W3491 TO REV. THOMAS BAKER from his son Dr. John Orange Baker
Dec 29 1880
To: Rev. Thomas Baker, 3 Bold Street, Hamilton, Ontario
From: Seattle, Washington, [U.S.A.]
My dear Father,
While I sincerely sympathize with you, I feel powerless to help you so far as recommending any course of treatment by medicine. While treatment in the early stages of Diabetes is sometimes of marked benefit, still it is only in those cases when time is on the patient's side, the fact that Mrs. Baker suffered from Erysipelas last winter, and that she had been troubled with an [Erysipelatous?] [affliction?] which you mentioned in a recent letter to me would indicate that an only temporizing treatment could be of any benefit whatever, and that Dr. Mullin very justly comprehends the gravity of the case and very honestly declined treating anything else than symptoms as they occur. You may depend upon it he is right, and that nothing is ever gained by administering one single dose of medicine, unless there is a clear indication that, that alone is necessary. It is much to be hoped that a course of treatment that shall be curative will be one day discovered; but till now Diabetes has continued one of the opprobria, of medicine, and the proper person to experiment on for a better result, is not a patient of seventy years. Take my advice and leave the case entirely in Dr. Mullin's care, feeling certain that he will give it all the attention possible, and remember that withholding medicine from an incurable case is the wisest thing he can do.
With regard to opium solid opium, meanwhile it is of temporary benefit, it is only in the early stages, when from half a grain to a grain may be given in pill, several times a day, the sugar [pill?] occasionally lessened, indeed it's symptom may be entirely suspended for a short time only. While in the latter stages opium may do positive harm by interfering with assimilation of food, [feeding?] is of much use you cannot [restrict?] the diet. Meat, Brown Flour, and any green vegetables, are admissible. Potatoes if used at all in great moderation and when the desire for bread becomes injurious, it had better be well toasted. For drinks as I have before written and as you are doing seems to comprehend almost everything. And we must admit that the list is short, and the benefit, at best, problematic.
Do not fail to let me know the result of the operation for harelip, together with the name of the operation–if successful, I have little faith in it. The operation is of course feasible and not difficult. The result is usually a long bill, and disappointment, as the articulation is usually as imperfect as before in consequence of the [extreme?] [tension?] of the soft palate. Do not allow yourself to be victimized for repeated operations. Ask Drs. Malloch and Mullins, what their opinion has been of the ultimate success of such operations.
With reference to Tom's secretary's letter to you [will remark?], that Tom always looked on himself as the oldest born of those saints who are to inherit the earth, and his wife always considered that person an enemy to herself, and Tom, who possessed what they wanted, and declined to gratify them by parting with it without any consideration of duty or profit.
With love to Isaac and Mary and all the little ones, and with kindest love to Mrs. Baker and yourself, in which both Mrs. Baker and Mrs. Stacy join. I remain your affectionate,
John [Orange] Baker
[Note on envelope with Seattle postmark in Rev. Baker's handwriting:] A correct description of parties within.