Mr Kuma's problems with recurrent tonsillitis started in his thirties when he moved from his native Africa to Europe for a job. "I love working in the UK," he said, "but your English winter, it's killing my throat".
His health had always been excellent, and he considered himself quite hardy. In fact, he loved trekking in the outdoors, but the British cold did not agree with him at all.
As soon as the season turned from autumn towards winter, he would come down with full blown tonsillitis, often with two or three more bouts of it over the season before spring brought the warmer weather. It was happening every year like clockwork and after five years, and more antibiotics and days off sick from work than he cared to remember, he'd had enough.
He described his symptoms to me as he sat huddled up and shivering on the sofa, hugging a hot tea, scarf round his neck. First would come a rawness in his throat and raised glands beneath his jaw which "felt like small knots". Then he would get a short fever followed by a lasting chill right down to his bones, a throbbing headache in his temples that he couldn't shift, and shooting pains in his ears.
The tonsillitis was sometimes so painful he couldn't even touch his throat or turn his head to the sides without wincing. Swallowing was so difficult that all he could manage for sustenance was hot drinks or soups. Needless to say he had the usual ulcers and silvery grey coating at the back of his throat, and he reported his breath smelt pretty awful.
The fact that Mr Kuma's body managed a fever with each bout of tonsillitis was a good sign to me, showing his immune system still had the energy to put up a fight. I explained to Mr Kuma, however, that when a person has had a problem for so long, it may take some time to get the case sorted. He was sanguine, he'd tried everything else... let's get started. I prescribed Hep Sulph 200c which fitted the case and booked him in for a month's time, expecting slow progress.
Two hours later Mr Kuma called me, "Nothing happened." he said, "It didn't work". I patiently started to explain it can often take a few days for a remedy to act but, before I could finish, he declared "So I took another of your pills an hour ago, and you know what? It's gone, the tonsillitis has gone. No pain. It's a miracle!"
Delighted as I was to hear this news, I was skeptical; tonsil ulcers don't usually disappear just like that. But the pain had gone, and that was a very good sign. Leaving aside the possibility of any temporary placebo effect, I wanted to see Mr Kuma's throat improved for the long term before I was going to start celebrating. I asked him to stay in contact over the following winter months but each time he called he reported that his throat was feeling just fine.
I then didn't hear from Mr Kuma again until over two years later when I met him on the street. "How are the tonsils?" I asked. He beamed, gave me an uncustomary kiss then proudly announced he hadn't had a sore throat, let alone tonsillitis, since the day he came to see me. He now treks regularly through the winter months.
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