Being sick sucks regardless of when it happens.
We all go through it, and it’s almost impossible to avoid.
But I have to tell you that the difference between being sick as a smoker and being sick as a non-smoker is like night and day.
Yea, you still have to go through the process.
The itchy eyes, the runny nose, the sinus pressure, the coughing, the wheezing, and possible body aches and fever.
But you know what?
It’s not nearly as intense as it was when I was a smoker.
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I just finished 2 weeks of bronchitis and I literally sailed right through it.
At first I thought it was allergies, but then it became obvious it was something else since the symptoms wouldn’t go away.
Yea, I was sneezing and had a runny nose and was coughing, but underneath it all I still felt amazing.
That’s the huge difference.
When the sinus pressure stopped and it moved into my lungs, the wheezing was pretty bad. It awoke me some nights.
But again, beyond the frog in my lungs I still felt amazing, so I still rocked my days at work.
I just slept and rested when I needed to. Now 2 weeks later and I feel absolutely incredible again.
However, back in the day when I was a smoker, having bronchitis was an entirely different story.
I remember when I first moved out to Portland in 2003 I had an intense cough that just wouldn’t go away.
And not just a smoker’s cough, but a really intense cough. A cough that made your chest hurt.
It got to the point where I was chugging a bottle of cough syrup almost every night to suppress the coughing so I could sleep.
My coughing I’m sure annoyed my roommates a lot. They never said anything, but it’s clear they could hear me.
But I became addicted to cough syrup.
And you know the worst of it all?
When the medicine kicked in and my coughing stopped, I immediately took that opportunity and smoked a cigarette.
I couldn’t smoke while I was coughing, so cough syrup gave my addiction the opportunity to strike.
How horrible it is to think about being barely able to breathe in the first place, and yet the moment things got slightly better, I made it worse by smoking.
I can’t believe I did that.
Then it got to the point where I would literally be pulling all-nighter’s because I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t sleep.
When I laid down horizontally, the pressure against my lungs was too much, and I just had to sit upright.
I basically had to fall asleep in my lap if I was going to be able to sleep at all.
This went on for weeks.
They put me on an albuterol respirator. I was fine after that.
But that was a nightmare. It was probably in my Top 2 sicknesses ever in my life. The other was the Swine flu.
Barely being able to breathe is the worst feeling ever.
It’s like breathing through a straw for 24 hours a day. You can’t do anything.
I couldn’t even brush my teeth without getting winded. The motion was just too much.
So yea, I can say without a doubt, that the difference between being sick as a smoker vs. being sick as a non-smoker is like night and day.
They both suck, but being healthy to begin with makes it go a lot more quicker and smoother.
The wheezing and the coughing sucked, but at least I wasn’t sending myself to the hospital and breathing through a straw.
That was just a horrible nightmare I never want to experience ever again.
So quit smoking, and you’ll thank yourself when it comes time to being sick.
We all get sick, but it doesn’t have to be that bad.
And it won’t be, I promise.
I have to say finding your blog has been very comforting. The thought of even quitting would pain me I just was so addicted to nicotine so I would go a day or so without it and then just go right back to it. I am actually quitting now and not joking about it. My symptoms right now are just like being sick, I have random aches and pains, shivering, cold sweats, a difference in vision, ringing in ears, slight weight loss, and an immense amount of anxiety. I guess I’m just wondering if anyone else had these problems while quitting. I hate feeling like this.
I also got bronchitis, pneumonia ( a viral one) and that same awful swine flu as you! Remembering how long it took to recuperate is good deterrent. Thank you!