Cullen

The Consultation Letters of Dr William Cullen (1710-1790) at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

 

[ID:1146] From: Mrs Ann(e) Waldie (Ormston) (Ann Ormston) / To: Dr William Cullen (Professor Cullen) / Regarding: Mrs Ann(e) Waldie (Ormston) (Ann Ormston) (Patient) / 17 June 1775 / (Incoming)

Letter from Ann Ormston at Newcastle regarding her own case, giving a detailed history of her own ill-health and the many measures she has taken to find relief. She suffered a 'scorbutick Eruption' at the age of eighteen, and has endured various feverish episodes and other manifestations of ill-health since. Cullen's reply is Letter ID 311.

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Metadata

FieldData
DOC ID 1146
RCPE Catalogue Number CUL/1/2/247
Main Language English
Document Direction Incoming
Date17 June 1775
Annotation None
TypeAuthorial original
Enclosure(s) No enclosure(s)
Autopsy No
Recipe No
Regimen No
Letter of Introduction No
Case Note No
Summary Letter from Ann Ormston at Newcastle regarding her own case, giving a detailed history of her own ill-health and the many measures she has taken to find relief. She suffered a 'scorbutick Eruption' at the age of eighteen, and has endured various feverish episodes and other manifestations of ill-health since. Cullen's reply is Letter ID 311.
Manuscript Incomplete? No
Evidence of Commercial Posting Yes

Case

Cases that this document belongs to:

Case ID Description Num Docs
[Case ID:502]
Case of Ann (Anne) Ormston who has had a long history of illhealth since suffering a 'scorbutic ulcer' when eighteen.
6


People linked to this document

Person IDRole in documentPerson
[PERS ID:1451]AuthorMrs Ann(e) Waldie (Ann Ormston)
[PERS ID:1]AddresseeDr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID:1451]PatientMrs Ann(e) Waldie (Ann Ormston)
[PERS ID:1454]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr Askew
[PERS ID:1]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID:1452]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr Charles Brown
[PERS ID:1453]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr Hird

Places linked to this document

Role in document Specific Place Settlements / Areas Region Country Global Region Confidence
Place of Writing Newcastle upon Tyne North-East England Europe certain
Destination of Letter Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
Therapeutic Recommendation Harrogate North-East England Europe certain
Mentioned / Other Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
Mentioned / Other Leeds North-East England Europe certain
Place of Handstamp Newcastle upon Tyne North-East England Europe certain

Normalized Text

[Page 1]


Being at present in a bad State of Health, I take
the Liberty of addressing myself to Doctor Cullen, in
hopes of receiving from his kind Attention & Skill, some
relief from the Complaints which have distressed me -
As they have been, & are of a tedious & lingering Nature,
& their Foundation has I believe been laid some years
since, I must be obliged to trouble thee; with a detail
of the state of my Constitution from that time - I was
till & at, the age of Eighteen, very healthy, when I had a
scorbutick Eruption in my Face, having been subject to
that Complaint from the Age of twelve, when it first
appeared in some round reddish Spots without itching
on my Legs and Arms, & at times continued; tho as it
gave me no Uneasiness, I did not much regard it then.
From this Eruption I was ordered to go to Harrogate by
Doctor Askew to drink the Waters there, & bathe in the
hot Bath, which I did for six weeks. He prescribed
bathing twice a week, but I only used it six Times
in that Period, & have Reason to think that too often; as
the Water was used so hot, as I believe tended greatly
to relax my Constitution. The Eruption was however carried
of by these means, & I continued well in general, tho
more subject to slight Colds, than I had been till twelve
months after; when walking by the Sea Shore in a
thick mist, I was taken ill of a Feverish Complaint,
which in two or three days terminated in an Intermit¬
ting
; which came on at a certain Hour every other
Night. I never trembled, but had just a momentary



[Page 2]

cold Shivering, twice or thrice repeated two or three Hours
before the hot Fit came on, which was earlier every
Night & more violent, & always went of with Sweating.
In the intermediate Time I was sometimes cold, & at
others hot; my Hands & feet particularly; & had often
a Head Ach & Oppression on my Spirits before the fit
came on, tho' I was able ↑to walk↑ about, & ride out; either in a Carriage
or on Horseback. The Decoction of Bark was given me for this
Complaint, & for that Time removed it. But the next Time I was
out of Order, it returned near the End of that Time, & I had as
much of the Bark given me as before, which removed it, till I was
again in the same Situation. Thus I continued for four Months
till the Coldness of the ↑Winter↑ Air braced me, & I had no Return of it & I was
very well except casual Colds, & Sore Throats, till the Spring follow¬
ing, when I was seized with it, the Night before I took a Journey
& it was so disagreeable & painful to be ill every Night at an Inn,
that instead of proceeding on my Journey I stayed at Leeds
with a Relation, & was attended by Doctor Hird a Physician
there for six weeks, taking his Prescriptions (which I believe
were principally Bark, particularly Huxam's Tincture) tho: with¬
out much Benefit, as it never stopped above four days, &
then returned tho: not violently. When I returned to Newcastle, I
bathed in the Sea, but even at that Time had frequent Attacks
of it; & after I left the Sea Side, I bathed in a cold Bath
from which I found great Benefit, & persevered in it, through
part of the Winter, being very seldom troubled with my
tedious Complaint - In the Spring of the next Year, I was
advised to try Trefoil Tea nauseous & strong Bitter, which
was of Service; as by taking it while out of Order I escaped
having an Attack near the Conclusion of that Time, & if I


[Page 3]

neglected drinking Trefoil I generally suffered from it. From my first
being out of Order, I had been regular to a month, till this Intermitting
begun, & then I was as certainly so, every five Weeks. During this
two years I have given an Account of, I walked out every tolerable
Day, took several Journeys, sometimes rode on Horseback; & being
of an active Disposition used a good deal of Exercise, indeed as
much as my Strength would bear. This Intermitting has conti¬
nued to return upon me for these five or six years past, &
tho: it yielded to the Bark & Trefoil, with cold Bathing, which
at times I continued; yet i every year grew more susceptible
of Heat & Cold, & subject to sore Throats & Colds which went off
by Sweating; & was not able to bear the Night Air on very
cold Weather without being uncommonly happed. The Winter
before last, when ever I catched Cold, which was frequently
the Case [Preceding?] these Sweatings, I drank plentifully of
spirit of Nitre, & Water mixed strong; which I thought pre¬
vented them; in the Spring began to cold bathe, but being
exposed to a thick damp Fog, in the Evening, was the Day
after seized with cold Shivering, & great Heat in my Skin
Head Ach, & Weariness in my Limbs, with Oppression on my Spirits.
The Apothecary that attended the Family gave me Neutral
Draughts
with something warm in them; & I took Valerian
in Powder at Bed Time. I lost my Sleep & Appetite, & when
ever I attempted to walk out was almost sure to catch Cold
which brought on profuse Sweatings. Thus I continued at times
during the whole Summer, frequently catching Cold, & then having
a Sense of Oppression, sometimes chilly cold & at others hot, but
always having a burning Heat on my Skin, which ever might
be felt, by any persons Hand held at a small distance from


[Page 4]

me. These Sweatings generally came on the Morning of the Day following
that, in which I had caught the Cold, & when in them; I had the Sensa¬
tion of being set on fire, & the more I sweat the hotter my Skin
was, tho: I felt releived from the Oppression & Chillness. When I was
rather better & rode in a Chaise, it made me perspire, increased
that inward Heat, & brought on a Head Ach. I could not walk far
being soon tired, & was easiest when able to go out, to sit in the Air,
well happed - Doctor Brown of Newcastle attended me, who ordered
Neutral Draughts & Bitters as I had scarce any Appetite, tho: when¬
ever I did eat sat quite light upon my Stomach. He also ordered
a Vomit, the Operation of which [threw?] me into so violent a Sweat
that it was some Hours before I could be got into Bed, & was not
I believe of the least Service, as nothing came of my Stomach
but my Food. The latter End of Summer I was ordered to cold
bathe, & as I was so very apt to catch Cold, had a large Tub
brought into the House, & filled with Water, where there could
be a fire made, for me to undress by. I had the Bark & Elixir
of Vitriol
given me, & used this manner of bathing which had a
very good Effect cooled the Heat of my Skin, seemed to brace &
strengthen me, but upon any Colds I was full subject to these
Sweatings; however I continued when able to bathe, but as the
cold Weather came on, in spite of every Care I had such frequent
Colds & Sweatings that I was obliged to give up going out even in
the middle of the Day; but still took Bark & bathed. I was
then tolerable, had an Appetite, slept pretty well & always good
Spirits; but I presently caught Cold even in the House, & the
Relaxation increased so much, that if I walked across the Room
it brought on these Oppression Chillness & Sweating. From my
Confinement & Sweatings my Nerves were much affected, I was
for some nights without Sleep, tho: I took Valerian to procure
it, & a small Dose of Diacodium would not give it me.


[Page 5]

I once had a Palpitation at my Heart, & made a quantity of pale
Water, & had great Sinkings, & such violent Heats, that I
felt to be on fire, & as if I was all over pricked with Pins.
From this distressing Situation, I was releived by returning
to Bathing which a sore Throat & Cold had interrupted,
& the Weather becoming so fine as to allow me to ride on
Horseback, which I did constantly, part of March, April
& ↑the beginning of↑ May. My natural Sleep returned in degree, my Appetite
grew better, & my Complaints were all releived, tho: I was
obliged to be extremely careful to keep from Cold, as it brought
on the Oppression burning Heat & Sweatings, tho they grew
gradually less severe. But the uncommon hot Spring
& Summer we have so far had, has obliged me to give
over riding on Horseback, as neither early in the Morning
nor late in the Evening I can bear the beams of the Sun
upon me, they directly raising such a burning heat
that I cannot bear the Distress it occasions, or the conse¬
quent Sufferings; as I am certain to have an almost
sleepless Night, & sometimes two or three, from being
once overheated, tho: I do not from being exposed to the Sun
sweat much, but burn - At present I am in an airy Si¬
tuation in the Country near Newcastle. I bathe in a cold
Bath about a Mile distant, to which I ride in a Chaise,
& in the Evening four or five Miles also in a Carriage, tho I
find much more Benefit from the Exercise of Horseback, could
I get it, without being exposed to the Sun. I walk in the
Shade as much as my Strength will allow, tho: if I walk
near half an Hour at a time, that Exercise heats ↑and fatigues↑ me. I take
the Bark in Substance twice a day, & drink Pyrmont Water
but ↑am↑ still much relaxed, & sleep very badly. When it is cool


[Page 6]

I can ride eight Miles on a very easy Horse without being fatigued
From this two or three Years past, the Bark has purged me, which
obliges me to use Tormentil Root finely powdered in equal
Quantity with the Bark, which prevents it having that
Effect. The Scorbutic Eruption of dry scurfy reddish Spots with¬
out itching, which I mentioned in the beginning of this
long detail, still continued; & when I was free of my Inter¬
mitting, I took a Quack Medicine called Maredants Drops
& afterwards a Prescription of Doctor Browns; Antimonial
Wine
, both which seemed to strike it more out. Within
this Month it seems to be of a worse Nature; a Number
of small Pimples rising together upon my Arms & Hands
& itching much; upon the Skin being broke by scratching
a thinnish Humour issues out, & the Spots being left to
themselves heal up again, leaving only a rough Redness
which soon goes of, & others break out. I always lived
very temperately, eating plain dressed Flesh Meat & Pud¬
ding to Dinners, drinking small Beer or Water
after it; with a single Glass of Wine; taking weak Tea
half Milk to Breakfast, & in the Afternoon, & when well
eating heartily to both; & taking little if any Supper. Since
I have been subject to such Colds & Sweatings, I have not
been regular, sometimes six or seven weeks between. At that
time I am more susceptible of Cold, & after it am more
relaxed & poorly, & my usual Exercise fatigues & heats
me more than common, till I have bathed & taken Bark
a few Days. I am sensible that I have trespassed on Doctor
Cullens Time & Patience with this tedious, & I fear unin¬
telligible Account, of my former & present State of Health


[Page 7]

Should he chuse to have a State of my Case from our
Apothecary I can get him to draw it up; as I mean
this only for his Consideration till I wait upon him
personally. As I beleive travelling would be of Service
to me, if I am no worse, & Doctor Cullen think it not
improper; I have not the least Objection to visit Edinburgh
to receive his Advice & Direction; in the meantime
will beg the Favor of a Line to know whether he does
approve of my personal Attendance upon him. The
affectionate Indulgence of the best of Parents, gives me
liberty to assure thee, that whatever Plan thou thinks
most likely to be of Service to my Health, will be
followed; & there is no Regimen that would tend to that
Purpose, that I should not most gladly & strictly follow.
Doctor Cullens humanity & knowledge of the Sick wil{illeg}
I trust induce him to excuse the Tediousness of {illeg}
incoherent Account, well knowing that Sufferers {illeg}
complain where they hope for Releif, tho: perhaps {illeg}
minute detail may be unnecessary. I sincere[ly?]{illeg}
this may find Doctor Cullen enjoying every Bless{illeg}
this Scene of Existence affords;

& am with Respect
& Esteem, his real Friend & Well Wisher,
Newcastle June 17th 75
Ann Ormston



[Page 8]


Doctor Cullen
Edinburgh


Ann Ormston
June ----75.
V. iv. p. 12.

Diplomatic Text

[Page 1]


Being at present in a bad State of Health, I take
the Liberty of addressing myself to Doctor Cullen, in
hopes of receiving from his kind Attention & Skill, some
relief from the Complaints which have distressed me -
As they have been, & are of a tedious & lingering Nature,
& their Foundation has I believe been laid some years
since, I must be obliged to trouble thee; with a detail
of the state of my Constitution from that time - I was
till & at, the age of Eighteen, very healthy, when I had a
scorbutick Eruption in my Face, having been subject to
that Complaint from the Age of twelve, when it first
appeared in some round reddish Spots without itching
on my Legs and Arms, & at times continued; tho as it
gave me no Uneasiness, I did not much regard it then.
From this Eruption I was ordered to go to Harrogate by
Doctor Askew to drink the Waters there, & bathe in the
hot Bath, which I did for six weeks. He prescribed
bathing twice a week, but I only used it six Times
in that Period, & have Reason to think that too often; as
the Water was used so hot, as I believe tended greatly
to relax my Constitution. The Eruption was however carried
of by these means, & I continued well in general, tho
more subject to slight Colds, than I had been till twelve
months after; when walking by the Sea Shore in a
thick mist, I was taken ill of a Feverish Complaint,
which in two or three days terminated in an Intermit¬
ting
; which came on at a certain Hour every other
Night. I never trembled, but had just a momentary



[Page 2]

cold Shivering, twice or thrice repeated two or three Hours
before the hot Fit came on, which was earlier every
Night & more violent, & always went of with Sweating.
In the intermediate Time I was sometimes cold, & at
others hot; my Hands & feet particularly; & had often
a Head Ach & Oppression on my Spirits before the fit
came on, tho' I was able ↑to walk↑ about, & ride out; either in a Carriage
or on Horseback. The Decoction of Bark was given me for this
Complaint, & for that Time removed it. But the next Time I was
out of Order, it returned near the End of that Time, & I had as
much of the Bark given me as before, which removed it, till I was
again in the same Situation. Thus I continued for four Months
till the Coldness of the ↑Winter↑ Air braced me, & I had no Return of it & I was
very well except casual Colds, & Sore Throats, till the Spring follow¬
ing, when I was seized with it, the Night before I took a Journey
& it was so disagreeable & painful to be ill every Night at an Inn,
that instead of proceeding on my Journey I stayed at Leeds
with a Relation, & was attended by Doctor Hird a Physician
there for six weeks, taking his Prescriptions (which I believe
were principally Bark, particularly Huxam's Tincture) tho: with¬
out much Benefit, as it never stopped above four days, &
then returned tho: not violently. When I returned to Newcastle, I
bathed in the Sea, but even at that Time had frequent Attacks
of it; & after I left the Sea Side, I bathed in a cold Bath
from which I found great Benefit, & persevered in it, through
part of the Winter, being very seldom troubled with my
tedious Complaint - In the Spring of the next Year, I was
advised to try Trefoil Tea nauseous & strong Bitter, which
was of Service; as by taking it while out of Order I escaped
having an Attack near the Conclusion of that Time, & if I


[Page 3]

neglected drinking Trefoil I generally suffered from it. From my first
being out of Order, I had been regular to a month, till this Intermitting
begun, & then I was as certainly so, every five Weeks. During this
two years I have given an Account of, I walked out every tolerable
Day, took several Journeys, sometimes rode on Horseback; & being
of an active Disposition used a good deal of Exercise, indeed as
much as my Strength would bear. This Intermitting has conti¬
nued to return upon me for these five or six years past, &
tho: it yielded to the Bark & Trefoil, with cold Bathing, which
at times I continued; yet i every year grew more susceptible
of Heat & Cold, & subject to sore Throats & Colds which went off
by Sweating; & was not able to bear the Night Air on very
cold Weather without being uncommonly happed. The Winter
before last, when ever I catched Cold, which was frequently
the Case [Preceding?] these Sweatings, I drank plentifully of
spirit of Nitre, & Water mixed strong; which I thought pre¬
vented them; in the Spring began to cold bathe, but being
exposed to a thick damp Fog, in the Evening, was the Day
after seized with cold Shivering, & great Heat in my Skin
Head Ach, & Weariness in my Limbs, with Oppression on my Spirits.
The Apothecary that attended the Family gave me Neutral
Draughts
with something warm in them; & I took Valerian
in Powder at Bed Time. I lost my Sleep & Appetite, & when
ever I attempted to walk out was almost sure to catch Cold
which brought on profuse Sweatings. Thus I continued at times
during the whole Summer, frequently catching Cold, & then having
a Sense of Oppression, sometimes chilly cold & at others hot, but
always having a burning Heat on my Skin, which ever might
be felt, by any persons Hand held at a small distance from


[Page 4]

me. These Sweatings generally came on the Morning of the Day following
that, in which I had caught the Cold, & when in them; I had the Sensa¬
tion of being set on fire, & the more I sweat the hotter my Skin
was, tho: I felt releived from the Oppression & Chillness. When I was
rather better & rode in a Chaise, it made me perspire, increased
that inward Heat, & brought on a Head Ach. I could not walk far
being soon tired, & was easiest when able to go out, to sit in the Air,
well happed - Doctor Brown of NCastle attended me, who ordered
Neutral Draughts & Bitters as I had scarce any Appetite, tho: when¬
ever I did eat sat quite light upon my Stomach. He also ordered
a Vomit, the Operation of which [threw?] me into so violent a Sweat
that it was some Hours before I could be got into Bed, & was not
I believe of the least Service, as nothing came of my Stomach
but my Food. The latter End of Summer I was ordered to cold
bathe, & as I was so very apt to catch Cold, had a large Tub
brought into the House, & filled with Water, where there could
be a fire made, for me to undress by. I had the Bark & Elixir
of Vitriol
given me, & used this manner of bathing which had a
very good Effect cooled the Heat of my Skin, seemed to brace &
strengthen me, but upon any Colds I was full subject to these
Sweatings; however I continued when able to bathe, but as the
cold Weather came on, in spite of every Care I had such frequent
Colds & Sweatings that I was obliged to give up going out even in
the middle of the Day; but still took Bark & bathed. I was
then tolerable, had an Appetite, slept pretty well & always good
Spirits; but I presently caught Cold even in the House, & the
Relaxation increased so much, that if I walked across the Room
it brought on these Oppression Chillness & Sweating. From my
Confinement & Sweatings my Nerves were much affected, I was
for some nights without Sleep, tho: I took Valerian to procure
it, & a small Dose of Diacodium would not give it me.


[Page 5]

I once had a Palpitation at my Heart, & made a quantity of pale
Water, & had great Sinkings, & such violent Heats, that I
felt to be on fire, & as if I was all over pricked with Pins.
From this distressing Situation, I was releived by returning
to Bathing which a sore Throat & Cold had interrupted,
& the Weather becoming so fine as to allow me to ride on
Horseback, which I did constantly, part of March, April
& ↑the beginning of↑ May. My natural Sleep returned in degree, my Appetite
grew better, & my Complaints were all releived, tho: I was
obliged to be extremely careful to keep from Cold, as it brought
on the Oppression burning Heat & Sweatings, tho they grew
gradually less severe. But the uncommon hot Spring
& Summer we have so far had, has obliged me to give
over riding on Horseback, as neither early in the Morning
nor late in the Evening I can bear the beams of the Sun
upon me, they directly raising such a burning heat
that I cannot bear the Distress it occasions, or the conse¬
quent Sufferings; as I am certain to have an almost
sleepless Night, & sometimes two or three, from being
once overheated, tho: I do not from being exposed to the Sun
sweat much, but burn - At present I am in an airy Si¬
tuation in the Country near Newcastle. I bathe in a cold
Bath about a Mile distant, to which I ride in a Chaise,
& in the Evening four or five Miles also in a Carriage, tho I
find much more Benefit from the Exercise of Horseback, could
I get it, without being exposed to the Sun. I walk in the
Shade as much as my Strength will allow, tho: if I walk
near half an Hour at a time, that Exercise heats ↑and fatigues↑ me. I take
the Bark in Substance twice a day, & drink Pyrmont Water
but ↑am↑ still much relaxed, & sleep very badly. When it is cool


[Page 6]

I can ride eight Miles on a very easy Horse without being fatigued
From this two or three Years past, the Bark has purged me, which
obliges me to use Tormentil Root finely powdered in equal
Quantity with the Bark, which prevents it having that
Effect. The Scorbutic Eruption of dry scurfy reddish Spots with¬
out itching, which I mentioned in the beginning of this
long detail, still continued; & when I was free of my Inter¬
mitting, I took a Quack Medicine called Maredants Drops
& afterwards a Prescription of Doctor Browns; Antimonial
Wine
, both which seemed to strike it more out. Within
this Month it seems to be of a worse Nature; a Number
of small Pimples rising together upon my Arms & Hands
& itching much; upon the Skin being broke by scratching
a thinnish Humour issues out, & the Spots being left to
themselves heal up again, leaving only a rough Redness
which soon goes of, & others break out. I always lived
very temperately, eating plain dressed Flesh Meat & Pud¬
ding to Dinners, drinking small Beer or Water
after it; with a single Glass of Wine; taking weak Tea
half Milk to Breakfast, & in the Afternoon, & when well
eating heartily to both; & taking little if any Supper. Since
I have been subject to such Colds & Sweatings, I have not
been regular, sometimes six or seven weeks between. At that
time I am more susceptible of Cold, & after it am more
relaxed & poorly, & my usual Exercise fatigues & heats
me more than common, till I have bathed & taken Bark
a few Days. I am sensible that I have trespassed on Doctor
Cullens Time & Patience with this tedious, & I fear unin¬
telligible Account, of my former & present State of Health


[Page 7]

Should he chuse to have a State of my Case from our
Apothecary I can get him to draw it up; as I mean
this only for his Consideration till I wait upon him
personally. As I beleive travelling would be of Service
to me, if I am no worse, & Doctor Cullen think it not
improper; I have not the least Objection to visit Edinburgh
to receive his Advice & Direction; in the meantime
will beg the Favor of a Line to know whether he does
approve of my personal Attendance upon him. The
affectionate Indulgence of the best of Parents, gives me
liberty to assure thee, that whatever Plan thou thinks
most likely to be of Service to my Health, will be
followed; & there is no Regimen that would tend to that
Purpose, that I should not most gladly & strictly follow.
Doctor Cullens humanity & knowledge of the Sick wil{illeg}
I trust induce him to excuse the Tediousness of {illeg}
incoherent Account, well knowing that Sufferers {illeg}
complain where they hope for Releif, tho: perhaps {illeg}
minute detail may be unnecessary. I sincere[ly?]{illeg}
this may find Doctor Cullen enjoying every Bless{illeg}
this Scene of Existence affords;

& am with Respect
& Esteem, his real Friend & Well Wisher,
Newcastle June 17th 75
Ann Ormston



[Page 8]


Doctor Cullen
Edinburgh


Ann Ormston
June ----75.
V. iv. p. 12.

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