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View Diary: Nicotine Withdrawal Insomnia Rant-a-palooza (42 comments)

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  •  You're not alone here, GenXangster (7+ / 0-)

    I just posted my first comment/plea for help at GUS a couple of nights ago. (I think it was a couple of nights ago, I'm having some problems with short-term memory.) You can read it here, if you want, but it's just another smokealogue covering some of my failure as a quitter.

    I'm 65 now, so here's what I want to tell you from 25 years into your future if you don't quit. I've been up most of the night, too. Severe leg cramps keep waking me up even after taking 2 Baclofen (muscle relaxers) twice my prescribed dosage. At 65, I have Medicare, so after a few years without insurance, I'm finally getting the medical attention I need for my health problems. Just a few weeks ago, I had a chest CT that showed "thin-walled pulmonary cysts consistent with COPD." I'm hoping I've caught it at an earlier stage than my younger brother did. When he was diagnosed at about 50, his doctor told him he had two years to live. He lived a few months longer than two years  before he set his face on fire smoking while using oxygen at the same time. He actually died of a heart attack while still in the burn unit. I miss the hell out of him. Of course, just catching it an an earlier stage won't help me much if I don't stop smoking. I've already emptied my ashtray once this morning.

    Smoking also probably accounts for my memory problems. I had an MRI of my brain that showed a bunch of lesions, possibly ischemic, in the white matter. And, yesterday, I had a simple test of my blood oxygen level before and after a bit of exercise that showed I was too low in both cases. Your brain simply needs more oxygen than it gets if you're a heavy smoker like I am. I always planned to write fiction once I retired, but now I'm having problems with a couple of novels I've started. I can't remember the "facts" about my characters once I've left them for a day or so. So, unless you quit smoking, you need to start on that writing you have in your mind before it's too late.

    I'll be having cataract surgery on both eyes this spring. Smoking doubles your cataract risk. In the meantime, I've had to stop driving at night which has severely our lives, mine and my husband's. He's 72 and can't drive at all anymore since he had his right leg amputated a few years ago following a blood clot in his foot. They tried taking just the foot, but had to go back a few weeks later to take the leg up to a higher level. He had the best "limb salvage" specialists and they worked on him in surgery three days in a row while he was also in intensive care on IV "clot buster" meds, but they couldn't get his circulatory system opened up enough to get sufficient oxygen to his lower leg for healing to take place. That's how they decided they had to go higher. He also has painful nerve damage that prevents him from using a prosthesis. He gets by on a fentanyl patch plus a ton of hydrocodone. Although it can't be said for certain in his case that his problems are a direct result of his smoking (he also drank too much and ate too many cheeseburgers in his earlier life), smoking is known to cause all of that stuff.

    My right ankle is already swelling. My doctors say it "venous stasis." My husband had that same problem on the leg he still has. It resulted in a venous stasis ulcer that took more than a year to heal. To get it healed, he had weekly doctor's appointments, wore a wound vac for months, had daily hyperbaric oxygen treatments for 8 weeks, two hospitalizations for infection, and I had to learn how to set up his twice-daily antibiotic IVs at home. It's a good thing we had good insurance at the time, because the whole thing cost more than $500,000. Needless to say, I'm not sure Medicare would go that far for me, so I need to nip my problem in the bud. Exercise would help, but I get so short of breath...

    When you think about what those patches cost, think about this. Just a few weeks ago, before I learned about the cataracts, I thought I was pulling into a left turn lane about 7:30 pm, totally sober, and failed to see a center median. I did $2,000 worth of damage to the bottom of our car. The opthamologist told me my peripheral vision is severely compromised until I get that eye sugery, as if I needed a $200 test to tell me that.

    But, none of the above is the part that scares me. Here's what does. When my husband and I got together 10 years ago (a relationship record for both of us), part of our reasoning had to do with wanting to have someone to live with in our "golden" years. All the literature on aging told us that we'd live longer together with help from each other than we would on our own. But, it's already getting harder for me to manage the work around our house and yard (thanks, COPD). And, yesterday, I put some eggs on to boil for a tuna salad, forgot about them, and fell asleep. My dh was awake, but he didn't know I was cooking until he heard them EXPLODE in our kitchen. What a stinky mess that was. I feel lucky that I didn't start a fire. I worry that our kids will find out about some of this stuff and put us "away." We've already given up many of the plans we had for our retirement, we don't want to give up our independence completely.

    I apologize if I've said too much, bored you, and/or been too graphic. I only wish I could go back to your age so I could stop smoking at 40 like you can. I sincerely hope you do, and I'd love to think I've helped.

    “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

    by RJDixon74135 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:06:41 AM PST

    •  You definitely didn;'t bore me and you (5+ / 0-)

      didn't say too much. I appreciate it so much. I read every word. Twice. Even as I feel the craving starting up right this second, I'll just read your post for the 3rd time until it passes.

      I can't tell you how much I appreciate what you've told me. I hardly have the words.

      ((((((RJDixon))))))

      "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

      by GenXangster on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:29:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, GenXangster (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GDbot

        I hope you could read through my sentence above with a missing word. It should have said, "In the meantime, I've had to stop driving at night which has severely limited our lives, mine and my husband's. We used to like going out at night. Now, we can't. Actually, it's not that easy to go out in the daylight. Today, I lifted his wheelchair out of and back into the car four times so we could go out to lunch after a stop for  the blood work I forgot to get yesterday when I left the doctor's office. When we got home, I had to take a nap.

        You know, you hear so much about smoking and lung cancer, but I don't have any cancer on either side of my family so I've never worried too much about that. I didn't hear about all this other shit. I just thought you'd want to know.

        In the past, the best try I've had at quitting was when I stopped thinking about myself as someone trying to quit smoking, and started telling myself I was a "former smoker."

        Good luck, GenXangster.

        “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

        by RJDixon74135 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:11:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  (((((((((((RJDixon))))))))))))))))) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RJDixon74135

      Sending you love and healing energy.
      Take care of yourself.

      Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

      by JoanMar on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:18:34 PM PST

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      •  Thanks to you, too, JoanMar (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JoanMar

        for the hug, for the love and healing energy, and for all the great diaries you write and I always enjoy reading.

        I had a Lexiscan recently, some kind of chemical stress test they give when they think you couldn't make it through the regular treadmill version. For most people, the stress drug clears pretty quickly, but sometimes they have to give something extra at the end to help the process  along. Because I smoke 2 packs a day, I got the extra drug at the end. By the time I got home, I felt great, better than I've felt in a long time, even better than I feel in the middle of a Medrol dose pack. (Steroids I take every few weeks for autoimmune inflammatory arthritis. Yeah, new research shows it's linked to nicotine consumption.) I called the lab the next morning to see what they'd given me. It was aminophylline, a bronchodilator. I'll be seeing a pulmonologist soon, and I expect to get some kind of inhaler. If the television commercials are to be believed (lol), they help a lot. And, my heart is fine, no signs of congestive heart failure, something a lot of smokers eventually battle. So, all in all, I'm feeling somewhat  optimistic.

        “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

        by RJDixon74135 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:06:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You should consider writing a diary, RJ. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GDbot

          You are knowledgeable about this subject and with your real life challenges it should make a compelling read.
          I am sure there are people on here who'd benefit from such a diary.
          Hugs.

          Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

          by JoanMar on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:14:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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