October 23d, 1870. Mrs. has confined fourteen days ago to one child. Ever since, when in bed at night in a dark room, has had a delusion that there is another baby in the bed which requires attention. She had this delusion in a former confinement and in another a delusion that she had a third leg, which would not remain quiet. For seven days single, sharp shoots about twice a day, from the upper dorsal spine into occiput.
Diagnosis of the remedy.—The peculiar shooting pain is found only under Kali. "Delusion that he is double "—the nearest approach to the mental symptoms of the case;—is found under Petr. and strain. [Since this case was cured, I have added Anac, Cann.ind., Mosch., Sec., Sil. and Thuja to the list].
As Petro. has also " Delusion that one limb is double," I selected it in preference to Strain., on account of the anamnesis. In this case, there were thus two conflicting keynotes, Kali being indicated by the latest symptom, but Petro. by the mental condition. I considered the latter of the greater importance and gave one dose of Petroleum, 3000 (Jenichen).
Oct. 31st. No return of the delusion ; no more shooting till 27th, when it returned twice, worse than before, and seemed to fix the head for a moment. Last night, on being frightened, had a return of the pain, and at the same moment a shoot in the lumbar spine. As the mental state had been removed, and the pain increased after a temporary cessation, I now gave the corresponding remedy, Kali, one dose of 4000 (Jenichen).
November l5th. Once, on being frightened, has had a slight shooting from neck to occiput.
December 3d. On two consecutive days, four or five days ago, after unusual exertion (going up lofty stairs) repeated shooting up into the head as before, for a minute, but less severe; has had it slightly at times before. No shooting in the lumbar spine. As the pain seemed to return, I repeated the dose of Kali 4000.
Dec. 12th. Has a catarrh. On waking this morning the delusion returned. Last night very slight shooting into Head. The recurrence of the mental state, combined with the great amelioration of the pain, pointed to the first remedy again, and I gave one dose of Petr. 3000.
March 13th, 1871. Reports that she has only had the shooting
occasionally, and not so severely; no other symptoms.
The above was one of those rare cases where two remedies have to be given in alternation, according to a corresponding alternation of symptoms. This is the alternation to which Hahnemann refers to is sometimes necessary.
In several places where he uses the term, he distinctly states this to be his meaning; hence it is evident that he must have used it in the same sense in other passages, though he did not deem it necessary to repeat his explanation on every occasion. The modern unscientific, empirical practice of a priori "alternation," or rotating change of medicines without a corresponding change of symptoms is quite different and is most emphatically repudiated by Hahnemann as unnecessary, unsafe, and we might add, a relic of the lawlessness of allopathic polypharmacy yet some mongrels continually misquote and pervert Hahnemann's plainest teachings, to excuse their own shortcomings, and to blind the eyes of their victims to the falsity of their pretensions.