When I signed in today, my stats said I had been quit for 2100 days, I quit smoking on January 19th in 2014. I have been quit for five years, ten months, and one day (but who's counting?) I am so glad to be a member of this amazing community filled with such a diverse set of people, all with a goal of winning against this addiction. I have learned so much since I came here, ways to deal with life, ways to appreciate who I am...I had to spend some time forgiving myself for ever starting to smoke and then I REALLY had to work on forgiving myself for continuing to smoke even after I was well aware of some negative changes that were happening in my body. I allowed all of this damage to be done to myself, I damaged myself physically and I allowed myself to be emotionally stunted because I thought it was easier than feeling things. Wow, what a pile of mistakes I made...I smoked for 47 years, that's longer than quite a few of you have been alive. I quit smoking when I was 64 plus 4 months old. I was on death's door, I could not get enough air IN to cough and my lungs were packed with infection. My doctor wanted to admit me to ICU and put me on a ventilator to give me a chance to "rest." A ventilator is one of my worst fears. Being unable to breathe for myself, to ASK for help with things...like an itch or a cramp from a bad position. When I was still working as an RN, we had a young woman admitted and put on a ventilator because she was in respiratory failure due to asthma. She was ordered to be given sedation along with a paralytic agent to stop her from fighting the vent. I was a supervisor and I made rounds on all of the patients at the beginning of every shift. When I went to the ICU, I looked at this young woman's chart and saw that she had not been sedated for the entire shift. I asked why since it was clearly ordered. The nurse in charge said that she showed no signs of agitation or anxiety, she wasn't attempting to pull her tube out, she wasn't wincing, so they had made the decision to hold the sedation. I remember how angry I was, I asked her HOW she was supposed to wince or show discomfort since she was PARALYZED. The nurse looked at me in horror and said, Oh my GOD, I never even considered that. I told her to administer the sedation and to report to the doctor that the patient had not been sedated in several hours. All I could think of was the Hell this young woman was going through and how she couldn't show anyone. She survived that bout of asthma but her fiancee said she was never the same, she suffered from severe anxiety from that point on. How horrible. I woke up during my first shoulder surgery and I could hear the OR staff talking and the sound of instruments being placed on the mayo stand. I KNEW I was awake, I also knew I was paralyzed. I told myself to take a deep breath and then realized that I COULDN'T. I am sure it was for a very short period of time but I can tell you that I was terrified until they restarted sedation and ventilation. I remembered that patient and how much longer her nightmare went on.
I am so happy to have my freedom from cigarettes, to be able to help others on their journeys. It is so hard to accept that I did this to myself but I am working every day to forgive myself.
Happy SMOKEFREE Sunday to all.