Monday, January 24, 2011

No Smokin' Here!

Last post, I wrote a little about the prevalence of smoking in Georgia. About 1 in 5 people in this state smoke. You can look up your state too. Obviously, that's a concern for us. The Surgeon General and the CF Foundation are extremely clear about smoking: There are huge risks if a person with CF smokes or is exposed to second-hand smoke. In public, we ask that people extinguish their cigarettes. (Yes, I do go up to them and ask.) We sometimes move to another area if we can smell smoke or put a mask on Peter.

When Peter was younger, I made this sign and had it printed as a 4x6 photo. Then I laminated it and attached it to my diaper bag with a gromit and keyring. It was a polite and easy way to alert people to Peter's health condition. Please feel free to use it or pass it along to your CF/lung patient friends! (And drop me a note if you use it!)

CF families are strongly advised to be non-smoking families. Neither my husband or I has ever smoked due to our membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church teaches abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and other addictive substances. Yet, we understand that many CF families have to confront this issue because family members do smoke. 

This topic came up as part of a CF Education night my husband and I attended. The grandparents of a CF child had been asked by the parents not to visit if they were still smokers. One of the grandparents was able to give up tobacco, but the other of them had not been able to quit. There was quite a bit of debate about this situation.

My husband suggested a sensitive and caring answer the parents might give, "We love you, but not the smoke." The eventual answer that made sense to most people was to ask the grandparent who smoked to visit only when they had clean clothes on and had not smoked since their last shower. Then, if they have to go and smoke, to leave the CF child's home. 

Tobacco is an addictive substance, and addiction isn't something you can just give up easily. A support group, understanding, and clear expectations (especially when dealing with a CF child) is necessary.  The fact is, if a person is going to quit smoking, they have to do it for themselves, and it's a decision they have to make for themselves.

This is the only kind of "smoking" allowed at our house. Medicine in the nebulizer cup is broken into breathable particles so they can be administered directly to the lungs and the sinus passages. 

Peter only has to do one nebulized treatment a day, 20 minutes long in conjunction with his Vest treatment. However, when he is sick or fighting Pseudomonas with TOBI, that is increased to more than another hour of nebulizer time. Our little guy holds that neb cup for an hour at a time! (He doesn't like using the string that holds the mask to his head.)

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