Crystal Mackay, Scheduling and Workflow Associate:
Did ya bring my snoose? were the first words out of his mouth. Not something youd expect to hear from someone who just had his second heart attack and was lying in a bed in the cardiac unit, taped up with tubes, wires, and hoses poking out of every limb All of which were hooked up to what looked like machines from the inside of a space craft. The doctors were just running every test possible at this point.
Hey Dad, how ya feelin?
After it settled in that, no, we didnt even think to bring a can of Skoal (his brand of choice) to the hospital, he finally told us he was feeling much better, which helped to soothe our emotions. But on our way out from the door, he reminded us: Dont forget to bring my Skoal and some gum when you come back.
Well bring the gum, Dad, not the Skoal. Love you.
There are many factors that can add to what ends up as a heart attack. Age, gender, family history, and lifestyle to name a few, so Im not mentioning things that you probably didnt already know, but its the lifestyle choices that can really make a difference. Of course I cant blame my dads two heart attacks solely on his tobacco use, but I know it has contributed.
Looking back, he didnt just use smokeless tobacco. I remember the smoke from his cigarettes floating in the stagnant air around our kitchen table as I played with my Barbies and My Little Ponies. At one point, he even combined the two types of tobacco, maintaining an attitude of: I'll smoke where I can and chew where I cant. This is definitely something many people do, so I know he wasnt the only one. At least hes quit smoking right?
In a way, he may find comfort by making the comments he does or by joking around saying his ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) is the size of a can of snoose. Thats what keeps me goin! Thats whatll shock my heart back into rhythm if it gets outta whack. To me, however, its not that simple and I dont take it that lightly.
Knowing what I know now and having more of an understanding of tobacco addiction has made me less judgmental and less likely to nag his behavior. He knows what I do for a living as well as how I feel about his choices, and I hope he knows that Im willing to help if and when he ever wants to endure that fight.
Until then, Dad...please dont make it strike three, youre out.