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13 The stomach is girt about by the ribs, and in these also severe pains occur. And the commencement either is from a chill, or from a blow, or from excessive running, or from disease. But at times pain is all there is the matter, and this is recovered from be it slowly or quickly; at times it goes on until it is dangerous, and the acute disease arises which the Greeks call pleurisy. To the aforesaid pain in the side is added fever and cough; and by means of the cough, phlegm is expectorated when the disease is less serious, but blood when it is grave. At times also there is a dry cough without expectoration, which is worse than the former condition, and better than the latter. The aparo remedy for severe and recent pain is blood-letting; but if the case is either of a slighter or of a more chronic kind,[p. 407] then this remedy becomes either unnecessary or belated; and recourse is to be had to cupping after incising the skin. It is also appropriate to apply vinegar and mustard upon the chest until this raises ulcerations and pustulations, and then a medicament to draw out the humour that way. Besides the above the side should be first surrounded with a sheet of sulphurated wool; next, after the inflammation has subsided somewhat, have dry and hot foments applied to it. From these transition is made to emollients. If the pain persists for a longer time, it may finally be dispersed by resin plaster. Food and drink should be taken hot, avoiding cold. Along with the above treatment, however, it is not unfitting to rub the lower limbs with oil and sulphur. If the cough has been relieved, the patient should read a little out loud, and now take both sharp food and undiluted wine. Though such are what medical practitioners prescribe, yet our country people, lacking these remedies, find help enough in a draught of germander. The foregoing are the remedies common to all cases of pain in the side: there is more to do if this affection has also become acute. In such cases, besides what has been described above, attention must be given to the following: that the food be as thin and bland as possible, and gruel is most suitable, especially that made with pearl barley, or soup made by boiling a chicken with leeks, and this may be given, but only every third day, if the patient's strength permits of this; the drink should be hydromel in which hyssop or rue has been boiled. The times at which these should be given will become apparent from the way the fever increases or diminishes, so that it should be given when there is least fever, not forgetting,[p. 409] however, that a dry throat must not be combined with that kind of cough; for often when there is no expectoration, the cough is incessant and chokes the patient. On this account I stated above that a cough which brings up nothing is of a worse kind than that causing phlegm to be expectorated. But here the disease does not allow of wine being sipped as prescribed above (10.3); pearl barley gruel is to be taken instead. As these have to sustain the patient during the hot stage of the disease, as soon as there is a little remission, the diet can be increased and also some wine given, as long as nothing is given that will either chill the body or irritate the throat. If the cough persists in convalescence, it will be well on one day to omit the wine, and on the next to take a little extra wine with the food. And also at the beginning of a cough, as stated above, it is not amiss to sip cupfuls of wine; but sweet or at any rate light wine, is the more suitable in this kind of illness. If the malady has become inveterate the body must be strengthened by food fit for an athlete.
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