Thursday, May 7, 2009

PART TWO--SMOKING

The doctor told me that he found over 100 gallstones in me, saying it looked like I had been shot with a shot gun. When he had to cut into my bowel to fetch wayward stones , it caused a serious infection along with a paralyzed bowel. Things were not going well and my doctor list kept growing as consultations became necessary. My odds had slipped below 50%.

After many days of Demoral making my life a tolerable blur, I was told they would have to operate again to clean out the infected tissue. The second surgery hurt much more than the first. My friend Demoral stayed by my side.


One interesting thing happened while I was floating from one shot to another. I had a famous person move into the room next to mine. George Hamilton was admitted with hepatitis. Just two by fours and wall board between us in our hospital nighties. Whee. While he was there, it was hard to get any attention for "my needs" from the nursing staff. They were all smitten and would walk right past my red "help me, I need to pee" flashing light straight to his room . My own visitor load picked up dramatically while he was my neighbor.

George left the hospital before I did( I was beginning to feel like a permanent resident) so I dragged my IV stand to the doorway to watch him leave. Nurses and patients lined the halls to watch. When he came out of his room, I was impressed. While he was quite haggard looking with a scruffy beard and bed hair, I thought he looked the best I had ever seen him--- romantically ill and rugged. No longer the immaculately put together "tan man." It was a great look for him. Have to admire anyone who can look great when they feel like crap.


Finally on my 21st day in the hospital, I was taken off the Demoral. I was terrified that I had replaced one addiction for another but strangely, I never missed my friendly shot every 4 hours. The beauty was that I no longer even thought about a cigarette. The nicotine addiction was gone. I have never again wanted one. Only on occasion I will dream I have started smoking again and I am furious with myself. I know the chances of me getting, or even wanting, another 21 day drug ride today are pretty remote.

Those of you who fought the good battle without drugs are allowed to hate me. I felt your pain Sis and I apologize for having such an easy time ( if you don't count the grinding pain, the nausea, the fever and not getting to eat solid food or drink water for three weeks.) I left the hospital a whopping 92 pounds with a perfect six o'clock figure. Only bulge on me was my bandage. We might be even in cost vs result.


When they removed my stitches however on day 21, we were all shocked. My incision fell open. The two slabs of muscle that had been severed by the scalpel, were not attached but yawned like a mini grand canyon. Not a pretty sight. I was offered yet another surgery which I refused. I chose plan B to let the wound heal on its own, hopefully from the inside out. My life had been put on hold long enough, I wanted out of Cloroxville.


For the next forever, I visited the doctor a couple times a week as an out patient. He would pull out an orange stick and proceed to stab at my rambling incision to break up any attempts of my body to heal from the outside in. This was not a fun time. I had to wear a belly binder over my bandage to encourage the muscles to join together again. My surgery was in late August. I didn't get to take my first shower till right before Thanksgiving when I was finally water tight. Today , my stomach is a pretty gnarly looking mess. My bikini days were over.


Now that cigarettes and smokers have become such a curse. I thank God I was so sick back then. With my old habit and the current price of cigarettes it would cost me almost $90.00 a week, $360.00 a month, $4320.00 a year to smoke. How do the poor do it? I would have to be a greeter at Walmart as Social Security would never cover that and allow me to eat too. Besides, had I continued, I would most likely not be pecking away at my computer right now. I am a cancer survivor and I am pretty sure had I continued smoking, you could scratch that "survivor" part from my title.


While today my breath catches in my throat and breathing is difficult when around a smoker, I have the greatest empathy for them. It is one tough momma of a thing to quit and the poor souls are constantly badgered about a habit that until you experience it, you can't understand. It is an evil thing.


Have you ever been victim of the curse of tobacco, always been free of the curse, finally free of the curse, or still cursing the curse?



5 comments :

  1. WOW, after than ordeal, you deserved something positive coming out of it.

    Reminds me of my liver resection in late 70s, and subsequent 3 abcess drainages.

    Or removal of a cancerous kidney.

    Not ready to revisit or regale either of them.

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  2. My story about cigarette smoking and yours are a bit alike.
    Everyone in my house smoked and it was expected that I would smoke,too.

    In 1944 when I was sixteen I bought a pack of cigarettes and never looked back. UNTIL 43 years and millions of cigarettes later. Then, I decided to quit.

    It was 1987 and the cigarette rebellion was just getting heated up. Smoking sections in restaurants,NO SMOKING signs everywhere,people standing in the rain in front of their office building on "Cigarette break"; It was time.

    My husband had never smoked and hated it, but like all non smokers in those days thought he couldn't do anything about it. HA!

    So, we were going to drive to our home in Florida (two day trip) and I said,"I am going to throw these cigarettes away. BUT, you must promise me that if I can't really do this you will buy me a pack of cigs." He agreed and we left.

    It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It was one day at a time and, like you, I dreamt about smoking and would be so angry at myself but so relieved that it was only a dream and I had not REALLY smoked.

    On I-95 on the way home we got into an ice storm in South Carolina,of all places, and it was treacherous traveling on that road with trucks and cars skidding and crashing into each other. It was so bad even CNN was there at a rest stop interviewing travelers.

    Anyway, we got through that mess and stopped shortly after that and as we entered the convenience store at the stop they had thousands of packs of cigarettes on display.I looked & drooled,but I didn't buy...I was FREE!!!!

    I have never smoked again..

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  3. Nitwit,
    Sounds like you have been drug through the OR yourself. We are totally at their mercies when we go under anethesia. So glad you made it thru OK.

    Nancy,
    I bow to those of you who made it without big time aids. That you stayed off the cigs after such a stressful time says a lot. It really is a wonderful feeling when you reealize you have won.
    Aren't those dreams the pits?

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  4. On 9-11-01, I got up at 6am, went out to the garage to smoke a couple of cigarettes while the coffee was brewing. Went back in, poured a cup of coffee, took sip of coffee and blacked out. Our cat saw this and woke my wife and she called 911.....when the planes were crashing into the towers, I was in the emergency room having a major heart attack...rushed to surgy to stop blockage. Never smoked again...wanted to, but never did.

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  5. Arkie38,
    OH-MY-GOD What a story. That is just amazing, The timing, the cat, 9/11--- Again, what a story. I am so glad you were able to get the care you needed and were able to quit smoking. I am just sorry that old "want to" is still nagging you.
    I am sure that cat rules the house now. Hope you are doing great today. Take care and thank you for sharing.

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