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APPENDICITIS

    Symptoms.--There is discomfort in the right anterior abdominal region. There may be a slight sensitiveness on pressure near the navel. The discomfort may have been coming and going for some time, and one doctor has suggested a possible involvement of the appendix; another may be quite sure of appendicitis; all agree that an operation should be performed. The operation is performed--of course it is; for you cannot beat the game of operating.

    Cause.--The patient is not any better after the operation--of course not. Why should he be? The operation did not remove the cause. Indeed, the medical wiseacres never gave any thought to cause. In this they thought to beat nature. But it cannot be done. Nature sent out her edict at the beginning of time: Cause must be removed to cure effects. There never has been an exception, and never will be, the daily behavior of the entire medical profession to the contrary notwithstanding.

    There never has been, and never will be, a case of appendicitis that has not been preceded by gastro-intestinal catarrh, with indigestion and distention from gas. The catarrhal bowels are sensitive, and, when distended with gas, there may be much or little pain. When the pain is great, few escape operations. But no cures are made. Those whom the undertaker does not get drift to the scrap-pile labeled incurable. To cure disease by removing effects cannot be done. It is a game which the best cannot beat.

    When an abscess forms, involving the appendix, the natural course, if not meddled with--examined and re-examined or burst by the examiner's fingers--will be a natural and normal opening into the intestine. Where the pus fails to take this course--or, to state it differently, where nature is not frustrated in her efforts at establishing drainage at a point of least resistance by getting rid of the pus accumulation through the bowel--it is because of malpractice by meddlesome examiners' 'bull in a china shop' methods.

    Treatment.--To illustrate this point: About a year ago a mother brought in her arms to my office a boy about seven years old. She took him out of one of the hospitals, where the surgeons had declared that he must be operated upon at once. On examination, I found a walled-off pus-sac in the region of the appendix. I did not dig in with my fingers to satisfy myself just how large, or to satisfy a morbid curiosity in seeing how much resistance there was, etc. I palpated and examined very gently, and found a walled-off abscess as large as a goose egg. With all the physics, attempts at moving the bowels, and manipulative examinations, the boy was still within the possibilities of the disease ending in a natural way. I told the mother to carry her boy home. If there was a temperature amounting to 103 degrees, she must put ice on the abdomen; with a temperature less than that, she was to keep warmth to the abdomen and warmth to the feet. Nothing but water was to be given daily, without force, to clear the bowels below the cut-off. By this I mean that the swelling and distention had collapsed the bowels in that region, so that there was nothing passing down from above.

    I requested the mother to report every two or three days. I told her to let the boy rest without disturbance to be kept absolutely quiet in bed.

    I heard nothing more from the case for about two months. Then the mother came and brought a lady to see me, whom she had encouraged to come to get my advice. But, before going into any further conversation, I insisted on her telling me about her boy. I reminded her that she had not reported to me for further advice. Her answer was that he rested quietly, that she had followed the instructions to the letter, and that in about seven days after she was in the office he had a copious evacuation from the bowels, which was largely pus, mixed with blood and fecal matter. One or two movements had cleared the bowels out. I had told her that when the bowels moved well she might feed the child orange juice. She had kept him on the oranges for two days, and then fed him lightly for a week. And that was all there was to the case. I have seen many similar cases come to just such an ending. It is possible to have all appendicular abscesses end in that way by doing nothing scientifically. What is science? Truth.

    Meddlesome and vicious examinations are the cause of about all ills resulting from appendicular abscesses. Hundreds of cases come to my office every year complaining of exactly the same pains that they had before they were operated upon for the removal of their appendices. The truth is that they did not have appendicitis, acute or chronic; but they did have gastro-intestinal catarrh and the accompanying indigestion.

    What is the trouble? Gastro-intestinal catarrh. What is chronic appendicitis? Chronic gastrointestinal catarrh. The aggravating cause is excessive starch-eating. Operations for the chronic, and most operations for the acute, are malpractice. Of course, when vicious treatment and nursing, with meddlesome examinations, have caused an abscess to burst into the peritoneal cavity, it is a very serious affair. The abdomen must be opened, cleared out, and properly drained; and patients should be fasted during the time that the healing is taking place. A lack of understanding of the symptoms-complex diagnosed appendicitis is the cause of the frenzied haste and hysteria surrounding such cases.

    I know from years of experience, 'watchful waiting,' and let-alone treatment that it is not a serious disease, and that it is one which does not occur very often without officious meddling.









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