Tucson, AZ – Last night, I received a phone call that has become all too familiar. My uncle was phoning me to tell me it was happening again. My father was having another attack and I needed to come and help him. Immediately. In his condition, these attacks could easily take his life. Luckily, after being transported to the ER at Tucson Heart Hospital, he stabilized. But the bad news is that this will not be the last time that this will happen, as the medical staff has clearly cautioned us. They also confirmed what we already knew: eventually one of these attacks will take his life. I feel compelled to share with you the torture that my father goes through and the pain I feel watching it all unfold. My hope is that my pain and my father’s torture inspires just a few of you to terminate your habit for good by understanding just how bad circumstances can become.
My father has lived a great life. He served for over 20 years in our Armed Forces and there are few places in this world that he has not visited. He loved to travel and was a very active man. Growing up, I never saw weakness in my father. Even into his fifties, there were few 20 year olds who could sport a better physique. But today, he is just over 100 pounds. Each day, he struggles to draw breath. He is still stubborn and willing to take on an army of men, but he is physically beaten by years of traditional tobacco use.
Like many of us, my father never realized just how massive of a toll smoking would take on our fragile bodies one day. In my experience, this realization comes far too late. The pain, the suffering, the torture…everything we have been warned about…it all becomes so real. And our families and loved ones have to experience it as we do.
An attack is something no one wants to witness. As one who has once again had to do so, I am overcome by emotion. I could not imagine what it is like to personally endure.
The look in my father eyes is fear (although he will never admit it). It is a look that puts more fear in me than I had ever thought possible. Had I arrived too late? Am I going to lose my Dad? He begins to grasp for his inhaler. He uses them as directed and nothing happens. Nothing works. We give him his oxygen and still nothing. He cannot breathe no matter how many times we try and anxiety begins to set in. Using the last of his dwindling breathe, he tells us goodbye. By now, the ambulance has arrived and he is rushed to the hospital.
At the hospital, nothing anyone can do helps. His dioxide levels rise and his oxygen levels decrease rapidly. Delirium sets in. Doctors now approach me and explain to me the dangers of intubation. I am told that it will stabilize him. However, they also inform me that the chance of his body being able to work on its own, once the tube is removed, is very unlikely. It seems there are no other options. Before the tube is inserted, the doctors strap a mask on my father’s face that forces oxygen into his body. This is our last resort before intubation. Miraculously, he stabilized after one hour. Within a week, he will return home with the promise that he will be back again. But all of us know that eventually an attack will take his life.
For my father, it is clear that the damage done to his body by smoking cannot be reversed. He will pass on in a way that no one should have to die. Learn from this, read of other similar occurrences, and wake up for the sake of you and your family. Think about it. If we continue to smoke all these chemicals into our bodies, it will most definitely end in a torturous death. This is no exaggeration. We must stop ignoring the pain and suffering of others who have gone through similar circumstances. Please understand what will happen to you, what does not need to happen to you, and what YOU CAN EASILY PREVENT! You should spend your last days aging gracefully and YOU CAN! For yourself, and for those closest to you, please make this pack your last.