Monday, January 10, 2005

Monday "Words Of Wisdom"

I received this email from my friend, Jamie Pang, this morning. I definitely share his feelings towards this issue, as it does not only affect the first person, but everyone else he/she surrounds. I hope you read this with an open heart, and not out of feeling of selfishness from non-smokers:

I received this real life account from a friend relating his experience with his father. You know my stand on this issue but now you decide whether it applies to you or something that you can take to convince your family and friends who are in this category to stop for the sake of their loved ones. This is unlike those ridiculous "Tak Nak" ads you see. This is stripped of all marketing gimmicks. This happened to a real person. I've masked the name for reasons of anonymity.

"Today I would like to share the story of a smoker in his last days before he died. He was my dad. He died on 21 December 1999. Can't even make it to Y2K. He was 69. I can't really remember when his health took a turn for the worse. I only remember that's when I quit smoking for two years after seeing that. He had been smoking all his life as far as I can remember. It started with breathlessness. I noticed he had difficulty breathing and it went on for quite a long time without much alarm. He would pant whenever we or the neighbours are cooking, especially stinging smell like deep frying or sambal belachan. As it went on, he became weaker and weaker. He would sit or hunch as he work to get enough air in his lungs. In other words, he had to struggle to breathe! And I could see how tired he got. Then late one night, it got so bad that he turned pale and was struggling very hard to breathe. My brother called the ambulance and guess what.......... it crashed into a poth hole and punctured a tyre before it arrived! So they had to call for back up. Another ambulance arrived like 40 minutes later. Mum called me in Serendah where I was living then. Said dad's in the hospital. I visited him in the morning and he looked much better then, I was told. My friend came later in the evening. Then I noticed there was a small hose sticking out his hospital pyjamas.

My brother briefed me about what happened. Dad's lungs collapsed. Meaning? There were holes in his lungs. Punctured! Don't worry. This only happens to smokers mostly. So when he inhales, air escapes into the ribcage outside the lungs and trapped there. It doesn't come out when he exhales! The more he inhale, the bigger the bubble gets and pushes against the lungs so they can't expand and take in anymore air! He was drowning! It must have been a harrowing experience for dad. They took an x-ray of his lungs and then cut a small hole on his chest and inserted a tube for the air to escape. I don't know what they did to seal the holes but he was ok and discharged a few days later and lived for another few years(only two years I think) before the second big attack. He stoped smoking since the first attack but I guess it was too late. He used some kind of breathalizer spray all the time then.

The Second Attack: This time it came without warning or should I say we failed to see it coming! I was told that his eyes was red like "Nosferatus" the day before it came. It was late at night and everyone was asleep. Dad was sitting alone in the living. Then my sis heard him called out loud once. She came out to see him panting very hard. She asked "Dad, are you very "sun-foo"?". He could only nod. Sis went into the kitchen to get him a glass of warm water. When she returned, he was already falling apart. Saliva and white bubbles flow from his mouth as he fought for air. He was falling into a coma. My brothers took him to G.H emergency ward where they did a CATS scan on dad immediately. Mum called me again and this time she sounded scared and told me dad might not make it! I rushed to the ICU in KLGH that morning after sending my ex-wife to the office because I thought it wasn't that bad. Then I could see the look on everybody's face when I arrived.

Brother told me dad had some capillaries ruptured deep in his brain (brain hemorhage). The doctor told him they had to wait for the head surgeon to arrive later to perform an open surgery on dad to remove the clot but warned that he might not make it due to his age. Actually he knew dad's not going to make it. Only one person was allowed to see him at any one time. I went in. He was on oxygen. Unconscious but I could see him breathing with much difficulty. I put my hand on his and whispered to him "Dad, I'm here. I'm your son, xxxx. Don't worry dad. Everything will be ok. Don't worry about us. We are all grown up now. You don't have to worry about us." What else can I say? A lot actually. But now...? When he can't hear me anymore...?!!! Then I went out and joined the rest of them at the waiting area.

Two hours later, they pushed dad to a normal ward as we continued waiting. Then the doctor came again and told my brother to have us see him one by one for the last time because he don't think dad's going to make it. So we took turns again to see him. I was the last one to go in. I went in before my sis came out but I could not find dad. I saw tears in my sister's eyes as she pointed to a covered body on a trolley bed. I didn't cry but I was unwilling to see dad covered above the head. I asked a nurse loudly "Kenapa tutup kepala dia?" She came over and pulled down the sheet to show the face under it. "Ini bapa u kah?" she asked. "Ya" I replied. "Dia sudah mati lah", she said quite abruptly. I looked at dad a little longer and like a common Chinese, I whispered and told dad to walk slowly and don't worry about us.

My dad suffered COPD for about ten years before the stress of fighting for air took him. Although the cause of death was brain hemorhage, I believe it was all the stress of having to fight for air and when he can't fight anymore, something just ruptured in his head. Scared to read this? You better be. Especially if you are a smoker.

The moral of my story: DON'T SMOKE! Tar from cigarettes accumulates and remain
in the body. It can't be flushed out in any way. "


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