Poisoned by art
David was never a patient of mine, in fact he was a firm skeptic when it came to homeopathy but he was a good friend. He was an even better art restorer who spent most of his day locked in a darkened room with masterpieces and sculptures in need of some TLC. Due to come over to my place for dinner one evening, he called in the afternoon to say he had to take a rain check, he was feeling really ill. Sorry.
When I inquired further, he laughed, saying "Don't you start homeopathising me!" I begged his indulgence and managed eventually to tease his symptoms out of him. "Mouth ulcers, everywhere, and I'm drooling like an idiot." It turned out he'd been feeling rough for a week or so before the ulcers appeared. He was generally exhausted and he felt some kind of flu bug had got a hold of him although it just didn't seem to want to arrive. He was having night sweats though and was unusually thirsty all the time as well. "Honestly, it feels like I've been poisoned".
"What work are you doing at the moment?" I probed. It turned out he'd been working on location in a chapel restoring an ancient ceiling mural. 'I'm lying on my back all day on scaffolding, so I shouldn't be so tired!" he moaned. I told him to come over anyway, I'm sure I could find a remedy for him. If David hadn't needed to be back at work the next day he may have declined, but as a freelancer he needed a quick fix. He was prepared to give anything a go.
When he appeared at the door he really did look ill, pale faced (apart from the paint in his hair) and his eyelids were red and slightly swollen. When he told me he had a horrible metallic taste in his mouth, I knew what to do.
"I think you have been poisoned. What's in the paints you're restoring?" I asked. "They're lead based, but I'm wearing gloves, a mask and goggles, so it can't be that. What are you going to give me, lead?" While homeopathic lead (Plumbum) did indeed seem like a good idea, it was in fact the remedy Mercury, another metal, that fitted his symptoms. I gave him a dose on the spot and sent him off with more to take if he needed it and a hint that covering his hair at work might be a good idea.
Two days later he called, reluctantly admitting that within 24 hours of the remedy all his symptoms had started improving. He was back at work now and feeling fine, although he was now wearing a scarf over his hair, "It looks daft but better safe than sorry."
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