Monday, January 5, 2009

Self Control and the lack there of

It's amazing how long it has taken me to overcome my own stupidity. It makes me wonder how many others out there have the same problems with their self control. You know, I smoked for years...I began in high school, ate many a pack of sinsin (remember that little red pack of what tasted like soap spiced with licorice?) to hide the smell of tobacco from my parents, and never openly smoked in front of my mother. Now, my mother smoked, too. I often wished she would switch from menthol to regular when I was pilfering them from her. That should have been my first clue to addiction...I smoked hers in a pinch, although I hated them. The commercials told me how sophisticated and sexy I appeared to be, that cigarette dangling between finger tips, head thrown back to expel the smoke from my lungs. I remember practicing that pose in the mirror after the first time I gagged on the effect. Lighter puffs, not as deep an inhale...and practice makes perfect. I'm not sure who I hoped to impress those first couple of years...smoking in the girl's room with my peers seems so stupid now.

It's easy to quit smoking. I did it a thousand times. I'd throw away a pack in the morning, then dig through the garbage to get it back. Maybe if I had kept a full length mirror behind the garbage can so I could see how ridiculous I looked sifting through trash to get to that elusive pack of smokes I could have quit much sooner. I did finally quit. I quit for good in December of 2002, after suffering a heart attack and having bypass surgery. What brought me to the hospital was that I could not breathe. I could not catch even a whiff of oxygen and my oxy level was 82...I'm told if it had been 80 I would have been intubated. One of my dearest friends in the world, an RN, told me that had I been in HER ER, I would have been. I'm thankful that I was saved that indignity. I am nothing if I can not speak. And I hear it is most difficult to speak with that hose down your throat. A few days after that I found myself on the surgeon's table. Seems I had a heart attack (my second in as many days) during my stress test. Then it was down to the Cath Lab. Then to Providence Hospital for the surgery. I've not smoked a cigarette, nor allowed one to be smoked inside my home since Christmas , 2002.

Dr. Moyd, my Primary Care Physician, who could pass for Dr. House's brother, though not nearly as cynical, commented on the fact that I had smoked for a number of years. He asked if I had found it easy to quit. I told him that the last time I quit it was remarkably easy. "How so?" he asked. I laughed at that..."all the nagging from family and friends over a long period of time, lets say 20 years, had nothing to do with it. I just want you to know that. But lying on a surgical table with your chest cracked open is a damned fine incentive."

57 comments:

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Scare'em straight, Sandi!

I, too, have one of those addictive personalities. (Yes, folks just find me irresistable! :D) Course, I mean that I find that I can become easily addicted. Thankfully, I managed to avoid smoking and drinking. Wrong eating? Not so easy. We are on Day 2 of "the diet" and I'm starving.

And I can do the same stupid things over and over for long periods of time.

Gosh, I hope that I'm not addicted to Blogdom. I so love it here.

Terri and Bob said...

So what surgery do you think it would take to make me stop eating??

Lee said...

Great post, Sandi! Thankfully, I'm not prone to addiction. My Dad is however and, although Mom stopped smoking soon after giving birth to my sister, he continued to smoke till the day Jill crawled upon his lap and asked for a taste. She was less than 6 at the time. Guess it takes a real wake up call for someone to quit that bad habit. Glad you did!

Hugs!
Lee

Lee said...

Forgot to say, love the new image!

Hugs!
Lee

Suldog said...

I joke about it on my blog, as you know, but I'm actually quite scared of smoking's effects. I saw how my father was before and after his bypass. Nothing there to make smoking look glamorous, that's for sure.

Congratulations on the quitting. God willing, I'll join those ranks myself someday.

Sally said...

I remember the first time I tried to smoke; passed right out in the girl's room.

Good for you, but sorry you had to go through so much. I hope to be able to follow your example, Sandi. I quit in July, but took it up again when Ben died. Maybe someday. ((HUGS))

Akelamalu said...

I really wish I had never started smoking but I am proud to say I gave up on 1st January 1997!

NeereAnDear said...

Glad to see you back on track....

It is a shame it took an experience like that to get you to quit but it is wonderful that you did....

We all do stupid things when we are young... like wearing a sweater that your mom can smell smoke on a mile away after coming home from the football game...

I was lucky ... I only did it for two years... two years after graduating high school.... I finally quit six months after having my first daughter... sad it didnt take that pregnancy to make me do it first!! ... oh if we only knew then what we know now...

I so appreciate your encouragement on my promises I made to myself...

I have difficulty breaking them so I love your idea... thanks for the inspiration

LOADS OF HUGS

JO

Maggie May said...

Good for you. I think it a great pity that you got hooked so young.
I was really grateful that I never was addicted to smoking, though I did try it out.

My next door neighbour could not be roused one morning. She was only in her early 60s. She died a week later of a series of strokes. She was a very heavy smoker & now her husband is chugging away hell for leather.

One thing I am really addicted to though, is you lot on Blogland!

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

I have been trying so desparately to get one of my co workers to quit to no avail.

It'll have to be something she wants to do. I am so glad you quit. I'm sure your lungs thanks you too. lol

Shrinky said...

Thanks Sandie, I needed that. I re-started (duh, how dumb is that??) after having quit for over 13 yrs. I am up to a pack and a half a day now.. but am down to my very last pack tonight, staring at withdrawal around the corner.

Perhaps it isn't just by pure chance I happened across your post tonight? I am so glad you were lucky enough to recover - but a tap on the shoulder like that is an incentive we all could do without! It must have been a scary time, eh?

Deb said...

I am so glad that I never started smoking - I can't stop biting my nails or eating the whole package of Oreo cookies - willpower, or lack of, can be an issue for me! You should be proud of the fact that you quit the habit!

Love Bears All Things said...

The image you painted was of Mrs Robinson in "The Graduate"!
I smoked for 13 years, quit in 1986

Now if I could give up the food addiction as easily. I'm with Vee.
Mama Bear

Donna said...

I'm on my Last pack...I'm done. I'm tired of being...tired...stinky...going out in the cold or rain to smoke (I don't smoke inside)...I just am tired, of being stupid.
I'm glad you made it! Happy day sweetie!!hughugs

Jay said...

I thank God I never started to smoke. My mother told me that as as asthmatic I'd be stupid to do so, and that made enough sense to me that I never tried it. I have a vague memory of an uncle giving me a puff when I was very young and me finding it quite repulsive, so that helped, too ... but I'd never have managed to give up. Mucho kudos to you for doing so.

I think you're right though - all the nagging, and all the government health warnings in the world, won't have any effect on a smoker.

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

My husband and I both smoked....2-3 packs a day EACH! Twelve years ago my husband ended up in the hospital with chest pains. Not a heart attack, but angina. He had clogged atteries and had to have angioplasty. The surgeon told him if he didn't quit smoking, he could not be his patient. My husband quit that day. I quit one week later, when I brought him home from the hospital....

So glad you quit too!!
Hugs,
Penny

Wanda said...

I'm so glad you quit! I know it's hard. I can't quite eating too much of the wrong things.

My mother smoked and at 6 years old, I begged her to let me try. She did and that was the best thing she ever did for me. I couldn't even get it to my lips. Never wanted to try again. I begged her to quit until my children took over the role. She never did.

joan said...

Hi Sandi,

This is one habit I never had, thankfully but I have had too many other bad ones to count. I tried smoking when I was sixteen, nearly passed out and started to cough like crazy. I am glad you had the courage to quit.

Butterfly Gardener said...

I'm glad I don't like the smell of cigarettes and smoke or I'm afraid I could have taken them up when I was in college and had roommates that smoked. My Granddad was a smoker for many years and finally quit. He chewed on match sticks for a while just to have something in his mouth. Congratulations to you for giving up the bad habit, now if i could only give up Dr. Peppers!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Happy New Year Sandi. Love your banner today...how sweet is that? :) Lynn

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Hi Sandi,
Sorry to hear about your troubles, but it's so great that you quit!
I have never smoked and have never tried or wanted to... I always hated the smell of cigarettes and tobacco.
I just wish my partner would give up, but he doesn't want to...
in the evenings I am surrounded by a thick air of disgusting smoke and I find it hard to breathe as he smokes almost one after another... about 30 a day :(

Coffee Bean said...

YIKES!!! I am so glad you quit!

Gill - That British Woman said...

we are trying to get my step-mother to stop smoking. My dad went to the doctors today and the doctor said to him, you should cut down on the smoking, my dad says to the doctor, I don't smoke, well someone does the doctor says, as you stink of smoke. Well that's my dad's wife, the whole house smells, everything smells.

She has bought some of those patches, lets see if she gets around to using them!!

Gill in Canada

Finding Pam said...

Sandi, smoking was one of the dumbest things I ever did. Like you, the allure pulls you in. It looks cool,but I got hooked.

I quit in 1987 when I wound up with double pneumonia and was so sick that I thought I would have to die to feel better.

My mother died of lung cancer after 44 years of smoking. My sister still smokes and is always sick from it.

I am sorry that you had to go through what you did to stop smoking. What a great thing to stop smoking.

Jeanne said...

Thank God that is one habit I never got. I'm a bit of a control freak so thankfully not an addictive personality, just other issues lol. Regarding your comment..hehe isn't Oliver just the funniest little cat. I got a beautiful shot of him over the weekend I'll be sharing soon. He has such a strong personality!

SandyCarlson said...

Now I'm convinced! That is quite a story. I am glad you're here to tell it.

justabeachkat said...

Thank the good Lord I never smoked. My Daddy did though. I never liked the smell and I worried about smoker's breath when I started dating. I know it's very addictive. My addictions....chocolate, diet coke, red wine. All of which I'm doing without right now. Oh the headaches!

Hugs!
Kat

Lawstude said...

glad the only addiction i had is traveling and photography. glad you quit smoking sandi, i know it is easy to say but it is really bad for your health. my fave grandpa died of lung disease caused by smoking.

CatHerder said...

I think we all have that invincible "it wont happen to me" feeling at one time or another. I smoked in junior high and highschool, but started dating hubby at 17...he wouldnt date a smoker so i quit cold turkey. Im 45 and i havent touched one since....i do however, TAN, outdoors and on the tanning bed, which I KNOW is bad, even after having a friend with skin cancer...its just something i find very hard to give up, but i do it in moderation...i assume if i had to face some sort of surgery due to it i may quit..although i may not. ....ps love the new pic on your blog..too cute!

Veggie Mom said...

Oh, gosh...I smoked in high school and part of college, but then I quit, 'cause Hubby said he didn't want to marry and ashtray. Now I'm concentrating on my weight and my health in general. I do think lots of behavior is learned...I know I learned smoking from my Mom, too.

PAT said...

I didn't get sick, but J did. That was 16 years ago, this coming summer. Have had no desire for a cigarette since.

Oddly enough and it was a good thing I did, I quit everytime I was pregnant and stayed smoke free, for several years each time. I don't remember the catalyst that caused me to pick one up again, those times. I have not had a cigarette and do not allow smoking in our home, since 1993.

Hilary said...

I'm glad you did quit. And hope that those who continue to smoke are inspired by this post.

I was a teen smoker myself but quit in my mid twenties when I knew I wanted to have children.

Anyway, I'm glad you took the steps to improve your health after that scare. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

A good post we can all learn from. I still am fighting this awful headache and cannot stay on the computer very long as my eyes are swollen, I do have meds as I have suffered with these since I was 14 and they have never gotten better. The last neurologist I went to said they would never go away as I had been experiencing them for some many years. ..,.Hugs...m...

cheshire wife said...

I am glad that you have managed to quit smoking. Thank goodness smoking never appealed to me.

I saw replacement valve surgery not long after I started work. The operation looked viscious. Maybe it is better not to know.

Dr.John said...

I can't think of a much better incentive.

San said...

Sandi, I am SO glad that you lived to tell this story. House's brother wouldn't be so bad a doc. Lacking in bedside manner, yes, but he always gets his diagnosis. I love that little flash of intuition he has as he catches a glimpse of a box of Cheerios or a puddle in the road.

Jeannie said...

I quit before trying to get pregnant but I never liked it much. My husband quit after having an angioplasty but took it back up again 6 months later for a few more years. It was so much harder for him to quit the final time and he'd go back to it if he could. Too bad a quadruple bypass couldn't convince him to lose weight.

Hairline Fracture said...

I'm glad you found the willpower to quit. Fortunately smoking wasn't considered cool in my teenage years, so I never tried it.

Jeff B said...

I consider myself extremely fortunate that smoking is one thing that I never had a desire to do. Stories like this are a great reminder of the fortune too.

Glad you were able to rid yourself from it.

Sweetie said...

I am so glad that you quit smoking. After a triple by-pass my husband quit for a year and then started again. I have read articles that state that it is more difficult to quit smoking cigarettes than it is to stop taking illegal drugs. Congratulations!
Sweetie

Epijunky said...

You nailed it Sandi!

I've been there, and fight with it every day.

i beati said...

amen - the header is magnificent - how do you get it enlarged to spread the entire area..been trying for some months mind you I am not overly tehnical. did you say technologically challenged.?.Yes that's me Sandy

Trubes said...

Gosh Sandi, after reading your previous post I understand where youhave been. Do hope you are feeling well again.
So wise not to smoke, I did as a youngster but gave up when I was having babies, did carry on again but just stopped, many years ago.
I am so glad, One of my daughters smokes and I keep pleading with her to stop, she keeps trying.

Happy and Healthy New Year.

Di.xx

Vargas said...

Wise wise decision. And I can see by your story you had all the incentive you needed! Hope you are well and continue to get healthier and healthier!

Tara said...

Sandi

well, glad you did it so you are still here for me!

:0)
Tara

Brett said...

Great post

Christine of Epiphany said...

Happy belated birthday!

Mae said...

Happy New Year Sandi.

Cheffie-Mom said...

Good for you! I'm so glad you quit!

Jules~ said...

Hi there Sandi. I wanted to stop by today and do some catching up and long overdue visiting. I have so missed this.

Thank you for sharing this. My mom has smoked for years...since school. She too had a heart attack 3 years ago and has since been fitted with 2 stints. (Praise God for madern marvels of medicine!) She quite smoking for a while but I occasionally notice now that lingering smell mixed with the aroma of a swig of Listerine. I don't harp.....as much as I want to...I fight it back. It is good to know that if I were to open my mouth it would only have adverse affects.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I wish you could talk to my uncle. He nearly lost his life (again) just before Christmas. Will he give up the ciggies? No he will not! His family have nagged him senseless...what are the magic words Sandi? (Thank you for your warm comments over at my blog. Much appreciated.) Hxx

RBK's Realm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RBK's Realm said...

Dear Sandi,

I almost feel there is a reason we connected through the blogging world. Without going into too much detail, I want you to know that I have extensively researched medical literature related to smoking and health and that was enough for me never to let a smoker even smoke in my vicinity. Needless to say, there are no ash trays etc in my house...

I am so glad you have quit cold turkey. You need to be truly commended because this is not an issue of self-control but dealing with addiction.

So hats off to you!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Amen!
Why is it that we have to be hit with a brick up the side of the head to pay attention?
Great post Sandi.

Pienovski said...

Wow. That is very powerful writing there. I have never tried a cigarette in my life, not even a puff, and certainly will not.

Cigarettes are really a curse. Killed my great grandfather.

imbeingheldhostage said...

wow, I'm glad you're ok and smoke free!! What a harrowing experience. Was that after all of the military traveling then?

Kari (GrannySkywalker) said...

Quitting smoking is one of my greatest accomplishments in life. You know as well as I do that pretty much every single adult in our family smoked (with the exception of Grandma and Grandpa). I always wonder how Sherri avoided developing the habit. Just smarter than the rest, I guess. lol

Love ya'll,
Sissy