I am not sure why I have titled the post as I have, except perhaps to hope that my message might reach those who need to hear it.
I couldn’t be told. Even as my Dad lay on his deathbed, and said to me “Sue… don’t do as I did, do as I say… stop smoking now or you’ll end up like me…” He was dead a week later. That was in 1989 and I didn’t pay attention. We all know nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and its harder to kick than heroin… so its easier to just keep on smoking and promise oneself that next week, next month, next year, when the cost goes to $x per pack… almost any excuse to not stop right away.
Here we are at 2010. I had my 60th birthday this year (I still think I’m 35) and I am in my third year of becoming very ill. I first had a bout of bronchopneumonia in 1998 but stayed relatively healthy until 2008. I’d get occasional sniffles, or a bout of bronchitis which would get me on antibiotics for a couple of weeks but not enough to be off work for more than a day or two. In 2008 I got the usual bout of bronchitis, but it didn’t stop there. It got worse, and I think I ended up having three courses of antibiotics before finding one that worked, In the meantime, damage to my lungs was increasing. I was off work for a month, and when I went back, it was to two weeks of half days before I could sustain a full day at work. The same thing happened last year, except I was off work for 5 weeks. This year, I thought I had it beaten, but it grabbed me again and I am about to go into my second week of being off work. I don’t know how long it will go this time, I’m out of sick leave and am having to use annual leave in order to still get paid (I’ve had to do that every year I’ve been this sick) and the antibiotics, normally effective, have stopped working… my lungs had begun to clear but they are infected again this morning.
My doctor told me last year that I now have permanent damage, and that every time I get sick, more damage occurs. She’s calling it COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)… and thats what killed my Dad in the end. I won’t live as long as he did (he was 78) but I’m going to try to make the most of the few years I do have left.
There’s another issue apart from lung tissue destruction which smoking is responsible for. The blood vessels in your lower legs stop working efficiently… so you get peripheral vascular shutdown as well. Added to the fact that I have diabetes, the PVD is probabgly going to see my lower legs amputated sometime before I die. I hope to die before it happens but you know, I suspect that I’m going to be one of those that hangs on well beyond whats reasonable,
So, when you think about stopping your ciggie addiction, for the sake of yourself and your families and friends, just do it. The health improvement will be noticeable. Its too late for me, but its not too late for you, I hope.
Just as an FYI I was a nonsmoker for 7 of the last 8 years, only breaking for 6 months 3 years ago. I think it was already too late when I stopped the first time. And every time I think “gee I’d like a cig right now” I take a deep breath and the pain that causes means I lose that thought quick as a wink.
I know I’m going to die a very unpleasant death… I sure as hell don’t want it to come any sooner than it has to.