For the last 45 years, off and on, I had tried to quit smoking with little if any success. These efforts included the use of patches, the Nicorette regimen. These were expensive aids and they did not work for me. In October '04 I was to the point where I no longer wanted to exercise because I would become winded quickly. I would be out of breath walking up-hill to the end of my driveway or taking brief walks with the dog. At age 67, on October 7, 2004 I suffered a heart attack in my office around 9:00 AM. Fortunately it was not the fall down pass out and need CPR kind of attack. My vision started to gray out. I broke out in a cold sweat, and I knew something was seriously wrong. I sat at my desk, holding my head in my hands and in about two minutes the feelings passed and I felt much better although I felt I was having indigestion and there was tightness in my chest. Talk about denial, I worked all day and went to an evening meeting. On my way home, I knew I was going to have to tell my wife that I was not going to be able to sleep because of the tightness in my chest and I was sure she was going top hustle me off to the hospital, so in a colossal final salute to the addiction I drove about 2 miles out of my way because so I could have my last smoke. I knew they would take a dim view of my smoking in the cardiac intensive care unit. Talk about insanity. That was my last cigarette and it has now been 5 months. But the addiction is still there, patiently waiting to return, and I know if I have just one cigarette, I will be hooked again. I have moments of craving, but they get fewer and further in between. I was perscribed Wellbutron as an aid to quitting for the first three months, but I'm off of that now. In treating me, they did a heart cath and found three spanking clean arteries and one which was 100% closed. They opened it with angioplasty and inserted a medicated stent. I have now been through 4 months of cardiac rehab doing extensive aerobic exercise (tread mills, rowing machines, stationary bicycling machines and light weight lifting). I have now finished that and I'm working now with a personal trainer and lifting weights. All I have to remember is how miserable I was and how much I look forward to doing things now. I guess for me, I needed life or death alternatives to help me make decisions. I am extremely lucky to be alive. Cold turkey and fright was the only way for me.
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