By Vera Resnick
The hypochondriac puts his case thus:
I am a hypochondriac. (only.. they never say this).
Hath not a hypochondriac eyes? (which seem to burn every 10 minutes, and then feel cold, so strange…)
Hath not a hypochondriac hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions, and aches and pains in parts of the body no physician seems to have heard about?
Fed with the same food (although that’s not really true, we can’t eat meat…or dairy….or canned food…or raw food…or those funny shaped string beans that you can only get in gourmet supermarkets…), hurt with the same weapons (plus a few creative ones invented by people we once thought were our friends), subject to a whole slew of diseases that mankind never heard of but they are the same diseases as yours only different, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a normal healthy person is (except of course for Bognor Regis in the spring and Calcutta in midwinter, where we come out in an odd green-coloured rash that nobody has ever seen before)?
If you prick us do we not bleed? Oddly tis true, sometimes in drops, sometimes in smears and sometimes in odd little puddles all over the place (well in 2mm diameter spots, we measured).
If you tickle us do we not laugh? Especially if you tickle us on that strange spot exactly in between the second and third finger on the left hand, just above the wrinkle on the knuckle, always ticklish, that spot, must be useful for a homoeopathic prescription.
And when we laugh, well there’s that odd feeling in between the 5th and 6th rib on the right hand side, or is it the 4th and 5th rib, which extends into the large toe on the left foot.
If you poison us do we not die? (Homoeopath: My God he’s reading my mind…)
And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?…Why, revenge! The homoeopathy you teach us, looking for every rare strange and peculiar symptom we can come up with, and we can come up with quite a few, believe me, that homoeopathy we will execute through our manifold, diverse and fascinating complaints.
We will pull you away from correct prescribing and make you believe it’s only the odd symptoms that count, the stranger the better, we will take you away from orderly case analysis. It shall go hard on the homoeopath but we will better the instruction – we will become your teachers….
Hahnemann on Hypochondria: Aphorism 96:
Besides this, patients themselves differ so much in their dispositions, that some, especially the so-called hypochondriacs and other persons of great sensitiveness and impatient of suffering, portray their symptoms in too vivid colors and, in order to induce the physician to give them relief, describe their ailments in exaggerated expression.
Footnote: A pure fabrication of symptoms and sufferings will never be met with in hypochondriacs, even in the most impatient of them – a comparison of the sufferings they complain of at various times when the physician gives them nothing at all, or something quite unmedical, proves this plainly; – but we must deduct something from their exaggeration, at all events ascribe the strong character of their expressions to their expressions when talking of their ailments becomes of itself an important symptom in the list of features of which the portrait of the disease is composed.