Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/330

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as the tzömör, or pork-surfeit, a three days' purgatory of heart-burns, nausea, and violent retching, accompanied by a burning thirst and an unspeakable loathing of all solid food. He who weathers the storm, says the traveler Kohl, feels like a new-made man, and reappears at the family table; but so does the pork-pot, and a few months after the respited sinner has another seizure, and groans, "O Jesus, Maria, meg tzömöretem—it's got me again!"

After the re-establishment of intestinal digestion, flatulence, vertigo, and that terror of constipated tea-drinkers, dull headache, become less and less frequent; the spell of the deliquium is broken, and the redevelopment of the wasted muscles proves that the system is no longer obliged to feed upon its own tissue. But these first symptoms of improvement should not encourage the patient to relax the rigor of the regimen before he is sure that the gastric inflammation has wholly subsided. As long as spasms and acrid eructations (water-brash) indicate the danger of a relapse, give the stomach all the rest you can. Never miss an opportunity that will make it easy to forego a meal or two. There are ways to make a fast-day a very trifling inconvenience, and its remedial value exceeds that of a round-trip to all the spas of the Eastern Continent. In my experiments on the operation of the fasting-cure, I have noticed the curious fact that for the first day or two the clamors of the stomach are restricted to certain hours, and can be induced to waive a disregarded claim. Convalescents who have already reduced the morning lunch to the standard of a Spartan breakfast, a "heathen fig and a thrice-accursed biscuit," can beguile the dinner-honr by diverting pastimes—a boat-trip, a fishing-excursion, a visit to the Zoo—and upon their return home will find that the craving for food has yielded to sleepiness, and the sweetness of the night's rest will be worth seven meals. It is during such periods of undisturbed rest that the work of repair makes its surest progress, and for the first three or four months it would be a good plan to imitate the example of the Ebonite heretics, who observed a weekly fast day in the Ugolino sense of the word. Water, of course, should never be stinted, and, after a long fast, will have an especially good chance to depurate the vacated passages of the abdominal labyrinth.

An advanced stage of alcoholism (which will be treated in a separate chapter) often results in that malignant form of chronic indigestion known as hepatic or bilious dyspepsia, a complete derangement of the digestive process, accompanied by headaches, which for months defy the influence of an hygienic regimen, and yield only to the heroic remedies of the pedestrian-cure. But, with that exception, ten weeks of strict temperance, fresh air, and moderate exercise, will generally suffice to appease the resentment of the outraged stomach. During the next twelve months the reconciled digestive apparatus helps to redress the impairments of other organs. For it is a generic peculiarity of dyspeptic affections that the symptomatic outlast the idio-