Express Yourself

About anything and everything on the planet

March 10, 2008

Dear Cigarette Smokers, Please Stop

I have been putting off going to see my grandmother because she has been in the hospital for about two weeks. I was really scared to go and see her because the day that she went into the hospital was the one year anniversary that my other grandmother died. If you’ve never heard a death rattle or been there to witness a loved one’s last breath, it is life changing and even though I was glad I was there to see her off into whatever comes after death, it was traumatic. The comfort though was that she had lived 90 wonderful years and when we told her it was okay to go, she smiled, cried and she went, like she was just waiting for us to give her permission.

So this time around, I was terrified that I was going to be there when the final moments arrived and I just put it off. Well, I decided to get over my selfish fears and go and see my grandmother today. She had surgery to have a tracheotomy put into her throat to help her breath better. Over the past ten years she has had to lug around an oxygen tank which weighs just a little bit less than her eighty-nine pound frame. The doctors told us that everything else is great. Blood pressure, heart rate, sight, hearing and mind. If my grandmother had not smoked for decades, we would have been stopping by to pick her up for a nice Sunday dinner, instead of visiting her in the hospital.

I have had a few cigarettes in my day. When I was younger I went on a trip to Louisiana and I tried out cigarettes. Camel Reds were the brand that I chose. I smoked a few while I was on the trip and finished up the pack when I got home. I even bought a few more packs and smoked them but I did not get addicted to them. I did get that troublesome smokers cough and noticed that there were times when I was out of breath. That was when I decided that smoking was not the way to go. I mean, sure it was cool to have a smoke now and then but really, when I thought about what I was doing I realized that there were plenty of other ways to be cool or relieve tension.

I also thought of my grandma and her oxygen tank. Back then it wasn’t so bad. She had empahsema but she was not really that hindered. When she was out of breath she would hook up her oxygen tank and use it for a while, until she could breathe again. Then she was fine. I mean, sure no one wants to have an oxygen tank but was it really that bad? Not back then it wasn’t but it was a sign of things to come. The same way that the bothersome smoker’s cough is not that bad but it is a precursor to the empahsema, lung cancer, heart disease or a number of other health issues that can occur from smoking cigarettes. I mean maybe that never happens and you live your life without any health issues because of cigarettes. But that is a big what if. I know that life is one big “what if”, but why not narrow down some of the “what ifs” by quitting smoking. If you can’t quit for yourself, quit for someone that loves you and would be heartbroken to see you suffering from smoke related illnesses.

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