First Visit (30 March 2010)
Peter was born in October 1998. His mother describes him as a boy with a wicked sense of humour. He is the family clown yet shrinks in school; his teacher reports that Peter is well-liked and quiet.
Presenting complaint: For about 4 years now he has coughed on and off and with varying intensity.
Family background: Both of the parents were born and raised in a religious community with very fundamental beliefs. The family lived in the community until about 10 years ago when they left and started a life on their own. It was a very difficult process for them; they had a lot of financial problems and were nearly starving.
Mother: I didn’t like being pregnant, mostly I resented it; I felt trapped. I did not want the religious background (Old Apostolic Lutheran Church). Women are treated as breeding machines. There was always very harsh judgement: women can’t have curly hair, no TV. I was still involved in the Church when I was pregnant. I know it wasn’t great for my babies, but I do feel that my children are loved ones. The feelings would always change after birth, but I would still feel trapped. I felt overwhelmed when caring for a baby, no support, not even from my spouse. I was too tired to even know how cute my babies were. (The mother has responded well to Falco peregrinus.)
The father as described by the mother: He’s mostly a happy person but he can also be a complete grump. He is silly, and rule oriented with the kids, yet does not follow through with the enforcement when he places a rule. Has flimsy boundaries, comes on strong and “Big Man” without warning and then a couple of days later forgets about it. He does not do well with moderation. He still attends the previous church on Sundays; he says he doesn’t know what else to do on Sundays and he wants to do something spiritual. He wants the children to attend as well, which is not always what they would like to do.
Peter has 2 older siblings and 1 younger. He was not vaccinated because of the religion. He was breastfed and was growing very well; a chubby healthy baby.
Mother: Peter was a healthy toddler, good eater and everything – everything went fine. He was in a great mood for most of the time, and then his younger brother was born, when he was about four years old. Peter’s spirit really went downhill when his younger brother was born; he started to get grumpy and cross, he didn’t smile anymore. (She says that she thinks it was a mixture of not getting enough attention and some jealousy of not being the baby anymore.)
Mother: He started to develop asthma at night; he just used a nose spray that helped him breathe easier through the nose. He felt nervous about this appointment. His cough peaks during ‘flu and cold season. When he catches a bug, it goes straight to his chest, and he instantly start coughing and will not go to sleep at night. He has a regular cough now; it doesn’t really change or become stronger anymore, though it is more persistent. Sometimes at night he will wake himself up coughing, even when he is not sick. He is allergic to cats but likes them.
Peter, tell me about your breathing difficulties?
Peter: After I have been running for
quite a while, I have to get more air and it kind of hurts in my chest, sometimes
I have to slow down. When I am sitting I start coughing, occasionally I have
mucus, a little bit of yellow stuff comes up. Most of the time my breathing
rattles, but not much is coming up. It is annoying, restrictive; sometimes I
can’t go outside especially when there is smoke outside (fires, wildfires).
(Peter is not very talkative and mainly answers questions with yes or no, or by looking at his mother. He tells me that he likes books - real stories, not so much fantasy. He can’t remember any of his dreams.)
Peter: The dark, I share a room with my brother. Big trucks when I am walking or biking.
Mother: After the move he had a bit of a hard time to meet new friends. He really misses his grandmother and her passing was quite hard on him. Rarely do we see him cry, though.
(Peter’s colour choices: his favourite was white, next favourites black and C 8.)
I felt that this boy needed a plant
remedy. It seemed that there was a wound from the time his brother was born.
Looking at the different families led me to the Boraginaceae (Jan
Scholten, Seminar 2008).
Jan Scholten describes this plant family as suited for people who feel they are not seen at all. There is the feeling that there is no space for them, they are just part of the group and they have to adapt. Not having their place, they don’t know where they are. Coming from a big family where the parents have little time for the individual child. (Compare the religious community.)
The father is often domineering.
The whole plant family has an affinity to asthma, wheezing, bronchitis.
Jan also mentioned that the plant family has a lot of Silica aspects.
In Peter’s case, his place in the family changed after his younger brother was born. He lost his place of being the youngest and the baby of the family and ‘his spirit went downhill,’ as the mother describes it. His mother said she was too tired to see how cute her babies were.
Looking at the bigger picture, there is the fact of having lived in a religious community where everybody was a part and had to participate, but didn’t get individual attention. Although they had moved out of this community the overall sense of that lifestyle was still with them, as they didn’t know any different way of life. Also, they really struggled financially and were nearly starving at the beginning of their “life outside the community”.
There is not a lot of Materia Medica for Pulmonaria officinalis, commonly called Lungwort. Murphy lists the following symptoms: ‘HOMEOPATHIC - Pul-o. is used in the treatment of bronchitis, coughs and diarrhea. Bronchial catarrhs, colds. In the past, lungwort was given for the coughing up of blood arising from tubercular infection.’
It is also used as a herbal remedy for similar lung conditions.
According to Scholten’s method, stage 15 (tubercular) was strong in this case, as well as stage 14. Peter lost (stage 15) his formal place (stage 14) in the family when his younger brother entered the family. The theme is the same in the family: they left the “formal” rigid set-up and support of the religious community (stage 14), lost their social status (stage 15) and nearly starved on their own. Peter became more introverted (stage 14) when his lung problems started.
Jan placed the remedy possibly in stage 14/15.
Prescription: Pulmonaria officinalis 200 C
First Follow-up (18 May 2010) with mother, by email: "We have grown closer together throughout this process of healing. He has written well in his journal. Do I hear him coughing? No, no, his eyes are lit up more often and he is not behaving like a 'big grump'."
Second Follow-up (February 2011): Peter had no more problems with coughing or breathing; everything is back to normal and he is feeling very good. The remedy was only repeated once, 4 weeks after the first dose.
Third Follow-up (26 April 2012): Patient continues to do well; no more remedies were needed in the last 14 months, no problems with coughs!
Pulmonaria officinalis; Pat Deacon
Keywords: coughing, breathing problems, birth of a younger brother, fundamentalist community, Boraginaceae, loss, stages 14 and 15
Remedies: Pulmonaria officinalis