Creating Waves of Awareness
DON’T SEEK PERFECTIONISM AFTER SIXTIES
(THOUGHTS ON GERIATRICS) Dr. M. A. Usmani
Copyright 2011-13/All rights reserved © Dr Usmani
Contact author for permission to use
It is axiomatic that when you are young, young people come to you, and keep your environ young; and as you grow old—which inevitably you must—old people would start prying into your office. They evidently bring their problems with them, to give you an inkling of your coming fate.
No body wants to admit that he is growing old; and the smallest infirmity catches hold of his attention, and robs him of his peace of mind. Even the smallest infirmity is frightening. But life begins with infirmities, and comes a full circle by ending in infirmities. That is the fate of life: what begins must end one day. Infirmities of a child are enjoyable and amusing for all around him. But infirmities of old age are insulting and dismaying for the person himself, and despicable for all around him. People pray that Destiny may bestow them a sudden cessation, that they may cease being alive suddenly, so that they may depart with dignity. I saw an old lion in the wild dying from sheer exhaustion. Walking slowly with a tottering gait; at last he fell to the ground and breathed his last. My father, no less a lion of a man, a formidable towering personality, simply ceased breathing when he died. He showed no infirmity, and accepted no services from any body. An independent and self relying soul that he was! A true specimen of an indomitable patriarch; while his son, myself, is a true opposite of him—perhaps a thesis and anti-thesis of the progression of life and history. His son believes—with the Poet of the East, Iqbal—that it is because of women (femininity principle) that the life and world is kaleidoscopic and enchantingly colorful. Woman is the true deity, with life-giving, life-supporting and life-nourishing attributes. The more a society advances towards feminism, the more tolerant and decent it will become. And the more it advances towards patriarchal vein of life, the more it will become strife ridden, intolerant and cruel. (This was an aside. Let’s resume our thread.)
The infirmities of old age are unacceptable and inconsolable for the person himself and the society at large. But minor infirmities should not discommode beyond tolerance. Minor infirmities and frailties are part of life. But for the riddance of these infirmities one goes from pillar to post, and from this doctor to that. Even the charlatans are consulted.
In a Muslin society dribbling of urine, one or two drops, after urination, is considered a major drawback, no less than a fatality. Their clothes get soiled (rather besmeared), with which they can’t say their prayers. For redressing of this defect they spend fortunes. Failing in getting relief, they feel doomed. They forget that even the costliest masterpiece of sanitary fitting, as water tap, gets leak ultimately. And they have got changed countless such fittings in their life time. If God’s created ‘tap’ gets leak in 60 to seventy years, what space is left for the protest. In such cases I ask the person to wear a thick cotton brief under his clothes to absorb these drops. And take off this brief, at the time of prayer, and wash himself clean, and say the prayers. This is a provisional measure till the medicine does its work. Similar measures should be adopted for the bed-ridden patient with incontinence, where concerned people are perturbed by repeated bed-wetting. I always advise them to determine the length of the interval in which the patient soils the clothes again. I tell them to take her to the closet 15 to 20 minutes before that time. In this way they are saved from unnecessary hassle. The treatment gets time to correct the infirmity, if it is treatable. Rehabilitation and treatment should go hand in hand.
Dribbling is also caused by senile hypertrophy of the prostate. Homeopaths usually use Sabal Serulata in drop doses of the mother-tincture. But proper case should be taken and dealt with accordingly. We find Digitalis coming out in most cases. This kills two birds with one stone. It reduces the size of the prostate and, at the same time, acts as a heart tonic, which is a very benign advantage at that time of age.
Old age naturally is encumbered with various limitations and constraints. 95% of old people, above the age 70 or 80 are past total cure. They have entered into the field of palliation. They should be advised as to their limitations, and instructed to live with their infirmities, with assurance that they will, by and by, overcome their difficulties steadily and slowly. Miracles belong to youth; old age is not for miracles. Your miracle is wise counseling to the youth, and warm kindness to the old. They should never be prescribed high potencies and heroic doses. Their realm is low potencies and judicious therapeutics. And, since they are to be palliated with low potencies and mother tinctures, alternation of more than one remedy should not be looked askance at. You can divide their time according to their medicines.
Insufficiency of sphincters and laxness of the functions of other organs can always be much rectified and toned up by a strict regimen of exercise, especially walking. Walk tones up all functions. A walking person keeps infirmities at bay. Live with the motto: when have time, walk!
Cramps of muscles and joint pains visit the age, out of dryness of tissues and loss of elasticity. Walk, with indicated nutrients, can much mitigate this insufficiency. A vitamin and mineral regimen should be inducted with regularity. For severe cramps Cuprum Met., one or two doses give relief for many weeks. Also Calcarea Carb. is no less efficacious.
Mental incapacity and dementia [Alzheimer] are the usual serious complaints of senile stage of life. Sagacious treatment after proper case taking can solve major part of the problem.
Fixed ideas and compulsive disorders are the usual complaints of this age. When future ends, past takes its place. Past memories and passions become so vivid and enliven his present conscious mind, that he becomes totally absorbed in them, with an obsession. A patient of mine, 80 years old, made the life of his family so tough that they approached me to do something for their riddance. A name of a film actress would strike his mind, and then he would try to remember in which film she showed herself, who was the hero, who directed the film, would occupy his mind. When he would not get any satisfactory reply from them, he would telephone his old friends. And when they could not satisfy him, would ask one of his sons to ‘Google search’ for him. One day when he came to me, I saw a big blob of blue spot on his white shirt. On enquiring his children I was told that he was compiling a comprehensive data-base of actresses and actors of his childhood and youth, and that that blob was caused by putting the pen without cap in his pocket. Another fixed idea was that he had some phlegm in his throat for dislodging of which he would go on rinsing his mouth with warm water and hemming and hawking, till a jug of water is finished. Baryta Carb. in persistent doses for many days put an end to this all psychological disorder. For the mental disorders of old age Baryta Carb. should be the foremost preference. In fact for all sorts of senile infirmities Baryta salts should always be considered. Baryta Carb. is a panacea of the psycho-somatic miseries of old age. I use it in 6th. to 30th. potencies persistently. I alternate it with the other indicated remedies; e.g. Dig. 6, Nux.v. 6, China 6, or Kali-Ph. 6. Don’t ever use high potencies in very old patients; keep your medicines at the nutritional level. (cf. my article: Cure Mania).
Palliation with allopathic medicines cannot be compared with homeopathic palliation. Every drug of allopathic system of medicine, since it is used in massive quantity, has a long list of side-effects, the most dangerous from which are the impairment of renal and liver functions. Both are grave defects which an aging system cannot cope. Time and again I’ve found that the aged people die of massive drugging, and their poisonous side-effects. Homeopathy is a real boon in this respect. Its doses are such that if they palliate or not, they have no ramification of side-effects. Take, for example, a very disturbing case of Coxalgia—a hip-joint pain or neuralgia, especially the neuralgia of ischium, the ischio-rectal muscles, extending to whole hip and thighs and calves—is beautifully allayed by a single dose of Colocynthis 30. To this efficacy I’m a witness. (Read Ch. XXIII and XXIV, in Jahr’s 40-Years’ Practice). The patient was saved from the massive drugging with pain-killers and the dubious muscles-relaxants.
Engrossment, absent-mindedness, deficient memory, is the mark of old age infirmities. If such a person is found to be oblivious of his or her personal appearance, as for example, emerges from the bath without covering himself properly, or she is lying in bed, with her body improperly exposed, don’t run or hurry to conclude exhibitionism, and prescribe Hyoscyamus like agents. It is usually and simply because of engrossment or absentmindedness. Baryta Carb, or some other indicated medicine will be needed.
Usual medicines for old age are: Baryta salts, Aurum Salts, Digitalis, Phosphoric Acid, Kali phos, Ambra Gr. Craetegus, etc.
To increase the exhaustion threshold, or improve stamina: Coca
Old-age blues, or depression: Aurum salts.
Fatigue, brain-fag, and low libido: Phos-ac., Onos., Arnica, Kali.p., Coca.
Insomnia: Bar.c., Calc.c., and Coff.
Failing Sight: Phos., Gels., Senega., China-Ars., Kali-p.,
Dribbling: Arnica, Bar.c., Caust., Clem., Dig. Or the indicated remedy.
Fleshy people with dyspnea: Kali.bi., Calc.c., Kali.c., Caps. Dig. Or the indicated remedy.
Cramps at night: Cupr. Salts, Calc.c., Mag.p.
Exostoses of bones, Bone-spurs: Aurum salts, Calc.c., Calc.fl., Hecla lava., Rhus.t., Sil.
Osteoporosis: Calc.c., Calc.fl., Calc.p., Sil., Symph.
Copious catarrh of old age, (Expectoration of copious loose phlegm): Ammoniacum, Hippozaenum, Senega, Ant-t. Or the indicated remedy.
Hypertrophy of the Prostate: Every person, after the age 60, should take Sabal Serrulata MT , drop doses, for one month, every half year. This will keep the gland in good trim and fitly working. I’ve laid down a program in my article: Look Younger, Live Longer, The Homeopathic Way, where I stated that every homeopath should take care of his aging patients, and ‘foreward’ them from all the expected difficulties and complications, on the basis of prophylaxis. For example, every patient of hepatic temperament or renal tendencies should be prepared to face the coming summer season by making his organs strong, by giving him organ-affinity drugs for few weeks, before the onset of summer; e.g. giving him Berb.v. MT, 5 to 7 drops twice a day, for a fortnight or a month. Thus you can save him from falling sick during the summer season.
Sexual weakness: Ph.ac. 3x, Agnus-c. 6c, Selenium 6x or 6, Caladium 30
ED: Difficult, Delayed or Partial Erections: BAR-C, Calc., Sel. Agn., Ph.ac., Cobalt.
Penis relaxed when excited: Calad.
Sexual desire increased with very weak erections: Calad., Chin., Selen. Viagra.
Viagra is the universally acknowledged remedy for this symptom. Praise should be done where it is due. But never use Viagra when there is fibrosis of the penis (peyronie’s disease). It will increase the penile deformity, in addition to causing pains.
It would be every clinician’s experience that old people beseech for medicines for the enhancement of sexual vigor; which shows that nobody, whatever the age, wants to remain complacent, so far as the sexual capability and vigor is concerned. Everybody hankers for this animal vigor. I’ve seen quite sane and reasonable people dying by swallowing nostrums got from the quacks, for this purpose.
Lust for sex is ubiquitous, sometimes robbing the person of sanity and sobriety. They commit blunders that tarnish their image in family and society. I would never advise a widower, in his seventies, ever to marry a young girl, even at the assurance of a Nash, touting Lycopodium, as a miracle drug to make a decrepit old person a sexual brute. Age gap cannot be flung over. You can suffer heart-attack trying to come up with the young mistress.
Youth once gone, is gone for ever;
Old age once arrived, never deserts.
It is an adage in Punjab:
Ja ke jo na aiey, wo jawani dekhhi; aur
Akey jo na jai, wo budhapa dekhha.
Nor should you marry a creaky old woman, because, by so doing, you’ll be carrying your cross on your shoulders, and will die a martyr on that cross, nails driven into your palms and soles. Live a life of an aging lion, referred to above; living a ‘detachedly-attached’ life; and die an honorable death.
Concluding my article I want to give the profession a red-letter warning. It has been experienced unlimited times that, at the death bed, in terminal cases, the patients mostly reveal Arsenic Album, as the most indicated remedy. If you want that your patient should live, never prescribe Arsenicum—it will act as euthanasia. This fact I realized, time and again, with much dismay. I now usually replace it with Chininum Ars. It works wonderfully. It works as Arsenic, as it was indicated, and, at the same time, as a tonic, to give a ‘pick-me-up’ to the patient. Many a time regarding a patient, at the death-bed, where I would expect a bad news coming to me anon, I had been awarded by the Providence with a phone call from the patient himself or herself, asking my advice as to the most proper diet for him or her, at that time. It would fill me with gratitude and solace to my soul, finding the patient still alive and asking me for food. God is great!
Similarly I would advise my colleagues to give a dose of Aconite to every heart-attack patient before transferring him to Cardiology. You’ll find, on reaching the hospital that your patient was already out of danger. To every patient who is dying of pangs of anxiety or fear of death, give a dose of Aconite without fail.