Richard G. Petty, MD

Mr. Black, R.I.P.

I have previously written about the privilege that I have had over the past four years of sharing a great deal of time with a wonderfully wise old soul who appeared in the body of horse.

Well, sad to report, on Friday March 10th 2006, he passed away very suddenly. Early on Friday morning we heard from our farm manager that he seemed to have colic. Horse colic can be a very serious problem in horses, since they are unable to vomit, and distended bowel can perforate. There was no obvious reason why he should develop his first ever attack of colic, apart from the fact that he was twenty-seven years old. And one other thing. Just three days earlier the daughter of his original owner and friend from Virginia who had known the horse all his life, came to visit him. They were thrilled by his incredibly good condition. Mr. Black’s only worry was that someone might take him away from his retirement home!

Despite his age, this was a horse that still wanted to run and jump with the younger ones. He liked to show off to some of the young competition horses that he still had the ability to out run them. The prospect of slowing down and being unable to keep up would not have appealed to him at all.

So although I may be anthropomorphizing here, I think that he had been given the opportunity to see his former owners one last time, and thought that this would be a good time to get out while he was still at the top of his game: still able to perform with all the younger horses, for whom he was an object of veneration.

I know that someone will ask why we couldn’t cure him of his colic. After all, in the days that I was treating a lot of individual patients, I have had humans fly from all over the world to come and see me for an opinion. They came because our success rates have often been far above average. So why couldn’t we pull Mr. Black around? We certainly tried. A superb vet saw him three times in 12 hours and did some very creative things to try and help him. He also received Rescue Remedy, two homeopathic remedies, acupuncture and Reiki, all in very precise coordinated combinations.

Yet he had obviously decided that it was his time to go. And that leads me to the last part of providing integrated health care. It is learning to understand when it is a person’s time to go and learning to accept it. That does not mean becoming passive and giving in! It means understanding what the whole organism is saying and whether we are trying to keep someone alive not for their sake, but because we would miss them. When it became clear that Mr. Black was not going to stay with us, I took him to see all the other horses. They all rubbed noses and said their goodbyes. The other horses took a keen interest in everything that was going on, so we let them watch as he departed, so that they would all know that we will never leave them alone if they are sick or when their time comes.

I’ve never liked the idea that medicine should be a wrestling match between a person and an illness. This is a false duality and ultimately an impossibility that can paralyze treatment and prevent the maintenance of wellness. Illness and even death are inevitable parts of life and it is really important that we learn the art of active co-existence. Do everything that you possibly can to get a good outcome for all involved, but then detach from that outcome. That’s the loving, compassionate and truly integrated approach to care.

Technorati tags: , , , ,

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

logo logo logo logo logo logo