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27 The nearest danger is canker. This is recognized if the discharge, whether from the wound, or through the penis, is a malodorous sanies, also something of the nature of blood-clot, and thin bits of flesh like flocks of wool; and in addition to this if the margins of the wound become dry; if there is pain in the groins; if the fever does not subside and it increases at night, if there are irregular shivering-fits as well. We must examine in what direction the canker is spreading. If to the penis, that part becomes hard and red and is painful to the touch, and the testicles swell; if into the bladder itself, anal pain follows, the hips harden, the legs[p. 449] cannot be easily stretched. But if to either side, this fact is clear to the eyes, and the gangrene shows the same marks on both sides, but smaller on that less affected.— But first it is important that the patient shall lie properly, that is, that the same part should always be uppermost and that that should be the part where the disease is spreading. Thus if the direction is into the penis, the patient is laid on his back; if into the bladder, on his belly; if into one side, then he lies on the more sound one. Coming to the treatment, the man should be placed in a bath containing a decoction of horehound or of cyprus or of myrtle; and the same fluid boiled is injected into the wound with a syringe; then is put on a plaster of lentils with pomegranate rind, both of which have been boiled in wine, or a similar decoction of blackberry, or of olive leaves, or of other material which I have set out as suitable for arresting and cleaning wounds affected by canker. Dry medicaments of this sort may be blown in through a quill. When the gangrene begins to come to a standstill, the wound is washed with honey wine, but at this stage a cerate should be avoided, for by softening the tissues it predisposes to that very malady: we must rather smear on washed lead with wine, over that the same spread on linen. By such measures it is possible to effect a cure, but we must not ignore the fact that when canker has once started, the stomach is often affected, since the bladder is closely associated with it; hence, it happens that food is not kept down, or when it is retained, not digested, nor is the body nourished; and thus the wound cannot clean, nor gain flesh: and these facts necessarily hasten death. But while it is in no way[p. 451] possible to save such cases as these, yet a method of treatment should be observed from the very first for a long while, in which of course due regard must be had to food and drink. For at first only fluid food should be given; when the wound has cleaned food of the middle class; greens and salted fish are always unsuitable. The amount of drink should be moderate, for if too little is drunk, the wound becomes inflamed, the patient suffers from insomnia and gets weaker; if too much is drunk, the bladder fills frequently and so is irritated. It is too obvious to need repetition that nothing except water is to be drunk. Now it generally happens under such a diet that the bowels do not act. They are to be moved by a clyster containing either fenugreek or mallow. The same decoction mixed with rose oil is to be injected into the wound itself through an ear syringe whenever the urine causes irritation and stops the wound from cleaning. General all the urine escapes at first through the wound; then in the course of healing it divides, and part begins to pass through the penis until the wound has completely closed; and this occurs at times in the third month, at times not before the sixth month, and occasionally not for a year. And we need not despair of the firm healing of the wound, unless the neck of the bladder has been roughly ruptured, or when owing to gangrene many large portions of the flesh have sloughed away and some fibrous tissue too. But the greatest care must be taken that no fistula, or only a very small one, is left there. With this object as the wound tends to form a scar, the patient should lie with his thighs[p. 453] and legs stretched out, except only when the stones have been soft and sandy: for then the bladder is slower in cleaning itself: and so it is necessary to keep the wound open longer, and only when there is nothing more to come out of the bladder is the wound allowed to heal. If the margins of the wound stick together, before the bladder has been cleaned, and pain and inflammation recur, the wound should be reopened, either by the finger, or by the reversed end of a probe, in order that what is causing the pain may be let out; and after such evacuation, when for some time clear urine has passed, then at length cicatrizing applications are put on; and as prescribed above, the legs are kept extended with the feet close together as much as possible. But if there seems to be danger of a fistula, from the causes mentioned above, a leaden tube should be put into the anus to make the closing of the fistula easier, or at any rate to narrow it, whilst the legs are kept extended and the thighs and ankles tied together until the scar has assumed its final form.
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