Death of a smoker
I put Jean in two years ago. She was an inactive member of my church. Our missionaries had found her knocking on doors. They asked me to visit her because her health was not good, she lived alone and had many personal problems. They felt that I needed a friend.
I went to visit her and although she let me in, she was not very friendly. Her personality seemed to be one of pride, but I found her bluntness was more of a cover up to protect her addiction to cigarettes. Apparently, in the past, many people had told him that he should stop smoking, including his doctors. For example, before I came on the scene, she had demanded that a lady from our church leave her home for making that suggestion.
I was on the defensive because I didn’t want to quit smoking. He had smoked since he was 14 and is now 70. I asked him why he smoked. He told me that he enjoyed it and that they were his best friend. I asked him why? She said because they relax me.
It was a chore for me to visit her, because her house was full of smoke. After our visit, my throat hurt, my clothes smelled like an ashtray, as did my hair. She had compassion for her cat, her only real friend, who had to live in the smoke along with her.
I kept visiting her, I think mostly because I felt sorry for her, but as I kept talking to her I began to see beyond cigarettes and addiction and I came to like her. Her childhood was abusive and her parents never told her they loved her. I think those cigarettes started, so she could fit in because she needed friends, but she could never put them down.
She was a good conversationalist and had a funny sense of humor. He had a good memory and was interested in many things. He liked to read. When she was young, she and her husband of more than 40 years had entertained themselves. She could play the piano very well and was a good joke teller. She only had one son, a daughter who died of cancer, a year after we met.
As we got to know each other better, we became good friends.
He was in terrible health. The most serious was emphysema. When I first met her, she could move quite well, but as time passed, her health continued to deteriorate. He lived with constant pain, due to back problems. He seemed to pick up on everything that was happening and always took her to the doctor.
His time was occupied by cigarette after cigarette. He smoked a kind of brown cigarette and when he didn’t smoke he took pills. He always went to the apothecary to buy his medicine.
He lived on $ 1000 a month, Social Security, and often wondered how he survived on the cost of a box of cigarettes (I think he smoked two packs a day) and the price of his medications: about $ 50 or $ 60. .
Because he was so antisocial, he got very depressed. Once he ended up in the mental health section of the hospital. I was amazed that even though he was in the hospital from the effects of smoking, his suitcase was full of cartons of cigarettes, that the hospital allowed him to smoke outside in a garden.
I could see her go downhill gradually. In the last months of his life, his existence went from his bed to his armchair, in front of the television and vice versa. At that time she was on oxygen. I thought it was crazy, that when I went to visit, there was a big sign on the front door of her house warning about the fire around oxygen and she sat right next to the oxygen tank and smoked her cigarettes.
I cared for her and brought her food, called her, and went through it. Two weeks before he died, he had fallen and was having trouble getting back up. Then I asked him for the keys to the front door so I could get in if I needed it. I took her to the doctor, because I didn’t think she should live alone anymore, but the doctor simply sent her home saying that he would get her medical help at home.
Last week I got a call. A lady from the church had reviewed it and could not get an answer. She called me to go. Fortunately she had the keys and my husband and I went to her house and there she was, lying on the floor of her room. He had blood in his mouth; her eyes were bloodshot, she looked close to death. He grabbed my arm and yelled, “Don’t leave me alone.” Apparently she had been lying there for at least 24 hours. I spoke to her on the phone and she sounded good two days before. It must have fallen off after our conversation. He had an alert button around his neck, but the first time he fell, he wasn’t wearing it. I warned him that he needed to put it on at all times. This time he wasn’t wearing it either.
We called the ambulance, who rushed her to the emergency room. In the hospital she looked so sick. His breathing was so labored and it was hard for him to speak. She tried very hard to be nice to me, as I could see that she was trying to be funny, due to her expressions, but she was suffering a lot. Although it amazed me; the few words I could understand were that he wanted a cigarette.
I stayed with her for as long as I could and left with the assurance that they would call me if something happened. The last time I saw her, I said a prayer with her, which we always did before I went home, when we visited her. When the prayer ended, we held hands, she looked into my eyes and I could see her love for me. She had always called me her angel.
In the evening, the hospital called and said it had gotten worse. They had her on a respirator. He got out of that machine for two more days. His body deteriorated greatly. I couldn’t recognize her at all. My hope is that her spirit is gone before then because it broke my heart to see her in such terrible condition.
I will miss Jean. I’m glad I don’t have to suffer anymore. I am saddened by the terrible life he lived due to his addiction to cigarettes.
Jean was three months younger than me. I still run three miles every other day and exercise in between. I am in good health and my life is full, not limited like hers. The only difference between his life and mine was cigarettes. I do not smoke.
The evil assassins stole a full life from him, and the life he had left was nothing but sickness and pain. His death was horrible.
She has left. I will miss her. So will her cat, who was her only family. I don’t know what to do with the cat. I have her purse, which stinks of smoke and only contains five dollars. All his money went up in smoke.
I hope we can all learn from this sad story of jeans addiction. If you’ve never smoked, don’t start. If you are a smoker, quit smoking! I’m sure Jean would tell you.