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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 33

Case XI.—Hœmorrhoids or Piles of several years' duration (Nov. 3)

page 39

Case XI.—Hœmorrhoids or Piles of several years' duration (Nov. 3).

A lady patient of mine, of sedentary habits, has been afflicted with piles for three or four years, not at all times alike, but often bleeding, festering, and extremely painful during that period. Concealing her complaint long, the disease went to such a height, that two months ago she consulted me and submitted to an examination. I found them swollen, inflamed, and painful to the touch; told her that an operation was her only chance; and intending to send her to Professor Syme if necessary, I offered in the meantime to apply a ligature to the more prominent as a means of affording temporary relief. She agreed to this; but first I put her on some sulphur and cream of tartar internally, and advised the frequent application of either warm or cold water cloths, as she found most suitable. This treatment doing some good, the ligature was never yet applied. Three weeks ago she took a dish containing burning sulphur, and contrived by some convenient apparatus to have the fumes applied directly to the parts every night before going to bed. After the third or fourth application all bleeding and festering ceased, and the pain became greatly relieved. To-day (3d November) she is all but perfectly cured. There are still some remains of the piles, but nothing to give her any inconvenience. Probably a little spray would have been equally effectual. On asking her what superior skill had put her up to such a plan, she said, 'No doctor's skill at any rate, but that of Mr. J——N——,' mentioning the name of a shrewd old Biggar mason. In less than three minutes I was in the mason's house, and found to my surprise that he had never heard the name of Dr. Dewar. An old 'pensioner body' on the bounty of the Castle-Craig family had told him of this in the year 1803! Since then he had recommended it in 'scores' of cases, and never once knew it fail either in making a cure, or at least 'durring,' i. e., soothing the pain very quickly. I told the gentleman that his name might yet live, long after he was dead, as the 'Biggar Mason.' 'But, you old rascal!' I continued, 'why did you not tell me this thirty years ago, and save the world from many a groan, long before "Dewar" or "chloroform" was heard of?'—A. 'You laugh so much at "old wives' cures," I never thought it worth my while.' He then repeated the names of many parties who had used it.

Note.—When the first edition came out, some true friends of mine, of taste and refinement, seriously objected to this case being introduced into a popular pamphlet. 'What!' said I, 'must etiquette then be the grave of usefulness? and must secretly suffering multitudes not be relieved lest a false delicacy be offended?' The following letter, I think, from a most respectable lady, and published by permission, is a sufficient answer:—

'——18th Nov. 1867.

'Sir,—It may gratify you to learn that the reading of your pamphlet has enabled me to cure myself of bleeding piles by two applications of a sulphur lotion, furnished by you for a neighbour's sore hand. The first application caused great smarting for about fifteen minutes; then all pain left, and perhaps the second dose was needless, but I put it on.—Yours most gratefully,

'To Dr. Pairman, Biggar.' '————.'

Note.—This lotion consisted of—Sulphurous Acid 2 oz., Glycerine ½ oz., Water 2 oz. Mix.