When Illness Hits Home

by Kelly McDermott-Burns

cat4Recently, after a busy period of traveling, I returned to find that Murphy our 16 year old kitty had lost a surprising amount of weight. In addition to the weight loss, he seemed lethargic. He wasn’t coming into the kitchen to beg for treats and he wasn’t interested in having his daily Reiki session. In fact, he rarely moved from his little bed in front of the woodstove. We have seen this behavior with him to a lesser degree but usually it would only last for a day and just as we would be discussing making the vet appointment he would return to his old self. This time we made the appointment and I took him in.

Murphy gets terribly stressed when we go to the vet. On the suggestion of vet and SARA member Bernie Fischer I gave him a dose of the flower essence Rescue Remedy©. Normally Murphy would cry the entire way and lose control of his bowels. I always chant the jumon to help keep him calm. The combination of flower essences and Reiki worked like magic. He was quiet for the majority of the trip and we arrived with a clean carrier.

Our vet is very open to letting me stay with Murphy during procedures so I can comfort him and offer him Reiki. On this visit we needed to get a blood sample. He’s very strong for his age and invariably needs to be knocked out to extract the blood. As I stood there watching my little guy struggle, they slipped a mask over his face to give him gas. My heart was in my throat and I felt panic rise as he fought the gas then lay there unconscious.

“Go back to the breath. Breathe into your hara!” This is the message I heard as I struggled to keep calm watching my little buddy go under. Although Murphy wasn’t in any danger, I felt helpless watching him struggle. In retrospect, I believe I felt I was seeing our future and it scared me. “Just for today”, I thought. “Do not worry”. The lessons I have learned in Reiki kicked in and I began to settle down, offering Reiki in a clear and present way.

Staying calm and even detached is imperative when I work in the shelter environment. It certainly was harder to practice in a personal situation. Being face to face with Murphy’s mortality was another reminder that the precepts are a powerful tool to deal with the unknown.

Happily, Murphy has been improving wonderfully from what our vet believes was an infection. He continues to come for his regular Reiki treatments, chases the girls around the house and has forgiven me for taking him to the vet. He is a great teacher in my life.