This section is from the book "Shampooing Or Benefits Resulting From The Use Of The Indian Medicated Vapour Bath", by Sake Dene Mahomed. Also available from Amazon: Shampooing: Or Benefits Resulting From The Use Of The Indian Medicated Vapor Bath.
From John Shaw, Esq. L.L.D.
I had always been remarkably healthy and strong, but was latterly, teased with medicines, morning, noon, and night, for eighteen months; had several open sores, for the first time in my life, accompanied by high feverish pulses, generally beating upwards of 84 in the minute; during the greater part of the time, was plagued with a continued sore and ulcerated throat, violent aches and pains in my limbs, discolorations in my skin, and eruptions nearly all over me, for the last twelve or thirteen of those months, while swellings and inflammations also, occasionally appeared on my feet, ankles, hands, and fingers. For the last ten months of the same time I was confined to my house, and towards the close of that interval, ten or eleven weeks, to my bed, when my right arm was twice contracted, and right wrist nearly powerless for many days together, and two tumours fixed on my legs; - the one on the left shin burst, and the other on the outside of the right leg, above the ankle bone, was opened by incision.
After Christmas, 1816, when I had been upwards of two months confined, whitlows appeared on two of my fingers, and the others were itching and inflamed round the nails, one of which had split many months before, and the roof of my mouth and inner jaws or fauces became ulcerated, on catching fresh cold.
In April, 1816, shortly after the commencement of my sufferings, my disease was said to be caused by the use of mercury, which had been administered to me in great quantities, in warm climates. In June 1816 on catching cold, I was said to be afflicted with Saint Anthony's fire on my face, or with an ailment very like it. In the autumn of the same year, my disorder was supposed to be mingled with sea scurvy; afterwards to appear as rheumatism; subsequently as gout; and, about Christmas, 1816, as erysipelas in the mouth, and some other parts; and, more than once, it was judged by some to be syphilitic. Whatever it might have been it evidently puzzled the doctors, notwithstanding I was attended by very eminent practitioners.
Nearly exhausted by malady, in August, 1817, I was advised to discontinue medicine, to repair to the sea coast, and there to use tepid sea-water baths, and exercise in the air. I began to use the tepid sea-water bath in London, for about three weeks, in August and September, 1817, and in the middle of the latter month visited the sea-coast of Sussex; there used the tepid sea-water baths very frequently, for seven weeks, and took constant exercise in my carriage and on foot also, as far as I was able in my then very infirm state,
When I visited the sea-coast, in September, 1817, I was afflicted with oedema, or swelling of my feet and limbs; stiffness in the joints, and the remains of some of my aches and pains, especially in the first two fingers of each hand; eruptions and blotches all over my skin; scars, lumps, and corrugations on my face and forehead; my nose and lips scarred, swollen, distorted, and unpliant, as were also both my ears; sores on my palate and gums, though I had swallowed but eleven grains of sublimate, in the whole, during twenty-five days, in April, and the first fourteen days of May, preceding, and which never had provoked much ptyalism or spitting; the incision in my right leg was not healed, and large hollows remained abont the cicatrices in various parts, where there had been tumours, or ulcers; and inflammatory swellings and indurations, continued about some of those parts, and, likewise, on the first two fingers of each hand, and on and about my nose, lips, and ears; contractions also of some of my
I found, to my astonishment, that the ulcers in my palate were healed, as were also those of my gums, which had been destroying the flesh for upwards of two months, without any seeming chance of being stopped by the applications prescribed. On the fifth bathing, the servant carelessly rubbed off the plaister, which had covered the sore, on my right leg, where the incision was made, and, equally to my surprise, that sore also appeared healed. The inflammatory swellings and indurations which affected my limbs and fingers, and particularly my lips and nose, quickly abated, and, before I had bathed 20 or 30 times, they were no longer perceptible. The contractions of the muscles, tendons, and fibrous parts, in and about the same number of 20 or 30 times bathing, were not to be felt, and my limbs and fingers recovered their free action, without pain; and my ears, lips, and nose, their proper flexibility; my joints became less stiff, and my lips and nose less distorted. The former eruptions, and such as, from time to time, have been thrown out upon my skin, during the course of bathing, have been constantly and visibly diminishing and wearing away, and the blotches have all vanished.
The hollows around the cicatrices, on my limbs and other parts, have continually been filling up and becoming even with the surfaces of the other flesh. The scars, lumps, and wrinkles about my forehead, face, and other places, are smoothed. My joints have regained their suppleness; my flesh its plumpness; my skin its smoothness, clearness, and freshness: indeed, the skin has now gained a silkiness, which it has not had for years past. I have all the while been blessed with ease and lightness of spirits which I never previously experienced at any period of my life, and have been gaining strength each time of bathing: in short, after the first month of using the Steam Bath, I could walk from my lodging, on the Steyne, South Parade, up the Church-hill, and round the Church-wall, at a tolerable pace, and without slackening it, or stopping on the way, or using my stick, and prolong my walk for an hour or two without being fatigued; and I now rise from my seat without difficulty, go up and down stairs with ease, walk about uprightly, firmly, and with alertness.
My nose and lips have nearly gained their original forms and appearance; and I can exert myself a good deal, apply to business with alacrity, and once more enjoy what are termed the pleasures of the world.