Smoking and Suffering

"Never to suffer would never to have been blessed."
The homeboy Edgar Allan Poe said that. It's one of my favorite quotes by him and it's just right for this matter.

About 9 months ago, I made the most serious attempt to quit smoking to date. I went about 2 months without a single cigarette. I stopped having them after meals, while driving and while having conversations. I started to have one here and there after enjoying some party beverages. Party beverages and cigarettes are natural partners in pleasure.

Smokes were always around, because people that are very close to me continue to smoke. Plus, being that Michigan is stuck in the Dark Ages, you can still smoke in public places. Yet, even though I smoked one here or there, or on a bad night I'd smoke up to five or six, I still kept it under control and continued to not smoke throughout the week.

At the beginning of this month I came across a very strange realization: my body physically rejects cigarettes. I'm not completely sure what happened, but on July 2 I had a cigarette. Just one. Moments later, my mouth began to water and a familiar metallic flavor developed. I ran to the bathroom and vomited. I blamed the chunk-blowing on some Pierogi that I had.

The next day I once again smoked a cigarette. Yeah, I know - it wasn't one of my brightest moments. The exact same thing happened as the day before. Very unpleasant.

At this point one would think that I got the message from my body and maybe took the hint. Instead, on the Fourth of July I enjoyed party beverages at a cookout and smoked at LEAST ten cigarettes. TEN CIGARETTES! No, I did not project vomit after that smoke-off, but something equally lame and crappy happened to me: both of my tonsils became inflamed.

My left tonsil was the first victim of the death sticks. It swelled to the size of a marble and was uncomfortable, but not terribly painful. After a couple days of coughing up colorful mucus, my left tonsil returned to normal size. Meanwhile, my RIGHT tonsil followed its neighbor's lead. Yet, Mr. Right Tonsil came with a vengeance. It swelled bigger. It created more pus and rainbow colored mucus than Lefty. And it hurt. It hurt for days and it hurt a lot. Yesterday my mood was fouled by the fact that the natural act of swallowing saliva included terrible pain at each pass. I couldn't yawn because it required stretching the inflamed tissue, and Mr. Right Tonsil wasn't having that.

After days of not smoking and drinking gallon after gallon of water, I am finally better. The right tonsil is still swollen, but I can swallow easily and am not producing mucus in appalling amounts.

Yawning is still a little bit tough, but I can manage to get a little bit of oxygen to my brain.
Alas, my suffering is my blessing. I'd like to think that this will stop me from smoking in the future, but I'm a realist. I smoked for ten years before getting my head out of the smoking cloud. It is my body that knows what's good for me, while my mind still whispers "Just one won't hurt." Well, turns out, it just might.

The battle rages on.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

I'm glad to see my Eva voodoo doll is helping you quit. :) Good post! (and thanx for the message on mine. I dropped a tear on it.)