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PROLOGUE TO · THE DUCHESS OF MALFY'
WHEN Shakespeare soared from life to death, above
Things foul or frail his touch made strong and pure,
ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE.
THE OPEN-AIR CURE OF CONSUMPTION 1
A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
In an article, Tuberculosis in Man and Beast,' in this Review for October, Sir Herbert Maxwell has made a clear and telling statement of the case in favour of immediate action being taken to combat the terrible disease, tuberculosis in cattle, which so affects the interests of man.
In his paper he brings together all that is supposed to be known about the disease, but stops short of suggesting any means of suppressing and eradicating it. The best he has to offer is the system of partial isolation—which is really no isolation at all—of unsound from sound animals as carried on in Denmark. The sound and unsound animals are kept under the same roof and are separated only by a movable partition. If such a system were adopted it would do harm rather than good, for such half-measures would only prevent more radical steps, which are an absolute necessity, being taken.
It may not be out of place here for me to make my excuses for taking it upon myself to write on this subject. As Sir Herbert Maxwell puts it, a layman speaking to laymen may be more easily understood than a scientist; and with laymen it finally rests whether any steps are to be taken in such matters or not.
I may be qualified in a degree to speak, since from my training as a chemist I may not be quite so ignorant of the subject as I otherwise might have been, and, moreover—and this to me is excuse enough for writing--I have myself been a consumptive, affected with acute phthisis, and yet have been perfectly cured by the rational treatment which I will afterwards try to explain. I therefore think that I am to some extent entitled to speak, since I know, from my own case, more about this disease than most scientists could possibly know by theory, for I have found out, by bitter experience, what are the best possible things for consumptives, and what the worst possible. Indeed, I could not help
[This article was in type before the recent meeting at Marlborough House under the presidency of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales in support of the National Association for the Prevention of Consumption and other forms of Tuberculosis.' All who are interested in the subject (and who is not ?) should read the report of that meeting in the Times and other newspapers of the 21st of December 1898 ED. Nineteenth Century.]
writing. For three years I have watched the blind gropings after the truth of the most learned scientists in this country. I have watched the half-truths they have--not discovered—but been driven by Continental scientists to acknowledge, and the wrong positions they have taken up, while all the time thousands were dying who might have been saved, and I could keep silent no longer.
Perhaps the best way for me to treat the subject is to start with my own case, and then to show how it is possible to save practically every consumptive person in this country, if only public interest could be aroused, and the necessary means employed to bring about a result so desirable from every point of view.
In the summer of 1895 I completely broke down in health. was at that time twenty-eight years of age. I must have been ill for some very considerable time—perhaps eighteen months or two Fears—without realising the cause of my excessive languor and weakness. I was examined by Drs. A. B. Mitchell and Whitla of Belfast, who both told me the same thing—that my case was very desperate, that I was suffering from acute phthisis. My weight, as taken by Dr. Whitla at that time, was 9 st. 7 lb. I was ordered to stop work and go into the country to live, and to have complete rest. No one, myself least of all, ever expected to see me well again. At first I got considerably worse.
Weakness became more apparent, night sweats more copious, cough more severe, and throat, &c., infamed. I set my house in order, believing firmly that my days were numbered, and that they were few. Gradually, however, I began to gain weight, owing to the nourishing food provided for me by my friends. I should think that during the three months I stayed in Ireland I drank more than half a gallon of milk every day. When I had been three months in the country a friend advised me to go to Nordrach, in the Black Forest, where he had himself been, and where he had received more good and made more progress in a few months than be had in the previous seven years, during which, as I knew, he had been ill of phthisis. He had been two voyages to the Cape, two winters at Davos, and in fact had tried every known remedy and treatment without any result. Then he heard of Nordrach, where he finally got cured. He is now quite well and strong, is living in England winter and summer, and attending to his busiDess. I decided to give Nordrach a trial, for, from what my friend said of the treatment there and of its results, I could well believe that it was the most likely way of effecting a cure, if the cure of such
a disease were possible.
I arrived at Nordrach early in October 1895. My weight was 138 lb., or 9 st. 12 lb.
I left Nordrach towards the end of January 1896–in three and a half months—quite cured. During that time I had gained almost 3 st. in weight. On my return weighed 176 lb., or 12 st. 8 lb., and my chest measurement
had increased 6 inches. I here give my weight and gain per week during the progress of my cure.
First week, the 12th of October, 1895, 138 lb. or 9 st. 12 lb.; second week, 143 lb.; third week, 147 lb.; fourth week, 149 lb.
; fifth week, 153 lb.; sixth week, 157 lb.; seventh week, 160 lb.; eighth week, 163 lb.; ninth week, 165 lb. ; tenth week, 168 lb.; eleventh week, 168 lb.; twelfth week, 169 lb.; thirteenth week, 170 lb.; fourteenth week, 173 lb.; fifteenth week, 174 lb.; sixteenth week, the 24th of January, 1896, 176 lb. or 12 st. 8 lb.
Since that time, now almost three years ago, I have kept in perfect health and maintained a weight of from 12 st. 4 lb. to 12 st. 7 lb., at which figure I at present turn the scales. It is certainly a : struggle to get up one's weight, but when that has been accomplished one has only to eat a normal amount to maintain it. I have now of course no cough, my lungs are quite healed and not a trace of tuberculosis left, and I am quite as likely to remain sound as any person who has never been affected-more likely, I think, because I know how to live and what to avoid. I have since my return been examined by doctors who knew me before and during my illness, and they have all pronounced me perfectly sound. Quite lately, in July, before the British Medical Association in Edinburgh, some of the greatest authorities on the chest examined me and found my lungs quite healed and in a healthy condition. If my case were an isolated one it would convince nobody, some other cause would be adduced to account for the recovery, but it is also the case of hundreds of others who have been perfectly cured at Nordrach, and who have been fitted again to take their part in the work of life. I may say that I have worked as hard since my recovery as ever I did in my life, but with considerably altered methods, and with a deal more care to the essentials of rest and nourishment, and the avoidance of the things—such as impure airwhich tended to bring about my breakdown. I may mention that the windows of my house are never closed, but are kept open winter and summer, with nothing but the best results; that I never wear an overcoat or carry an umbrella in the wettest or coldest weather ; and that I have been drenched dozens of times without changing my clothes or catching a cold. This generally is the mode of life followed by those who have been to Nordrach. Before going there they are weakly, dying consumptives; on their return they are strong, hardy and healthy men and women, capable of standing any climate—and climate certainly has nothing to do either with the cause or the cure of consumption-provided they lead the reasonable lives that all of us, strong and weak alike, should lead. It may be said that these cures are not permanent; but it is in their permanency that they are so different from many improvements in condition received elsewhere, which seldom last. Cases that were cured ten years ago, when Dr. Walther first started his treatment at Nordrach, still