Monday, May 29, 2017

Denial

A friend was taken to the hospital with severe breathing difficulties.

We do this, as he did, when we're older: we pretend severe symptoms are:
(1)Passing
(2)Imagination
(3)A nuisance, but let's not tell anyone because, you know, they might over-react and worry and insist on stupid stuff like ambulances.

He's been hospitalized a week now and all sorts of nuisancy eye-rolling tests have occurred which he has shared with some of his closest friends.

It turns out there are four blockages in the veins leading to his heart, pretty severe blockages, which is going to necessitate by-pass surgeries as stents are considered too risky as he's 76. So he's in line for major surgery and it might be today.

Like myself, he was a heavy smoker and we quit about the same time, around thirty years ago.

BUT the lifelong effects are with us both. And when doctors and technicians informed me about MY smoking and the now disastrous effects on my legs and arms, my internal dialogue tells me they haven't a clue, look at the running races, the half-marathons, etc., how could a long ago habit affect me now?

My friend T has reinforced all this ridiculous denial for me. And I do so wish the young would quit while there is time. I quit in my forties after only 24 years of it but it was enough to do untold damage to my vascular system which has now aged and is unable to cope anymore. Much like my friend T's.

We've been led to believe it's lung cancer we should be worried about. But I, for one, ignored the fine print of it's other long-term effects. T has brought it all home to me, and now I really believe that yes, it was the stupid smoking that I'm paying for now.

24 comments:

  1. We all pay for a person's choice to smoke, in one way or another. Second-hand smoke is nothing to sneeze at, either. My mother thought she contributed to my premature birth with her smoking (she started at 12 and died before sixty) and I think years of smoke and other exposures killed my granddad because my grandma smoked like a chimney...I also lost two smoking aunts to cancers.

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  2. In spite of all the evidence people continue to smoke. I was told smoking in my first pregnancy would prevent complications as my pelvis was narrow and the baby would be kept small. In those days we smoked everywhere on the maternity floors of the hospitals.

    XO
    WWW

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  3. I have a friend who also is reaping the ravages of a smoke-filled life. Unlike you, she didn't quit smoking, and even after some serious health problems, she went right on smoking until she fell over with a heart attack at the hospital.

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    1. I've also lost some good blogfriends through the sinister white tube.

      The denial is vicious and also the power of nicotine addiction.

      XO
      WWW

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  4. Good of you to urge people to stop smoking. It is sad about the long term effects even if you stopped years ago. By the way, my husband had 3 stents put in at age 69, so I wonder why your friend can't have stents, seems less risky than by pass surgery.

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    1. Stents were viewed as too "temporary" apparently. Perhaps his veins are too damaged. He asked me to see him tomorrow so I'll find out more.

      XO
      WWW

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  5. Best of luck to your friend in the hospital. -Kate

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    1. Thanks Kate. We're all more worried than we're saying.

      XO
      WWW

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  6. I agree with Terra that bypass surgery is risky. My friend(diabetic and Parkinson) had bypass surgery when he was 74. He never recovered after the bypass, and died two months later.

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    1. Oh that's worrisome. I believe stents were discussed but he wasn't a good candidate for some reason. He may tell me more tomorrow.

      XO
      WWW

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  7. My stepfather unwittingly did me a favor when it came to smoking. I promised myself not to do any of the things he did. (Smoking, drinking, swearing,etc.) Besides that, when I was six, I took one puff on one of his cigarette butts. Never again in this lifetime. I don't understand how some people can smoke so much and not pay the consequences. My Uncle Tiny was a smoker. Never without a Pall Mall going. The walls in the house were positively yellow. My aunt, his wife, died just before she turned 65. She never smoked, but she lived with him for 40+ years. After she died, Uncle Tiny outlived a second wife, and was married to the third when he died. Some things make no sense.

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    1. My neighbour celebrated her 90th birthday in a series of endless parties where she danced all night. Her hands and white hair are yellow as she's a chain smoker.

      I think we all cling to these exceptions as being the norm for smokers. Mass delusion.

      XO
      WWW

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  8. Oh, meant to say, I wish your friend the best. Please let us know. We care.

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  9. Mass delusion - yes, WWW. Nicotine is so evilly addictive, I guess I ought not to be surprised to see so many still smoking these days. I regularly look in to The Sartorialist blog - enjoy the street fashion photos from Europe and the US, and elsewhere, but am shocked by how often a young subject in the photo is holding a cigarette (along with smartphone!)

    I do hope your friend has better news for you soon.

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    1. The marketing of the sophistication of smoking was enormously successful and contributed to countless millions of deaths, T.
      Bette Davis. Need I say more.

      XO
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  10. There is no running away from it. I suffer from COPD because I smoked for years and quit when it was too late. I present myself as a case study to all smokers who come my way.

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    1. I wasn't aware of the health effect on you Ramana. Boy. Addiction is ruination.

      XO
      WWW

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  11. I have lung cancer. My oncologist says it is a type that is not associated with smoking. I smoked for about ten years and quit before I was 30. Totally unexpected, this.
    Like your friend, I ignored symptoms until I was very sick, and the cancer was well spread and beyond operable. Now I'm in the middle of a course of chemotherapy. We'll see what can be done for me when that's over. My prognosis is not good.
    Moral: Get those checkups! They could save your life.

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    1. One of my aunts who abhorred smoking all her life died from lung cancer too Hattie. We just never know when the Bell tolls and for whom one of my friends had a terminal prognosis and is alive 7 years later another was given 2 years and lasted 3 months.
      My thoughts are with you my friend.

      XO
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  12. My smoking gifted me with COPD but not until I was 80 and its not too bad as I have 60% lung capacity. Stopped [except for cheating with the few friends who still smoked!] Wish my granddaughter would quit. Hope your friend has good luck Wise and you too Hattie - they really seem to be doing wonderful things with cancer now - a friend had a spot on each lung as well as a small one on her esophagus but all is in long time remission.🍀

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  13. Our crazy and addictive former lifestyles nip at our heels until the body cries uncle. I really thought I'd outrun them.

    You too BB?

    XO
    WWW

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  15. I'll try again with my comment....Sounds like your participation in this group is a really good move. My long time hairdresser, just turning 70, suddenly wasn't present for my appointment one day, and had referred me to her sub I would see when my gal was away. Seems she'd had worse problems than she had described -- had probably been in a degree of denial. Talked with her later and Doctors had diagnosed COPD -- told her she had to stop work immediately as chemicals/sprays in beauty shop coupled with smoking she hadn't given up until a decade earlier posed deadly risks for her. Already, she couldn't be on her feet long and would get weak and dizzy. It is incredible to me, that with all that is known now,that young people take up smoking and smokers don't make an effort to stop. I'm not trying to be facetious, but I think quitting is not as difficult as it is made out to be for many people -- they just assume the problems they hear described will be their experience making it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of focusing on stopping smoking years ago, I was successful when I made my goal to stop buying cigarettes. My husband continued smoking long after I quit -- he passed away a decade ago. The early week(s) are the most challenging. Hope all goes well with your friend.

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