The chronic child.
By Herbert Alfred Roberts, M.D.
Theoretically, if we could have the child under homœopathic treatment from birth, and if we could govern diet, hygiene and environment as well, there would be little adult practice for us, Actually, there are other problems to consider, conditions over which we have little or no control ; and there is always the problem of our own insufficiency or lack of knowledge ; lack of understanding of the child’s actual condition, of his needs, of the needs of his parents or more distant ancestors ; and worst of all, too often lack of knowledge of our materia medica, its possibilities and how and when to utilize it.
Somewhere between the actual and theoretical lies the field of possibilities open to us ; it is to the extent that we avail ourselves of these possibilities that our success may be measured. We must face that there are always obstacles that may prove insurmountable ; there is the ever present probability of conditions beyond our control. There are hereditary tendencies that may be curbed but may not be eradicated in one generation. There are the problems of ignorance and poor environment and difficult financial conditions-too often a vicious circle. There are always those who are destined to rise strong and healthy from the worst environment and hereditary ; there always will be those who sink to a lower level, mental, physical and spiritual, from the best conditions.
If we could have an adequate endowment for homœopathic care of under-privileged children, who are sick of mind, body or spirit, we unquestionably could save many to useful futures who would be otherwise not only problem children but problem adults. If homœopathy were given a free hand in treating the chronic child, homœopathy could render tremendous service in spite of discouraging backgrounds.
Everything else being equal, we may assume that a sickly child prognoses a sickly adult ; that is, the chronic child becomes the chronic adult sufferer.
If the child’s need is met homœopathically early in life, whether this be the similar remedy or the similar disease, it will do much to correct the chronic tendency ; but the normal course of a similar disease all too often meets with suppression and the result is more deeply rooted chronicity. If we can teach the parents the dangers of suppression, and to comprehend that a succession of acute illnesses is in reality a chronic manifestation in ever-repeating and ever-varying forms, we shall have gone far toward laying a basis for constructive treatment of the chronic child.(suppression by using aspirin,antibiotics,steroids,vaccines)
Consider a typical history. At a very early age (3 months old vaccines)the babe presents feeding problems : the mother’s milk disagrees, or she may wish to avoid the trouble of nursing. If the child is taken to a clinic probably evaporated milk will be recommended as making the baby “fat and healthy”. Rapid gain in weight is a real danger in these days of baby clinics and the frequent comparison of weight with other babies. Presently a rash appears ; ointments are prescribed.Ear infections,constantly sick (vaccines are the onset of these problems).
If this is a successful suppression the next step may be bronchial “colds”. Probably the child has had a succession of nose colds for some time. Too often there is abnormal perspiration. If this rate of progress is maintained the child will be a confirmed chronic-probably asthmatic-by the time he is two years of age, and perhaps even before he reaches his first birthday. This picture is not an exaggeration, but the actual observation of case histories in many small patients who have been under popular treatment, either through clinics or under the care of intelligent but uninstructed allopathic physicians.
If the child survives puberty, when the hereditary taints will appear to add to the chaos, he will go on into adult life carrying an increasing burden and with a decreasing ability to participate in normal interests, unless he receives that help he so sadly needs.