The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, May 24, 1806

Lewis, May 24, 1806

Saturday May 24th 1806. The child was very wrestless last night; it's jaw and the back of it's neck are much more swolen than they were yesterday tho his fever has abated considerably. we gave it a doze of creem of tartar and applyed a fresh poltice of onions. we ordered some of the hunters out this morning and directed them to pass Collins's creek if possible and hunt towards the quawmash feilds. William Bratton still continues very unwell; he eats heartily digests his food well, and his recovered his flesh almost perfectly yet is so weak in the loins that he is scarcely able to walk nor can he set upwright but with the greatest pain. we have tryed every remidy which our engenuity could devise, or with which our stock of medicines furnished us, without effect. John Sheilds observed that he had seen men in a similar situation restored by violent sweats. Bratton requested that he might be sweated in the manner proposed by Sheilds to which we consented. Sheilds sunk a circular hole of 3 feet diamiter and four feet deep in the earth. he kindled a large fire in the hole and heated well, after which the fire was taken out a seat placed in the center of the hole for the patient with a board at bottom for his feet to rest on; some hoops of willow poles were bent in an arch crossing each other over the hole, on these several blankets were thrown forming a secure and thick orning of about 3 feet high. the patient being striped naked was seated under this orning in the hole and the blankets well secured on every side. the patient was furnished with a vessell of water which he sprinkles on the bottom and sides of the hole and by that means creates as much steam or vapor as he could possibly bear, in this situation he was kept about 20 minutes after which he was taken out and suddonly plunged in cold water twise and was then immediately returned to the sweat hole where he was continued three quarters of an hour longer then taken out covered up in several blankets and suffered to cool gradually. during the time of his being in the sweat hole, he drank copious draughts of a strong tea of horse mint. Sheilds says that he had previously seen the tea of Sinnecca snake root used in stead of the mint which was now employed for the want of the other which is not be found in this country.- this experiment was made yesterday; Bratton feels himself much better and is walking about today and says he is nearly free from pain.- at 11 A.M. a canoe arrived with 3 of the natives one of them the sick man of whom I have before made mentions as having lost the power of his limbs. he is a cheif of considerable note among them and they seem extreemly anxious for his recovery. as he complains of no pain in any particular part we conceive it cannot be the rheumatism, nor do we suppose that it can be a parelitic attack or his limbs would have been more deminished. we have supposed that it was some disorder which owed it's origine to a diet of particular roots perhaps and such as we have never before witnessed. while at the village of the broken arm we had recommended a diet of fish or flesh for this man and the cold bath every morning. we had also given him a few dozes of creem of tarter and flour of sulpher to be repeated every 3rd day. this poor wretch thinks that he feels himself of somewhat better but to me there appears to be no visible alteration. we are at a loss what to do for this unfortunate man. we gave him a few drops of Laudanum and a little portable soup. 4 of our party pased the river and visited the lodge of the broken Arm for the purpose of traiding some awls which they had made of the links of small chain belonging to one of their steel traps, for some roots. they returned in the evening having been very successfull, they had obtained a good supply of roots and bread of cows.- this day has proved warmer than any of the preceeding since we have arrived here.