Today I quit Smoking

Me and Dad

I started smoking when I was 18. I quit once for about 6 months and that was 2 years ago. I’ve made plans to quite again and went to the doctor for a check-up; got a prescription for Chantix; and have a chest MRI scheduled to get a baseline. As usual, blood pressure and blood work are all within normal range, except my LDL was a smidgen high. Nothing wrong. I’m healthy. I can still out hike and get up and down stream banks; I started lifting weights again two weeks ago I’ll adjust diet for that.

Yesterday, I ran out of cigarettes at about 1:00, right before I headed to the gym for my workout. I had to make a decision; stick with my quit day of 07/26/15 or buy another pack so I could smoke through the rest of the day and night. If I bought a pack it would mean there would be cigarettes left that would tempt me on my quit day. I sat in my car with the sun blinds still hiding me and ran the numbers. It comes out to about $ 1,400.00 bucks/year. That is a f’n vacation to Washington!! I could go see my sister and nieces and nephew next summer! I chose to up my quit time to right then and there. I’ll never buy another pack. Never waste another dollar on cigarettes.

After I got home from the workout I signed up on the 1800quitnow program. If they got money from the tobacco lawsuit then I figured I’ll take advantage of it. Hope it helps. Bottom line is I’m healthy so I don’t have that motivation. My motivation is I loathe anything controlling me and I want the money that I will save. It’s been a battle of wills since yesterday at about 1:25. Yes, I looked at the clock and timed myself for every urge. They were hitting about every 15 minutes. So far, my will has won.

I’m use to going outside to sip coffee and smoke. It’s a trigger. About an hour ago that urge was strong so I took Molly for a walk and we clocked in 1. 7 miles in 32 minutes. (don’t laugh!! I was walking Molly and she really slows me down but the walk is still good, LOL) I just ate (feels like lunchtime to me, but I see it’s not yet 11:00 so time is dragging today. That urge to go outside and smoke hit, so I thought I’d go pull up facebook. The first thing I saw was this picture of my dad. A hundred different things ran through my brain in a matter of a second: When was this? I wasn’t there, why? Look at Apollonia! There is that walker mom bought for dad. Now she needs it. Within less than a second I remembered this was a trip my daughter and dad took with my sister that summer. They convoyed with walkie talkies. My sister had her truck and my daughter’s car was new. It was the first time she drove across the country. This was my dad’s last road trip. He was sick, but at that point no doctor at IHS had figured out what was wrong. This was in July. I am nearly certain. I know it was 2002. He was diagnosed with lung cancer the following September and I remember the day the growth on his lung was discovered as if it was last week. Every detail.

There was a day I came home from work early. I was working at a piss poor paying job at a different tribe where I was interim supervisor three of the cruelest, most backstabbing, gossiping trouble-making women I’d ever met in my life. Two White women and one full-blood. I was commuting 100 miles a day on a wage of 13/hr plus turnpike fees, and that was up from 11/hour only because I was interim supervisor. I walked into our house after dealing with 3 women who did everything they could do to undermine and hurt me, and found dad coughing again. He knew something was wrong him but the doctor at the Sapulpa IHS clinic couldn’t figure out what was wrong, that is, when he was actually there on my dad’s appointment day. (nice man but twice he called in sick on my dad’s appt. day and the damned clinic would never call us to cancel the appt. AND I would have to take off from work, commute 50 miles home to pick up dad then drive 13 miles over to the Sapulpa clinic). I heard dad and since I drove him to all doctor’s appointments I knew the frustration of not knowing what was happening. I told dad, “hey, this is ridiculous they can’t figure out what’s wrong. Fuck those appointments. They’re never there anyway. Let’s just go on over to Claremore (meaning Claremore Indian Hospital) and go through the ER. We might have to wait all day but, we’re going to find out what is going on with you.” My dad jumped out of the recliner and grabbed his meds (just a couple; a blood pressure medicine and one other thing) and we were off to Claremore. The mood was light. Dad seemed happy. I felt good and I was determined to find out what was making my dad sick.

Once you sign in at the Indian hospitals you wait to be called back for initial screening and to let them know why you are there. Then you wait. And then you wait some more. They called dad to go back for his vitals and initial screening. When he came back to the large waiting area I told him “well, we’ll be here for a while so I’m going out to smoke.” It didn’t take me long and right when I walked back inside I saw my dad with his lopsided gait quick stepping down the hall. Those bib overalls he always wore were hard to miss. I heard his name being paged on the overhead. The crumpled brown paper bag holding his meds was still on the chair where he had been sitting. I scooped up the bag of meds without missing a step and followed him knowing full well something was up. At the Indian hospital they never call you back to the doctor that quickly.

Within a few minutes he was in the ER. The LPN, yes LPN, that did his initial screening noticed something with his pulse. She had him walk down the hall and noticed an irregular heartbeat. She notified the ER doctor. We went from there. They x-rayed his chest and found a mast on his lungs. From there things  spun into a flurry. It was the LPN that caught it. Not one stinking physician he had seen had been caring enough or astute enough to diagnose it. If not for the LPN my dad would not have been diagnosed with the lung cancer. It would have continued to grow on his lungs. He had smoked for 40 years and quit in 1984; the year my daughter was born.

When I came to facebook to avoid smoking and saw this picture before I saw anything else, my eyes welled with tears. It was dad’s last road trip and I didn’t get to go. It was 13 years ago this month. My daughter wasn’t doing great during that period and, at the time, I only hoped she would eventually figure out how f’n smart and capable she was and one day act upon it. I wasn’t doing well. I had my degree but had a piss poor job with the worst bitches you could ever meet. I’ve never seen this picture, but when I did see it on this first day of not smoking it flooded me with memories of one of the hardest and most sad periods of my life.  But maybe, even though I don’t believe in things like this anymore,  maybe, this picture of my funny, mathematically talented, great athlete dad, in the final months of his life appeared for a reason.  When he was still living he wanted me to stop smoking! Desperately so.

Dad and Apollonia 2002

Today my dad told me it is more than just the money I spend on them; it is about more than the control they have had on me; it is also about my health and about being around for my daughter. (who incidentally is now a McNair scholar and doing fantastic).

This picture reminded me of a lot of things. The dad I love and miss so much. Those cruel women whom I’ve not thought about in a very long time. My daughter during her long dark period. Me, during one of the saddest and most difficult periods of my life. So lastly, I will say this: Don’ t fuck with me. Whether you are an undermining bitch or a cigarette.  I’m patient. I am smart. I am nice. I am honest. I show you my true face.  I forgive a few times but an unlikely to forget,yet I am not vengeful.  My will is strong. I will win.

Today I quit smoking.

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