2012 July August
Mr Potato Head: a case of Doryphora
H.K. is a 4 ½ year old boy who came to the office with his mother and grandmother. I’m struck by how much the grandmother dotes on him, and how bossy he is to both of them during the visit.
He’s extremely large for his age; the word “beefy” comes to mind. He weighs 100 lbs, his head looks enormous to me and appears to sit directly on top of his shoulders with no intervening neck. His eyes protrude somewhat, his mouth is small and muscular, his teeth are very small, almost nubs, sporting quite a few silver caps. He walks into the office, sits in the center of the sofa, in a loose-hipped lotus pose. He immediately starts a conversation, using his hands to gesticulate. His voice is low and gravelly for such a young child, and his forehead wrinkles horizontally in deep furrows when he speaks.
The chief complaint as related by the mom is night terrors within an hour of going to bed at night. He wakes from sleep, screaming and running through the house. This storm usually lasts 10-20 minutes, after which he has no recollection. He says that sometimes he throws up from screaming so loud. He has never slept through the night.
He complains that his nose gets plugged at night, and "I keep losing my breath."
He doesn’t like to sleep in his room and spends most nights on the living room sofa. "In my room, I sleep on the floor under the window to get enough air. I also put a tarp in front of the door, in case anyone tries to break in I’ll hear them cause the plastic makes a wrinkly sound."
He sweats ‘horribly’ in his sleep, mostly on his head, kicks the covers off, drools profusely, and wears a diaper at night because he wets the bed. He often wakes up thirsty at 3 am. There’s a great deal of talking in his sleep.
He has a very strong gag reflex, and his sense of smell is heightened. "The smell of coffee makes me throw up. I don’t let anybody drink it around me."
He starts to tell me about when he was born, that he remembers his spine was ‘out’. I never really get clarification but get the impression he’s telling me he remembers the event.
Mother loved being pregnant – her husband wasn’t into it. Her membranes ruptured and was induced 3 days later as labor failed to progress and she was at term. At birth, was diagnosed with right-sided congenital hip dysplasia. At 2 ½ months, he contracted a severe case of chicken pox. His gums have always hurt, has had multiple caries and had dental surgery at age 2 to remove decayed teeth, replaced with silver caps. He was breastfed until 18 months. Has had otitis media 3 times for which he was treated with antibiotics. He’s left-handed, can experience itchy armpits, and was bitten by a cat last year. He vomits often. He loves to be massaged, although is feet are sensitive to being touched and can’t stand to have his fingernails cut.
Grandmother: "He’s very smart. When he started speaking it was in full sentences rather than single words. He’s often very demanding and rude, and if he feels he’s been wronged in some way, he becomes physically aggressive and retaliates with mean intent. He’s a perfectionist – gets frustrated and screams when things don’t go his way, and will often pound himself in the head when angry. He’ll start fights if he can’t have his own way."
"I broke a magnet once when I was angry, just snapped it with my hands."
He’s physically strong, but cautious.
"I think wolves are terrifying, and I have a phobia about going down the stairs."
His mother says it’s very easy for him to get overstimulated, although he’s a jokester with a great sense of humor. He definitely needs to be the center of attention….. and he’s a mama’s boy. He does a lot of faking; pains, etc., to get attention. He definitely does not play well with other kids. He can be really loud, as you can see.
H. talks about death a lot. There’s also an uncanny connection with his paternal grandfather, who died last February, and with whom he has conversations, he says. He can have deep conversations for such a young child.
Mother has given Belladonna for circumstances where she felt his nervous system was ‘on screech’. "His metabolism is so high that he’s out of control. He’s easily overstimulated, but is constantly looking for stimulation. This alternates with a very tender side."
‘Sometimes my head feels too full, like there’s too much in it; it confuses my brain." He’s rubbing his mother under her chin…tells me he likes her boobies. His speech is peppered with bathroom talk, and since neither of the adults attempts to address it, I assume they’re picking their battles.
‘Sometimes my spine feels numb and my fingers tingle.’
His favorite foods are raw meat, chocolate, and crunchy vegetables. He‘s not interested in squash, mashed potatoes or onions. He eats really well and has no dairy in his diet, just rice milk. I’m surprised to hear this, since I expected from his size that his diet might consist of a lot of sweets and fast food.
"I love snakes and bugs and want to learn about plants. I love to plant the garden. I love going fishing and want to go hunting and camping with my dad. Being outside in the country and going to the ocean are my preferences. I also really like projects and playing with rope which I can make into things."
He has a bowel movement almost every day between 3:30-4pm; he’ll throw up if he hasn’t gone.
Mother relates that his father has split 10 times since H was born. The first time H was 2 ½ - 3 months old; his father couldn’t stand to see him with chicken pox.
Her husband’s very intelligent, and has a problem with alcohol. Has been suicidal in the past, as was his mother, and an uncle did commit suicide. He had an appendectomy at age 9. H volunteers that his father likes to pick his nose.
Grandmother reports that his mother had high fevers as a baby, and was often overly emotional and hysterical, and had an incident of purpura as a child. Three years before H’s birth. She herself had right sided ovarian cysts, as did her daughter. ‘There’s a lot of fear and neurosis in our family, along with hypertension and heart disease. My mother had 21 nervous breakdowns. Also, my daughter has a drinking problem, though she’d never admit it.’ Mom has had recurring strep throat, tonsillitis, and a osteomyelitis of the jaw a few years before H as born; "I almost died from it."
Assessment: This little boy’s precocity and size were unusual for his age. His night terrors were characteristic of the Solanaceae, but other factors in the case spoke more to an insect remedy; feigning illness, enuresis, protruding eyes, sensitivity to pain. The mother’s history of streptococcal infections and his severe rash at 2 months encouraged searching the rubric ‘erysipelas’ as an essential part of the case. The remedy made from the Colorado potato beetle, Doryphora, proved to cover his bloated appearance, shrieking during sleep, enuresis, easy vomiting and violent outbursts.
Following the 200c, his sleep normalized, behavior calmed and attitude towards others became sweeter. He removed the tarp from his bedroom and began sleeping in his own bed…no longer a couch potato! After 6 months, he had dropped a considerable amount of weight.
Nancy Frederick lives, practices and is the founder of the Baylight School of Homeopathy in Portland Maine.
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