Before all of this Blogger/spamming mess, I had been a bit quiet. That was because the dominant thing going on in my life sucked up all of my attention. My 72-year-old father was admitted to the hospital last week with a case of pneumonia, brought on by and complicated by a diagnosis of COPD — chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD is basically a winning combination of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. And when I say winning, I mean that if you’ve got it, it’s eventually going to win the fight for your life.
It’s probably not necessary to mention that my dad was a smoker. I say was because there’s some reason to hope that he’ll kick his two-pack-a-day habit now that he’s had this health scare. At the moment, he’s got 2 grandchildren and more on the way. You’d think he’d have plenty of incentive to quit, if only to spend a little more time getting to know them. My brother told me a touching story the other day. When my dad came down with pneumonia, my brother asked his 3-year-old daughter to include grandpa in her nightly prayers, telling her he wasn’t feeling well. Her response? Totally unprompted she said, "Grandpas cough a lot." It’d be wonderful if she got to spend enough time with him to develop more substantive memories than that one.
All this to encourage those of my friends out there who smoke to think seriously about quitting. No one I know (you know who you are!) seems to be that heavy a smoker. You may think that means you don’t need to quit. The way I see it, it means it’s the best time to quit — because maybe you can before too much damage is done.
As for my dad, we’re still trying to determine if he’s going to have to be on oxygen 24/7 the rest of his life. We’ve had to arrange for someone to move into a little cabin on his property. She’ll take care of him, make sure he’s taking his treatments and call an ambulance if things get too bad. He’s actually doing really well, and while it makes me happy, it also worries me. What if he starts smoking again?