42. TREATMENT OF PLEURISY
The persistence of the
pleurisy caused some anxiety, but I knew that the cure lay not in taking
medecine internally, but in dietetic changes assisted by external remedies.
I called in Dr. Allinson of
vegetarian fame, who treated diseases by dietetic modifications and whom
I had met in 1890. He thoroughly overhauled me. I explained to him how
I had pledged myself not to take milk. He cheered me up and said: 'You
need not take milk. In fact I want you to do without any fat for some days.'
He then advised me to live on plain brown bread, raw vegetables such as
beet, radish, onion, and other tubers and greens, and also fresh fruit,
mainly oranges. The vegetables were not to be cooked but merely grated
fine, if I could not masticate them.
I adopted this for about three
days, but raw vegetables did not quite suit me. My body was not in a condition
to enable me to do full justice to the experiment. I was nervous about
taking raw vegetables.
Dr. Allinson also advised me
to keep all the windows of my room open for the whole twenty-four hours,
bathe in tepid water, have an oil massage on the affected parts and a walk
in the open for fifteen to thirty minutes. I liked all these suggestions.
My room had French windows which,
if kept wide open, would let in the rain. The fanlight could not be opened.
I therefore got the glass broken, so as to let in fresh air, and I partially
opened the windows in a manner not to let in rain.
All these measures somewhat
improved my health, but did not completely cure me.
Lady Cecilia Roberts occasionally
called on me. We became friends. She wanted very much to persuade me to
take milk. But as I was unyielding, she hunted about for a substitute for
milk. Some friend suggested to her malted milk, assuring her quite unknowingly
that it was absolutely free from milk, and that it was a chemical preparation
with all the properties of milk. Lady Cecilia, I knew, had a great regard
for my religious scruples, and so I implicitly trusted her. I dissolved
the powder in water and took it, only to find that it tasted just like
milk. I read the label on the bottle, to find, only too late, that it was
a preparation of milk. So I gave it up.
I informed Lady Cecilia about
the discovery, asking her not to worry over it. She came post haste to
me to say how sorry she was. Her friend had not read the label at all.
I begged her not to be anxious, and expressed my regret that I could not
avail myself of the things she had procured with so much trouble. I also
assured her that I did not at all feel upset or guilty over having taken
milk under a misapprehension.
I must skip over many other
sweet reminiscences of my contact with Lady Cecilia. I could think of many
friends who have been a source of great comfort to me in the midst of trials
and disappointments. One who has faith reads in them the merciful providence
of God, who thus sweetens sorrow itself.
Dr. Allinson, when he next called,
relaxed his restrictions and permitted me to have groundnut butter or olive
oil for the sake of fat, and to take the vegetables cooked, if I chose,
with rice. These changes were quite welcome, but they were far from giving
me a complete cure. Very careful nursing was still necessary, and I was
obliged to keep mostly in bed.
Dr. Mehta occasionally looked
in to examine me, and held out a standing offer to cure me if only I would
listen to his advice
Whilst things were going on
in this way, Mr. Roberts one day came to see me and urged me very strongly
to go home. 'You cannot possibly go to Netley in this condition. There
is still severer cold ahead of us. I would strongly advise you to get back
to India, for it is only there that you can be completely cured. If after
your recovery you should find the war still going on, you will have many
opportunities there of rendering help. As it is, I do not regard what you
have already done as by any means a mean contribution.'
I accepted his advice and began
to make preparations for returning to India.