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Sabrina – Another Smoking Casualty!
Whenever I see a smoker, it reminds me of a dragon…with smoke coming out of their mouths; their noses; their ears, and probably “the sun doesn’t shine!” I have zero tolerance for smoking and smokers! How could anyone willingly inject poison into their bodies and call it a treat, giving new meaning to the word ignorance!
I quit smoking in 1970 and in 38 years I have not been exposed to cigarettes or any tobacco products nor do I intend to! There are millions of Americans who have been trying to quit…then finally quit…only to start all over again months or years later! Why would anyone want to do this?
I’m not some sort of crusader or missionary, and if someone wants to commit suicide, there’s nothing I can do about it.. one breath at a time.. There’s nothing I can do, etc. So, if a guy wants to smoke…go for it…it’s your right. I don’t like smokers around me, they can do damage elsewhere! Smokers know the risks of smoking… I have no sympathy if smokers die from smoking. I cannot sympathize with those who put poison in their bodies.
I can’t understand the bad habits and behavior of some people, such as I saw recently at the VA medical center. I have a doctor’s appointment and I see a nurse or therapist smoking in the yard. You don’t see many healthcare professionals smoking, so this behavior intrigued me, so I sat for a few minutes and watched her smoke. Boy, while I’m sitting there…she’s smoking like a freight train…one cigarette lights another, etc.
A few days later, I returned to VA on business and saw the same woman smoking a cigarette on the patio again. Only this time, I didn’t know what she was doing in the hospital. Do you know where she works? As a respiratory therapist! Do you believe? She probably saw more people die from smoking than anyone else in the hospital…but she smoked like a freight train herself! unbelievable! She has probably helped more people get plastic tubes up their noses than anyone else! If this is true…then why did she smoke in the first place?
“I’m trying to quit smoking and I tell myself I just don’t want to smoke, but I don’t believe in myself.” Barbara Kelly
I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA), right downtown, where I-40 (Route 66) and I-25 (Pan American Highway) intersect, it’s called the “Big I”. As you can imagine, this is a very busy part of town. I live about a mile north of the Big I, and there’s a giant electronic sign put up by an organization that shows the number of deaths nationwide due to smoking each year.
The numbers on the electronic sign are big…and flashing…and change every few minutes. At the beginning of the year, it was zero because there were no deaths…but by the end of the year, around 220,000 to 250,000 people across the country had died from smoking, which surprised me!
* * *
Sabrina and I have worked at the same company for about 18 months. One day we were relaxing on the patio and she said to me, “Jerry, I hate you!” I asked her why she hated me, and she told me, “I’m 38 years old and my face looks like a dry riverbed, Cracks and wrinkles and crow’s feet everywhere, and you’re 50 years old and you don’t have any wrinkles on your face…that’s why I hate you!” I’ve been hated for many things in my life, but never because of my face No wrinkles! Of course I knew Sabrina was joking and I told her that being a heavy smoker for 15 years had something to do with her looks. I’m not a doctor, but we all know that smoking affects the body inside and out and more.
I told Sabrina that all the makeup she puts on creates facial lines and that she should get rid of it all and go more natural, etc. However, she probably wears heavy makeup to cover up all those wrinkles and such. In my opinion, women who wear regular makeup look like plastic dummies. All these chemicals clog the skin pores and do not allow the skin to breathe.
Sabrina quit smoking before I met her, but after over 15 years of heavy smoking her body took its toll. Little does Sabrina know that her days are numbered! After about a year, the company closed and everyone went their separate ways. Sabrina and I were just acquaintances at work, so we weren’t together. However, when we were apart, I missed her because she was so good to me.
“I’m really not a big smoker anymore, I only smoke two lighters a day now!” Bill Hicks
My parents divorced after 48 years of marriage. She is 66 and my father is 70. My dad had ten kids, and he didn’t care who we were, we kids hated him because he was sinister and evil. One day, my mother called me and said that my father had passed away. so? who cares! I never had a father! Mom told me that Dad’s name was on the obituary column in the newspaper. I really don’t care.
But, there was one thing that kept bugging me…I was so annoyed that day, I didn’t know what it was. Something keeps telling me to go to the obituary section of the paper! but why? If I go to the page… what am I looking for? I don’t care about my dad’s death, why should I go back to the obituary page? I’m trying to get it all out of my head, but I can’t! So, I go back to the obituary page, scroll down the page and the credits…and…oh my god! There was one name on the list that I recognized right away…the name was “Pettis” which was Sabrina’s last name! Oh my god… my heart suddenly became cold, and there was a feeling of emptiness! Could this be Sabrina? I quickly closed the newspaper, I don’t want to know! But, after a few minutes of messing around in my head… I had to figure out if it was Sabrina! I can’t leave until I find out!
So, I’m back on the page…and to my horror…it’s Sabrina! As I read on, I feel a lump in my throat… sure enough she lives in Los Lunas; she works in the sheriff’s department; she recently got married. I’m numb… Sabrina can’t die… I said to myself! I put the newspaper aside… Sabrina is dead! I feel terrible!
“Sooner or later… everyone quits smoking!” Author Unknown
I don’t know how she died, accident or illness, so I called a mutual friend of ours and she told me Sabrina had a common cold which quickly turned into flu and was rushed to the hospital. The pneumonia spread rapidly, and in just three days, Sabrina was dead! All this happened in less than a week!
The death certificate might say she died of “pneumonia,” but smoking was a big factor in her death! Smoking weakened her lungs; her arteries; her heart…everything, couldn’t even fight back! The best doctor; even the best technology and the best medicine won’t help unless he or she can fight back!
* * *
When a person wants to quit smoking, he or she has two daunting tasks before him or her. First, they must find the “mental toughness” they need to quit smoking in the first place and never start over again. Next, they have to give the body time to get rid of all the sludge; pollution; tar, don’t know what else the smoker puts in the body! All this takes time.
I’m not a doctor, but in the case of Sabrina, she’s been smoking for over 15 years, so it may take 5-10 years to clear all the sludge, etc. from her system. We all get colds and catch flu occasions…so, when one quits, it’s not the end of danger…it might just be the beginning! Sabrina had quit smoking for more than six months when she died, but the pollution on her body could not go away for a long time!
I’ve moved to the south side of town for the past year or so, and one day I hopped in my car and headed north of town. I forgot about the electric sign near the Big I, it reminded me of Sabrina as I drove past it. When I drove past this sign and it told me Sabrina put one of those numbers on it, I promised myself I would never drive like that again! Sabrina passed away in 1996, more than ten years later, I still think of her from time to time, she will always have a place in my heart.
“We design our lives through the power of choice.” Richard Baker
Red, white and blue give us all the options to stay healthy and stay away from cigarettes. But sadly… Sabrina chose to commit suicide…in one breath…it took her 15 years to do it! To smoke or not to smoke…the choice is yours!
God bless Sabrina. May she rest in peace!
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