For those who don’t know me, which few of you do, I used to be one of those smokers---you know, that group of people so many hold in disdain and contempt these days. Truthfully, I really enjoyed smoking. For me it was more than just an addiction…it gave me a sense of calm, or at least I thought so. Like so many dedicated smokers, I thought that I could quit anytime with no problem. I actually quit for 10 weeks in 1986 after I was in the hospital for a total of 37 days with mono, pneumonia, secondary pneumonia, and to top that, I overdosed on over-the counter medicine. That should have been a wakeup call. Being in intensive care and on a breathing machine should have been enough to convince anyone. Anyone but me I guess.
Once I eventually was able to go back to work, I started again. At the time I managed an apartment complex and we turned many apartments over each summer. Some days it was very busy, and other days soooooooo boring. It was on one of those boring days when I just got in the truck, drove down to a convenience store, and bought the first of many more packs of cigarettes. My enjoyment of smoking those things lasted until about Memorial Day, 2006. I came down with something that was never completely explained to me, and though I left the hospital some 8 days later, I really have never been able to breathe right since. Despite the fact that I had almost a full carton of cigarettes in the apartment, I never touched one until that August.Then I found the urge to try one, but I took one puff and thought I was going to die. So, the cigarettes went bye-bye.
Fast forward to late fall of 2012. Oxygen was delivered to my house yesterday. I’ll likely be on it for the rest of my life, however long that may be. It is nice, but sort of inconvenient to walk around connected to a machine sort of like a dog on a leash. On the bright side, I can still walk but I think my chances of climbing Mt. Everest or winning the New York Marathon need to be shelved. This would be bad enough by itself, but I also have a few other problems----some that just happened, and some that I likely urged on by the way I lived for so many years. I just didn’t take care of myself well.
I hope anyone who reads this gives their lifestyle a review. If you still smoke, I really hope you get the strength and willpower to quit before you end up in the same situation I am in---or worse. If you are trying to work 70-80 hours a week like I did for 30 years, give it up. The money is nice, but in the end your body will likely get revenge. I’m not trying to give a sermon here, because I know how hard it is to give those things up. Just think about what I have written here.