Changing Treatment

Sources: 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

to do.

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