Everyone knows that quitting smoking greatly improves your health. They fail to inform the innocent bystanders of loved ones who smoke what sort of ordeals they will be put through.
This past year, my mother, whom was born in 1956, was diagnosed with COPD and emphysema. I am a twenty five year old, who is married and has a two-year old daughter. At the time, we were renting a large farmhouse in Maryland. Life happened as it always does, and I took my mother into my home because she needed a place to stay. I knew she was a pack a day smoker, but at my house she was only allowed to smoke outside.
I always knew that she had asthma, and was using inhalers to treat this issue. So I let her stay with me free of charge and chores. To her disadvantage, the bedroom she had been given was on the second floor so she had to climb the stairs everyday to go to the bathroom, or eat. My mother was a crabby sort of woman, and we didn’t always get along. So, when her door was shut, it meant, `Do NOT enter’.
One day her door closed, and stayed closed. I noticed she hadn’t come down to eat. On the second day, I came in and noticed she wasn’t breathing very well, but this was not unusual for her. I asked her if she needed anything and I brought her food. Another two days later, her door was still closed and there was a strange, putrid, odor coming from her room. I went to check on her again, against her wishes. She was still lying there in the same clothes. The only movement I could see she had made was to the window to lean out and smoke. I also recognized the smell. It was urine.
They don’t tell you this one, but if you cough hard enough and you have to urinate, there will be an accident. That wasn’t all. There was a bucket under the bed she had used to urinate in because she couldn’t make it down stairs and she was laying there, all the color drained from her face. I took a second look, her hands appeared to have been turning purple. She didn’t have any money, so I knew she was reluctant to ever go to the E.R. but I demanded it.
I awoke my husband and had him get the baby ready; I was taking my mother to the hospital. We somehow got her there. After a week and a half, she was ready to come home with a new attitude, and energy to quit smoking.
So, she said.
Three weeks later, my sister-in-law pulled me to the side and told me she had something to show me. She took me over to the window in the living room and had me look down into the snow. Little butt sized holes were highly visible against the snowy backdrop. I was crushed.
My mother had been sick once before when I was a child, for a totally separate reason. I almost lost her then. It was a very frightening experience. There she was again, sick. This time there was nothing I could do.
We had numerous discussions about quitting, patches, pills, her grandchildren, health, everything. She just couldn’t be reached, and now she was deteriorating right in front of me. When someone has a cigarette addiction that strong, there is nothing you can do. They will argue or sneak and lie, if you ask them to quit. Provide them with a room, and they will inadvertently destroy it. Provide them money, they will only buy cigarettes. Offer other care, they will only get offended. It’s not them. It is a horrible addictive disease that leads to another, that leads to another.
She now lives with my aunt who is better suited to care for her. She uses a nebulizer once a day, and sleeps with oxygen pumped through her nostrils every night. I just couldn’t bear to watch her slowly die in front of me more and more every day, and with every drag. I have a new family I have to take care of. My daughter needs good examples to follow. I know it’s not completely my mother’s fault; it’s the disease. So, many people would argue that point, but it has been a very difficult struggle for her, and I believe she has just given up.
This is my second attempt to quit with the pill; I don’t want to leave myself to my daughter like that, ever. Wish me luck.