If anyone had told me four years ago that I would still be smoke free at this point, I would have shaken my head. Now that I think about it, there were a LOT of people who told me that I could do this, one day at a time. I felt embraced by this community from the moment I quit. I am so glad that I found this place and that I have been fortunate to get to know the people here. I have laughed and cried with you, I have celebrated your wins as you have celebrated mine.
I had no idea how I was going to celebrate the day but I decided to get on my exercise bike and get my work out over with. I was pedaling away and I looked down at the display and I was somewhere between 3.5 and 4 miles and the electricity went off. I lost my display…when it came back on, I started pedaling again. I figured I needed to do about 7 miles to get to my usual 10 miles. I did that and then my upper body work out and then I had an “inspiration”…or something and I decided to change the bedding and clean the house. Vacuum, dust, steam clean the floors, move things around. I figured I would have something really nice to come home to after work on Saturday. I threatened my husband with bodily harm if he tracked anything into the house. Little did I know that he was going to have an attack of GERD…a TERRIFYING attack with pain going down his arm. There is really no way to differentiate a cardiac event from GERD without an EKG and blood work and vital signs. The best I could do was to take his pulse which was strong and regular. I made him sit upright, take a valium in case it was anxiety, and I put my oxygen on him. First thing that would be done in an ER. He felt better within a few minutes, said the pain was gone. If pain resolves with change of position…it is usually a sign that it is not cardiac but, of course it is not definitive. I went to work Saturday morning…he drove me because he always wants the car when I am at work. I called for a ride home a little over 6 hours after I left and I could tell that he was in pain. He said he had the oxygen on and that he was sitting upright but the pain was not getting better. I told him that we had to go to the hospital. He insisted that he would NOT go to the hospital or urgent care. He has Medicare but no supplemental plan…his income is dismal because he was self-employed and did not pay into Social Security except when he was much, much younger. Since the fire, I have carried ALL of the expenses of the household…and he knows that I cannot take on any more. I am certain that played into his decision to refuse care. I spent last night, after I got home, trying to make sure he was comfortable and doing his laundry…he had carried three HUGE loads into the laundry room (before I got home) and started one but had not put it in the dryer. I finished the three of them but I fell asleep for about 15 minutes before the dryer buzzer nearly sent me into orbit. I checked on him over and over again and finally HAD to go to bed a little after 1:00. I moved my oxygen concentrator into his room. When he got up, this afternoon, he had no pain, he had taken the oxygen off because it was uncomfortable. I kept checking on him after I got up this morning, he was still sleeping. He now thinks that he may have pulled something in his chest and upper back moving things in the basement. He has ice on his back. I am walking on eggshells hoping that the severe pain does not come back.
Not much of a traditional celebration of my four years of freedom but that does not make those four years any less amazing. I have been through ups and downs, losses and joys, and I have stayed smoke free. I take the best care of myself that I can and I am not at all sorry for that…I LOVE being free. I want everyone I know to be free. PLEASE give yourself the gift of freedom! It IS a gift.
Love and thanks to ALL of you for all of the help on my journey.