No Smoking: Hospital Zone

March 11, 2012 posted by Len B.

This past February 24th I was admitted to the Loma Linda VA Medical Center for a scheduled lumbar laminectomy and spinal fusion surgery. Having listened to pain-filled horror stories from several friends and relatives who had undergone similar procedures, I was definitely not looking forward to this. To say I was feeling anxious over it all would be an understatement.

It has now been more than two weeks since the surgery. I came home from the hospital on February 28th. Has it been a painful experience? Yes it has, but not nearly as bad as I was anticipating. In fact, I was up walking around the very next day after my surgery and I’ve been walking every day since. I still have some pain, but each day it dissipates a little bit more. Overall, it has been completely manageable.

So, what does this have to do with smoking? Perhaps more stressful than the actual surgery itself was the stay in the hospital. There I was lying in a strange bed in a strange room with a strange roommate. Throughout the day and night, nurses and doctors would come by to poke, prod, and otherwise monitor our progress. Mind you, I understand that this was all done for our own good but apparently a hospital is the last place on earth we should turn to for a good night’s rest. Thinking back on the experience, what would I have done if I were still a smoker? Talk about stress!

There are no hospitals I’m aware of that allow smoking within their walls anymore. I can’t imagine what it would have been like as a smoker to be confined to such a stressful environment for so many days without having a cigarette. Knowing how badly I was addicted before I quit, I might have even postponed or cancelled my surgery rather than be forced to endure it all without a cigarette for such a length of time. It makes me wonder – how many others have turned down surgical or other needed procedures simply because they’re not allowed to smoke inside a hospital or other medical facility?


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