The tobacco flavors I had mixed up for my Dad were almost steeped long enough, plus I bought 3 bottles of commercial juice to get him started while any final steeping needed to happen. I decided it was time to approach him about this.
First, I called his family doctor and established that he is in between Stage 2 and 3 kidney failure. I needed to speak to his Nephrologist for further information. But this was enough to get started. In addition to Kidney disease, he currently has an aneurysm in his stomach. He had bladder cancer which has been completely gone since his bladder was removed and a neo bladder was created. He had a stroke, he still has issues using his hands in some ways, some memory problems and emotional outbursts. But he was really lucky considering how many people are after a stroke. And he had a heart attack for which they put in stents and a pacemaker. This has all happened since January, 2010! Basically, he has had many of the heavy hitters caused by smoking. My biggest concern right now is his kidneys. Everything else seems stable currently. He is going to need dialysis. When I brought up dialysis once, He said to me that he didn’t have kidney failure yet, that’s how little he understands his health situation. So, I knew he had no clue of how close that dialysis machine is getting.
I went prepared with my research. I told him that I never said anything before about his smoking habit because I smoked, and I know he cannot quit unless he decides on his own to do it. I also told him what stage of kidney failure he is in, and that despite all the blood pressure medications he takes, he is still living in a state on constant high blood pressure. I explained that while we all know cigarettes are so unhealthy, smoking is particularly bad for him.
I read this quote from the National Kidney Foundation “Smoking can affect medicines used to treat high blood pressure. Uncontrolled or poorly controlled high blood pressure is a leading cause of kidney disease. Smoking slows the blood flow to important organs like the kidneys and can make kidney disease worse.” I said that basically he is making his blood pressure pills ineffective, or less effective by smoking. I also explained that the only real chance he has of pushing back Dialysis is to quit smoking.
He said that this was all very scary to hear and really opened his eyes. He didn’t understand how bad he was and how soon he could be on dialysis.
I asked him to keep an open mind and hear me out. I know he enjoys smoking, and quitting has been unsuccessful in the past. But vaping would be much better for him. It is similar to smoking and much healthier.
(I got him the Eleif iCare starter kit. My dad is not good with complicated and I researched the easiest kits to use. I ordered it, set it up and found that it was very much like drawing a puff off a cigarette. No fire button or adjustments except for air vents, just put it in your mouth and inhale.)
I showed him everything I had for him. Bottles of juices in all types of nicotine flavors, 8 of them, the starter kit and a pack of coils. I had it filled with Western just so I could get a taste of what it would be like for him to take his first puff. He didn’t like that one at all. I dumped that juice out and poured in a commercial one that was the highest rated as closest to a red cigarette. I told him to try again. This time it was “ok”. And while he wasn’t fully convinced, I felt like he was keeping an open mind.
For how simple this kit is to use, it is certainly not very easy to fill! I started showing him how it comes apart and unscrews to fill. Where the fill line is, etc… I also explained that he would need to stay very hydrated. With that mention of hydration and the filling complications, his mind closed about it!
He was not interested in vaping in any way shape or form now. He said that he couldn’t get it apart to fill it, it was too hard for his hands because they still don’t work well from the stroke. To which I replied “For now, I will fill it for you whenever you need it. There are thousands of different types of these and we can find one that is much easier to fill and that you like better. I will buy them until we get the right one”!!
He said that he doesn’t inhale when he smokes. I said that it doesn’t matter! He is breathing in the smoke all the time whether he inhales it or not! Especially when his sealed up apartment is filled with smoke!
Then he started in on the dehydration and his neo bladder. The more he drinks, the quicker it gets full and it makes it difficult for him. I don’t fully understand what the issue is there, because he has been refusing to elaborate. I believe that when it fills, he starts “leaking” and he can’t do anything to stop it but get to the bathroom fast. I said that he should be keeping hydrated anyway, he isn’t getting enough hydration, it’s obvious to see. And that he needs to learn to know when he needs to empty the neo bladder on a schedule based on when he drinks water or any other beverages. He is basically just drinking a few cups of coffee a day, I am pretty sure. He only drinks a few tiny glasses of water, probably only when one of us is there. So this is an issue,even without vaping!
If he just paid attention and tried, he could make his life easier!!! I didn’t tell him that but, I was really frustrated that he was using this as an excuse 5 years after he has had the neo bladder! He should know based on fluid intake when it is about to be full. He just doesn’t pay attention to it, or his doctors telling him what he is dealing with, or his children’s concerns about him, nothing! He is totally unconcerned about any of it. But despite my frustration I remained calm with him, because it is the only way to get anywhere without him getting very angry (another remaining affect of the stroke).
I told him that this is the most satisfying alternative to smoking. Or he has to quit if he wants to avoid dialysis very soon or maybe completely. He said “if all of this complicated stuff is the alternative, I would prefer to quit, starting tomorrow!”.
I had a feeling he was just saying that to appease me. I asked if he was going to go cold turkey, he said yes. I said of course I would prefer he quits completely instead of smoking or vaping, it is the best choice for him. But that he could get free patches or gum from the Quit Now program for 8 weeks, saving a ton of money, or a prescription from his doctor for medication that would make him not want to smoke. I said before he is stubborn, and here is a perfect example. He has free options to help him quit, yet he won’t use them. I pretty much was losing his attention at this point. (Another affect of the stroke and worsening kidney failure).
I tried to explain that only he can make the choice to quit. I am not trying to force him into it, just telling him the realities of his health. And if he is really going to quit, I am so happy for him. But, don’t feel like he needs to lie about it to me. I won’t be mad if it doesn’t work out. He has a repeated history of pretending to quit smoking and hiding it. He said he would be honest with me and that for him, cold turkey is the best way he knows how to do it.
He seemed more serious about it then. But I still haven’t brought up the subject again. I don’t know if he quit. I told him that I wouldn’t nag him because I know that doesn’t help. I think if he had quit already, he would be calling to tell me if he hadn’t smoked in x amount of days. But he has not brought it up at all, to anyone in the family.
As I left I thanked him for hearing me out. He said “you have certainly opened my eyes about it”. I said that I can’t return used equipment and if he is having trouble with quitting, I would rather see him vape than reach for a cigarette. He said that he didn’t think that would happen, he is not interested in it, but he appreciated the thought. So, for now I am holding on to everything in case he changes his mind, quits, has a bad craving and decides to try vaping in that situation.
I am surprised that he would go for quitting over vaping. I am surprised at how much he did not like the vape. I am not surprised that he probably hasn’t quit yet!
So, Basically my efforts to switch him to vaping were disastrous. He now knows his health situation and how smoking affects it, yet I believe he is still smoking.
I appreciate everyone’s help and input so much! I hope to come back and say he quit smoking!