Finally, I don't understand!!!

Sorry I've not posted for ages, hope everyone's well, I'm in a situation here which I find odd, just wanted to air it really....

My mother-in-law is staying with us for a short while, she's just had an operation to remove a small part of her bowel due to cancer. So far she's doing OK, she's no spring chicken but she's healing well.

While she was in hospital she was diagnosed with COPD. She was in for seven days, spent most of that coughing, hacking, bringing up the most unimaginable cr*p.

She's a 20 a day smoker of fifty years.

Within a minute of getting outside, hobbling painfully after major surgery, after a week off the cigarettes and various discussions with the hospital staff about her health, she blazed up.

Now she's home with us, she's out the back door every hour, puffing away, justifying painfully ambling to the door as "exercise" and "getting some air". And the soundtrack to the house is hack cough hack snort, spit, the usual, at huge decibel levels, at all hours, which she's now putting down to having a cold coming.

My Dad suffers with his chest, smokes like the proverbial chimney, and my Mum keeps on at him to stop. I always said "it's not easy, I sympathise etc etc" but this last ten days, having seen someone go through cancer surgery, and seen COPD close-up, not to mention the weeks of fear and reassurance before since the diagnosis of the bowel cancer, it occurred to me last night.

I don't understand anymore, even as a former smoker (Christmas Eve marked 2.5 years quit after 22 years of smoking). I don't get it, I don't blo*dy sympathise. I realise that's odd, weird, mean, hypocritical, whatever, but I really don't understand. My health was suffering, I was scared for my own future, so I did something about it. I was nowhere near as sick as she is, and you don't get much worse than cancer and COPD in a week surely???

Is this because I've been exposed close-up to this horrible stuff, or have I simply been quit too long that I've forgotten what it was like?

8 Replies

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  • Hi Angry Bear, I used to be some one who had convinced myself that the benefits outweighed the risks, now when other people say things like 'smoking prevents alzheimers' etc I just think they are talking nonsense. As an ex smoker you can look at it differently, I'm still early on in my quit so can still sympathise, but probably not in the case of your Mother in Law, to be that ill and continue to smoke does surprise me.

  • You're all right of course, there's lots different ideas in your answers that I'd not considered; you all have more empathy than I'm having at the moment! Thank you so much for your responses, I will just care for her and help my wife as best as I can, it's all I can do. Being judgmental won't help anyone, including me, not that I've said anything out loud!

    I'd forgotten how great this forum is, thank you again ;)

  • I can only echo what others have said, but just to add my mum, needed heat surgery, and she could just not stop smoking, mum even said the surgeon did not say she had to quit, just cut down, Realised she was scared, and all this years of smoking just could not be stopped, In the end she did indeed pass away, obviously a heart broken family.

    For me I just let mum do as she wanted, I knew she could not quit, what for ? another few months of severe pain, so I let her do as she wanted, that was smoking.

    I so wished she could have stopped, but then again I bet she was just as heart broken when I started to smoke.

  • ...And if this is any help, my MIL gave up a few years ago at the age of 82 (having smoked most of her adult life). Admittedly, she didn't have your MIL's health problems but it does go to show that us smokers can suddenly see the light at any age.

    I can tell that you're giving your MIL and your wife bags of support and I'm sure both of them love you for it. You have nothing whatsoever to beat yourself up about in my view.

    ...And may 2015 be a good year for you all...:)

  • I think we have to want to

    I so wish my dad had wanted to as he would still be with us. He chose not to quit, felt he couldn't and sadly he is no longer here. I miss him

    My mum is almost 83 and quit 6 months ago, overnight decision after getting hay fever. It was her choice.

    We cant make them stop but we can gently educate xx ps I am angry today as well

  • you can lead a horse to water but u cant make him drink people will quit when they are ready and not a second before yes as non smokers we are trying to show them the way but it must come from them ultimately im 3 years in and find i used to see the smokers by the shopping centre door and wish oh how i would wish i could be one of them where as now i wish they could be more like me but we seen we needed to make changes and we did and we have succeeded and when they are ready they will to but they have to want it otherwise they wont work for it hope this doesnt offend anyone but is straight to the point we all of us as non smokers have only got here with hard work and determination thats why we succeeded there are no wonder drugs gums patches yes they help and i encourage the use of these products but without determination they wont help as much hope all works out for you cheers

  • Nice to see you still about AngryBear

  • you can lead a horse to water but u cant make him drink people will quit when they are ready and not a second before yes as non smokers we are trying to show them the way but it must come from them ultimately im 3 years in and find i used to see the smokers by the shopping centre door and wish oh how i would wish i could be one of them where as now i wish they could be more like me but we seen we needed to make changes and we did and we have succeeded and when they are ready they will to but they have to want it otherwise they wont work for it hope this doesnt offend anyone but is straight to the point we all of us as non smokers have only got here with hard work and determination thats why we succeeded there are no wonder drugs gums patches yes they help and i encourage the use of these products but without determination they wont help as much hope all works out for you cheers

    Have some of these:-

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