Author: Patricia Maher
Hydrophis Cyanocinctus / a picture of overcompensation
by Patricia Maher
There is relatively little in the repertory about this highly venomous south pacific sea snake. Similar to Bungarus krait, there is clear mention of it in relation to polio and other disorders of the peripheral nerves. Louis Klein has identified the rubberiness and fluidity in the Mind and physical picture of this remedy. Massimo Mangialovori has pointed out the disconnection between upper and lower parts of the body or between sides of the body in his discussion. (The snake has actually physiologically adapted to its watery environment by having a much flatter tail than is customary for snakes.)
The following two cases fill out our picture of this remedy which may be more commonly needed than we realize.
S is a 28 year old man whose chief complaint is leg pain. He suffers from Bilateral Compartment Syndrome, a condition of severe ischemia in the calves typically from overexercise. He is a small man who as a youth had compensated for his small stature by overdeveloping his legs. While in the US Marines it was discovered that he had sustained nerve damage there. He has a flat affect and seems old for his age. He is incoherent and speaks in a circular fashion. He has concentration difficulties and poor memory. He complains also of stomach pain, “bubbles” in his stomach worse from eating. He has issues about surviving and fears of being shot. He is a working class African American who cleans offices for a living.
The most striking things about this man were:
> “bilateral compartment syndrome,” and that his legs had been developed out of proportion to the rest of his body;
> the compartmentalization of his feelings and memory;
> the themes of violence, getting shot, and survival.
Although I initially was considering a plant in the Compositae family because of his shock-y demeanor, I ultimately went for snake remedies. The survival issues are very strong -- a few times he referred to the need to “stay alive“. His fear of being shot seemed to be out of proportion to his actual immediate living situation – apart from the real dangers of being a young Black man in the USA.
The “compartment” syndrome in his legs is about constriction and pressure. But the ‘compartment' theme is carried throughout his personality. He had a very “shut down” feeling to him, and he also spoke about information being buried in the “vault” of his memory.
I looked for a snake that was mild yet powerful and had issues about compartmentalization, as well as of course the nerve damage. That he had had these extremely large, overdeveloped and powerful legs as a youth led me to Hydrophis Cyanocynctus.
I thought that the opposite polarity from fluidity must also be in this remedy, and this case may very well represent it. This man is the opposite of fluidity: stiff, muscle bound, compressed, and compartmentalized.
Lastly, I was struck by S’s description of a childhood dream of “not being able to see straight, as if he was wall-eyed”. This remedy has issues about loss of vision, but particularly has extreme strabismus. Again, its opposite is contained in this case -- extreme wall-eyes.
After Hydrophis 30c, and his leg pain began to abate immediately. After 6 weeks, he was able to move much more freely, had a lot more energy and appeared far less shut down. After one year, his leg pain only occurs with very cold weather.
B is a 57 year old white woman whose chief complaint is left leg and ankle pain resulting from having had a rare form of polio at the age of 6. Polio destroyed the cartilage in that ankle, and her left leg never developed as well as her right. Doctors have said that there are no nerve responses in that leg. Doctors also thought that she would never walk again.
She doesn’t walk evenly, favoring R side and not able to pick up left foot completely. She can’t walk on cobblestones nor can she wear shoes with heels. She slips a lot, and a few years ago fractured a bone in left lower leg. Now if she goes for a 3 mile walk, later her ankle will hurt so bad she can barely stand on it. It gives a constant ache.
She has heart a-rythmia and a history of fibroids and ovarian cysts. She has an anaphylactic reaction to Sulfa medications. She used to have premenstrual migraines. She has intermittent sciatica on the R side. She describes herself as driven by a desire to be a part of transforming the world. She is a highly successful college professor at a prominent college and very involved with international human rights. She is a very closeted lesbian and teaches at a conservative Catholic university.
She is extremely loquacious but strangely incoherent, talking in circles. B loves snakes -- wants to pick them up. She likes intricate patterns, such as aboriginal art with 4 snakes. Loves anything with water and snakes. She loves water and swimming, and was a big water skier and a slalomer.
She told me came out of the experience of being hospitalized at 6 with “a hideous fixation of not wanting to be in a wheelchair.” “I don’t want that to be me.”
She became very athletic, captain of many sports teams. She never talked about her polio history, and she never used it as an excuse although she was in a great deal of pain a lot of the time as a child and young adult.
This woman presented as a very highly functioning snake: powerful, accomplished, in leadership, a go-getter. In this case we see the particular themes of physical overcompensation as well as compartmentalization. Having been told she would never walk again she nonetheless overcame her pain and disability to excel at many sports. Her life is compartmentalized, emotionally and politically. The post polio syndrome indicated a neurotoxic snake.
Rx: Hydrophis cyan 30c
After a couple of months, her ankle pain went away. Now is able to walk extensively, exercise on a treadmill, and use the ankle normally. Over the course of two years, she took Hydrophis 200 and 1M. Her sciatica also went away. She has become less driven and more relaxed about her life, her work, and her relationship. This year, she tripped and fell on stairs and her house and she did not suffer any injury whatsoever, not to her ankle nor to any other part.
Keywords: Hydrophis cyanocinctus, bilateral compartment syndrome, ischemia, polio, physical overcompensation