Sunday, August 16, 2009

When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes...

Today's the 17th anniversary of when I quit smoking! Can't believe it's been that long already. For those who don't know, I smoked for a grand total of about 15 years; the last several about 2 packs a day. Marlboro was my staple brand but I smoked many others as well. I still head over to the Nat Sherman's website and droolingly recall smoking several types of cigarettes they put out. To quote Jerri Blank: "Good times."

That nite, 17 years ago, it was just before midnite, I was futzing around on my first computer (an IBM PS1. Lousy thing! IBM did not know how to do personal computers), and just finished off the last cigarette of the pack. I figured I'd step outside for a moment or two, get some fresh air, and look at the stars before toddling off to bed. (WHAT?! Me thinking about going to bed before midnite? Yes! Amazing, ain't it?)At the time, I didn't have a regular asthma doc nor was I on any decent asthma meds other than occasionally sucking down on Primatine Mist. Not the best stuff to use. Anyway, I left it on the nitestand and headed out to the parking lot of the complex I lived at. After a handful of minutes, my lungs were feeling a bit tight so I headed back in to go get the inhaler.

Now, from where I was to my bed was only about a minute or less in travel time but by the time I got to my bed I seriously couldn't breathe...AT ALL. My lungs completely seized up on me. I couldn't inhale or exhale...AT ALL. This was very outta the blue for me. My asthmatic attacks were the type that slowly gets worse giving me enough time to go see a doc but NOT in this case. It just hit me outta the blue and bad!

I don't know exactly how long I sat there at the edge of my bed (just a moment or two) but it felt like an eternity. I couldn't breathe and seriously thought I was going to die that nite and probably would have. I was scared shitless. Nothing like that happened to me before (and thankfully not again since), I didn't know what was going on or what to do, and there was nothing I could do except that I was was on death's door.

For some reason my lungs "deseized" and I was able to breathe a bit again although there was an immediate segue into something being wrong (took me a month and 5 fuckin' doctors to find out both my lungs were badly inflamed. Why the first four didn't think of it is beyond me. Asstards!)

The next night, 24 hours later and not a cigarette had, I realized that I had lived without one, I didn't kill anyone, my apartment didn't get torched, and my cat hadn't filed for a pet version of a divorce (and I still had major breathing problems anyway)I decided to continue on with the non-smoking.

So, here I am 17 years later, ass once again parked in front of a blasted monitor but still smoke free.

P.S. I still have all my lighters and ashtrays I had back then.