This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
19 That kind of affection which the Greeks call cardiac is a complete contrast to the foregoing[p. 305] diseases, although insane persons often pass over into it; in those the mind gives way, in this it holds firm. Indeed the illness is nothing other than excessive weakness of the body, which, while the stomach is languid, wastes away through immoderate sweating. And it may be recognized at once by the exiguous and weak pulsation of the blood vessels, while sweat, at once unaccustomed and excessive and untimely, breaks out all over the chest and neck, and even over the head, the feet and legs remaining more dry and cold; and it is a form of acute disease. The primary treatment is the application over the chest of repressant plasters; the secondary, to stop sweating. The latter is accomplished by bitter olive oil, or rose or quince or myrtle oil, with any of which the body is to be lightly anointed, then a salve made up of any of them is to be applied. If the sweating wins, the patient is to be smeared over with gypsum or litharge or cimolian chalk, or even powdered over with the same at intervals. A powder consisting of the pounded leaves of dried myrtle or of blackberry, or of the dried lees of dry and good wine, attains the same end; there are many simple materials, and if these are not at hand, it is useful enough to scatter on any dust from the road. In addition to this, moreover, in order that he may sweat less, the patient should be lightly covered and lie in a cool room, with the windows open, so that some breeze reaches him. A third aid is to help his weakness whilst in bed by food and wine. The food, whilst not much in quantity, should be given often, as well by night as by day, so as to nourish without becoming onerous.[p. 307] It should consist of the weakest class of materials and should be suitable to the stomach. Unless there is necessity, it is not well to hurry on to wine. But when fainting is apprehended, then there is given both bread crumbled into the wine and wine by itself dry indeed yet thin, undiluted, lukewarm, at intervals liberally, and if the patient is taking but little food, polenta may be scattered into the wine; and that wine should not be lacking in strength, yet not over-strong the patient may properly drink three quarters of a litre, and even more if of large build, in the course of a day and night: if he does not take his food, the patient should be anointed, should have cold water poured over him, and after that be given food. But if the stomach has become relaxed and retains but little, let the patient vomit as he will, whether before or after food, and after vomiting take food again. If even after that food is not retained, he should sip a cupful of wine, and another after the interval of an hour. If the stomach returns this wine also, he should be rubbed all over with pounded onions, which as they dry cause the stomach to retain the wine, and as a result, cause heat to return throughout the body, and a forceful pulsation to the blood vessels. The last resource is the introduction into the bowel from below of barley or spelt gruel, since that too supports the patient's strength. Should he feel hot, it is not inappropriate to hold to his nostrils a restorative such as rose oil in wine; if he has cold extremities, they should be rubbed by hands anointed and warmed. If we can by these measures obtain a diminution in the severity of the sweating, and a prolongation of life, time itself now begins to come to our aid. When the patient appears to have reached[p. 309] safety, rapid release into the same state of weakness is still to be feared; hence along with a gradual withdrawal of wine, the patient ought each day to take stronger food, until a sufficiency of bodily strength is gained.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.