I am a former smoker. Stupidest thing I ever did in my life was pick up that first cigarette, stick a match to it, and draw smoke into my lungs. Second stupidest thing was to just keep firing them up for the next three decades. Stupid, I admit it.
I also admit that I really loved smoking. I did. From time to time, I still miss it even though it has been years since I quit. Sometimes I dream about having a smoke, and get this: in my dream I am sneaking the cigarette, pretending like I am not the one smoking or palming it so that no one will know I have it in my hand. How weird is that? I mean, it is my dream. Who would care?
However, I am always thankful that I quit when I did. Recently I was in line at a grocery store behind a woman who was buying several packs of cigarettes and I was astounded by the amount of cash she turned over for her purchase, and they were not even name-brand cigarettes, which I expect would have cost a good deal more.
I am not sure how many thousands of dollars The Mister and I burned when we bought carton after carton for decades. As I said, stupid!
During the past week I had an annual checkup with my cardiologist. He has taken care of my heart since 2004 when I caught him on call, by the luck of the draw, after a heart attack sent me to the emergency room. I had bypass surgery several days later.
Most of us who have had this procedure have gained years we likely would not have had without it. We are lucky. I have some issues that have altered my activities and I admit my stamina is not what it has been or even what it should be at my age. Then again, I usually get a fairly clean bill of health from the guy who knows my heart just about as well as I do.
I recently had an appointment with him, and the waiting room was full. As bad as I often think my health is as a result of the smoking, I felt fairly lucky looking at my fellow patients. I don’t use a cane, walker, or wheelchair, I do not need oxygen 24/7, and I got across the clinic parking lot under my own steam. My tests and lab results indicate I am sort of a boring patient with no glaring issues.
I could go on for three or four more paragraphs, but here is what you need to know. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you smoke, quit. I swear to you, if I could quit, you can quit. Remember, I confessed that I loved that awful addiction. I never thought I could kick it, but I did.
I got lucky, but not as lucky as I could have been if I had never started or if I had quit years earlier. There you have it. Don’t be like me and most of those three dozen people in the doctor’s waiting room. Don’t do stupid.
— SUSAN MARSHALL