My parents and my sister smoked almost all of their lives. I never smoked. My Father passed away from the complications of lung cancer. My Mother is now battling her own lung cancer. I will tell you this: Smoking is a hell of a thing.
- It’s a hell of a thing, as a child, to constantly have bronchitis and respiratory infections due to the smoking
- It’s a hell of a thing, as a child, to always lay on the floor, or, to retreat to your bedroom, as the only ways to escape the constant thick cloud of smoke in the house, because you cannot breathe due to your allergy to the smoke
- It’s a hell of a thing, as a child, to reason, plead, and beg, to no avail, with your parents to stop smoking, because you know what the future holds for them if they continue to smoke
- It’s a hell of a thing that your parents’ constant smoking sickens your fiancée, who later becomes your wife. It’s a hell of a thing, after visiting your parents with your wife, to have to bag and wash your clothes to remove the stench of the smoke
- It’s a hell of a thing, as an adult, to beg and plead for months with your parents to keep their house smoke-free for just the time that you visit them -- for not only your health, but also for your wife’s health, and yet they refuse. Then, with disappointment and determination, you tell them that you will no longer visit them at their house, but you also say that they are always welcome to visit you at your smoke-free house. In their rage, they reply that they will never visit you again. And so, you don’t talk for 20 years
- It’s a hell of thing, much, much later, to watch your Father and your Mother tethered to an oxygen machine just so they can breathe
- It’s a hell of a thing when your Father is diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer
- It’s a hell of a thing to spend days, literally scores of hours, doing clinical research to find the best doctors and the best treatment options for your Father (and later your Mother), for something that was so very avoidable. And it was all to no avail; he suffered very badly and withered away
- It’s a hell of a thing to half-carry your 230 lb Father (I’m 180 lb) to bed on the last day of his life, four weeks after your 3rd major knee surgery, because no one else could do it, and then to watch him die that night due to the cancer
- It’s a hell of a thing when your Mother is diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, and her hip breaks two days later because the lung cancer had already spread to and wasted her hip and leg bones
- It's a hell of a thing to see your Mother struggle to breathe on a bipap and to struggle to live after bone surgery. You shed a tear, because you know what it feels like to suffocate to the point of death. You've done it before
- It’s a hell of a thing to hold your Mother’s hand in the hospital, to try to comfort her, as she cries out in agony from unsuccessful surgery meant to mitigate the pain of her bone cancer
- It's a hell of a thing to cancel all your plans, and to relocate to another state for 3 months, to help take care of your stricken Mother. Yet, you had this easy. Your sister has been doing this for about 8 months
- It’s a hell of a thing to arrange for and accompany your now wheelchair-bound Mother to scores of radiation and immunotherapy treatments, and to hospital admissions for infections and pneumonia, all of the while watching her weaken
- It's a hell of a thing to realize that you might also get lung cancer in the future, after spending 20 years in your parents smoke-filled home
- It’s a hell of thing to know how all of this will end for your Mother. The only unanswered question is “how much, and what kind of, pain and suffering is yet to happen along the way?”
This is just a small glimpse of what smoking has done to me, and I never smoked.
Smoking is legal because this is a free country. Tell me this: How free was I to not have to go through this? I don't feel free. When someone smokes for themself, they are not the only person who pays a steep price.
Smoking. Smoking has plagued me for 55 years. Smoking is not a hell of a thing. Smoking is Hell.
If you smoke, and if there is anybody in this world that you love: a son, a daughter, a husband, a wife, a brother or a sister, a parent….then please, stop smoking…..if not for you, then for them. No one should have to go through this.