Page:Thirty-five years in the East.djvu/55

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15
THIRTY-FIVE YEARS IN THE EAST.

I was called on to give my assistance on the commencement of an acute inflammation of the eyes to a lady of the first family, called the Sheikh Khoasni (nobility of ancient descent), where I tried the antiphlogistic plan in its full extent, namely :- bleeding, blistering, leeches, calomel, emetic tartar ( in minute doses), purgatives {vis, senna, manna, salt, &c. ), Dover's powders, different collyriums prepared from corrosive sublimate, plumbi acet., laudanum, camphor, rosewater, &c., without any positive result. One morning I found the lady a great deal better which I naturally ascribed to the good effects of my treatment. " No," said my patient, " I do not owe my conva- lescence to your remedies, but to the shoemaker Ibrahim; he called on us yesterday evening, and on viewing my sore eyes, he recognized it to be the habbet-ul-kei. He applied immediately the red-hot iron, and since that moment I am a great deal better and have enjoyed also a quiet night." I requested her to send for the ustad (master) Ibrahim, which she accordingly did, I asked him how he could know that the inflammation of the eyes was caused by the habbet-ul-kei ? He answered me, that it could be recognised by the following circumstances :—

1. Bleeding and all other treatments remain useless.
2. The patient has offensive breath, the spittle is tough
and stringy.
3. There is a local burning pain, tormenting the patient day
and night, which (according to his assertion) is the
surest symptom of the kei (burning).

Beside this, Ibrahim understood but little of other diseases ; nevertheless, no one should apply to him the Latin proverb, Ne sutor ultra crepidam (Let not the shoemaker go beyond his last).

The cauterium actuale was applied also to this lady, on the forehead, her hair having been previously cut very short. There is no doubt, that the effect of the red-hot iron is more violent and efficacious than that of a blister, and cannot be replaced by the latter, wherefore the Arabs apply it to men and animals, very often at the present day.