“Don’t smoke: protect your lungs, because you only get the one set.” That’s what I would tell my young self if I could go back in time and was only allowed to say one thing to her. “You are the only one who can ensure that you remain healthy.” That might be another thing I would say to her – but would she listen?
I can’t say for sure. I would tend to doubt it. I am quite certain that my life would be much different if I had never smoked.
For one thing, I met my husband by bumming a cigarette from him on Hollywood Beach, near the south end of the property that has become Margaritaville. Back then it was a pizza place, and I can’t even remember the name of that – or any of the other stores and restaurants that have come and gone along the Broadwalk over the years… but I digress.
My lungs were never strong to begin with. As a small child I had pneumonia before the age of one, and lifelong chronic bronchitis even before I started smoking.
I started smoking when I was 13 years old, unfortuntely. This means that my lungs were not even fully developed when I began to abuse them. It also doesn’t help that I preferred Camel Filters, which are relatively strong as cigarettes go. I suppose the saving grace is that I only smoked half of one at a time.
I quit smoking for five years in my 20’s, but resumed and continued smoking for many more years before finally giving up nicotine and tobacco in September of 2013, when I first went to the hospital and was diagnosed with COPD and asthma.
Since that initial stay, I have been in and out of the hospital many times, most often for breathing problems. Sometimes I’ve stayed until they discharged me, and at others I have signed out AMA for many reasons, not the least of which is that I grow agitated beyond measure when I’ve been pumped full of high doses of Prednisone.
Do yourself a favor and stay smoke-free, or quit. You’ll never regret it.
Are you a former or current smoker? How has smoking affected your life? Tell me about it in the comments below.