Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

rusty colored—sometimes of a bad smell, indescribable. The cough, which at first was curative, is now tearing, exhausting, and almost insupportable—aggravating every symptom, and wearing the patient to a welcome grave.

GENERAL HISTORY OP CONSUMPTION.

No two cases of this disease are precisely alike in every particular; yet, in general, the feelings and symptoms in its beginning, progress, and end, are as follows:

In nearly every case, Consumption begins with a slight, short, tickling cough in the morning; but as it occurs only now and then, and is so very slight, that only one or two efforts at coughing are made on getting up, it is not noticed at this stage; after a while, this cough occurs occasionally during the day; it may be next observed on lying down at night, or some minutes after being in bed; a single cough or two; coming on quite suddenly, as if produced by a particle of dust in the throat, from the pillow or bedding. Soon.the morning cough increases, and the night cough comes on regularly; damp weather, or a sudden spell of cold weather, increases it, and the person says he has " caught a cold, some how or other;" but it does not go off of itself, like a cold used to do; it " hangs on," and is increased by every slight change in the moisture or temperature of the atmosphere. The patient now begins to think he -had " better take something" for his cold. He might discover, however, by this time, that it does not affect him as a cold used to do; for several years ago, when he took a cold, he remembered that it made him "feel bad all over;" his appetite decreased; his nose would run almost constantly; occasioning a snuffling every few minutes, with a stopping up in the head; and he would cough, and cough hard, -any time during the day, spitting up more or less of heavy yellow matter; and ha describes himself as being " out of sorts;" but the cold he now has is quite a different thing; his head is not stopped up; his nose does not run; his appetite is quite good; he does not feel bad at all; he spits up no yellow matter during the day or night either; but he has simply a dry, short, tickling cough, which keeps him from going to sleep when he first gets into bed at night; and which comes on in the morning as soon as he gets up, and begins to stir about; and with the exception of this, when he goes to bed, and when he gets up, he says he "feels well enough," having no headache, no fever, no burning feeling about the nostrils, and repeats for the hundredth time, "if I could only get rid of this cough, I would be as well as I ever was in my life." He then determines to "take something." Every body has a prescription that cured such and such a one, who "had just such a cough, only worse and of a longer duration, and it is so simple that it could not possibly hurt any one." Some of these do no good whatever; others give relief, but soon appear not to have the desired effect, and something else is resorted to, with similar results. But long before this time, a practiced observef*will have noticed that other changes have been taking place; because, every hour, the disease has been digging its way deep down into the vitals. The pulse is more rapid than natural, has more of a quick, thread-like, spiteful beat; and too weak, besides; the patient is more easily tired than formerly, especially in going up stairs, or walking up a hill or gentle ascent; when he attempts to do any thing, he "gives out" sooner than he used to, causing him to have an occasional shortness of breath; about this time, he finds occasionally that he cannot take a full long breath as formerly; something seems to cut it short, leaving an unsatisfied feeling; his friends observe that he is as lively as usual, and indeed more so; he feels, and appears cheerful; and is quick in his movements; but before he does much, or walks far, he becomes very weak about the legs and knees; and there is a great craving for a place to sit down upon, and rest awhile; and if a sofa or bed is near, it feels at first so comfortable that he is inclined to stay there; now and then there is a feeling of weight in the breast, dull, heavy, or cold-like; if he leans forward much, his breast gives way; pains, more or less transient, or permanent, are felt in some part of the chest; often these are at the lower edge of the ribs; there is now an occasional feverishness; the bowels become costive and loose alternately; sometimes the feet or hands, or both, burn very much; at others, they are uncomfortably cold; the patient begins to think that he is " falling off" some; and turns to weighing himself with very unsatisfactory results; he perceives that although his appetite is quite good, his food does not seem to do him as much good as formerly; there is unusual thirstiness during some part of the day; if the weather is but a little cool, he gets very chilly; after a while, chills frequently run all over the body, and along the spine, without any apparent cause; an emotion of the mind, a drink of cold water, is sufficient to send a succession of chilly sensations all through the system; while these symptoms are presenting themselves, the original cough, although sometimes better, has, in the main, become decidedly worse, and continues from ten or fifteen minutes to two hours, according to circumstances; throwing the system into a nervous irritable condition; effectually preventing sleep for half the night, perhaps, when he falls into a doze from mere exhaustion; and in the morning he wakes up, pale and wan and haggard, without seeming to have derived any benefit whatever from his repose; and weak and wretched as he feels, the morning cough now attacks him, hard and dry at first, but in a few minutes he is relieved, by bringing up more or less of yellow matter, mixed with something of a whitish, frothy, bubbly character. Coughing comes on after meals, with heaving, and in some cases vomiting, although not specially attended with sickness at the stomach. As the disease progresses, he emaciates more and more, the weakness of the lower limbs increases, the amount of yellow matter expectorated becomes greater from day to day, while the frothy substance is less; there is more or less of thirst or chilliness between breakfast and dinner, with decided fever in the afternoon, which subsides during the fore part of the night, and goes off towards morning with a copious, exhausting, and death-like sweat, carrying damps and chilliness to the very heart. These sweats are accompanied or alternated, with frequent and thin, watery, light colored passages from the bowels, from two or three to a dozen or more in the twenty-four hours, attended sometimes with horrible griping pains in the bowels; at other times, there are dull pains in the muscles and bones of the limbs, occasionally almost insupportable. Even yet the patient may keep about, and appear quite cheerful; but his steps are slow, measured, and careful; his body bent forward; his shoulders inclining upon -tie breast, and towards one another; if he sits down a moment or two, his legs are crossed, his arras laid across his thighs, presses on his breast by leaning forward, and thus throws the whole strain and weight of the body upon it, hastening his death by imposing an unnatural and unnecessary weight on the struggling lungs, already enfeebled and wasted by disease; he begins now to feel best in bed, where he spends the greater portion of the twenty-four hours; his ankles swell, generally the left first, often extending to the feet and legs, sometimes painfully; he cannot walk with comfort; and soon his mother earth receives him to her bosom, where myriads of her weary children have already gone, to be wasted with sickness no more.

The Author has now given a parallel history of the three diseases, in the regular order of Throat-Ail, at the top of the windpipe, Bronchitis in the branches of the windpipe, and Consumption in the air cells at the extremity of the branches of the windpipe; and for the interest the fact will excite in all who have little children, he here states, that Croup, of which so many die in spring and fall, is a disease of the windpipe itself; as soon as the small blood vessels on its inner walls become clogged up, they begin to exude through their sides, the thinner, the more watery portion of the blood, this begins to harden and toughen at once, as the gum does, that oozes out on the bark of a tree, that is wounded or injured; and the windpipe of a child being small, it does not require much to fill it up, and the little sufferer dies of suffocation; and when the windpipe is cut open after death, its inside is found lined all around (as the spout of a tea kettle, in limestone districts, is with lime) with a leathery substance, which, to use a strong expression, is almost as "tough as a hide." The reader may now see the beautiful order, clearness and arrange

« AnteriorContinuar »