Sunday, January 6, 2013


I started smoking cigarettes while still in high school at around age thirteen.  It was considered the really cool thing to do at the time.  I would beg, borrow, buy, or steal to support my “cool” habit.  After a while my poor mother gave up on me and began to buy my cigarettes for me, “but only one pack a week.”  For any more than that I was on my own.  The smoking habit stayed with me through 15 years of U S Navy service, and continued after that was over.
At age 41 I had a heart attack.  I spent 10 days in an Intensive Care Unit, and having survived that, I was placed in a bed on a regular hospital care unit.  After ten days of no smoking due to oxygen service in the ICU I was about ready to bite myself just out of pure meanness.
The first evening I was in the bed on the regular floor of the hospital my doctor dropped by for a checkup on his patient.  While he was there I asked, “Doctor is it okay for me to smoke now?”
He answered, “Yes, but your children will miss you.”
I decided I had just gone ten days without a cigarette maybe I could go eleven if I tried hard enough.  It has now been more than 33 years since I had that last cigarette.  I’m obviously still alive, as are all four of my children, none of which smoke.
I’ve often said Doctor Federico “Fred” Loinaz is the smartest man I ever knew.