It should not be difficult to conclude what the most logical approach in these cases should be: certainly not the use of suppressants, but the type of care that helps overcome the inflammatory process and aids in rebuilding the debilitated body. Rest, warmth, the use of hot baths, and the application of moist heat packs to the affected joints, plus good nursing and a carefully regulated nutritional program, make up an ideal approach in these cases.
How effective such a program is can be seen from the following case histories.
A Case History: ira s.
Ira S. was eight years old when he became sick with rheumatic fever. The onset was sudden with high fever and excruciating pains and swelling in his legs and wrists.
The family physician who was called in and the specialist who joined him in consultation suggested conventional treatment: aspirin at regular intervals, complete rest in bed, the application of heat to the inflamed joints, and what is usually considered good, nourishing food. The physician was to see him daily to watch his progress and check his heart.
We need not describe the fear with which the parents received the information that their child was suffering from rheumatic fever. Most people know the dangers associated with this disease, and are terribly frightened by it. This may have been the reason for Iras parents refusal to go along with the conventional treatments, and for their having turned to the hygienic methods.
Now followed an interesting period, which was closely watched by family and friends. To the parents these were fearful days; the other members of the family doubtfully shook their heads. Some even berated the parents for rejecting the standard type of treatment.
The treatments employed were simple. At first, plain lukewarm cleansing enemas followed by hat epsom salt baths were given twice daily. Following the bath, the boy was wrapped in sheets and rolled in blankets to induce perspiration.
The food during the first few days was limited to freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juice, as well as other fruit juices.
For local relief, hot moist compresses were applied to the swollen and painful joints. Tepid spongings every two hours, to make the boy more comfortable, completed the routine.
Noticeable improvement became apparent within a few days. The temperature began to drop about the second or third day, and the swellings began to diminish materially.
The pain lessened and sleep became more relaxed, less fitful.
After the first few days, the enemas and baths were reduced to one daily, and more substantial food was gradually introduced.
We began with small amounts of raw fruit. Then small meals of raw and steamed vegetables and raw and stewed fruit were gradually introduced. A baked potato was added a few days later.
Each day brought further improvement, and after about three or four weeks, the boy was completely well.
During this time, no medication of any sort was used. The doctor who had first examined the boy and who was a close friend of the family watched the boys progress closely, even though he was not officially in charge of the case. He knew that no medication was used, and while at first he had predicted all kinds of dire consequences, he ultimately was amazed to note how rapidly the boy recovered.
Neither he nor the specialist who re-examined the boy after he had completely recovered could discover any signs of heart disease.
Years later when Ira was inducted into the army cadet flying corps, a rigid checkup only confirmed that he was in excellent health.
A Case History: lydia c.
Here is another illustration of the effectiveness of this type of treatment: ^
Lydia C., four years old, came down with rheumatic fever. In checking over the childs history, we found that she had been suffering from asthma and other allergic conditions since birth, and that only a short time before her rheumatic attack had been subjected to a series of injections for these conditions.
Lydia was not suffering from painful joints but the examination left no doubt in the mind of the doctors that Lydia was suffering from a severe case of rheumatic fever.
The treatments in this case were practically a repetition of the other, with some minor modifications. Eliminative treatments and hydrotherapy (water applications) were used. Natural mineral and vitamin-rich fruit juices were used during the first two or three days after which small meals of raw and stewed fruit, raw and steamed vegetables, and baked or steamed potatoes were introduced.
All other foods were at first completely excluded but the dairy products and small portions of chicken and lean meat were later permitted as the child improved.
It took over three weeks before the fever and heart symptoms were under complete control, and altogether about three months before the child had fully recovered. A cardiologist (heart specialist) called in to recheck the patient found her in excellent condition!
It is interesting to note that not only did the patient recover from her rheumatic fever, but also that all former signs and symptoms of her allergic condition completely disappeared.
You will never realise how frightened we were when the doctors told us how seriously ill Lydia was, and we will never forget what this rational regimen has done for her, her father said.
These are only a few of many cases of rheumatic fever that have been treated with these simple rational measures and that have proved how easily such cases can be brought under control. In a practice extending over a period of 4o-odd years, we have had occasion to observe many cases of rheumatic fever, and in none of the cases treated by these conservative reconstructive methods from their inception could any evidence of heart disease be detected as an aftermath of the acute condition.
The reason these methods are so successful is because they permit effective elimination of the deleterious substances by enabling the kidneys, the skin, as well as all other organs of elimination to function efficiently, give the body a chance to organise its own defenses, and bring about a reversal of the disease processes as rapidly as possible. Nothing is done to interfere with or suppress the bodys restorative efforts.
A Case History: lucy c.
In cases where the heart is already damaged, the problem is, of course, more difficult. However, even in such cases a discontinuance of the suppressive treatments and a change to the hygienic regimen often produces dramatic results.
In this type of heart disease, the damage primarily affects the valves of the heart. Scars form on and around the valves and prevent their closing or opening completely. If you remember, the valves of the heart open to empty the blood from the upper chamber into the lower chamber and then close to prevent the blood from flowing back. When the valves are damaged they are unable to close or open completely and as a result the blood either fails to flow through entirely or some of it is forced back. This places a great strain on the heart and forces it to enlarge.
Lucy C., ten years old, is a case in point. Lucy had a history of frequent colds and recurrent attacks of tonsilitis.
Her tonsils were finally removed but soon after, rheumatic fever developed. For months conventional treatments were employed, but Lucy only continued to grow worse.
On several occasions, friends tried to induce Lucys parents to discontinue the conventional treatments and turn to hygienic methods, but because of the dangers associated with this disease and the seriousness of Lucys condition they were afraid to try anything new. However, when the doctor in charge of the case mentioned that Lucy was very low and that he was surprised that she hadnt died 24 hours ago, the parents finally realised that they had nothing to lose and decided to make the change.
By that time, Lucys heart was already badly damaged and greatly enlarged. Cor bovinum (ox heart), doctors call this type of heart. What was even more serious was that in addition to the enlarged and badly damaged heart, she was also suffering from a severe congestion of the lungs and showed all the signs of impending circulatory failure.
An examination by the physician revealed a low grade fever and a rapid pulse that was barely perceptible. Respiration was 46 per minute. No wonder the new physician too regarded the case as critical and couldnt hold out much hope!
Eliminative treatments were immediately instituted. All medication was discontinued. Warm cleansing enemas, mild hydrotherapy in the form of packs and hot foot baths, and a bland, vitamin- and mineral-rich diet was prescribed, which was later supplemented by meals that provided all essential nutritional needs of the body in easily digestible form.
It took about three weeks before we felt that we were on safe ground in this case. It is worth noting that at first Lucys temperature began to rise, reaching as high as 103 /2, while her pulse slowed down and became much stronger, and her respiration grew much deeper and more regular.
The first ten days were days of extreme uncertainty, but after that we began to feel more confident. Another ten days or so and the temperature, pulse, and respiration were normal. From then on it was just a matter of continued rest in bed, adequate nutrition, and good nursing care.
It took about four months before Lucy had completely recovered, and before she was permitted to leave her bed.
The last few weeks were rather difficult, for with the return of her health and strength came the desire to get out of bed, and we had considerable difficulty to keep her at rest until we were sure that it was safe enough to permit her to get up.
Lucy was seen again about 19 years later. She was then twenty-nine years old, married, and the mother of a child.
While the defects of the heart could not be completely erased, the heart had become considerably smaller than it was at the time of her illness and had grown sufficiently strong to enable her to lead a normal life.