63-year-old Ron had been battling a bone infection for the past 19 years. It began with a motor vehicle accident in which several ribs plus an arm were fractured and his left thigh bone (femur) shattered. The breaks in his ribs and arm healed uneventfully but an infection took root in his femur that his doctors struggled to treat.
A bone infection, known as osteomyelitis, is most commonly caused by bacterial contamination during injury or surgery. The symptoms include a general feeling of unwellness, bone pain, muscle spasm, fever, and a pustular discharge that regularly escapes from the infected bone via a sinus opening onto the skin. This discharge often contains slivers of dead bone.
Conventional medicine treats osteomyelitis with prolonged intravenous antibiotics and bedrest. At times, surgery may be necessary to scrape and remove the dead bone, tissue and pus. Because bone has a limited blood supply it is difficult to get the antibiotics to the seat of infection. As a result, osteomylelitis is often a severe and difficult condition to treat and may last a lifetime. This was certainly true in Ron’s case.
Ron’s treatment following his accident started well; doctors operated on his femur and joined it together with a strip of metal and screws (pin and plate) so that new bone could grow and the fracture heal. But a week later, Ron developed a fever and increasing leg pain. His doctors ordered a scan which showed osteomyelitis – an infection had entered his bone at the time of surgery. Ron was immediately started on intravenous antibiotics via a drip in his arm. The pin and plate, now acting as a home for the bacteria, was removed.
In the years following, Ron underwent nine separate operations on his leg. On each occasion, the dead flesh and bone was scraped away and intravenous antibiotics given. For Ron, this involved considerable pain, lengthy stays in hospital, and disruption to his work and family life. Because the ongoing infection had weakened the bone, his femur even re-fractured at one stage.
Ron arrived for his first homeopathic appointment following a particularly damaging and unsuccessful round of antibiotics given for a flare-up of his osteomylelitis. Because of their toxicity they had been used as a last resort but were stopped because of the damage they caused to his liver. With little hope but a lot of encouragement from his daughter, Ron decided to see what homeopathy could do.
Ron arrived for his appointment, walking with a limp, with two sinuses discharging watery grey fluid, and feeling unwell. He told me that small bits of bone were being flushed out with the discharge. As I asked some questions and listened to what Ron told about his infection and other problems, a symptom-picture emerged of the likely remedy for returning Ron to health.
Apart from the osteomyelitis symptoms, he experienced heartburn following his evening meal; had hot flushes that rose to his head and caused him to perspire; hot feet that he poked out from under the bed covers at night; a frequently numb right hand, and sleeplessness in which he would get up for several hours each night and eat from hunger. Ron also enjoyed his beer, disliked cats, and avoided fans and drafts. Based on this combination of symptoms, I prescribed the indicated homeopathic remedy, a dose twice a week.
Two weeks later, Ron arrived for his first follow-up appointment with a smile on his face. For first time in 19-years he was pain-free and walking without a limp. His discharge had significantly lessened and there was a 60% improvement in his sleeplessness. The numbness in his hand occurred less often and for shorter periods, and his heartburn was greatly improved. He said, for the first time in years, he felt well.
Ron continued to improve over the course of the next few weeks – in fact, his improvement was startling, even by homeopathic standards. His heartburn, numbness and insomnia ceased completely and the discharge from his thigh stopped. Six weeks later, his GP and specialist gave him a clean bill of health. As he said to me at his final appointment, “Time for a holiday and back to the fishing.”