Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Why i smoked/ Why i quit.

November 4th, 2007 Wrote this a few days ago and just getting around to posting it.

Listening to Mr Haney`s video about when he started smoking sure brought back memories of when and why I started smoking and also why I was finally able to quit cold turkey. Wonder where the phrase "Cold turkey' ever came from?

Right after I graduated from high School, I got a job as an Aide at our local Hospital A few months later a Doctor told me that it would help my nerves if I took up smoking. So, I decided to try it out. My Dad was a pipe smoker and an older married brother was a cigar smoker, so I didn`t see any harm in it. I also had other relatives who smoked, as did some of my High
School friends.Of course back then (1950) they didn`t know the health dangers that smoking could cause.

I remember the first time my Dad discovered the cigarettes. We had this fancy archway going across a large opening between the living room and the dining room. We often hung our jackets on hangers temporarily in the openings of that archway. This day I had hung my jacket there while getting ready for work. I was working the 3pm to 11pm shift.

I was in the kitchen when my father came out from the front room where he had been watching TV. In his hand was a package of cigarettes that I knew were mine. He looked at me and said " Whose are these?' I asked "Where did you find them?" I was holding my breath waiting for the outcome. My Dad said "In your jacket pocket". I said " Then they must be mine". I was still waiting for the rules he was going to set down-- actually expecting him to tell me there would be no smoking here. He totally surprised me. he turned around, walked back into the front room and went back watching TV. When I got my jacket to head for the bus to get to work, I was realy surprised when I noticed he had replaced the package of cigarettes back in my jacket pocket- right where he had found them. I was expecting him to keep them and was sure he would toss them after I left ffor work. Guess he just wanted to let me know he knew.He never brought up the subject again.
In over 40 years of smoking, I never did smoke in my parents home out of great respect for them. But years later, after I was married and had my drivers license, I would find myself smoking a cigarette in my car while driving down to their home and after spending most of the day with them, I would usually end up smoking 2 more ciggs in the car on my way back home.

I continued to smoke after I married-- my husband was a cigarette smoker. Funny thing was that even though I couldn`t seem to stop smoking completely, I did quit the whole 9 months for each one of my babies. As soon as the operation was over and I was taken back to my room from the recovery room and I felt the pain, the first thing I wanted wasn`t a pain pill, it was a cigarette. It seemed like the pain wasn`t so bad once I was smoking the cigarette. If only we had known the dangers back then , I am sure I would have had the strength to quit completely for my little ones sake. We had never heard of secondhand smoke in those days.

There is this old saying that what you don`t know won`t hurt you. OH ! How untrue that one is. Well, I continued to smoke, just changing to lighter cigsrettes for the next 40 or so years. I had even bought those cig holders that remove a lot of the tar. If you have ever tried them and saw all that black gunk that they remove from the cigs while you are smoking it will give you a lot too think about. All that black gunk was going into my lungs with every cigarette I smoked. But, even seeing that I was still finding it hard to quit. I did manage to quit once for about three months, then one of my sons was in a car accident. A daughter and I went looking for his car, found it at a local gas station where it was towed to, saw broken window glass all over the front seat plus blood on the window, steering wheel and the seat and didn`t know where he was. We checked and knew he wasn`t taken to the hospital. Then I turned to my daughter and said " Theresa, give me a cigarette" She looked shocked and I told her again. So, I again started smoking. Then I head my son had walked to a friends home near by and found out he had head cuts that needed taken care of. At least I knew he was going to be ok. But Iwas again back smoking.

Then my younger brother had a heart attack. This brother was never a smoker, but most of his kids were. One day at my brothers home when I lit up a cig, he told me that the smoke bothered him. That was all it took. I could have just walked outside to finish my cigarette, but I didn`t. I immediately put out the cigarette and decided right then I was going to quit for him. That was in 1992-93 and I never went back to smoking. I lost that brother in 1994 from another heart attack. I will always be thankful I was able to do the one thing that he asked of me. At the time it was easy for me to toss away the rest of that pack because I knew there was still a full pack in my car.

But, that last package of cigarettes stayed in the glove compartment of my car. I never took them back into our home and many times when Walt would lite up, I was tempted to go out to my car after them. It seemed as long as I knew they were so handy, I didn`t crave them as much. It was three years before I actually got rid of that full unopened pack in my car. It took me that long to know I wouldn`t go back to smoking. After I quit, Walt kept trying to quit, not because I ever complained about his smoking, just because he wanted to himself. He eventually did get down to three cigarettes a day. He had set a time of day for each of the three ciggs and would be often watching the clock waiting for that hour to arrive. Then back in 1994 both Walt and I were quite sick. We thought we had the flue and were praying my brother`s wife and family didn`t catch it from us. We had to continue spending time at their home helping them handle losing a husband and father ( my brother ). Once the funeral was over we started feeling even sicker. Then One night I fell asleep on the couch and was sleeping around the clock. One son told me I was coughing so hard the whole couch was shaking and still I didn`t wake up. Youngest daughter told me she had never seen me so sick that I didn`t wake up and talk to them. Then came the third day when I awoke sensing something was wrong with Walt. I force myself to walk into the bedroom where I found him semi-consious on the bed. I next heard what sounded like a son`s car leaving my daughter`s home next door. I force myself to walk to the back door and yelled to him to get his sister and hurry , that something was wrong with their father. They ran over, daughter called the ambulance while son and I threw more clothes on Walt. I knew he would feel embarased if we let them take him in his underclothes. We pulled on his pants and shirt and I added socks to keep his feet warmer since it was winter, and by then the ambulance was here. Shortly after arriving at the hospital Walt went into a full coma and for three days we didn`t know if he would live or not Doctors couldn`t figure what was wrong with him. One specialist told me that he had a slight touch of emphasema, but nothing bad enough to put him in a coma. At the time I was still so sick that the Dr wanted to also admit me to the hospital, but I told him I was staying with Walt in his Hospital room. I knew I couldn`t leave him. So, then the Dr tried telling my daughters they should take me home and keep me in bed , but again I refused to leave. When the Dr realized I wouldn`t give in, he had a Nurse set up one of those chairs that turns into a bed in the waiting room. So, here was this bed with sheets, blankets and 2 pillows set up special for me. Twice I tried to lay down there, but every time I did I got scared and got back up and headed back to Walt`s room. The third day Walt came too and every day he was improving even more and we could finally stop being scare. We knew he would be ok.

. A couple days later, he told me when he first saw me standing over by the window in his Hospital room, that
he thought I was an angel. He had thought I was dead when I never woke up while I so sick home on the couch. He
told me he couldn`t understand why neither of the kids noticed I was gone , when they stopped by that day. While I were dressing him, he kept muttering " Let me go, I want to be with her", "let me go I want to be with her",
at the time I didn`t know what he was talking about. After what he told me, I finally understood what he meant- he thought I was dead and wanted to join me. If I hadn`t already know he loved me, I sure would have known it then.

Well, by the time Walt left the Hospital he had been without those last three cigarettes a day for over a week, so he was finally able to stop smoking completely.

What had made us both so sick was we were suffering from Carbon monoxide poisioning. I was too sick at the time and had forgotten about arguing with Walt that something was wrong with the furnace. He kept telling me it was ok. I had gone down cellar to check, but the knob had been broken off and I couldn`t undo the wire to open the furnace fire door. Then I had gotten so sick that I forgot all about the furnace. So then I knew it was putting Walt on oxygen that had caused him to get better. It would have been better if I had remembered so the dr`s would have known what they needed to treat us for. I spent the first few days at the hospital going outside for a few minutes just because I could breath easier in the fresh air. But we still thought we were fighting the flu.
About 5 days after Walt entered the hospital I finally came home. One daughter stayed at the hospital to keep watch on Walt for me while an other daughter came home to spend the night with me.I didn`t want to go home but finally gave in knowing Walt was going to be ok. The next morning my youngest daughter who spent the night with me told me that she had bad headaches before, but nothing like the one she was having then. That`s when I finally remembered the furnace. When one of the sons stopped by to check on me I asked him to go check the furnace. he came back up and told me I needed to look at it. he walked down cellar ahead of me so I could put my hands on his shoulder to keep from falling down the stairs. I was still quite weak. When he opened the fire door the inside was covered very thick with black soot.everywhere. I immediately called our fuel delivery co. and asked them to send someone to clean my furnace. The older man who came was complaining that he had to miss the end of the program he was watching on TV and that he better be back home in time to watch another program he wanted to see. Right then I would have loved to tell him to get off my property, but I knew the furnace had to come ahead of his rudeness. You can be sure we never had him again. We changed to a fellow I knew from school and today he retired and his son does my furnace every fall. Yes, after the carbon monoxide poisioning, Walt agreed to have our furnace cleaned by professionals at the beginning of every heating season. Last week I again had the furnace cleaned for this years winter season.

The only time I came close to having a cigarette again was after losing Walt, but I found things to keep busy instead. So, to this day I am still smoke free.

Great Dot! It must have been really tough to stop cold turkey after smoking for almost 40 years! My husband stopped like that too, But then he altogether smoked only for around 10 or 11 years, though he was smoking around 40 cigarettes a day when he quit!
I am glad you gave up smoking.must have been a hard thing to do.That is so sweet that Walt though you were and angel.I think the two of you made a really sweet and loving couple.have a great weekend Dot.I love reading all your stories.keep posting.
Yes Hillgrandmom,I think it is hard for most people to quit.Guess it was easier for me the second time when I was worrying about my brother and the cigg holders helped cut down the tar and nicotine - helping me cut down on the dependance on them. I also sometimes put a tiny lollypop in my mouth in place of the cigg. Anything that helped. As a son-in-laws father said, he would buy a pack again if they found out ciggs were not the health danger they thought they were.

Had to have been hard for your husband when he was smoking 2 packs a day. Good for him. He deserves a lot of credit.
Thanks starrynight, Must admit that it would have been very easy to start smoking again when I lost Walt, but I found things to keep busy with- like painting the mural on the double garage doors. Been 5 years and the plywood doors are starting to show some wear. I`m hoping this winter doesn`t do more damage to the mural. Oh Well, nothing lasts for ever, even if we wish it did.
Hi Dot
Sorry I haven't visited in a while, my life has been crazy busy. So glad I stopped by and read this. I gave up smoking when I was pregnant too and with great ease I might add because I was doing it for my children.

A stressful situation arose 6 weeks after their birth and I started again. I then gave up the day they started kindy and managed to stay off them for 9 years. I took it up again this year after another difficult time. I couldn't believe I could let that happen after 9 years. Reading this has made me really think and I hope one day soon I can give them up again. I know my kids really want me to and my husband.

Great post. I love hearing about you and Walt. What a beautiful love story the two of you lived.
Hi Gypsy,
Isn`t it funny how easy it was to stop for every nine month period and find it so hard to quit at other times. The one thing we learned was how smoking seemed to help us handle stressful times. That made it lots easier to start up again. It never bothered me when others lit up around me. Just thought of having a cigg at times when things got hard to handle. Now,I remind myself how I gained 20 pounds when I quit and how hard it has been getting rid of it. Maybe that will also help you to quit again. I don`t remember eating any more, so it must change the bodies metabolism so it collects fat easier. Thats what makes it so hard for a daughter to quit. As soon as she starts gaining weight, back smoking she goes. And every time you continue starting and stopping there is a chance for more weight gain. I don`t want that, so I hope it is reason enough to never start again.
The older you are when you quit, the harder it will be to lose the added weight. That I have learned.
Thanks for stopping by. Good luck with quitting again.
I have tried twice to quit smoking and made it for a year once but I stsarted again.
I think the next time will be the last and it has to be permanent this time.
Walker, all it takes is a good enough reason to be able to stick to it. Maybe you could start by promising yourself you won`t smoke at your parents home or when they are visiting at your home, so they won`t be breathing your second hand smoke. We have to start someplace .
I never smoked in my parents home and after losing my Dad, I stopped smoking completely in my parents yard. I didn`t want my mother to breath in my smoke.
Good luck!!
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