Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Doctor Made House Calls Part II

I posted the other day about what a sickly child I was, and how the doctor came to the house to take care of me. Having Rheumatic Fever as a baby and pneumonia eight times before I went off to college would probably qualify me as a sickly child by anybody's standard, don't you agree?

I think it's important to talk a bit about why my pneumonia bouts stopped when I went to college.

You see, way back when I went to the University of Alabama, students weren't allowed to smoke in the dorms or in class.

At home, on the other hand, my parents were both chain smokers. There were ashtrays full of cigarette butts and ashes in every room in the house except mine, and I remember when I was real little that Daddy had one of those fancy smoking stands by his favorite chair.

Were they ignoring my health problems?? Certainly not!! You'll have to understand that this was long before anyone even thought about putting a warning on the labels. Why, one of my favorite childhood penny candy treats at the neighborhood drugstore were the candy cigarettes, with the red colored tips, packaged to look like a pack of Lucky Strikes.

Would you believe even good old Dr. Brown, who came to the house to take care of me when I was sick, smoked at our house?? It just never occurred to the doctor, or to my parents, that the smoke was making me sick. That early exposure to such a large amount of smoke over such an extended period of time has left me extremely sensitive to it to this day.

Oh, you might be interested to know that Dr. Brown quit smoking when the warnings came out. When my Mama got really sick with a bleeding ulcer, she quit smoking. And when our older daughter was a baby, and she started mimicking my Daddy puffing smoke, he quit.

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Chana said...

this time i know what you mean. it was a different attitude about smoking. nobody really knew. they had no idea. they meant no harm, if they had known they would have put your health at once in first priority.

so we cannot blame them for their actions. it was everywhere. it was the way it was done.

But now, now that everyone much my heart aches when i see a pregnant lady smoking...or parent's lighting up in cars or in homes..oh, my stomach just sad. how scary..

i'm glad you had fresh oxygen in your college yrs. i'm glad your beautiful lungs had a chance to breath and healed.


Mama Mouse said...

My parents too. Funny now that I think about it .... my grandmother, who lived with us, didn't smoke. But I too lived with the smoke my entire childhood. Everywhere we went everyone smoked ... the doctors and the nurses, the relatives, everyone. That is except for me.

You were lucky ... you finally got out of it by going to college. I didn't. Mr. Mouse smoked and so I went from one home to the next and still there was smoke. And still I didn't smoke. Then one day in the late 80's Mr. Mouse came home from work and found out that cigarettes were going up in price again. He said (expletive deleted) and through down his pack of cigarettes that had resided in his shirt pocket for years and years. He said NO MORE. And he did never smoked again. Cold turkey. The first half of the next day he was slightly grumpy .... and that was it. It was over!

FINALLY clear air. His parents smoked as did mine ... and all four of them died of smoking related illnesses. I hope and pray that having breathed clean air for 17 years or so has helped to clean out our lungs. But never the less, the smoke has taken its toll on both of our hearts.

I sickens me to see parents knowingly put their children at risk. Our parents didn't know ... today's do.

I have two sons .... one has smoked since he was a teen ... the other never has. The one that does respects the rights of non smokers ... I just wish he respected HIS rights and his body.

Dirty Butter said...

You're right, Chana, no one had the slightest clue way back then. I used to open that pack of candy cigarettes and walk around with one in my mouth, playing like I was smoking. It was great fun.

Smokers see it as their right, but just as people who drink and drive endanger others, smokers also endanger others. They just don't all want to admit it.

I've read that today's tobacco is as addictive as heroine. I don't know if that's true or not, but judging by how easy it was for my parents to quit their unfiltered Camel cigarettes, and how hard it seems to be for people to quit nowadays, I'm inclined to believe it.

Dirty Butter said...

Yes, another point where you and I are twins. I'm sorry to hear that your heart has been affected by all those years of second hand smoke. As far as I know, mine has not. But then, I've been out of it a lot longer than you have, and that makes a big difference, I'm sure.

We have one child who smokes, too, and she knows how much it kills me that she does. But there's not a thing I can do about it, as she's really determined to continue. She is very considerate of us, though, and neither she, nor her husband, smokes around us.

I just wish he respected HIS rights and his body.


Two Write Hands said...

I have a similar reaction to cigarette smoke, though luckily my parents have never smoked. My FIL, however, is a chain smoker and visiting him is less pleasant than a root canal without anesthesia. He hasn't had much luck quitting. I always rolls my eyes when says "I've been trying to quit" while simultaneously lighting up.

Dirty Butter said...

Thank goodness, two write hands, I don't have to deal with anyone who isn't considerate of my problem with smoke within the family.

Even now, with the stricter regulations in place, I still have problems in public. Even outdoor High School football games got to be a problem.

dawn said...

I am a youngster still (at 30 something) but my mom and dad and later my step dad, smoked in the house. I also remember the candy cigs, though I only rember seeing them when I was really little. One of my other memories, is the haze that used to hang at about 5 foot, from my parents smoking. I did start smoking when I was in my teens, I did stop once I had my children though. I wasnt ever really sick from the smoking but I am sure that there could have been some sicknesses that could be attributed to the smoke

Dirty Butter said...

I'm surprised the candy cigarettes were still around that recently, Dawn! I remember feeling so grown up puffing away on them.

I'm glad you were able to quit, and you don't seem to have any health effects from your smoking years.

shirley buxton said...

First time I've seen your site. Enjoyed reading here this morning.


Shirley Buxton

Dirty Butter said...

Glad you stopped by, Shirley! I enjoyed looking at your blog, too!

Marion said...

do you know that those candy cigarettes are still around? At least here in Canada, they are...I saw some at the candy store the other day.

I couldn't believe it.

I'm glad your lungs are clean and healthy now.

Dirty Butter said...

That's hard to believe, Marion. Who would have thought they were still selling those things anywhere!

I rarely even get a chest cold now, but I have to take allergy medicine year round to deal with the sinus problems.