Saturday, June 21, 2008

Addictions and the price you pay.....

Every one is an addict!

Dictionary dot com describes Addict as:

1. a person who is addicted to an activity, habit, or substance: a drug addict.
–verb (used with object)
2. to cause to become physiologically or psychologically dependent on an addictive substance, as alcohol or a narcotic.
3. to habituate or abandon (oneself) to something compulsively or obsessively: a writer addicted to the use of high-flown language; children addicted to video games.

Personally, I prefer #3 as the correct and most precise definition...
So then, do you, or can you say, "Every one is an addict"?

I would tend to say "no" at first reading of that definition...however, when you read that definition over and over, it makes complete sense!

If every one is an addict, then the question remains, "What are you addicted to?"

My father is addicted to alcohol and mother, though she may not admit it, is addicted to spending money...mostly in small increments like shopping, eating out at restaurants, etc...but non-the-less, she still can't save money...

I can say the same about myself as far as the nicotine addiction and the spending money addiction...

Yes, I'm an RT, yes I know first hand what smoking does, yes I know all of that, but still, I remain addicted...I've tried several times in the past year to quit smoking, especially when I found out that dad had lung cancer..I'm ashamed of my habit, I can control it when I'm working, I never smoke when I work!

I do however smoke 2 cigarettes on the way to work, and 12.5 hours later on my way home, I have 2 more cigarettes and when I get home, depending on the weather is how much more I smoke at home. I don't smoke in the house and neither does my boyfriend.

We are very sad people! I've allowed the nicotine to take over and control me! This, I don't deny...

Again, I say, I'm very ashamed of myself and want desperately to quit! I've tried the patches, I've tried the gum and I've also tried Chantix...

The only thing left to try is removing my fingers and suturing my mouth shut!!!!!

My father, in December, had his left upper lobe removed because of cancer, in March, he had chemotherapy...all the while, continuing to smoke!

Monday (6/16/08) my father had his right lung adhered to the chest wall to keep it from collapsing, still desiring a cigarette..."smoke 1 for me" he said....

Thursday, he began having trouble breathing and was in pain from the surgery...Friday, they placed him on BiPap and did a CT of his chest...all the while, he struggled to breathe even while on BiPap....

Today is Saturday and the doctor has decided to intubate and ventilate him stating to my mother that the CT scan shows complete "opacification" or white out of the right lung(the good lung) and he's on antibiotics because they don't know if its pneumonia or an infection in that lung...they've written off his left lung because it didn't expand like expected after the lobectomy and isn't working properly at this point.

I know he doesn't have much time left, I've known for sometime that he's been living on "borrowed" time because of his "4 pack per day" habit...

I also know that that will also be my fate if I don't quit smoking right now...
I know that every time I "choose" to light up!

This weekend has been difficult for me because I know that without the ventilator, my father is "gasping" for every breath! It breaks my heart to know he's suffering like that.

How much time he has left? I don't know. How long should he stay on the ventilator? I don't know...

Its always different when its "your" family member...
I always tell my patient's family members that the decision is theirs as to how long things like this should go on and I know first hand what the end result is...
"Terminate life support"....

Terminate life support but don't let them suffer....what the hell does that mean anyway?? if you terminate life support, you are basically taking away any decent breath they could possibly get and leave them with only shallow, insufficient breathing...which then creates an increased work of breathing which then creates an increased cardiac workload...and then really, are they not suffering???

I think they are...why can't the heart quit first? why, physiologically, does the breathing have to cease before the heart in this case?

So what is the price one pays for addiction?

Is it easily categorized as what you pay for cigarettes your whole life? Or what you spent on alcohol this year? Or is it how much you've gambled away at craps before you sought help in a rehab facility?

Then do you count your health care? Dr. appointments,lab work, etc. How much the ICU costs per day with the ventilator? Or the price of rehab? or whatever..

How about what it costs to family members? The prayers being said even though you know your prayers are in vain? Ultimately everyone knows the outcome of nicotine/alcohol addiction....

The wife loses out on earned wages sitting at the bedside of her dying nicotine/alcohol addicted husband. Their children sitting by the phone waiting to get the call that all life for their father has ceased...and they have to take off work to be by their mother's side and pay their respects to their father.

The funeral expenses incurred, the phone bills to let all the other family members know the inevitable outcome.
Can you put a price tag on all the tears that have been shed by all who loved that person?

We all lose! We all suffer and we all pay a hefty price!

"Its my body!"
"I'm not hurting anyone but myself"
"It doesn't control me"
"I can quit whenever I want"
"Its nobody's business what I do"

Yeah Right!! ...Whatever!!!

Its my dad's body that my mother will be burying soon.
His 3 kids are hurting.
It did control him
He didn't quit
Mom has to make decisions regarding his health care now because he can't!

What is it that controls your life? What will that cost you? Who are you hurting?
How will they deal with that? Who will care for you when you can no longer care for yourself?

I don't want to end up where my father is now!!!

The time to quit is now...not tomorrow...

I don't want to be addicted to nicotine anymore...

But I now understand my father's addiction and I can relate...I'm still ashamed of myself for being so weak!

"Clicking my heals together 3 times and saying"
I want to quit smoking
I want to quit smoking
I want to quit smoking...

It worked for Dorothy when she wanted to go home, but, it's not helping me a damn bit!!


1 comment:

  1. Hello there,

    Just surfing through random blogs, and I've found yours to be some good reading, especially this topic.

    I know what you mean. Smoking is a tough addiction. I don't even want to try to quit right now, even though I will be starting an RT program in the fall.

    I don't know if it just something about night shift, but literally every single therapist except one of them smoke (we're talking 13 respiratory therapists), and I think I've seen the one lighting up on the way out to her car.