Article #2: The Hardest Thing to Do Is “Nothing” by Dr. V. V. Vetrano
“Poor baby, she’s so sick. And look at her, she can barely lift her head!”
“Yes, it is true, she is sick and has a high fever. But don’t worry, she’s fasting and the fever won’t last too long.”
The first day went by without the in-laws saying too much, so I felt relieved. My husband thought I knew what I was doing and he didn’t bother me too much about how I fed our baby. So I didn’t have too much concern that he would stop me from fasting her.
The second day went by. All the family came to visit the baby. They were a little concerned. But when the third and fourth days had passed and the baby still had a fever, I really had to calm their fears. It was an unheard of thing, to fast a two-year-old baby. Everybody knows when babies have fever they need penicillin to knock it out. To refuse to see a medical doctor when a baby is ill is a crime, they say, and to fast a baby is even worse. … it is sheer craziness. I’m surprised the family put up with my ways as well as they did. Perhaps I acted like I knew what I was doing or my faith in Natural Hygiene was so strong that it calmed their fears for a while, but on the fifth day of the child’s fast even my husband panicked. He stormed out of the house saying, “If she isn’t better by tomorrow, I’m taking her to a doctor.”
I was just as concerned for my baby as they were, but to let my concern or lack of faith show would have been the end of her Hygienic care. I waited it out patiently, knowing that nature heals. I took her temperature daily, kept her warm, permitted her to rest quietly, and prevented people from smoking in the room, or from waking her up to see if she was alive. I kept the place quiet so she could sleep and do nothing else.
It’s hard to buck the whole world, but it is even harder to sit back and wait for the day when a fever will drop. Every day you watch, listen, and hope. Infants that are fasting and who have fever are very quiet. They sleep a lot and this is also disquieting when you are a neophyte Hygienist and not a doctor. All sorts of fears enter your head.
“Is she okay?” you keep wondering. “Is she breathing?” “Is she still alive?” You are scared to death. You want to shake the child, or awaken it, or do just anything to reassure yourself that everything is fine. But I didn’t do anything rash. I had to have patience and wait upon nature to complete her wonderful healing process. I was very worried, but I had faith in the living organism. Finally, her fever broke about mid-day on the fifth day of her fast, and there were sighs of relief all around. Her father was no longer tense and worried. The baby’s great aunt was no longer hovering over her, wringing her hands. In fact, we all relaxed. That was the only time the baby was sick in her life. Thank goodness! I had weathered the storm. But I know how hard it is to sit and wait, and do absolutely nothing intelligently.
I am pleased I held out. I waited patiently for nature to heal my little baby. But others don’t. Just recently, the parents of a six-month-old baby became frightened by their baby’s symptoms. They called me, but instead of doing what I suggested they took the baby to the physician. They didn’t want to fast the baby. This is when the trouble started. He insisted on all sorts of harmful and painful tests for the baby, including X rays. It takes so long to establish a diagnosis that, had the baby been cared for Hygienically, it would have been well long before the medical diagnosis was complete.
Finally, the physician began the treatment. They went to the physician simply to get a diagnosis. They couldn’t forget about diagnosis and just fast the baby. They had to have a label. They were under the impression that if they just got a diagnosis and knew exactly what was wrong with the baby they wouldn’t be so fearful. They just couldn’t wait and rely on the natural healing powers of the body for their infant’s recovery. They forgot all about the treatment that comes after the diagnosis. When they balked at the treatment, the physician became suspicious. He then insisted on the parents carrying out his orders. He even brought the authorities on the case, and the baby was held in the hospital against the parent’s wishes. They were forced to submit to treatment of the baby. When they finally got the baby back home, they had to put up with the child abuse bureau visiting them twice a week to see that they were carrying out the physician’s instructions regarding the care and feeding of the infant, and they were forced to begin feeding the child meat and cereals against their wishes. It took the infant six months to recover from the medical abuse called “diagnosis and treatments.” All this trouble came about because the parents: had no faith in the living body to heal itself, and because of their inability to sit back and do absolutely nothing. “Doing nothing” intelligently is the hardest of all things to do.
Just the other night I was jolted out of my sleep by a ringing phone. It was a lady with a three-year-old baby. Deep concern, bordering on real fear, was in her voice. “I’m worried,” she said, “my baby is so listless. There’s no life in him at all and he has a fever of 104.5°F. I fasted him seven days and the fever went down. But he was very weak so I didn’t wait the 24 hours necessary after the fever subsided. Now his fever has come back, and I’m really worried. I fed him only two ounces of orange juice three times, but his fever returned. He’s so weak, and he’s still sick.” Her voice cracked, and she was crying.
I began asking her questions to try to discover how the child got sick and what the problem was. The baby had hidden himself on a back porch and had gotten into a dried dog food when the parents were visiting friends. When he was found, he was happily stuffing himself on the dried dog food, and had probably been doing so for about 15 or 20 minutes.
He developed a fever, a cough after that, and so the child was fasted. The parents were naturally very concerned and when the fever didn’t come down in about three days, they became even more concerned. Many things went through their minds. Would the child survive? He had done this once before, but he had been discovered quickly enough to stop him before he had eaten very much. Under the stress of fear, and impatience, for the fever was still high, the baby was weak and getting weaker, and there was no sign of improvement, the parents decided that since the baby had not had a bowel movement, it would be best to give the child an enema. They reasoned that the dog food was an irritant and still in the colon, causing the temperature to remain high. “We must get rid of the irritant.” So an enema was given. The child, however, was still even more listless and it did not bring the fever down.
The parents couldn’t wait until the body rectified all the wrongs.
As the child had not vomited we know that the dog food was at least digested enough to pass from the stomach to the small intestine. By the time it reached the colon, most of it had been digested. The preservatives, other poisonous chemicals, and decomposition products were absorbed from the small intestine. The time to have done something was when the child had first eaten the dog food. Vomiting could have been induced when the food was still in the child’s stomach. But perhaps they did not realize just how much the child had eaten and the child was not yet sick. But, to give an enema after the food had already passed the absorbing area was useless and wasted the child’s nerve energy. Had the material in the colon been a great enough irritant to cause fever, the body would have forced it out by a diarrhea.
The parent’s reasoning was obfuscated because of the weakness and listlessness of the child. The tendency is to do something to make the child appear lively again. Parents forget that when nerve energy is being expended in one direction, it is withdrawn from another. It is normal when the body is fighting off poisons that all its energies, both nervous and physical, are directed to the area of the body that needs it most. The physical weakness comes because the blood and nerve supply has been withdrawn from the skeletal muscles of the body and directed inward to help rid the body of the poisonous substances. It is natural to be listless and weak under these conditions. However, seeing a listless child is frightening and there is that strong urge to do something, just anything, to see a manifestation of life to do nothing, I repeat, to do nothing, intelligently, at these times takes great courage and faith in the human organism.
Fevers may last for more than three days, when there is a need for it. Fasting, of course, is the quickest means to help the body rid itself of irritants that are occasioning the fever, but it sometimes takes more than three days. We must not panic if the fever does not subside more quickly. Children presently are developing fevers that last longer than in former decades. I have cared for several children
recently and have noticed that the fevers seem never to quit. The children of this generation are not as strong as those of the previous generation, for many reasons. We will have to expect more acute illness and less robust, children until we clean up the environment and straighten out our method of growing and processing foods. The race is slowly but surely committing suicide.
Meanwhile, we must work in more harmony with nature than ever before. We must not needlessly cause the expenditure of any vital energy of any sick person, child or, adult. We must learn to conserve energy as we have never before conserved it, simply because there is less vitality and less functioning capacity than ever before.
If child or adult develops a fever, fasting is the best means for permitting the body to rid itself of the cause. The fever will never go as high when fasting as it does when feeding. “But,” you ask, “what about brain damage if the fever should go up to 106°F?” Remember, first of all, that cells can function only at optimum temperatures. The minute the temperature goes up too high, the cells automatically cease functioning and the temperature spontaneously drops. Cellular metabolism contributes greatly to the rise in temperature, and when it is so hot that the cells can no longer function, metabolism slows down and automatically the temperature drops. Actually, it is the suppression of a fever by drugs and other measures causing retention of the poison, or the bacteria or whatever is the occasion for the fever, that damages the brain, never the fever per se. The fever is the necessary biological process to help the phagocytic cells eat up the bacteria or destroy and render nontoxic, the poisonous substance that may have been ingested. The drugs themselves are poisonous and only add to the load that the body has to eliminate. The drugs, plus the bacteria, and bacterial toxins and other poisons in the system are what damages the brain, not the fever which is only the body’s best and speediest means of ridding itself of noxious agents.
No matter how hard it may be to sit and wait until the body heals itself, it is still the wisest thing to do.