part will
do delightful service for a while, then it may become painful. Warm oil
may then be used instead. When this becomes irritant, a return to the
soap will cure. Or the hot bathing of a sore knee may be most effective
for a while, and then may give rise to sore pain. In such a case, cease
the bathing, and for a time apply the soapy lather. Do not despair
because a thing "loses its effect." Its apparent loss of power only
indicates a needed change of treatment. Common sense will guide in
this, and the true healer and nurse will be able to judge what is best
We have a case in which, after long rubbing with acetic acid, the skin
seemed to become so used to it that little or no effect was produced.
For a few days an alkali, in the simple form of "hartshorn" (ammonia)
was rubbed on instead of the acid. The acid rubbing was then resumed,
and produced its usual effect. Such plans will occur to all who are
thoughtful, and do not just blindly follow instructions.
Cold-water cloths have got in certain circles to be fashionable, so
that they are used exclusively in all cases. A knee joint has got
wrong, and it is deemed the right thing to wear a cold bandage
constantly round it. But this fails to have the desired effect. It may
not fail entirely, so long as there is some vital energy on which to
"come and go," as we say, the effect of the reaction will be to give a
measure of relief. But in very many cases this vital energy is
deficient. If in such a case the person advising it has only thought
enough to have recourse to an hour's hot fomentation once or twice a
day, the effect desired may not be long delayed. Supposing something
like inflammation of the lungs has to be dealt with. Cold is applied on
the chest, as it is often most successfully applied, when there is
still a good deal of energy to be drawn upon. But in this case there is
not sufficient energy. Well pack the feet and legs in a thoroughly hot
fomentation, such as will renew a full supply of heat all over the
body. Then you will find the cooling of the chest thoroughly effectual.
In a very considerable correspondence we meet often with this resolve:
"We shall continue to do as you direct till we hear from you again." We
remember telling a young man to put a hot bran poultice between his
shoulders for a troublesome cough. We saw him no more for months, but
when we did meet him he apologised for not continuing the application.
He said, "I poulticed my shoulders for three weeks, and they began to
get soft, so I stopped doing it." We certainly thought his head had
been soft to begin with! Why should not sensible men and women get a
little independent thought of their own?
It may be well to remark that the cessation of all treatment is a
change, and often a very beneficial one too. If you do not know what to
do when any treatment is "losing its effect," or having the opposite
effect to that which it had, just cease to do anything till you see
manifestly what is needed. The rest of a week, or even two, may be just
the thing wanted. If it is, it will ease the pain; if it does not, you
will see that probably the opposite of what you had been doing will
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