Her body, her choice

As we process the medical wickets that lie ahead for Mom, the prospect of a potentially terminal diagnosis has come up.  She has made it clear that if she is facing such a diagnosis, that she may want to start smoking again.  So long as she is not on oxygen  posing an explosion hazard?  i guess it doesn’t make much difference.

This is the woman who was smoking three packs a day up until the month before her bypass surgery.  She quit cold turkey, telling us that she wanted to live.  She’s not touched a cigarette since April 8th, 2008, although she keeps a carton in the bottom of a box just in case she changes her mind.

The conversation moved along, and i mentioned that lung cancer, as well as the majority of her other ailments, can be directly traced to the fact that she was a heavy smoker for 65 years.  To which she replied “And I enjoyed every one of them.”

37 thoughts on “Her body, her choice

  1. If you’re going to do that to yourself, that’s the only sane sort of response. I like it.
    You had to get your abundance of strong female chutzpah from somewhere, amirite?

  2. Well, at least she’s honest about it and doesn’t put the blame anywhere else but on herself. What can you do? If the news is bad and she wants to smoke because it gives her some kind of comfort, she might as well start up again. Kind of tough on you to have to witness that, though. Sending you positive thoughts….

  3. As the final days closed in on him, my dad entertained the notion of having a last cigarette. Why not? He was a condemned man after all. But the oxygen and the pressure in his chest prevented him. One of the last things he told my sister was “I wish I’d had a smoke.”

    So why not really, although I hope the outcome of the biopsy is not lung cancer though the evasiveness of her DR in the last post you wrote seems to indicate otherwise. She’s a big girl. Earned her choice of last “meals” I would say.

    • my dad regretted that we didn’t make that trip to Sicily together when he recovered from surgery. i was going to take him, but he wouldn’t go with out Mom and she wasn’t up for it… after quitting he never again wanted a smoke. if mom wants that last smoke, it’ll happen. and probably before she gets too close to the endgame to enjoy it.

  4. I hadn’t seen my father in about 30 years. My sister took me to see him because the end was near. He was about 280 pounds. He had the ever-present Pall Mall (straight, no filter) in his hand. The only difference is that he was hooked up to an oxygen tank. My sister said, “Ya know, Dad, you could blow yourself sky high like that.” He said, “Look at me. Does it look like I care?”

    • no matter how torn up i am with illness, no matter how many tubes i have coming out of my body, blowing up my children is probably not something i’d be willing to risk…

  5. My dad made the same choice. Two to three packs a day, living to the ripe old age of 56. He probably enjoyed every one of them too. My gripe starts because there were a fair number that I “enjoyed” as well. At home. In the car (windows up). Nearly everywhere. Despite multiple attempts, I never acquired the habit. And for that I am thankful. I can only hope that I don’t experience the “leftovers” from being exposed to my dad’s choice during my early years.

    • the secondhand part is a serious downside. we grew up with it, but the younger generation that now lives with Mom don’t need that… as it is, BJ (DQ’s husband) smokes only outside… one of the few rational policies DQ has established at her homestead.

  6. Ah daisyfae….. many’s the trip I’ve taken to the corner shop to buy cigarettes for patients who are dying of lung disease. If it gives them pleasure when their days are numbered, who am I to take the high road?

  7. I can see that the proverbial apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in this case. I made a lot of choices when I was younger that I’m frankly surprised haven’t killed me yet. But length is hardly a suitable metric for a good life. I will keep a good thought for your mom.

    • what bothers me more with Mom is that there are so few things that bring her joy. she’s never really found much pleasure in anything, even when she was younger. if she wanted weed? i’m sure we’d hook her up with that, too. whatever it takes for her to find some momentary pleasure on the way out…

  8. I think it was Denis Leary (who may have stolen it from Bill Hicks) who said that yes, cigarettes may take 10 years off your life, but they’re all at the end when you’re old and everything’s already falling apart on you. Those are the years you don’t mind losing.

    Also it reminds me of when Steven Tyler from Aerosmith went into rehab two years ago at 60 years of age. Dude, you’re 60. That’s the time to do all the drugs you want.

    • in my vague retirement plans, the anti-Steven Tyler approach lurks. the only things that have kept me from serious experimentation have been breeding and employment. once those two things are both gone from my personal horizon? look out!

  9. Words fail, right now. Eighty-two and irrascible is probably a good goal for all of us, though.

    My dad quit smoking when he was about 45. Thirty years later, Boom — Emphesyma… damage was already done.

    Genetically, the road is kinda already paved for us. Maybe the time machine will get invented in time to make a difference…. maybe Steven Hawking will disappear–to paraphrase Douglas Adams–in a puff of logic…

    Sending Jersey hugs, yo.

    • thanks, blais. and yeah, 82 is about 4 years past the average lifespan of women in the US, so she’s already beat the odds… guess every other day is a bonus. would love to see that “puff of logic”, but don’t really expect it any time soon!

  10. Wow, tough one perhaps. From my point of view, the second-hand smoke would be the real danger. If she wants to go the way she wants to go, I can’t fault her, but if other people have to suffer, that’s different. I hope she gets a better diagnosis than may be anticipated.

    • we should have more info within a couple weeks. and seeing how perky she was over the weekend makes it easy to ignore those bright, glowing hot spots in the PET scan… maybe it will be ok…

  11. I guess in the end if that’s what she’s got what’s the difference, i know that when the girl’s mom was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor the first thing i would have told that doctor after he told me was that i’d be back in half an hour, then i would have went to the nearest pub, ordered a pint of Guinness and a shot of Irish whiskey and lit up, you either get busy living or get busy dying as they say.

  12. Its a touchy subject when it involves someone you care for. Addiction is a strange thing indeed. However, I think that smoking a cigarette has stopped me from committing many a crime… like assault and murder!

  13. If I’m diagnosed with a terminal illness, I’m going to eat all the mint chocolate chip ice cream I can get my paws on before The End. It may be hard to tell the difference between Healthy Me and Sick Me, however.

    • yep. i joke about planning to ‘speedball my way to the finish line’, but i’m probably not kidding… depends on the circumstances, of course, but i guarantee you that dieting is not going to be on my ‘to do’ list….

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