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Sources: Papers On Health

In slight cases, where the patient simply cannot sleep

for tossing about in bed, a cold towel placed along the spine, with a

dry one above, will usually relieve, especially if changed and cooled

several times as it grows warm. If heat be specially in the head, then

that may be cooled in the same manner till peace settles down in the


But we must go on to consider those cases of restlessness in which
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there is no extra heat in either spine or brain. Tea may have been

taken in a rather strong infusion, or so late that its peculiar

influence may be the cause of the restlessness. It is necessary to

avoid this beverage if such restlessness is to be escaped; still it

will generally be found that in cases in which tea has caused serious

wakefulness and restless tossing, that there is more than the mere

effect of the herb, and that superabundant heat is present also; then

the application already pointed out will give relief.

Now take an instance in which it seems to be the mind that causes the

tossing rather than the body. Preachers after earnest preaching are in

many cases sleepless and restless too; so are almost all persons when

currents of exciting thoughts have been set agoing in their minds.

Then, no doubt, it is necessary to get at relief from the spiritual

side, by means of thought fitted to calm down the excitement that has

been raised. But it is never well to forget that in all such cases

there is a material as well as a spiritual aspect of the experience.

Many preachers take a sitz-bath before going to bed after a day of

service, and find that somehow when sitting in the cool water the

over-driven brain begins to slacken pace. If from any cause you are

restless and cannot lie still, even after the head and spine have been

cooled as we have described, it is well to take a sitz-bath in cold

water for a few minutes. Dry and wrap up well, and you will be quiet

after. Certain forms of coughing apparently cause the most serious

restlessness. A warm poultice should be placed between the shoulders,

and cold cloths pressed gently on the breast.

If there is extreme shrinking from everything in the least degree cold,

then you need to go a step back in your treatment. A sponging of the

most gentle kind, with CAYENNE LOTION (see) and water, all over the

body, given very carefully for three or four days, once a day, will put

away the shrinking to which we refer. This should be done with tepid

water at first, but as the skin freshens it will be found comfortable

to do it with cool water. In tender cases the poultice or hot bag will

need to be comfortably warm, and not hot. The cool cloth must not be

wintry cold, nor even at first summer cold. It is, however, necessary

to get at the hot and irritating surfaces that are causing the cough,

with more or less that is cooling. We may do this ever so gradually,

but we must do it, if we would succeed in giving rest from the cough.

In a strong person's case there is really no difficulty. It is an easy

matter to put on cloth after cloth till the irritated part is reached

and cooled. But when the patient is spent to all but a skeleton, and

has restlessness from frequent coughing, it is a very different matter.

Still to the very last the irritating heat may be kept down, and long

sleeps given, when otherwise it would be hard work indeed to get

through the last stages of illness. We write thus because we know it is

possible to give precious relief even when it is out of the question to

save life. It is possible to make even the last night on earth

comparatively a peaceful one, instead of its being so very restless as

it often is. This is to be done just by cooling the parts that

irritate, and these only. Generally, heat may be required rather than

cold, but at the part which is irritating and keeping up the coughing,

there must be cooling. The kind and capable nurse who can carry out

this cooling is beyond all price. Those only can understand this who

have been delivered from an all but incessant cough by means that

produce no reaction. It is also well to remember that we now and again

give life by means of rest when we had no idea of giving more than

temporary comfort. We have repeatedly had cases in which there seemed

no hope of doing anything further than giving relief, but that relief

has turned out to be the commencement of cure.