Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/55

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45
BODILY CONDITIONS — MENTAL STATES.

got through with the case. But it was all the more instructive on account of my ignorance, as will be seen in its relation; so I give the case more in detail than is necessary in most of these illustrations.

I found her with the right shoulder drawn forcibly upward, firmly fixed in that position, and very sensitive to handling. Supposing that it might be a sprain, and not wishing to treat such cases, 1 recommended her to apply to the late Dr. E. R. Peaslee, which she did. One year from the first visit she reappeared in a very sad plight indeed. I found the shoulder drawn up still higher than before, and so firmly fixed that the elbow could not be removed from the side of the body more than three or four inches. She looked haggard and worn out, and she reported her sufferings as having been and being very intense. The history intervening between the two visits was, that Dr. Peaslee had given her some liniments, and, after a while, seeing that she did not regain the use of her arm, he sent her to a professional "rubber," who had used a great deal of disagreeable, violent, and painful manipulation. Finding herself becoming steadily worse, at the end of a year she had returned to me. I immediately sought Dr. Peaslee, and together we made a new examination. We found the large pectoral muscle shortened and enlarged to twice its natural size, and the arm so firmly bound down that it was with difficulty that she got her clothing on. After several consultations, we resolved to etherize her and endeavor to stretch the shortened muscles. The plan was, to make an apparatus which should hold the muscles we were to stretch, under ether, in an extended position, for a certain length of time, and thus relax them. The operation was accordingly performed, and all the force consistent with safety to the bone was used, but without appreciable effect in relaxing the great pectoral muscle. The operation was therefore abandoned as a failure. We then considered the propriety of dividing the tendon of the great pectoral; but, as that was a novel suggestion, a consultation was called, Dr. A. C. Post, of this city, and the late Dr. Alden March, of Albany, being the surgeons selected.

The lady had come under the influence of ether with difficulty, and was very much prostrated by it; so that it was over one month after the attempted stretching of the muscle before the consultation was held at the lady's house in Brooklyn. The lady was still in bed, but, after explaining the case, she was got up, when, to our utter astonishment, we found the muscles completely relaxed and the arm perfectly free to move in every direction. Exactly three years after these events, this lady's brother called on me one evening, saying that he had just made an appointment with Dr. Peaslee — who was on the eve of starting for Europe — to meet me at his sister's house the next evening for the purpose of operating on her other arm, which had in the mean time, he said, become affected precisely as the right arm had previously been. It had been affected for a year, but his sister had kept the fact to her-