Truth Lies and Character

Embrace the truth, reject lies and edify character as an excellent virtue.

Not Judging Not Urging: Just Observing

Posted by James Jett on June 26, 2008


When visiting the VA Medical Centers for treatment and other reasons you notice the many health problems the veterans are faced with daily in the United States. You see the smiles, hellos alone with the pains, and with “I can just make it one day at a time looks” I start to think about, how did that person get in that condition? Was it the war or his or her life style that left them in that condition? As I visit various departments, I see signs and posters urging us to exercise and keep fit. Once when I was waiting for my medicine at the Pharmacist I saw a poster for Viagra. When you are picking up your medication they tell you, and show you how to take it, or how to use it correctly. It seems everything is being done to aid the veterans in their efforts to return to and remain as normal as possible. During the last two and a half year I have been going to the VA Medical Centers I have become aware that it is my responsibility to use my medications correctly and maintain a healthy eating habit, while I get the proper exercise needed to maintain a healthy life style. Personally, I get that hard to define feeling when I see the many veterans that have achieved and are maintaining their health, so they can enjoy life with family and friends.

Yet every time I go to a VA Health Care facility and it’s a nice sunny day, I see patience outside walking, in Wheel Chairs, or on their beds smoking cigarettes. When I visit with them for a chat about the things, happening now, and about days gone by, some time the smoke is so bad I have to get upwind or leave the area. Smoking is bad for you at any stage of life. You suddenly would be better of without smoking when you are ill or hurt. I am sure, the need to puff on a cigarette decrease when you are a patience in the hospital. This, it seems, would be the best time to quit smoking. During my three nights stay in the Stokes VA Hospital someone asked me, at least, once a day if I smoked and my answer was no. Someone has to make the decision to let the patience smoke outside away from the building and outside the no-smoking-area, which are clearly marked for all to see and heed. Smoking is a difficult habit to break, so I can understand a bedridden patience craving a cigarette. But in the hospital when I was sick for ten days I did not smoke or drink, I took my medicine and strived to get well enough to go home. I started smoking at age twelve. (Smoking rabbit tobacco, rolled in brown paper) yes, I am aware that most of you, have no ideal what rabbit tobacco look like, it would not help if I described it to you now, so I’ll just tell you, we rolled it into a cigarette, lite it with a match and smoked it. Every once in a blue moon we would encounter someone with a bag of Bull Durham tobacco and the cigarette paper to roll it in, we would bum a cigarette and a few sheets of paper for our rabbit tobacco. In those days you would ask a person, friend or relative if they had a cigarette, if the answer was yes, you would ask if they had a “hard roll” (rolled at the factory) or a “home-made-twist” (rolled by the smoker) I quit smoking at age 36 and five months later I had to go to the doctor for my annual physical, at that time in life, you got a chest X-ray with your physical and the doctor turned the X-ray machine around so I could see it and said “look at how your Chest has cleared up in just five months.”

For some people, it takes more effort to break a habit, then it does for others. For me it was easy, my three children lined up in the livingroom, at age 12, 11 and 10, (once every year they are a year apart in age.) And asked, “dad can we ask you to do something? And I said “yes what is it?” and they said “will you quit smoking?” and I said “I will stop right now” and never smoke cigarettes again. I can stop a habit over night, stop eating potato pie for months at a time, walk pass banana pudding and refuse to tasted it. And I am well aware, that many people cannot do that, they just have very little self control, therefore cannot resist things they are addicted too. As a people and as a nation, we should start teaching children at age one to stay away from habits that’s bad for them as juveniles and destroy them as adults.

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