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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 33

Cases III., etc., or a Jumble of Trifles, Odds and Ends

page 17

Cases III., etc., or a Jumble of Trifles, Odds and Ends.

1. Horses' Hack.—On October 5th, my second son, Adam, came to me saying, 'Papa, the black pony is lame!' 'Lame!' said I, 'I never noticed any lameness about it.' 'Oh yes, it has been a little lame,' said he, 'for several mornings, when I take it out to water; but I think it is all owing to a "hack."' Sure enough, on examination, there was a hack on one of the forelegs, scarcely half an inch long indeed, but discharging matter, and quite enough to account for a trivial lameness. I caused him to cut off the hair, give the part a good washing, and then dry it well. I then applied one drop of the liquid sulphur (or condensed sulphur fumes, called sulphurous acid) taken from my spray-box. 'Now,' said I, 'we must apply this regularly morning and evening. I wish to see whether this, or our famous zinc-salve, be the quickest healer.' Next morning I lifted the horse's foot, phial in hand, to re-apply it. The hack was healed! the lips of the sore still gaping a little, but perfectly dry, and not the slightest trace of matter. The pony was never more heeded for several days, but constantly trotting through 'dub and mire' as usual, when I had the curiosity to lift the foot again to look at the hack. Nothing was seen but a little dry scurf, which I picked off with my nail.

Remarks.—Will grooms call this cure a trifle? Very doubtful. Is it really a trifle? As a cure of a sore, it may be so; but as a means of teaching physiological truth, it may yet turn out the most important discovery within the whole range of veterinary science. If 'itch' and 'hacks,' in point of origin, have a common parentage with cholera, diphtheria, rinderpest, glanders, etc. etc.; if a touch of sulphur cures both of such trifles in a twinkling; who can yet calculate what may be its effect in dealing with the various destroying angels that afflict the world?

Excoriated Nipples.—Some two days after this, a lady patient of mine, nursing a baby at the time, sent in to me one of my 'Nipple Lotion' bottles to be refilled with the same precious fluid. This 'lotion,' I may mention, is a stuff that has been prepared at my laboratory for years. And such fame did it acquire for the purpose intended (generally healing such sores within a week), that not only my own patients in this district, but ladies from all parts of the country (from even many miles beyond Glasgow) used to send for it. I positively believe, had I taken out a patent for it, my fortune might already have been amply made. Alas! Dewar, I owe him a grudge. I fear he has given my 'lotion' a death-blow. With a trembling hand, shrewdly suspecting what might be the result, instead of refilling the lotion bottle, I gave a few drops in a phial of the liquid sulphur, with the remark, 'Try that instead.'

It was only yesterday that I heard the result. The nipples were healed at once. 'By how many applications?' said I. A. 'Either by one or two, I forget which.'

Common Cold and Hoarseness.—On Saturday last, the 5th October, at 4 P.M., I was called to a house in Biggar to vaccinate a baby. While performing the operation (if vaccination can be called by such a grandiloquent term), in steps Miss——, the eldest daughter, all muffled page 18 up like a person under cold, and speaking hoarsely. Some five or six persons were present, who can speak to the truth of what follows. Q. 'How long have you been affected with cold, Miss——?'—A. 'For a whole week.' Q. 'Have you had a cough all the time?'—A. 'Yes, and quite stopped up in the nose.' Q. 'And always been as hoarse as that?'—A. 'Just much the same. 'Q. 'What will you give me to cure you in three minutes?' Great laughing and merriment at this proposal from all present, and a question from Miss——, 'How do you expect to do that, pray?'—A. 'Never mind; leave that to me. I undertake to do it, if you will only sing to me one verse of the Hundredth Psalm, to the tune of "Old Hundred."' The idea of singing in her hoarse condition only added to the merriment; but I wished to try the effect of the spray on the vocal chords of the human larynx, and insisted on my fee. This being agreed to, her brother went down for the instrument, which had arrived the day before. She had only finished one line of 'All people that on earth do dwell,' when I cried 'Stop! stop! you have given us plenty of such wretched singing. I take you all to witness what a harsh "roupit" voice this lady has.' I then gave several whiffs into her throat, telling her to inhale her breath while I did so; and concluded by a similar operation first to one nostril and then the other. Immediately afterwards I said, 'Well, how do you feel?' 'A little choky, I think,' was the answer. 'You are certainly speaking better at any rate,' said I. 'Are you still stopped in the nose?' To the amazement of herself and all present, the stopping of the nostrils was completely gone! 'Now sing,' said I, 'other two lines of the same Psalm.' She sang two lines in her usual sweet, clear, and musical voice, almost fit for a concert! To all appearance I had fulfilled my promise, only instead of taking three minutes to the task, it was done in a sixth part of the time!

This took place on Saturday at 4 P.M.; the case being nothing at all dangerous, and its cure only undertaken as a piece of pleasantry, I never intended to pay another visit. But late on Sunday night I had to see little baby Ovens beyond the toll-bar; and my friend, the father of the child, accompanied me home to take up some medicine. Having told him this story on our way down, Mr. Ovens was so surprised at it, that we both agreed to call at Mr.——'s in passing, he to inquire if the story was not exaggerated, and I to see if the cure had been permanent. To my disappointment, I found Miss——still a little hoarse, but nothing at all like the previous day. On expressing regret to find her cold not yet entirely gone, she said, 'The truth is, Doctor, I have myself to blame for it. I kept perfectly well the whole afternoon and evening, but late at night went out without any shawl on me. It was foolish, certainly, but I quite forgot that there was anything the matter with me. That may be one cause of the slight hoarseness; another may be that I have been at church to-day, both forenoon and afternoon.' And an intensely bitter cold day it was. 'And what about the cough?' It, too, was greatly better, notwithstanding the two exposures already adverted to.