Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Outcome of Long-Term Smoking

Have you ever seen the results of someone smoking almost 50 years?  Well, my mom is now seeing the physical effects of her long-term chain smoking habit and she's scared enough to finally stop.

She was hospitalized a few days ago because she could not breathe at all.  She went to the ER with 0% oxygen in her blood supposedly.  They told her it was bronchitis and there weren't any signs of cancer in her lungs.  They kept her 3 days, however, to do more tests.  
Coughing up a lung is FUN!

Last year she admitted that she had the beginnings of emphysema, which really scared me.  Now she's been told she has COPD. WTF?!  This is some seriously scary stuff.  What will the future hold for her??!!  She is only 63 years old and is still working full time in a strenuous job.  She has no savings and no means for retirement.  No one to take really take care of her.  

How can she keep working with this disease?  I'm her Power of Attorney and Executor and everything - am I supposed to fly up there and try to handle her estate?  We had this scare last year when we thought she had a tumor in her abdomen - another dodged bullet - it was benign.  

Now that I have 3 kids and no job, what in the hell am I supposed to do? She also isolates herself all the time and doesn't like to be bothered or interrogated, so how do I navigate that?

When I think of her dying, it freaks me out.  I would be 37 and not have any living parents or grandparents.  Just a few train wreck siblings and distant aunts, uncles, cousins. Boo hoo. My mom has been a piss poor mom, but she's my mom and I still love her. I don't want to lose her.

She's so stubborn.  All these years of begging her not to smoke and her puffing defiantly away anyway, she finally realizes she needs to stop.  She now says she's a non-smoker and that not being able to breathe really scared her.  But is it too late? 

Just say NO.

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