Friday, May 23, 2008

Stop Smoking

Smoking is an addiction I have struggled with since I started during my freshman year at college, way back when. I half-heartedly tried to quit many times, to no avail. In the early 80's, when I was an EMT, I convinced all the other EMTs and firefighters to quit along with me, starting on New Year's Day. Everyone joined in, and I was elated! I love competition, so this was a great challenge for me. At the time, there was a kind of cigarette substitute on the market which looked like a tobacco cigarette, but surely didn't smell like one. I decided to use this product as a crutch. It worked! These 'cigarettes' made real cigarettes smell like manure, literally. They really helped me, and as I recall, I used them for about a month. I also, unfortunately, used hard candies as a crutch. During that first month of non-smoking, I broke a molar requiring a visit to the dentist, and I gained twenty-five pounds.

The competition went on for five months. One by one, the other quitters stopped being quitters. As each one resumed smoking, I felt sad and a little angry. I stuck with it, however, and felt very, very proud of myself. I could dance and walk a distance without getting winded, and generally felt pretty good. It finally was down to two people, Jeff and me. Then came the day when I found out that Jeff was bumming cigarettes and smoking them at work. I was devastated. It wasn't until one day when my now ex-husband and I were having an argument, that I started smoking again. He had promised to quit drinking if I quit smoking. He didn't quit, and that is what we were arguing about. He said he wasn't the one who told me to quit smoking. I got the car keys, went to the store, and bought a pack of cigarettes. I came home and very dramatically lit up a cigarette in front of him. He said, "Do you feel better now?" Needless to say, he is my ex for more than one reason.

I continued to smoke until December 24 of last year. That is when I had a second and more severe incident of not being able to breathe very well. I was at my daughter's home for Christmas, and I had to waken her to call the ambulance. It was so very frightening to not be able to inhale more than what felt like about an inch. My breathing was so rapid and I couldn't say more than one word in between breaths. And, of course, the more the rapid inhalations continued, the more anxious I became. I don't know what the ambulance crew did other than getting me onto oxygen, because I don't remember any more than being put into the ambulance. I must have been sedated or I passed out. I vaguely recall a little about being in the emergency room where I stayed all of Christmas Day. The day after Christmas, I was transferred to another hospital where coronary artery bypass surgery was done. I haven't smoked since!

The downside of this is that instead of smoking, I am once again eating hard candy and just about anything else I can get my hands on. I have cracked a tooth. I have gained weight. I am diabetic and eating candy. At least when I smoked, I didn't have any desire to eat candy and my weight stayed about the same always. So now what? One vice seems as bad as the next.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Way Men Talk

Have you ever noticed that when two or more men gather to talk, they stand in a row, side-by-side, looking out in the same direction? I have always wondered about this behavior and how it differs from the way women talk with each other. Women normally stand face to face or in a circle and chat. Anyone have any ideas?

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