I want to be a bird: a case of Cuprum arsenicosum
The patient is a 15 year old boy who presents with severe dermatitis.
Consultation Juin 2011
His mother does the talking: “His complaints started six years ago in the creases of his elbows and knees. His skin is dry, he hardly sweats, and it smells like eggs. It itches a lot and bleeds after scratching – at night it oozes a thick, honey-like fluid (Graphites), and when he scratches the bed is full of crusts. He is very allergic, with skin sores. He is taking a vaccine for dust mites and fungi; two weeks ago, he stopped the second vaccine series and his skin was very dry, with large sores in various parts of the body and oozing behind his ears. He cried and scratched a lot after walking on the grass – his body became red and blistered and he scratched his belly until it was very raw. His nose runs and he sneezes a lot when he smells something different, like perfume. He has cracks in the corners of his eyes and they become agglutinated with discharge – he really scratches his eyes.“ He itches more when he gets nervous and when I scold him. Sometimes, he becomes nervous when he wants something.
“He is sometimes naughty and he moans and groans. He obeys me, but sometimes he explodes. He became closed when I told him he could not go to a cattle show. He asks me how to do things, and if I tell him how to do it he does it that way. He feels sorry for people. He is affectionate with me, kissing my cheeks, but he does not like me to look at his skin wounds. He does not like to be touched or massaged. He is bossy with me, and with his friends when he is playing. If I buy something for his sister, he wants to have the same thing, too. He likes to study, and he is good at school, though he does not like to read big books. He gets sad if he has bad marks at school, and he is very happy if he gets good marks. He is disorganized, taking clothes out of his drawers and not putting them back.”
Patient: “I am easily offended, and when I do not get what I want or I get bad news my condition becomes worse. My most painful experience was the loss of my grandmother in September 2010.”
Mother: “He was very attached to his grandmother, who died ten months ago. The itch got worse after her death.”
He loves to fly kites. “I wanted to be a kite, it means freedom. I want to fly. I don’t want to be human, I’d rather be a hummingbird.” He loves going out on the street, playing football, playing in the sand, playing with his dog and going to the countryside. These days, he likes playing a computer game of a boy with a gun who kills to win the game. He likes to kill animals.
“I am afraid of horror films, of snakes, of animals that kill and of strangers, until I make friends with them. I like the light and I am afraid of the dark and of thieves. I’m afraid of dying, I never want to die.”
“I relate very well with my family but I have a little trouble with others because I am easily embarrassed; my illness bothers me because they ask what is wrong with my skin. I do not like being looked at and I do not like to be touched when I am in a crisis. I feel shy and cautious when I’m in the middle of a crowd and I don’t feel good about my illness. When I’m annoyed, I start to itch. I feel good when someone comforts me, but I’m sad when I get low grades at school. I would be better if my father had the money to buy a house with a swimming pool. I wanted to be a football player. When we lived on the farm, I liked to fish – I would be nervous if I did not fish. I’m always in a hurry, I feel like time passes very quickly. My mood changes when my desires are unfulfilled and my illness is bad.”
”I like sausages, sandwiches, pizza, meat, barbecues, chocolate, and candy. I do not like the fruit of Solanum gilo (it is very bitter), chayote (fruit of Sechium edule) and cucumber. Eggs and milk aggravate the itching. I drink about four times during the night.”
“I like cold showers. I feel very hot. Even in the cold, I want to cool down by fanning. I don’t sweat at all."
"I feel a pain in my right side when I run; I have to sit down because it hurts too much.I like the light of the full moon, and I like cloudy weather. I hate strong smells and things that make me sneeze.”
He goes to bed late and sleeps a lot, especially if he takes antihistamines. He tosses and turns and finds it hard to sleep, especially when he is itchy. He snores and snuffles in his sleep, and sleeps with his eyes half open.
CM: Describe your ideal world
P: “Without killing, drugs and alcohol. I love animals, plants and nature, and God is the first thing I love. I feel sorry for animals and people who are suffering."
“I would like to fly for free. I dreamed I was falling off a cliff and flying well. I would like to fly like a kite. I never thought of being a pilot because I'm afraid of falling and dying.”
Prescription: Apis 200C
I did not know Cuprum arsenicosum very well and I was influenced by his idea of flying, so I gave him Apis, but it did not do anything for him. His mother phoned me and I decided to give him Cuprum arsenicosum because it has symptoms of both Cuprum and of Arsenicum. Morevoer, the skin symptoms are present in Cuprum arsenicosum.
August 2011:He had a great improvement; the sores are still there, but only barely crusted red scars remain. He stopped using vaccines since his consultation. The oozing behind his ears disappeared and his eyes have stopped being gummy. The cracks in the corners of his eyes disappeared; he still has some cracks in the corners of his mouth but they are almost gone. He still sneezes with perfumed sprays. His legs hurt where his socks touch them. He still sleeps with his eyes half open. He cried while watching the movie “Conquering the impossible” on Youtube, because in the end the bird died; it fought so much, but died anyway. He is more obedient. He wants to get on the computer and he justifies this by saying: “it is better than going on the street.”
He improved his grades at school. “It is easier for me to talk with my friends now, even though they are the same.”
Mother: “He is more attached to me. He hugs me all the
time. When he gets very busy, he talks in his sleep about things that happened
during the day.”
He laughs at his mother’s description.
Prescription: Cuprum arsenicosum 30C
October 2011: his skin has improved and it was very smooth until two weeks ago, when some sores returned. He said that he had been sucking sweets with camphor. He is more loving, more excited. He did not cry on watching a film of a bird with no wings that jumped off a cliff – its dream was to fly.
“When I scratch there is a white powder, but it does not bleed anymore. My eye itches, but it’s not cracked anymore. My grades have improved a lot since I took the medicine, from 60 to 90.“Now, I am not afraid of robbers in the dark. I only sweat on my joints – my knees, arms and neck, and it itches there. I have stopped being afraid of dying. I do not want to fly kites in the hot sun, it is best to stay indoors. Now, I accept being touched. I breathed a lot with my mouth open, it hurts in the right side of my abdomen if I breathe with my mouth open when I run. I feel a pain below the lower right rib, but if I keep my mouth closed it does not hurt."
“I'm happy to be with people, I am not ashamed anymore.”
Prescription: Cuprum arsenicosum 30C
Final consultation: the itching stopped completely.
Photos: Wikimedia Commons
Kite Latawiec; Kkic
Hummingbird on flying. Golden-tailed Sapphire (Chrysuronia oenone) in NE Venezuela; Marcial4
Keywords: eczema, itching, fear of robbers, death, animals, desire to be a bird
Remedies: Cuprum arsenicosum