Up in Vape
The Evil Cigarettes Do
A Personal Story
Greetings and salutations my friends, I apologize for not getting a column out in a timely manner, however for the past 3 weeks one of my best friends who is 78 years young, has been in the hospital. For the past 2 and a half weeks I have been helping his wife, who is alone, as all their family is up in New Jersey. I have helped whenever and for whatever reasons she may need. Finding someone to mow the lawn, someone to fix this or that, or whatever little things come up. Also I have been spending as much time as I can at the hospital, even when my friend went back to ICU for the second time, I said I was family.
I am dedicating this column to my friend, we’ll call him…. Ralph. Ralph has been a smoker for probably 60 of his 78 years, I have known Ralph for I guess 7 or 8 years now, and even though there is an 18-year age difference between us I don’t think age ever played a part in our friendship. We have amateur radio in common, I have learned so much from Ralph as far as antenna design, schematic diagrams, etc. that I am a lot more confident in a lot of my own projects when I am able to get to work on them.
So, as I said Ralph is or was a smoker, a heavy smoker, I have been telling him he needed to quit almost from the first. Ralph….I as y’all have been vaping for about 40 months now, when I first started vaping and was really getting to know my way around the different mods and what was good and not so good, I would try and get Ralph to just try it. I even bought a couple of cig a like and asked him to try one instead of a half a pack of smokes. Well….that went over like a shit brick, no taste, no this, not enough of that. Bought a cheap eGo starter kit and some tobacco flavored ejuice. I’m talking 32mg nicotine ejuice regular tobacco flavor. He had issues with filling the cartomizer, or he had trouble keeping it charged… mostly he just never used it. He was so, so hooked on the tar and nicotine in his smokes that it changed him physically, physiologically. I just read the other day where smoking cigarettes can actually change your DNA, after 60 years of taking in all the poisons in cigarettes that I think that it has changed his DNA.
Well, 3 weeks ago I get a call from Ralph’s wife that he had trouble breathing, so he quit smoking, that just made things worse, he wound up calling 911 and he was rushed to the hospital. For 3-5 days he spent it in ICU, not thinking at the time, and family only is allowed in ICU I helped Ralph’s wife when and how I could. After he was moved to a room, I was talking with one of the nurses and asked him just what procedures had been done? I had been told by a mutual friend that he had 3 heart valves replaced…. oh no….not even. My buddy had a triple bypass done, he also had a nodule on the bottom lobe of his right lung. He also wound up with a severe infection in that same lung. Constant breathing treatments, him being his cantankerous self, did not want to cooperate wound him up in surgery due to the fact that he had fluid buildup that was pressing against his right lung almost to the point where it damn near collapsed his lung. After that, the doctor ran a tube down his gullet and siphoned off over a liter of fluid from inside his right lung.
He still was doing the passive aggressive thing when I went to see him one day last week. What I saw that day was a frail old man who looked like death warmed over. I had gone over to the house and helped Ralph’s wife with their printer, she didn’t know how to do that little thing. I had the chance to meet their daughter who is the mother of a son with Autism, we have a son with Down Syndrome so we had that in common. I changed the printer ink cartridges and talked with both the ladies and took my leave as they were going to the hospital.
I went back to the hospital this past Monday morning, imagine my surprise when I got to my friend’s room and it was empty! I mean cleaned up out, bed made tray table over the bed, like he had never even been there! It was one of the few times in my life where I could feel panic rising up inside me…. don’t tell me I take 2 days off to recharge myself I come back and he isn’t there. I hobbled as fast as I could to the nurses’ station and asked about Mr. Ralph, “are you family“, they asked? First thing that popped into my head was…. absolutely, yes I am; they didn’t ask, I didn’t volunteer, although if pressed I would have said I was his son in law. I was told he was in the surgical ICU….again. OK, breathe, in out in out its OK. I get down to the SICU bed 5 and I see a man with a breathing mask covering most of his face, my buddy looked bad, really bad, his skin color was a mottled grey, his eyes were sunken in, he was dehydrated, but what I saw in the 5-10 minutes I was there was fear, my friend who usually shows so much bravado he now looked like a scared, frail old man.
Fast forward to yesterday morning, I called my buddy’s wife to get an update. I find out that Ralph is now back to his old room, is off most everything he still has supplemental oxygen, plus his IV, he is slowly getting back to his cantankerous self. My friend has turned a huge corner, he still has a long, long way to go. He still has a 2 week stay at the heart rehab center which is attached to the hospital. From there I imagine he will go home to finish recuperating, it’s gonna be a long haul, I know I will be called over to help with one thing or another. Fortunately, he will have the VNA coming over to help with moving him and what not, so I will be spared any heavy or any lifting save for a cup of coffee, or glass of water.
Ya know, we always hear about the effects of long term smoking, those of you who have had loved ones or you yourself have gone through something similar will be able to appreciate what I have written here today 23 September 2016. We always hear don’t smoke, smoking kills…. seeing my friend, seeing what he has gone through, what he has endured, seeing for myself what my friend has gone through and endured over these past 3 weeks I saw firsthand what smoking does to a body. I could go into graphic detail but will save it, don’t need to bring that kind of thing into this column. If you have a friend a loved one who smokes, I implore you find a way beg, plead, do whatever to get him/her to stop smoking lest they wind up going through what my best friend has gone through, is going through. I know myself how hard it is to quit cigarettes, that was 20+ years ago, we didn’t have the things we have today to help on to quit. Patches were new, those damn pills Chantix is it was brand new and wasn’t widely prescribed, so it was the patch which were expensive or will power cold turkey. Now, today, we have the one thing that could, can help 99% of those who smoke to quit. Vaping my friend, vaping is the answer, which is why now more than ever we have to keep the pressure on our elected officials, keep fighting the good fight to keep vaping with us and not give it to the FDA to regulate, to big tobacco to bastardize, Big Pharma to add shit to it that could very well cause them to be hazardous to our health.
Thank you all so very much for bearing with me. These past couple weeks has been tiring to say the least, knowing I was not getting this column done, not even knowing until just the day before yesterday what I was even going to write about. What better way to get the word about vaping out there, and to get these past couple weeks off my chest. This has been therapy for me, just writing this column has been a huge weight off my shoulders. Until next time sooner rather than later I hope, praying there are no more health issues or surgeries or…. whatever. I will say this in closing, you my friends my readers, I consider you all as friends some as family. I take my friendships seriously and would never ever do anything to endanger that friendship. Please keep fighting these bastards that want to regulate vaping tight into the shitter, we cannot have that not now, not ever. True we need some regulations, just not to the extent that the FDA wants. I’m done, I’m out of here, be well, stay safe, God bless, and….VAPE ON!
Mark “Tim” Timblin