I do not smoke, in fact I’ve never smoked, which is something of a miracle as my parents, grandparents and ex-in-laws all puffed away on cigarettes as if there was no tomorrow. Sadly for some of them, including my own mum, there were too few tomorrows, lives cut short by cancer.
I’m actually a bit of an anti-smoking bore, tutting and sighing as I walk through a fug of smoke from workers standing outside the entrance to their offices. They’re puffing away, coughing and chattering in voices coarsened by nicotine. The worst example I ever saw was outside a maternity unit, mum-to-be in wheelchair and hooked up to a portable drip, smoking for two, I wanted to knock the cigarette out of her hands.
So I was shocked and stunned at my hospital appointment today to see in my referral letter that I not only smoke 60 fags a day, I’m an epileptic on a drug with a very long name and I’m also prescribed steroids. It was enough to make me reach for my Capstan Full Strengths, or Coffin Nails as they’re affectionately known.
The consultant confessed that when he’d eyeballed me in the waiting room I didn’t look like a smoker. Maybe it was the Eccleshill Road Runners hoodie I proudly wear, or it could have been the mud-splattered jeans I’d thrown on after our Thursday Morning Mud Club run. Either way I was relieved that the mistake had been put right. Though it will make me even more insistent on seeing my notes in future, who knows what they could say about me…
For smokers there is even more help at hand, if you want it. No Smoking Day next week invites smokers to ‘swap your fags for swag’, meaning you’ll save a lot of money if you stop smoking. Though a quick Google of ‘swag’ throws up some quite different meanings. But that’s for another blog.