Thorium metallicum: a magician with renal failure
A sixty year old man came for consultation for renal failure following a kidney transplant, after a year of dialysis. A biopsy showed that after two years, he still had symptoms of rejection of his kidney, which is longer than the usual period. He is on a maintenance dose of prednisone and complains of the side-effects: thinning of the skin, increased blood pressure (180/100), oedema of the ankles, and mild headaches. He also feels restless and tense.
Years ago, he wanted to move from the big city to the countryside, in order to escape the hustle-bustle, as he does not feel at home in the world of commerce, consumerism, and bureaucracy. He works for social services and is very ecologically minded.
“I get so churned up by the paper-pushers, human values get too little attention.” His illness has caused him uncertainty: “I can’t let go of the old anxieties, they follow me. There is always a dark cloud, as though I can’t forget that kidney. I try to live by the day, in the awareness that any day my life could end. I intuit things quickly. I am someone who always wants to keep control of his own life.” Indeed, he has looked up everything about his illness. He chooses his therapies carefully but is not self-sufficient in this; he doubts himself and then phones for a second opinion. He is a likeable man who does not stand by convention. He looks for an ideology and a philosophy of life but he cannot make his own choices; he keeps all his options open. Many years ago, I saw him walking in the street, his long black coat billowing in the wind and the word that seemed to describe him best was “magician.”
In the past, he did well on Causticum, prescribed partly due to his aversion to authority and his intense reaction to the suffering of the world. After his kidney transplant, he was prescribed prednisolon acetate and his energy increased. After a year, however, there were still signs of rejection of his new kidney; I prescribed Erbium Carbonicum. A year later, he is tired and has pressure on his chest, oedema of his ankles, and stomach complaints. He is receiving a cocktail of medication: cozar, selokene, prednisolon, nexium, lasix, prograft, and mycofortic, which could indicate that some of his complaints are possibly iatrogenic.
Starting from the premise that degenerative illness can be an indication for prescribing an actinide, I sought for a suitable remedy in that series. Margriet Plouvier-Suijs’ themes for the actinides seem to suit him: tendency to reflection, altruism, compassion, and intuition. The situation that he finds himself in, living on “borrowed time,” also fits the actinide themes: a reclusive life, living without steering or interfering. Meanwhile, he has insight and oversight, and his cynicism and resistance can point to a Nitricum salt.
For these remedies we have little in the way of proving or clinical experience, which means that we are largely reliant on Jan Scholten’s method for finding the correct stage. With this patient, we see a certain cautiousness, doubt, and uncertainty. His recovery started well but it stops halfway, as though even his body is ‘uncertain’. In practice, attitude and behaviour turn out to be reliable sources of information regarding the working of the vegetative system. Stage 4, as in Cerium in the Lanthanides, is recognised for its cautious approach; starting something and then coming to a standstill.
Prescription: Thorium metallicum 1M
After one year, his blood pressure is good with medication: 130/60. He is feeling good and has no more headaches or tension, and no more chests complaints or oedema of the ankles.
Another year later, he comes again for an abdominal infection related to hygiene, which is helped with phytotherapy. His condition is good but he still has some side-effects from the medication; his bowels are more sensitive than normal. The biopsies are negative and he can reduce his anti-rejection medication.
Photos: Wikimedia Commons
Geschwollener menschlicher Fuß; Mattes
Monazite - tabular crystal, Rostadheia, Iveland, Norway; Aangelo
Keywords: renal failure, living on borrowed time, cautiousness, doubt, uncertainty, starting and stopping
Remedies: Thorium metallicum