Physiology and pathology are not opposing forces. They are two phases of life, and health is the thermometer. Health may register high, and it may register low; but the degrees between the extremes of full physiological health and full pathological death mark the standard of health.

Instead of the microbe per se being pathologic, it is physiologic and necessary to the life and health of the cell, or the great aggregation of cells known as man.

The great importance of drainage is obvious when the above facts are considered, and such facts should enable the analytical mind to know that organized ferments (microbes) have no more to do with inflammation than unorganized ferments (enzymes). The real cause is obstruction to the normal operations of repair. If microbes must be pent up in a wound before they can set up their peculiar fermentation, then the cause of the pent-up condition is the cause of the morbid process.

Irritation and overfeeding cause too much secretion, and too much secretion is disease-producing.

Enzymes are secreted by all the organs and tissues of the body. When they are secreted in less quantities than normal, disease results. It would not be the truth to say that enzymes are disease-producing; yet too little or too much will result in imperfect metabolism.

Food is stimulating and body-building, but when eaten in too great quantities it is disease-building. It would not be the truth, however, to declare that food is disease-producing. Unless microbes can produce a specific disease without unnatural environments to aid, it cannot be truthfully said that they are disease-producing; if they are, then every benign influence may be said to be disease-provoking, because disease follows its perversion. The air is irritating to a fresh wound, but the irritation must be for a good purpose. It is; it checks the discharge of serum, and dries the surface of the wound so that reparation can take place behind the protection. The dry covering acts as a stay or fixation expediency, to secure the quiet necessary for healing. If the sealing-in of the wound is too close, and danger of infection threatens, an itching takes place, which forces rubbing or scratching, and this breaks enough of the covering to allow the escape of pent-up pus and waste matter.

Thus we see that nature is not afraid of air, nor of the dust and microbes which it carries. We see that nature does a splendid job, and her theory and practice are sound as science. The only objection is that her work in healing wounds is severely crude at times, and that it may be improved upon--only, however, in manual dexterity. The surgeon may lend nature his hands, but nature certainly does not need his brains. A good combination is for nature to lend the doctor the wisdom to carry out what she would do if she had hands.

Not long ago I read the extraordinary advice of stitching a wound together without the preliminary of cleansing, and without any attention to drainage except massaging the edges of the wound. All I have to say about such a procedure is that the Lord is on the side of that surgeon, and permits him to exploit the laws of nature in a most grotesque fashion.

A safe plan for surgeons who are not "anointed of the Lord" is carefully to drain all wounds that are sewed up, and, if quick healing is desired, to keep the parts as quiet as possible; indeed, keep fingers away from the wound, and especially those of the patient. If these precautions are not observed, the surgeon may find, after it is too late, that he may say with Pope:

Pretty in amber to observe the forms
Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms.
The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare;
But wonder how the devil they all got there!

It is just possible that the great physician who penned the surgical heresy referred to was posing and, for the sake of being thought original, suffered his logic to run counter to natural law and order. And again we are made to agree with David: "Verily, every man at his best state is altogether vanity." Selah!

Hands, with nature's wisdom, will clear the wound. Place a drain in the bottom of it, in such a manner as to secure perfect drainage; then bring the wound together, closing the gap and coaptating the cut surfaces as nearly as possible; then apply a general dressing that will not interfere with drainage, but will lend support and steadiness, so that healing will not be interrupted by unnecessary motion. This is nature's wisdom turned to account.

Healing is interfered with by inflammation, or the causes that lead to inflammation.

We have seen that the first reactions stop bleeding, and cover the wound with serum and fibrin, which protect the surface by giving it rest from continuous irritation from air, dust, and insects.

If the cut surfaces are brought together, the healing must end much sooner than if a bridge of tissue must be built to span the gap.