Cliff smoked from the age of 12 until he was twenty-one; a round of Hepatitis caused him to quit, since smoking made him nauseous at the time.
During the last ten years or so, Cliff took up "social smoking" at work. He'd buy a pack (yes, a pack... not a carton) of cigarettes and smoke on break at work; usually at the end of a work-week, he'd throw away any left in the pack because they'd get so dried out if he kept them.
Cliff and I assumed smoking such a little bit was relatively harmless.
So when the heart doctor asked, "How many years did you smoke?" Cliff included only those early, pack-a-day years; I mentioned, then, his round of smoking "only" a pack a week.
"So, how many years in all did he smoke?"
"You mean even the time when he wasn't smoking much?"
"How many years total did he smoke?" The tone in his voice suggested I wasn't bright enough to understand such a simple question.
It turns out that, if you are going to smoke, you may as well smoke plenty; because the doctor said it all counts the same.
After surgery, Cliff had to stay on oxygen longer than someone who'd never smoked, because of damaged lungs... even though he hadn't smoked at all in a couple of years. Our family doctor recently told him he had considerable scar tissue on his lungs, and I guess that counted against him.
As we were preparing to come home from the hospital yesterday, I asked the nurse who was going over "do's and dont's" with us, "Can he have coffee and tea?"
"Oh yes," she answered. "Ideally I suppose he shouldn't, but people seem to go home and do whatever they want anyhow."
"Not us," I informed her. "I don't intend for his new arteries to get clogged up, if I can help it!"
I already have plenty of healthy cookbooks. I'll be substituing two egg whites for each egg called for in recipes, and letting Sadie have the yolks. I won't be using salt. I'm studying up on saturated fat, and will be avoiding it.
It's sort of a challenge, actually. Wish me luck!