This autumn, I have had several cases which have really taxed and fascinated me; they were seemingly all related to the endemic flu virus in my area, but proved very difficult to treat.
CASE 1 FEMALE AGED 41
In September 1994, this existing patient of mine consulted me for a severe right sided headache, which started in her right forehead, travelled to her right eye socket, and then travelled to her right upper teeth. This was a neuralgic pain which lasted overnight.
The next day, her headache travelled to her left forehead, then to her left eye socket, and then to her left upper teeth. The day after this, it travelled back to her right side, again affecting her right forehead, her right eye socket and ending up in her right upper teeth. She had to stay in a darkened room as the light hurt her eyes. It then cleared on the evening of the third day, leaving her with a ‘poisoned feeling’ a ‘horrible metallic taste’ in her mouth and very constipated. Apart from this headache, she felt well in herself and ‘quite high and positive’.
Eight days later, she contacted me again with another left sided headache, same pattern, but this headache dissipated the next morning after she had been up for a while. Four days later, she reported ‘strange dreams of being a ghost and being hardly able to walk’. Ten days later, she reported swollen glands and cold symptoms with weakness, a ‘cotton wool brain’ and a ‘fever like a tight skull cap’ and a ‘sensation of a band around her forehead’.
She said that she had felt like this when she had had ME 5-6 years ago, and just after her second bout of pleurisy. She was still having ‘strange dreams’. She has had anal fissures all week which have been painful and bleeding.
Two days later she phoned very upset, reporting more ‘strange dreams’. Six days later, she reported another left sided headache, starting in her left eye socket, traveling to her left cheek, then up to the vertex via her left ear, and the ending up in her left upper teeth. The pain this time was a dull pain which throbbed on movement. This headache was very severe, the taste in her mouth had returned and her tongue was furred and blue grey with red underneath. She was ‘desperately thirsty’ and constipated again. She is having ‘anxiety dreams’.
Seven days later, she reported another left sided headache, slightly less severe. She is still having ‘strange dreams’.
In the following three weeks she experienced constant intense headaches, starting invariably on the left side and moving to the right side, again in this strange pattern affecting her forehead, eye sockets, temples, ears and upper teeth, first on one side and then on the other. Each headache lasted for about three days on one side, then travelled to the other side. The pain was now a dull congestive pain, but the intensity was such that it was waking her in the night and preventing her from working. She was still experiencing the ‘poisoned feeling’, her tongue had cleared at one point. The dreams are subsiding.
During this time, the flu came out in aching limbs, sore throats, swollen glands and hunger. Also at this time, she experienced ‘strange clicks in her head’, followed by sinus drainage post nasally. Towards the end of the third week of this pattern, her head pain was constant, dull and intense, but the pattern was by then traveling from the middle of her forehead to her nose and then her cheek bone and then her ear and to the top of her head.
She has constant tenderness in her eye sockets. She still has the ‘poisoned feeling’, ‘even water tastes poisoned’ and her tongue was again coated. She then had about five days clear, and then the headaches started again, this time from right to left, lasting over three days. Then the picture cleared and she began to recover. She had taken remedies during the whole period, which seemed to ameliorate only certain symptoms (her fissures and constipation cleared and her mood remained buoyant) but the remedies did not seem to affect her headaches at all.
After Christmas, she again consulted me again with a three day flare up of her headaches, starting on the right side, traveling from the right forehead sinus, to her right upper teeth and nose and then into her right ear. The headache switched to the left side the next day, traveling from her left forehead sinus to her left upper teeth, but dissipating before it reached her ear.
She said it was not so bad as previous headaches, and that it had been precipitated by an emotional shock. She was left feeling ‘post migrainous’ and weak. Her eyes were very sensitive to light and her eye sockets were painful.
CASE 2 FEMALE AGED 43
Another existing patient consulted in November 1994 with a throbbing, bleeding left upper gum, which may have resulted from biting on a stone in a Chinese take away. A remedy given at that time had the effect of ‘releasing the gum into my left ear’, she had a constant left sided ear ache and swollen glands on the left side of her jaw.
She then developed a left sided headache which travelled to her vertex from around her left eye socket, and then settled in her left ear.
She had had mouth ulcers two weeks previously which had resolved with a spurt of blood from a burst blister in front of her right lower teeth. These mouth ulcers had developed after an infected 1cm pocket in the gum behind her right upper teeth after a sensation of ‘a channel down the right side of my face to my tooth’ (an old recurring symptom subsequent to chronic pyorrhoea several years ago, which may have been responsible for considerable loss of bone from her lower jaw). She had also had a large, sore ulcerated patch inside her left nostril, which has improved, but not cleared up to this day.
Three days later, her left ear developed a discharge which resolved her swollen neck glands, but the whole side of her left neck and face became tender and swollen and her ear continued to discharge. This lasted for three weeks, eventually clearing up with antiseptics and remedies and with lumps of wax falling out, then the discharge cleared up.
However, she then developed conjunctivitis in her right eye, which then traveled to the left eye, and then back to the right eye, and it is still sore to this day in her left eye. Her right eye socket has been tender on and off during this period. She is very worried about her eyes, as the vision in her right eye is very poor (congenital).
CASE 3 MALE AGED 44
This man consulted in November 1994 with sinusitis occurring after spraying Rentokil damp proof chemical in his house. He had gone first to his dentist, who found a small cavity in a right upper molar. This was filled, and it did indeed greatly help with the hot and cold sensitivity of his teeth, but it did not help the headaches. The first remedy (streptococcus 30c) worked instantly.
Three weeks later, he consulted again with a ‘flare up’, describing an ‘excruciating’ right sided headache, neuralgic, moving around slowly from his right upper teeth to his cheek bone, then to his right ear and then down to his right lower jaw. He had been very ill with the flu for the past two weeks. The remedy given helped immediately.
Four days later, he reported a recurrence of the pain, which was now spreading from the right upper teeth to his right cheek bone, spreading across his forehead and traveling to his right lower jaw. The pain was intense, and he repeated the last remedy, which did not help, so he came to see me and we reviewed the case.
After spraying the Rentokil chemical, his head pain had been so ‘diabolical’ he couldn’t remember the pattern of it. He explained that it was so painful, he had not been able to ‘pin it down’. He did recall that the pain shifted about, changing from his upper teeth to his lower teeth, and then back again. He also remembered that it ‘tracked’ up the side of his face into his forehead, into his cheek bones and then into his ear. He said that it occurred on both the right hand side and the left, but he couldn’t remember where it had started. He was certain that it did not always start in the same place, but he definitely recalls that it can start in his left forehead (very intense), but that it can start anywhere from his forehead to his lower jaw, on either side of his face.
He also said that he had very similar ‘sinus pain’ as a young man, and that he had collapsed with the pain on one occasion.
Also, he has a ‘rash’ on his forehead, which on close examination covered his whole forehead, was red and raised and forming a solid continuous raised area, standing proud and completely covering his forehead and his cheekbones bilaterally. He said that this rash started at the same time as the headaches, and that he first noticed this in all of his orifices, especially his anus, and that it itched, but not intensely so. He had also had it all over his abdomen, but this had now cleared. His wife and son have also had this rash, but it had affected them all slightly differently, and he is the only family member to have headaches with it.
The head pain he has starting at the moment is bilateral and intense across both eyebrow ridges. He is increasingly photo phobic with it.
CASE 4 FEMALE AGED 34
This patient is also an existing patient, and she has a history of substance abuse and sexual abuse as a child, but she has really been making good progress during 1994. During October 1994, she developed an abscess in her liver (she is positive for hepatitis A, B and C) after a sexual assault, which resolved with remedies into the flu.
At the beginning of November, she developed a left sided toothache in her upper jaw which travelled up into her forehead up to her hairline. The pain was neuralgic, but not severe and resolved with a remedy. However, within a day, she had become hysterical, shouting, swearing and crying in the street and praying to God for help. Three days later, she was much better, but then developed a chest infection and severe constipation.
The next month was spent being very ill with the flu and the chest infection, and she became hysterical and psychotic. She described a ‘terrible headache’ pressing and deep, ‘grinding’ in her forehead and traveling to her vertex via her temples and then into her upper teeth. A remedy brought out the flu symptoms and she felt a bit better, although the flu continued to rage and her headache became ‘hot’ and ‘heavy’ and more diffuse and she developed a profuse post nasal drip which stopped and started on and off, then settled down into a profuse green and thick nasal discharge.
Thereafter, she got slowly better, developing multiple headed cold sores on her top left lip and a kidney infection, and cystitis with blood in her urine. Her headache changed into a ‘chronic hot head’. Her recovery was slow but steady afterwards, but she is still relapsing into acute symptom states.
These are just a handful of flu cases from my practice during Autumn and Winter 1994, and there are only vague similarities in some senses, but I was beginning to really prick up my ears when patients described this ‘traveling headache’, or right – left, left – right symptoms.
I simply assumed at the time that these were epidemic symptoms, but unlike the 1993 flu, there was no epidemic remedy picture, and all my patients were given different remedies. I have to say that I did not feel my remedies were being very effective; the thing simply ran its course despite me, recurring every so often, no matter what I did or what my patient’s did.
Then in January, I was asked to see a young man who had been very ill during 1994 and wanted my advice about commencing homeopathy.
CASE 5 MALE AGED 32
In June 1994, this man went swimming off a Welsh beach and obviously ‘caught something’. The first symptoms were headaches, first in the left frontal sinus resulting in severe headaches in the left temple, which then travelled to his left occiput and left vertex. The headaches then became right sided, affecting his right vertex, and then traveling to his right occiput and right temple. He illustrated the route of the headaches by drawing circles over his head with his hands to explain how these headaches ‘tracked’ on either side of his head. These headaches lasted five weeks in all and were extremely severe.
Then followed a complete paralysis of his body, during which time he hallucinated vividly for about four weeks, not even being aware of the fact that he was comatose, paralysed and bed ridden. During this time, he would have periods where he became violent and had to be constrained in a straight jacket by ward orderlies. He was totally unaware of this, seeing only the vivid hallucinations which remained so clear and so vivid that he was able to tape them in great detail afterwards.
After this four week period, he woke up and he was indeed totally paralysed from the neck down and blind. His lungs collapsed due to the badly affected nervous system, but the medics were able to reflate them. He had a strange displaced sensation in his left arm, being convinced that his left hand was clenched and his left arm was lying by his left side. In fact his left arm was outstretched and paralysed with his hand open.
His whole left side was very much weaker than his right side, but he has since regained much of his physical function, although he is not quite in control of his left side, but he has no actual sensation in his body. He has had to relearn all his skills again, even walking and he was particularly upset by the fact that he had no ability to thrust his hips.
When seen in January 1995, he was still as weak as a baby, walking with sticks, unable to correctly control his fingers and he has remained incontinent. His optic nerve is still very badly affected and he is very photo phobic, but his vision is slowly returning. However he has large areas of his visual field still missing on either side.
Obviously, this is a very complicated case, and there are many interesting factors here, but what really stood out for me was the pattern of the infection, which his consultant neurologist assured him was a viral infection. Strangely, they were unable to determine any secondary infection, despite five lumbar punctures, all the tests came back negative. He feels, and I tended to agree with him, that he still has a site of infection behind his left eye, either in the sinus cavity or more probably, in his left optic nerve branch.
Once I had taken this case, I began to look at my other ‘flu’ cases with more interest. What was this thing? I noticed that in all the above cases, there was underlying emotional trauma, which seemed to exacerbate the symptoms, either just before the acute onset, or to resolve before the symptoms eased.
The relapsing pattern seemed to very much match the upsets the patient’s were experiencing directly. When they became traumatised, the headaches ‘flowered’, and when the trauma began to ease off, so did the headaches.
Case 5, told me that he had visited Bosnia in April, ‘just to see what it was like to dodge bullets’, as if he needed to front death in some way. He has severe unresolved bereavements from his teenage years, and this was reflected in other areas of his case too, and he did indeed manage to have a very dramatic experience with his illness. Note that he caught the ‘virus’ within one month or so of returning home.
Case 1 was wrestling with a decision to throw out her boyfriend, and every upset and row with him resulted in a flare up of her headaches. She ended the relationship and her headaches resolved, only to recur immediately after Christmas when her son’s father started to threaten them again.
Case 2 was sorting out her bruised emotions after separation from her long standing partner in the summer of 1994.
Case 3 was experiencing the first anniversary of the death of his 18 year old son in December 1993 (his son was diagnosed with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy aged 4)
Case 4 speaks for itself!
By November 1994, I was getting superficial relief for my patients by giving them streptococcus 30c, which I arrived at via a deductive process with the help of case 3’s wife, who is still having real trouble with her rash. She was told by her GP in November 1994 that this rash was something he’d noticed in his patients with the current flu epidemic (she has actually had this rash on and off for two years and has not had the flu), but this gave us a clue when she remembered that she had not felt like this since she was 14 and had been bedridden for months with a very severe streptococcus tonsillitis and resultant collapsed physical health.
Case 1 has a very poor history of ME, pneumonia, pleurisy and dreadful, long continued emotional shock and upset for many years.
Case 2 has a similar history of septic infections that will not heal and severe emotional trauma over a very long time.
Case 3 has a history of what he calls ‘sinusitis’ and also very severe and prolonged emotional trauma , and case 4 again speaks for itself.
Case 5 has a similar traumatic history, but this is his first experience with any infective process.
They have all had a pattern of recurrent, relapsing states during this current epidemic illness. They all had the same pattern of ‘traveling’ headaches and left to right alternation of symptoms, and cases 1, 2, 3 and 5 are still quite poorly. Case 4 is on the mend in terms of the viral infection, although she remains quite physically ill. I believe this is due to the fact that she has made such major strides on a deep constitutional level, being only temporarily shaken by the assault.
Although streptococcus 30c acted like a ‘wonder remedy’ in Cases 2, 3 and 4, it did not hold, as it could only deal with the secondary infections resulting from what seems to be a rather nasty ‘virus’. It has not helped Case 1 (but pneumococcus 30c did), or Case 3’s wife (we are trying sulphonamide 30c). I was interested to note that no secondary infection could be found in Case 5.
As we don’t ‘really believe’ in virus’ in homoeopathy, I was left feeling that I had been dealing with some sort of ‘Porton Down Special. I still have a handful of rather poorly patients, and although I am relying on classical constitutional remedies to do the deeper work, and they are all progressing, I am at a bit of a loss protem.
I am also concerned at the severity of Case 5’s experience, and I wonder if this ‘thing’ is traveling through the community, loosing strength as it goes, but still strong enough to really make people very ill.
I was concerned to discover that Case 1 has often swum off the particular Welsh beach in question, and did so all through the summer of 1994. The fact that it is affecting people with a profound and pre-existing ‘disturbance in the force’ is also a cause of great concern. Has anyone out there got any thoughts on this?
Sue Young January 1995
Copyright© Sue Young