OK, I’ll get you folks up to speed on what’s been going on with me. For the last 5 days my lungs have been twinging, spasming, and producing excess phlegm. Sunday night it reached a head: I laid down for sleep and kept getting panicked because I had extra difficulty breathing. I had had enough. So I checked myself into the E.R. at Seton Hospital.
After five hours of getting tested, injected, inspected, treated, x-rayed, heart-monitored, and all else, the doctors couldn’t pinpoint why my lungs were spasming. Our only conclusion is that my situation gets worse when I smoke, especially when I smoke like I have been for the past few months. Folks, this is not good.
The doctor did find something wrong when he had an EKG done on me. Found I have a slight abnormality with my heart. Either some scar tissue or more likely some conductivity problem between my upper heart and my lower heart, like a neural pathway is too active. I have experienced sudden flutters and speed-ups before. This also is not good.
Since the albuterol treatments didn’t help, since the x-rays didn’t turn up anything (thankfully), since the EKG’s didn’t turn up anything conclusive, I am left with only one, knowable fact. I need to quit smoking. Now. If I want to get better.
I’ve known for a long while that all of my cardio-pulmonary problems, most of my digestive problems, many of my stress-panic problems, stem from my excessive tobacco usage. There’s no denying that. There’s no point in denying any of this. I’m smoking myself to death. It was fine way back when, when I didn’t have the effects of 8-years’ damage, when I didn’t find myself thinking 1 pack a day wasn’t bad, when my body didn’t know what the hell a panic attack felt like, when I found myself saying, “Oh, I’m not addicted – what is this thing we call ‘addiction’ anyways, eh?” But it’s not fine now.
I worked two hours yesterday after being up all night at the ER. Our secretary and everyone else who knew my situation told me I should go home, and I did. I attempted to call my doctor, but his office was closed for lunch. So, being weak with sleep, I laid down for bed around 12:30pm. I finally got out of bed around 5:30 this morning. And interestingly enough, I did not crave a cigarette. As long as I associate the smell, taste, look of a pack of Marlboro Lights with clenched lungs, I think I might nick this nic-thing. For some stupid reason, though, I forgot this and had half of a cigarette to curb a small crave, and now I’m dealing with the clenching again. Stupid move, stupid mistake.
The first stupid mistake was going to the quickmart when I got home from that bad date in October ’95. Stupid, self-destructive move. And how stupid of me to keep blaming my addiction on that fateful night.
I’m finding myself remembering what life was like without cigarettes. Luckily, I started when I was 23, so I have plenty of years worth of memories untinged by smoking, plenty of reference to go by. I remember having unhampered sense of smell, of taste. I remember running across campus with no remorse, no passing out. I remember hanging out indoors for hours on end without having to step outside.
Friends, this is something I must do. If I’m AWOL for some time, I hope you’ll understand.