Thirty degrees of the red tranquillity.
Olga A. Fatula, MD.
Mr. V.A., 72 years old came for the first consultation on 8 February 2002, accompanied by his wife. He is an artist by profession, well recognised in the professional circles in Russia.
He was fairly tall, dark-haired. He looked strikingly exhausted; his face was gravely pale.
It was not an easy interview for a few reasons. Firstly, he spoke in a very weak voice, with much difficulty. Secondly, the patient had problems with hearing, he almost did not hear me and frequently turned his head towards his wife who repeated my questions close into his ear. Thirdly, his wife frequently intervened into the conversation and V.A. seemed to be pleased not having to talk. The only time when his eyes and voice showed a trace of enthusiasm was during his description of the artwork.
His main problem over the last two years was, brachycardia with the pulse dropping to 55-40 bpm. He had daily heart atatcks with severe pains. The heart seizures occurred mainly in the evening. Medical examinations revealed an impaired cardiac function; the patient was on the list for a heart surgery in a well-known Moscow-based hospital. The operation was scheduled for September 2002.
He described his pain in the heart as constricting; it extended to the whole left side of the chest. During attacks he felt a shortage of breath. An attack was accompanied by a livid paleness of the face, strong tremor, coldness of legs and arms. During such seizures the patient felt powerless and scared that he might fall down.
His heart pain was aggravated by lying down, ameliorated by the fresh air and by hot applications to his feet.
During the attacks V.A. felt very tired and irritated, he wanted to be left alone, he was loath to see anybody. He was taking Nitroglycerine to control attacks.
His heart condition became much worse after he had organized a large exhibition of his paintings. It had taken him one year to get fully prepared for the exhibition and it was a big stress for him. A similar state of health resembling a heart attack also happened before, after he had had to withstand “enormous loads” like passing diploma exams, or after a severe physical exertion.
He described to me the story of his life in the following way *):
“I am a painter, an artist in abstract arts. It was in the arts college that I painted a portrait not in line with the rules. It was a success, there were talks about me. But in my heart I wanted to go further and I was looking for a line of release from the classics.”
“The rhythmics and the depth in the space of the canvas attracted me. I was tracking down the rhythmic moves that would cling together and create a regular structure.”
“I ought to organize the void of the space by means of the streaks; I was building the space consistently, without holes, fails and gaps. Later on I realized that it tied me up, I had to leave for another level. I needed to get free of these ties.”
“I drew a vertical line and then another vertical line, in parallel. The space between the lines became convex and the void beyond the lines moved off. Then a pure abstraction started, in all its vertical and horizontal lines. It symbolized the cosmic connection with the earth touchdown. The harmony of these two lines expresses the serenity.”
“Then, it became too rigid for me; I understood the need for a diagonal line. I spent about ten years in search of the proper bias and finally discovered the correct angle; it was at thirty degrees. This is both the movement and the calmness within the canvas, the achieved harmony soothes. The quietness and the equilibrium mean, nothing flies out, nothing tumbles down and nothing falls in. All color spots are balanced.”
I asked the patient about his preferences in color selection, and he replied, “I like quiet, tranquil colors”. - Quiet, tranquil? - “Yes, I prefer quiet colors, like red and orange. It is happiness, activity and the sun. I like the sun very much.”
“I title my pictures ‘transformations’ or ‘consonance’, these are linear compositions of a series of paintings. They are labeled in letters, like ‘Series C’ or ‘Series D’ with a corresponding numeral.”
V.A. likes to be alone in his studio where he paints and meditates in front of the pictures for hours, with all windows curtained. At the same time he likes the sun and fresh air. He can walk for hours in the warm and sunny summer weather.
When getting ready for the exhibitions he is quite anxious about every single detail to be in order. He checks and controls even minor things in the exhibition hall, he is personally involved in all the processes and technicalities, he spends days and nights at the site, worries about it a lot.
Some pictures and a sculpture from V.A.’s last year exhibition are presented in this article. It is interesting to note that the dominant colors of his creations are, yellow, orange, red and purple, on the one hand, and grayish-blue, on the other.
Most vivid recollections of his childhood are connected with the war, with pursuits by groups of guerrillas in the woods. V.A. conveyed an episode when he, with a group of other children, discovered an ammunition depot and a strange man creeped from behind hiding in forests. He felt very much afraid at that time.
Dreams: “There is an exhibition in some building, I come there. There is a strange elevator, it is slow; I wait for it for a long time. Finally it comes and I take it. Then I am told it is not going where I need. So I go back and again wait for the elevator for a long time. At the long final end I find the exhibition.”
Another dream was also about a building where he climbed up in an elevator and did not find what he needed to.
His wife also narrated that V.A. is very irritable when contradicted or interrupted. He can start shouting and abusing those around him and then goes to his studio to calm down. Generally, he does not like to communicate with anybody, prefers isolation, hardly plays any role or takes responsibility in the family life. He is very sensitive to critics, both in his artwork and in the day-to-day life.
Finger joints are deformed, without rigidity.
Problems with hearing since childhood; hard of hearing; a buzz in the ears, “as if a door bell rings”.
Sleeplessness; cannot fall asleep until 2 a.m. and then wakes up again at 5 a.m.
Fear of suffocation.
Strong fear of insects, he feels terrified by insects.
Intolerance of loud and acute sounds.
Food: he prefers fish, fruit; he likes apples, hazelnuts, honey and sweets. Aversion to sour food. Not thirsty even in hot weather.
During the consultation the patient made rolling gestures with his hands recognisable as moving in a circle, repeating a cycle over and over again.
The most important part of the consultation that had a shade of emotions and that seemed to preoccupy the mind of the patient was his description of artwork; in that narration the patient must have revealed the most significant information about his remedy. All the rest was a collection of factual data which, when repertorized, did not lead to an evident solution. Therefore, the analysis should be mainly based on the pictures drawn by the patient.
It was highly likely that the remedy must belong to the mineral kingdom (organize, equilibrium, space, linear compositions, structured drawings) and the cancer miasm (control over all details, strive towards harmony, exact angle, major efforts in organizing exhibitions). The energy pattern of his paintings must have finished the case.
The only problem remained, at that time I did not have Jan Scholten’s ‘Elements’ on my desktop, and MacRepertory and ReferenceWorks were only on their way from San Rafael to Moscow. Therefore, I could not find the mineral that puts every effort in organizing the space at 30º angle, in red, orange and pale blue colors, who makes futile attempts to get free of ties and needs to create rhythmical structures of the canvas with so much strain that his physical body reacts to it with arrhythmic heart beat.
The repertorization (Kent) led to Digitalis purpurea, based on combination of the main symptoms of this well-know heart remedy.
Generalities; PULSE; irregular;
The patient received Digitalis purpurea in 3x potency, daily for two weeks. I decided not to prescribe a higher potency, firstly, because of the fairly advanced age of the patient, and secondly, because I was not fully convinced about this remedy for the above reasons.
Digitalis ameliorated his heart sympthoms to some extent, though it did not last long.
In June 2002 while working on another case I discovered for myself the Silver series of the periodic table. Column 12 gave the feeling of comfort with the remedy for V.A.
There is no point in quoting the whole chapter; here are only a few abstracts that helped to select the remedy:
“Essence: decay and repetition in the performance of the arts.” “They have been very successful in the past and they still have high expectations of themselves.” “All they can do is repeat what they have made in the past”. “…they carry on producing more and more of the same…”. “They create all sort of things that nobody can understand or appreciate.” “Expecting to be criticized whatever the occasion”.
“Typical of this stage are the slow, retarded movements, they literally can't move with the times.” (Scholten). This key phrase explained my patient’s brachycardia, despite the fact that Cadmium is not present in any peculiar heart rubrics.
There are a few further general confirmations elsewhere:
Also, his dreams of waiting for lifts and not getting where he wants can be interpreted as a variation of “Dreams, destination, not reaching her” (Complete).
V.A. received a vial of Cadmium metallicum 30C (Dolisos) in early July 2002, with a prescription to take a doze (plus Placebo daily), keep the rest at hand, and to call me in a week’s time for further instructions. The patient was instructed to visit me or at least give a call before, not after, going into the heart surgery hospital.
2 weeks after the remedy: V.A. did not call. I phoned him to hear that V.A. was in his country house and did not report much change.
2 months after the remedy: a telephone conversation with V.A.’s son. “Dad is in Italy for holidays, he had a relapse in early August, but now he is OK”. – What about the scheduled heart surgery that is nearly due now? – “He decided to postpone it”.
4 months after the remedy: a telephone consultation. V.A. said that he is fine but too busy now, getting ready for yet another exhibition. “Yes, I remember that I should come to you but, sorry, no time, I am busy now, please ask my wife, she knows everything and she will tell you”.
His wife confirmed that V.A. had a heart seizure exactly two weeks after the remedy, however, medical examination did not reveal any pathology, the cardiogram was in order. Doctors did not find any reason to take any urgent measures. Since then there were no attacks. They consider it a significant improvement.
She also said that, during the first consultation they forgot to mention one fact and now she wanted to tell me about it. Six years ago V.A. suffered from a cataract and underwent a surgery on his left eye, to implant an artificial lens. The operation resulted in a chonic cornea inflammation and for the last six years V.A. suffered from it. Oculists prohibited any further surgery attempts and put him on a therapeutic treatment that gave no result. Nothing could stop the inflammation, his presbyopia deteriorated to +12 dioptres, and his left eye became nearly blind.
Quite surprisingly for him, after Cadmium metallicum, V.A.’s vision somewhat recuperated, the inflammation was gone, the opticians found much improvement and allowed him to go for a new operation to implant artificial lens. “There is nothing else we can connect this phenomenon with, only your remedy”, said his wife.
During this conversation I also discovered that the patient took a doze of remedy almost every week during the last four months, at his own initiative.
Follow-up on 20 March 2003:
The patient looks much better, his face is much more lively, skin color is no longer pale. His behavour is also different, much more animated and at ease. It was comforting to notice that after a few minutes of the consultation the patient began to hear my questions right away, without any help of his wife. This was not the case at the first visit.
V.A. confirmed that he had an attack early August 2002, two weeks after receiving the remedy, but there was no need for any urgent action because tests did not show any abnormality. He and his wife decided to take a long vacation in Italy instead of going for a heart surgery.
Since then he had only two mild seizures in January 2003 which faded away quickly by themselves, without any medicine. His wife also confirmed that in January V.A. called her once from his studio complaining of a heart seizure but she even did not have time to put on her coat before a new call from the studio informed her that V.A. is OK. They think that the last two attacks were the result of rigorous exertion while preparing for an exhibition; then V.A. had to lift and carry single-handedly all the framed pictures and the equipment.
He is no longer taking nitroglycerine. His pulse is gradually returning back to normal, usually around 60 bpm in the morning; on the day of the follow-up visit it was 72 bpm.
His vision improved, medical tests revealed no eye inflammation, he is now able to see clearly in lower-dioptre spectacles (+9 instead of +12). He is, however, unwilling to go for a new eye surgery being concerned with the potential damage to the accuracy of the color perception, critical for his artwork.
Generally he feels all right. He is no longer inclined to go into the heart hospital, saying that it is unsafe and the outcome will not necessarily be positive.
He did not complain about sleeplessness; the issue for him now is, to overcome morning drowsiness after waking up and ‘get himself moving’.
When I guided the patient through the emotions, sensations and their influence on his life, we ended up again in his creative work. He demonstrated enviable consistency in his preferences and gave me one more short lecture about the harmony of his favourite angular shapes and the warmness of the sunny red colors. He also said he likes listening to the music; for him it represents a “harmony and also a mathematical construction associated with colors”. For example, he correlates Bach with the brown color and Mozart with blue. “Only the illness is colorless.”
He is still averse to lying down. “When you lie down you are ill. Lying down means withdrawal, lowering, loss of power.”
I concluded that the patient has become reasonably strong and there is no risk in a higher potency to finish the cure. Rx Cadmium metallicum 200C, one doze (Krebs apotheke, Vienna).
So far he is all right.
End of the case.
There are some unusual confirmations of the law of similarity that I found elsewhere, aside from the classical Materia Medica.
The patient’s pictures are organized in series, one is ‘Series C’, and another is ‘Series D’. These are the two letters of the chemical symbol of Cadmium.
One of the main uses of Cadmium is, pigmentation for paints, to achieve yellow and orange painting color. This explained to me ‘tranquil red and orange’. In fact, I revealed the name of the remedy to the patient and he gladly confirmed that he liked cadmium-based paints best of all.
The metal is found in nature only in the form of cadmium sulphide, Cd S, a mineral of yellow or bright orange color. When isolated, it is a soft metal of bluish-gray color. This coincides with the color set of his composition and explains in a peculiar way the patient’s constant desire to ‘get free of ties’.
It was interesting to compare Cadmium molecular lattice (see the picture) with the shapes in the patient’s pictures. Maybe there was an answer to the question, why 30-degree angle represents ‘quietness and equilibrium’.
My meticulous assistant got further, from the molecular to the atomic structure, to find out that the electronic shell configuration of Cadmium (the number of electrons at each of the five consecutive layers) closely resembles the proportions of V.A.’s latest and most favourite picture titled ‘Consonance’ (illustration on page 2). It is 188.8.131.52.2.
Translated into English by Leonid A.Anikeev.
*) The patient’s direct speech was translated into English with closest possible word match. However, the exact translation was not always possible, mainly due to a very peculiar vocabulary and word combinations that the patient used. (translator’s remark)