. . . continue at your own risk. I'm on a rampage. I'm angry. I'm hurt. Lots of old feelings are stirred up in me, and it ain't pretty. As you read on, you will be pissed off or be cheering me. Either one, I don't care. It's gonna be said.
First of all, a good note. My sister is considerably better yesterday and today. Yesterday, they began to wean her off the ventilation tube. She did well, and by evening she was breathing nearly on her own. Last night that tube and the feeding tube were removed. This morning the lung doctor saw her and was pleased. He said to her, "You've beat the odds." What amazing words to hear!!
Her color is rosy and healthy now, instead of the washed out grey we had become used to. You don't realize how a person has faded until you see the "new, improved" person after positive changes in their lives. It is good to see that, however, it also occurs to me that it would be so nice if we could recognize earlier the subtle changes as signs that a person needs help.
She is not well, however, and will not be again. She will have weeks (or months) of rehabilitation, and will have to have treatments and oxygen for the rest of her life. She avoided it for a long time; but when the Dark Prince of long-term-body-damage comes to visit, it is usually too late to make changes to sustain a full and healthy life.
I know that I promised I would not do this, but I'm breaking my promise. You see, I watched my husband die from lung cancer and the effects of emphysema. I've watched my ex-husband, who is still a dear friend, struggle with the long term health issues of emphysema. I saw my father grow weak and old because of COPD. I've just come closer than I care to in losing my sister to emphysema. Friends, all these dear people were smokers. I was, too. My dad stopped smoking at 44 and lived to 90; however, he had already smoked for some 30 years when he stopped, and the damage was done. So here goes . . . IF YOU SMOKE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE . . . STOP . . . NOW. Thinking that YOU will escape is an insane gamble. If you love your family, do it for them. If you don't love your family, get one worth not smoking around! Sorry, that slipped out, but if humor gets you to listen, then good.
Do I sound angry? I hope so because I am madder than you can imagine. I'm angry and hurt that people I love(d) have stolen away from me years of our lives together. I'm furious with them for gambling something as precious as that and for not realizing what an insane decision they made when they chose cigarettes over me. I'm livid with the tobacco companies that smooth it over, and with the government for being bought by lobbyists. And I'm angry with anyone who continues to make those decisions. It is not a laughing matter; it shouldn't be treated lightly. And if you are in the process of stealing from people you love . . . well, ask yourself which you love more, the cigarette or the person? If you can't stop by yourself, GET HELP. Please put the people in your life ahead of the addiction. Isn't that what we expect of meth users? of cocaine addicts? of alcohol abusers? All these are addictions. Treat them all the same. The end result is you hurt people when you continue to use any of those substances, but with tobacco, it just takes a longer time. Are you hoping that the people in your life now won't be around when it happens to you? What form of illogic is your excuse?
Please hear me when I say that it is not fair to put your family through this kind of trauma. Smoking is a selfish addiction, just as is the use of any other chemical. We have fooled ourselves for decades with the help of the tobacco companies (well, duh!) into believing that smoking is not a bad thing. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. It is at least as addictive, if not more so, than the drugs that we all fear or look at with disgust. It just takes longer to get you, but trust me, it gets you.
My sis, at 75, is now facing her remaining life connected to tubes. My husband is dead. No, he didn't "pass away." He died a very ugly and painful death, aged 68. My ex is on tubes and his ability to do many things he loved to do is gone. He's 66 and has been restricted for about 3 years now. My dad . . . yeah, he lived a long time. But the last 10-15 years were restricted because his lungs didn't work well enough to let him continue with what had been a very active life. He basically slept away a lot of those years because he couldn't process enough oxygen to fuel his body. Three of the four above continued to smoke after they knew they had lung problems.
Every day you don't smoke is one day of possibility. Stop. Now.
PS - If you're thinking about those ages above, think again. Remember that they were all 28 or 35 or 41 once in their lives. The damage only gets worse if you continue. Please live to 90 with lungs that still work.
PS on 12/15
For the record - The comment deleted was my own. I misspelled a word that changed the context of the comment. I AM NOT CENSORING these comments, unless I get something really obscene or hateful that I wouldn't want my grandchildren to read. Otherwise, everyone can express his/her point of view.
PS @ 2:00 CST, 12/15
Sis just had an angiogram and placement of stent to relieve a 90% blockage .... that's right 9-0-% .... of one side of her heart. Again, an effect of smoking. She's doing very well at this time. Folks, the side-effects of smoking just go on and on. It is likely that she is also in the very early stages of Alzheimer's. Yeah, there's a probable link with smoking in that, too. How much more can she take? I don't know. And how much more do you need to hear before you stop? I don't know that either.