11 April 2011


As mentioned in comments on John's Blog. This is for my own good. Don't pull your punches.

Go on, do what you like. Advice, abuse, facts, horrible pictures and stories of lingering deaths - whatever you think will help me to stop smoking. Then I can come back here whenever I'm desperate for a smoke, and be put off.

Do your worst best, bloggers.


John H. D. Watson said...

Toaster. The four slice one.

kholly said...

I've got nothing really useful, having never tried to give up anything so addictive. The best I can say is this. My mother quit smoking when I was 10. At that time she'd been smoking for something like 30 years and was up to more than a pack a day. I remember when she smoked because I used to hide her packs and get in trouble for it. But I have no actual recollection of her quitting. Now, as an adult I know that it had to have been wretched for her, but at the time I was completely oblivious to the challenge of it. So what I would say is however hard it gets just make sure you're not taking it out on Sherlock and Mycroft.

Greg 'Orio' Martin Finchley Lestrade said...

Danger - this is meant to be a way of me not dying prematurely...I'd choose fags for the next few decades over a sudden death-by-toaster incident.

Kholly - I hope I don't take it out on anyone. John will have to be the judge, though, I guess.

annoyedwabbit said...

When my father was a little boy, he thought his grandfather, a life-long smoker, had a red-spotted handkerchief. When he got a little older, he realized it was a white handkerchief and his grandfather was coughing up blood. Then there was the time his grandfather went into a coughing fit and quite literally hacked up a piece of the lining of his lung. It was black. This man died in an oxygen tent, still trying to get the nurses to give him a cigarette.

My Grampa also died of a mess of smoking and drinking related complications - this is really not a way you want to go. Chronic bronchitis/emphysema is no fun at all. The side effects of the medications he was on gave him diabetes, among other things; not being able to breathe meant he had an oxygen tank. He was obviously miserable, and it was pretty unpleasant for the rest of us, to watch him slowly deteriorating.

Not to mention that smoking frequently contributes to blindness. If you went blind, you couldn't watch Danger. ;)

Best of luck quitting smoking, I know it's really hard.

Paula said...

Maybe "Try chocolate instead" isn't a good advice? You should still be able to run after criminals. ;)

My grandfather stopped smoking the day when I was born. It took me a decade to find out how hard that had been for him, because he was never able to really give up the desire for a fag. It still means a lot to me that he had done it.

Rider said...

Forget dying in your 70s, smoking definitely messes up the circulation which means many snokers can't get it up in their 50s. At all.

So if you want to do more than make double entendres in a few years you need to quit and stay that way!

One method a friend of mine used that worked is he had a rubber band on his wrist. Each time he took a smoke he pinged the rubber band to sting his wrist.

This meant he *noticed* he was having a smoke, many cigs are a habit straight from pack to mouth without brain involved. Both the effort of pinging the band and the little sting short circuited the habit and gave him the breathing space (so to speak) to decide "not this time"

Greg 'Orio' Martin Finchley Lestrade said...

Rider - excellent advice. Replace one long-term self harm method with another sharper short term method. If people see I've got red wrists I'll just blame Danger.

I'm honestly not too bad. Usually. And I sincerely do want to be able to make more than double entendres for many years to come.

Lawless said...

Let me also mention the effects of second-hand smoke. Both my parents smoked. I have fairly severe respiratory allergies. There's a good chance that being around all that smoke as a child made the allergies worse.

My father quit shortly after the US Surgeon General's report on the dangers of smoking came out. My mother never did, but she died of a heart attack when I was fifteen and she was just shy of her 48th birthday. I don't know if it was cause and effect -- her father died of a heart attack in his 70s, and his siblings died of heart problems in their 40s and 50s -- but it can't have helped.

Since then, I've never lived with a smoker, and now not only can I tell someone's smoking a cigarette without even seeing the cigarette because my throat starts getting sore, but I also get sinus infections from being around cigarette smoke. I wound up having to put my foot down and say I can't visit any relatives (all my husband's relatives) who smoke cigarettes. So you're potentially endangering John, Mycroft, and Sherlock's health and comfort as well.

Greg 'Orio' Martin Finchley Lestrade said...

I would never, ever smoke around the boys. I am well on the way to quitting - started before I even met John (which seems like a long time ago, but really isn't). And 90% of the time, keeping busy, chewing biros and using nicotine patches is just fine.

And then sometimes it just sneaks up on me. Which again, most of the time is fine, because I don't have any fags, no hidden packs in my desk, an entire team on a warning they're not to give me any, no matter how much I beg etc.

but at the weekend, away from everyone, around a lot of smokers, it was easy just to bum a few ciggies off people, and then think 'fuck it' and buy a pack. With all the addict's intentions of 'starting again' in the morning. Which just meant I woke up with a hangover, a raging headache, a disgusting taste in my mouth and stinking like an ashtray, and a lot of self-hatred. All because I'm an idiot, and once upon a time I was an idiot who thought smoking was cool.

Anonymous said...

My Nana died of lung cancer, but she had secondary tumours in her brain so that in the ten weeks from diagnosis of terminal cancer (2 weeks before Christmas) until her death (the night before my sister's 15th birthday), we watched as the brain tumours caused her to gradually lose control of her body: first her legs went, then she couldn't lift or move her arms, then she gradually lost the ability to speak and finally she couldn't eat or drink and they put her on morphine to ease her passing as much as possible. Even then she was such a strong woman that she lingered for a week, unconscious, until she finally died. And the myth about dying peacefully at home surrounded by family is complete crap. She died in pain (at least before they drugged her into merciful oblivion for the final week) and scared.

Two years later my Granda, her husband, died of lung cancer in hospital, scared and gasping for breath, after a year of chemo failed. He went into hospital just before the New Year with a cold, and never came out again.

A year after Nana died, my Mum gave up smoking. She'd smoked since she was 14, but once she'd begun to get over her mother's death, the experience of nursing her gave her the impetus needed to just stop, and I think it's the best thing she's ever done for us--we're so, so proud of her.

I know this may seem pretty heavy but I can't describe fully how terrible it is to watch someone die of lung cancer and one of the best things you can do for those you love is to lessen the chances of them having to do it by giving up smoking. My Mum still uses the nicotine inhalators, but as her doctor says, that won't kill her and is much, much better than smoking.

Now that I've probably depressed everyone, I'll go back to lurking. Good night.

Lupe said...

Stop smoking. The smell is gross, and it can give you and John and the kids a bunch of diseases. What about nicotine patches? They might help. Why don't you switch the cigarettes for lollipops? You could be like Tyrell Badd, the coolest detective ever. :D

Anonymous said...

One of the things I've heard can be a big problem is that smoking is effectively two addictions in one; both a physical addiction and a psychological one. You need to find ways to deal with each. Maybe nicotine patches for the physical cravings, and some form of distraction for the rest (the snapping elastic band sounds like a good plan).

And I'm sure you don't really need more encouragement, but remember that you're a part of those boys' lives now, and part of John's life now; you owe it to all of them to keep yourself alive and healthy for as long as possible (and that applies as much to not smoking as it does to wearing a stab jacket or checking for sharps before searching a junkie).

Bronwyn said...

Nicotine poisoning is the common term for exposure to toxic levels of nicotine through inhalation, ingestion or absorption through the skin. 0.5mg/kg of nicotine is potentially fatal in full-grown adults, though you can double that amount for a chronic smoker. While most incidences of nicotine poisoning come through exposure to insecticides containing nicotine as an ingredient, a fair number of cases come through exposure to tobacco.

For pre-pubescent children, the fatal dose of nicotine drops dramatically, to less that ten milligrams total. Very small, light or young children have received fatal doses from as little as 6 milligrams. With a typical cigarette containing roughly 1.7 to 2 milligrams of nicotine, that's between three and five cigarettes worth of nicotine to be fatal.

Now, the good news is that smoking is a very inefficient way to absorb nicotine, but ingestion is marvelous. Most young (under ten) children who die of nicotine poisoning do so because they chew cigarettes in the attempt to smoke them and absorb the nicotine far more directly through the mucous membranes of the mouth. A fair number die due to chewing nicotine gum or applying nicotine patches.

Nicotine is comparable in effect and dosage to most nerve toxins. The symptoms of nicotine poisoning include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, headache, diffculty breathing, abdominal pain, lisps/drooling, pallor, sweating, palpitations, seizures, confusion, coma and eventually death.

While it is unlikely that you'll end up with nicotine poisoning yourself, please be careful for the boys' sakes. And the dogs'. A professor of my brother's lost his five year old daughter last year because she found his "mint gum" and chewed a couple of pieces. She was dead before they got her to hospital.

Good luck quitting.

Lindsay said...

My dad is still doing okay, but the day my mom sat us down and told us he'd been diagnosed with emphysema (because fuck if he was going to tell us, and she thought we deserved to know) was pretty indescribably awful. The disease was, in his case, 100% caused by his almost-40 years of smoking. (He started at 16.)

If you don't know, emphysema basically means you done fucked your lungs. There are varying levels of severity, and how well you take care of yourself can affect things, but the damage is done and there's no fixing it. It will take years off your life. It will reduce your quality of life, eventually. A friend of my parents' is bad enough that he's in the ICU every time he gets a bit of flu.

But that's not the point of this cautionary tale. The point is, my mom (who's been with dad since they were 16 and still loves him), saying, "I had plans for our retirement; this wasn't really a part of them." The point is, my brash younger brother pacing like a lanky animal while mom talked, then laying his head on her shoulder and sobbing. The point is, my youngest brother (not even out of high school) being forced to confront his dad's mortality way sooner than he should have had to.

So, if thinking about your own health ever isn't helping, think about having that conversation with John and the boys, or your sister and your niece and nephew. Because watching other people suffer and not being able to do a goddamn thing about it is the worst feeling in the world.

<3 Good luck quitting. I'm sure you can manage it. :D

daluci said...

Most of the terrifying ads I was exposed to as a kid were anti-chewing tobacco. *Yuck*. Here's the one that's stuck longest on the smoking side of things: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq45tZMDtJ8

Thankfully (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), the only smokers in my family died before I was old enough to know them. Breaking bad habits is always a trial -- best of luck!


On the show 1000 Ways to Die, there was a man who burnt himself by smoking in bed, which lead to the bed catching fire. It was so severe that he had to go to the hospital and was all bandaged up like a mummy and needed an oxygen tank. He persuaded (read: paid off) a nurse to take him in a wheel chair and leave him out back behind the hospital so he could light up. He dropped the cigarette in his lap, and the highly-flammable-ointment-soaked bandages flared up immediately. He started flailing and screaming, his movements setting his wheelchair in motion. By the time he rolled to the bottom of the ramp, the oxygen tank that had been sitting in his lap exploded.

Anonymous said...

Posting late, but I hope you still check this occasionally for inspiration.

When I was 12, I developed allergies and my father moved his smoking habit from the house to the garage (years later we would learn that his smoking may have, at the very least, have aggravated the development of said allergies).

At 15, we were delighted to realize that he hadn't smoked in about a week. We were less delighted when he asked my mother to drive him to the hospital because he had been having trouble breathing for a week (the reason he hadn't been smoking). He stayed off the cigarettes, largely because he was in the hospital for another week while his collapsed lung healed. He was diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstrustive Pulmonary Disorder) which includes bronchitis, asthma and emphysema.

At 25, my mother's health had deteriorated badly enough that she was in a nursing home, recovering from a MRSA infection. I was forced to leave college to help with my brother (adult special needs) because my father had an attack and wound up in the hospital. I never finished my incompletes that semester (my final semester) because my mother died a month later. One of her many health issues that lead to her passing at a fairly young age was adult-onset asthma, probably caused by second-hand smoke.

I never went back to college because I stayed home, taking care of my father and my brother. (Don't get me wrong, I love(d) both dearly, and my dad was honestly one of my best friends in a way...but I never expected to living at home past a certain age.) My father's health deteriorated until he began to need a portable oxygen tank just to go to the grocery store. He was hospitalized during his 50th high school reunion, and he had to rent a car and drive back (his sister, who never moved out of their home state, joined him) because he couldn't fly).

At 30, I became the primary caregiver for my brother when my father went in for an aortic valve replacement. He actually came through the surgery with flying colors, and was doing very well even after being taken off the ventilator. Four hours later, however, we got the call to head back down to the hospital. We didn't get there in time. He passed due to sudden respiratory failure.

So, yeah. Stop. Now. And thank you for having the courage to ask for help.

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