Cullen

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

 

[ID:808] From: Mr Thomas Duncanson / To: Dr William Cullen (Professor Cullen) / Regarding: Mrs Elizabeth Duncanson (Beaton or Bethune) (Patient), Mrs Falconer (Patient) / 29 June 1770 / (Incoming)

Letter from Thomas Duncanson, chiefly concerning his wife: her medical history since childhood, and her current respiratory ailments, problems with wind, and pains in breast, haunch and stomach. There is a brief update on Mrs Falconer, whose "breast broke" and who is probably not going to "hold it out long".

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Metadata

FieldData
DOC ID 808
RCPE Catalogue Number CUL/1/2/77
Main Language English
Document Direction Incoming
Date29 June 1770
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 Thomas Duncanson, chiefly concerning his wife: her medical history since childhood, and her current respiratory ailments, problems with wind, and pains in breast, haunch and stomach. There is a brief update on Mrs Falconer, whose "breast broke" and who is probably not going to "hold it out long".
Manuscript Incomplete? No
Evidence of Commercial Posting Yes

Case

Cases that this document belongs to:

Case ID Description Num Docs
[Case ID:17]
Case of Mrs Falconer, with a "Schirrhus of the Breast".
2
[Case ID:43]
Case of Mrs Duncanson with pain in her haunch and breast.
3


People linked to this document

Person IDRole in documentPerson
[PERS ID:1564]AuthorMr Thomas Duncanson
[PERS ID:1]AddresseeDr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID:331]PatientMrs Falconer
[PERS ID:21]PatientMrs Elizabeth Duncanson
[PERS ID:1564]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryMr Thomas Duncanson
[PERS ID:1]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID:1564]Patient's Relative / Spouse / FriendMr Thomas Duncanson

Places linked to this document

Role in document Specific Place Settlements / Areas Region Country Global Region Confidence
Place of Writing Forres East Highlands Scotland Europe certain
Destination of Letter Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain

Normalized Text

[Page 1]
Dear Sir


Soon after receiving your last favours in re¬
gard to our Patient Mrs. Falconer her breast broke & since
then has been going fast, she cannot I think hold it out long,
what follows concerns one I'm much more interested in, the
mother of my Children, shall therefore take the libertie to
begin her history without troubling you with an Apologie.


Ag'd about 48, of a midling size, pale complexion, bone full,
& much pitted with the small pox, of which she had a great
load at three years old, & left a vast number of deep pitts in
face hands & Arms, but what was more remarkable, she was
again Seiz'd with ↑them↑ four years after, & had full as many as before,
which fill'd up in a good measure the first pitts, & left her face
much more tolerable than formerlie, she was attended both
times by the same Surgeon, whom I knew well, from that
time she Enjoy'd good health till harvest fortie three 1 , when
she catch'd a little cold which hung about her some time, but
at last ended in a severe cough & sweatings, both continued
all Winter & Spring, but got perfectlie well Summer following
by the country Air & a rich diet, she had slept for two
months before that begun with a Girle far gone in a con¬
sumption
, & in the same Situation as to cough & sweatings.
In the year 47 she was again taken ill with a severe
cough after sitting long in Wett cloaths, which was likewise
remov'd by change of Airs & milk Dyet, & ever since has been
lyable to coughs after catching any cold. Has been married
about seventeen years, bore several children, two of which
she nurs'd, since years ago after nursing the second sometimes
was seiz'd with severe & frequent Asthmatick Fitts, which
came on suddenlie, & would have continu'd from a quarter to
a couple of hours, hartshorn in water gave a little relief,
& they comonlie went of with strong loud belchings of wind,
a little before she was attack'd with the fitt found her
Stomach & Bowels much distended & swell'd, which subsided
when the belchings came on, she had returns of those fitts
more or less for two years, when she was attack'd with a
most violent stuborn cough, which reduc'd her quite low,
but recover'd by Exercise & Ass' milk, & kept tolerablie
free of the Asthma for a twelve month after & not many
fitts ever since. She bore her last child several months
before the last cough came on, & had a pretty good recovery.
For three or four years back her menses dissapear'd altogether,
& for above two years before, onlie once in three or perhaps
four months, & then in small quantitys, tho during that time
had few complaints till last winter, that she felt a pain
in her f left hanch 2 & down along that thigh & leg, which
continu'd fix'd there till about three months gone, when
it pritty much abated, but seven weeks ago she was suddenlie
attack'd with a sort of pain in the left breast, for the first
fortnight it was not severe, but resembl'd or she calls
it a full heavie kind of uneasiness, & soon after that became
a sharp prickling acute pain, flying about in different
parts of the breast, & frequentlie shifts to that side, & some
times down to the hand, extending towards the small of
the back, & often to that Arm & shoulder, & at times feels
as if in the breast bones, when the pain first came on
complain'd of a coldness in the breast, which continu'd
more or less for a week or two, & then was succeded
with a violent burning heat, of which she still has
frequent returns, particularlie after the least motion
of any kind, when at her worst she could hardlie ly
on that side, nor move that arm without Encreasing
the heat & pain in breast & side, the pain in the
breast itself sometimes feels as she imagines like
one's stomach pen'd up with wind, is always easiest in
bed,



[Page 2]

and through out the day much pain'd, & towards bed-time
feels as if it had a wight & heaviness in it, tho even for
hours in the day time quite free of pain in it or any where
else, not the smallest appearance of hardness has yet been
discover'd, nor any degree of Inflamation, the breast being quite
soft & the skin of a natural colour, tho she apprehends it
a little larger than tother some night at bed-time but
it's all Imagination, [she?] at other times thinks she feels it as
if puff'd up with wind, she has all along complaind of
a constant burning heat in hands & feet & that both night
& day, & for some days back a good deal Drouthie 3 , & yet
nothing feverish in the pulse. Dry rubing & Friction
with the hand gives relief when the pain is Violent
in breast or side. From about a Week back she
has rode a little on horseback, which greatlie distresses
her breast for the first while, & then the pain quite
subsides. Her Dyet ever since married & even before
has been rather simple than otherwise, Tea & an Egg
for Brakefast, Fish or Flesh of some kind, & at times
a little of both for Dinners bread & cheese, a bit of
hard Fish, or sometimes an Egg for suppers, small beer
for common drink, & for a good many years back a
little Punch at nights as it happen'd, but these she
can easily abstain from if thought proper, as also
Fish & meat of all kinds, she does not dislike a
milk dyet, & can chearfully live upon it & vegetables.
She never was fond of Exercise more than her Family
matters requird, & always took too little, & kept the
house too much. I should have mention'd, that
for a course of years, at least five or six, till a twelve
month ago, she was more or less distress'd with head-achs
& tooth achs, the former at times so severe as to affect
her sight
, & sometimes occasion'd an unaccountable
confusion of Ideas that she could not make language
off
, blisters where us'd repeatedlie repeatedlie to head
neck & Ears, & for a considerable time a perpetual Issue
on the Vertex, she blam'd cold from windows that
were often kept open in a smockie house we then
liv'd in, which we mov'd from a year ago.


For several days back she has been rather easier upon
the whole. I'm afraid this long detail may
have wearied your patience but as I know you
approve of circumstantial Informations, hope you'll
forgive it,

& believe that I am, with due Esteem,
& great regard Dear Sir
your most obed.t & much oblig'd
humble Servt
Tho.s Duncanson
Forress
29th June 1770


Your opinion when perfectlie convenient will be
very obliging, as she's a good deal apprehensive & alarm'd,
tho I would Flatter myself there is no Immediate danger.




[Page 3]

To
Doctor William Cullen
Edinburgh
single sheet

Notes:

1: i.e. "the autumn of 1743", "harvest" being a Scottish idiom.

2: Scots variant of 'haunch'.

3: Meaning 'thirsty' (Scots).

Diplomatic Text

[Page 1]
Dear Sir


Soon after receiving your last favours in re¬
gard to our Patient Mrs. Falconer her breast broke & since
then has been going fast, she cannot I think hold it out long,
what follows concerns one I'm much more interested in, the
mother of my Children, shall therefore take the libertie to
begin her history without troubling you with an Apologie.


Ag'd about 48, of a midling size, pale complexion, bone full,
& much pitted with the small pox, of which she had a great
load at three years old, & left a vast number of deep pitts in
face hands & Arms, but what was more remarkable, she was
again Seiz'd with ↑them↑ four years after, & had full as many as before,
which fill'd up in a good measure the first pitts, & left her face
much more tolerable than formerlie, she was attended both
times by the same Surgeon, whom I knew well, from that
time she Enjoy'd good health till harvest fortie three 1 , when
she catch'd a little cold which hung about her some time, but
at last ended in a severe cough & sweatings, both continued
all Winter & Spring, but got perfectlie well Summer following
by the country Air & a rich diet, she had slept for two
months before that begun with a Girle far gone in a con¬
sumption
, & in the same Situation as to cough & sweatings.
In the year 47 she was again taken ill with a severe
cough after sitting long in Wett cloaths, which was likewise
remov'd by change of Airs & milk Dyet, & ever since has been
lyable to coughs after catching any cold. Has been married
about seventeen years, bore several children, two of which
she nurs'd, since years ago after nursing the second sometimes
was seiz'd with severe & frequent Asthmatick Fitts, which
came on suddenlie, & would have continu'd from a quarter to
a couple of hours, hartshorn in water gave a little relief,
& they comonlie went of with strong loud belchings of wind,
a little before she was attack'd with the fitt found her
Stomach & Bowels much distended & swell'd, which subsided
when the belchings came on, she had returns of those fitts
more or less for two years, when she was attack'd with a
most violent stuborn cough, which reduc'd her quite low,
but recover'd by Exercise & Ass' milk, & kept tolerablie
free of the Asthma for a twelve month after & not many
fitts ever since. She bore her last child several months
before the last cough came on, & had a pretty good recovery.
For three or four years back her menses dissapear'd altogether,
& for above two years before, onlie once in three or perhaps
four months, & then in small quantitys, tho during that time
had few complaints till last winter, that she felt a pain
in her f left hanch 2 & down along that thigh & leg, which
continu'd fix'd there till about three months gone, when
it pritty much abated, but seven weeks ago she was suddenlie
attack'd with a sort of pain in the left breast, for the first
fortnight it was not severe, but resembl'd or she calls
it a full heavie kind of uneasiness, & soon after that became
a sharp prickling acute pain, flying about in different
parts of the breast, & frequentlie shifts to that side, & some
times down to the hand, extending towards the small of
the back, & often to that Arm & shoulder, & at times feels
as if in the breast bones, when the pain first came on
complain'd of a coldness in the breast, which continu'd
more or less for a week or two, & then was succeded
with a violent burning heat, of which she still has
frequent returns, particularlie after the least motion
of any kind, when at her worst she could hardlie ly
on that side, nor move that arm without Encreasing
the heat & pain in breast & side, the pain in the
breast itself sometimes feels as she imagines like
one's stomach pen'd up with wind, is always easiest in
bed,



[Page 2]

and through out the day much pain'd, & towards bed-time
feels as if it had a wight & heaviness in it, tho even for
hours in the day time quite free of pain in it or any where
else, not the smallest appearance of hardness has yet been
discover'd, nor any degree of Inflamation, the breast being quite
soft & the skin of a natural colour, tho she apprehends it
a little larger than tother some night at bed-time but
it's all Imagination, [she?] at other times thinks she feels it as
if puff'd up with wind, she has all along complaind of
a constant burning heat in hands & feet & that both night
& day, & for some days back a good deal Drouthie 3 , & yet
nothing feverish in the pulse. Dry rubing & Friction
with the hand gives relief when the pain is Violent
in breast or side. From about a Week back she
has rode a little on horseback, which greatlie distresses
her breast for the first while, & then the pain quite
subsides. Her Dyet ever since married & even before
has been rather simple than otherwise, Tea & an Egg
for Brakefast, Fish or Flesh of some kind, & at times
a little of both for Dinners bread & cheese, a bit of
hard Fish, or sometimes an Egg for suppers, small beer
for common drink, & for a good many years back a
little Punch at nights as it happen'd, but these she
can easily abstain from if thought proper, as also
Fish & meat of all kinds, she does not dislike a
milk dyet, & can chearfully live upon it & vegetables.
She never was fond of Exercise more than her Family
matters requird, & always took too little, & kept the
house too much. I should have mention'd, that
for a course of years, at least five or six, till a twelve
month ago, she was more or less distress'd with head-achs
& tooth achs, the former at times so severe as to affect
her sight
, & sometimes occasion'd an unaccountable
confusion of Ideas that she could not make language
off
, blisters where us'd repeatedlie repeatedlie to head
neck & Ears, & for a considerable time a perpetual Issue
on the Vertex, she blam'd cold from windows that
were often kept open in a smockie house we then
liv'd in, which we mov'd from a year ago.


For several days back she has been rather easier upon
the whole. I'm afraid this long detail may
have wearied your patience but as I know you
approve of circumstantial Informations, hope you'll
forgive it,

& believe that I am, with due Esteem,
& great regard Dear Sir
your most obed.t & much oblig'd
humble Servt
Tho.s Duncanson
Forress
29th June 1770


Your opinion when perfectlie convenient will be
very obliging, as she's a good deal apprehensive & alarm'd,
tho I would Flatter myself there is no Immediate danger.




[Page 3]

To
Doctor William Cullen
Edinburgh
single sheet

Notes:

1: i.e. "the autumn of 1743", "harvest" being a Scottish idiom.

2: Scots variant of 'haunch'.

3: Meaning 'thirsty' (Scots).

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