One day while working as a financial professional, one of my regular clients approached me. He started asking me about my family and home life. He asked whether or not I had any pets, specifically a cat, and whether or not I had allergies. Perplexed by the usual line of questioning, I asked him why he was asking me such strange questions. He replied that he could hear me wheezing and that there was whistling sound when I breathed that appeared to be originating from my lungs. Although, I did own a cat, I did not have any known allergies. At this point, I realised that the wheezing must be the effect of years of smoking on my lungs. That evening I made an appointment with my doctor to check my lungs and investigate this wheezing that was unnoticeable until my blind client pointed it out to me.
The scans came back with blackening on my lungs that my doctor attributed to excessive smoking, but that no significant damage had been made to justify the wheezing. My doctor’s advice to me was to quit smoking before needing to smoke through a hole in my neck. I will not guarantee that that was an exact quote but the message was clear. I must quit smoking, if I wanted to live a healthy life.
After that day at the office with the blind client, I kept hearing the wheezing, and in my head it got worse with each cigarette that I consumed.
I was too young to be perpetually wheezing. It was gross, and it definitely advertised to everyone I crossed that I was a smoker, no more subtleties. After this, I would often put my hand on my chest as I inhaled. I was shocked by how shallow my breath capacity had become but also I was shocked that I could actually feel something lodged inside on my lungs, bits of tobacco no doubt.
Although the intensity diminished when I reduced my consumption, it remained until the day I quit for good. Now, I can actually appreciate the deep breaths I can take.