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smokers as patients in hospital

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Old 07-17-2007, 08:03 PM   #1
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Question smokers as patients in hospital

I have a question about nicotine addiction/nicotine withdrawal symptoms. My 85 year old dad is in the hospital due to a prostate/kidney problem. He is a heavy chain smoker who loves to smoke and has never even tried to stop once in his life. Since he has been in the hospital he has not had one cigarette (6 days now). At first he was nauseus so he said he didn't even want to smoke. He now says he can't be bothered getting up to go to smoke. So, not being a smoker myself, but knowing there are certainly bound to be withdrawal symptoms - my question is -- is it possible he not suffering any withdrawal symptoms? (he is always cranky so that's not even a symptom we can go by but wouldn't/couldn't there be other symptoms? Shouldn't the doctor know this (because my dad "forgets" to mention things like SYMPTOMS to the doctor he just blames everything on "getting old" I would love to know this from you "experts" who are going thru this or have gone thru this. and I wish you all good luck in kicking this habit.

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Old 07-18-2007, 02:24 AM   #2
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Re: smokers as patients in hospital

If you are feeling a bit poorly anyway, it is easy to ignore any withdrawal symptoms for a while. (and there are very few actual physical symptoms in smoking withdrawal, anyway). I used to smoke, but never if I went into hospital and it didn't seem to be a hardship. Once he gets out, he will start missing it big time then and then he will probably get very antsy, and will probably resume his habit.

Old 07-18-2007, 07:53 AM   #3
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Re: smokers as patients in hospital

Well, nicotine is out of his system 72 hours after he takes his last puff. As far as physical withdrawals from the chemical dependency (as opposed to the psychological dependency, which, IMO, is MUCH stronger than the chemical addiction), the sweats, the shakes, the shear exhaustion, the nausea, that should be finished three days after he takes his last puff.

My guess is he's in a different setting, a setting focused on health and well-being, and smoking would feel very foreign to anyone there, even for those of us who are (or were) heavy, long-term smokers.

Where the real battle begins, again, IMO, is when you're faced with those situational triggers after the "honeymoon" period of being quit for a week or two. For your dad, it will probably be when he gets home and gets back into his routine. I think one of the hardest parts of quitting -- and staying quit -- is getting through our regular routines of everyday life without smoking. For some, this requires a total change and upheaval of our "routine," whatever that may be, until we're far enough in our quits to be comfortable with reintroducing some of our old lifestyle triggers. For instance, I quit on 5/22. There was no way I could go to an indoor bar that permitted smoking until just a few days ago. Even then, I was very nervous about it. Others give up their morning coffee for a while because they associated it so strongly with smoking.

Your dad's routine has been changed. I doubt he has any situational triggers whatsoever in a hospital (other than boredom maybe. I was a big boredom smoker). Once he returns home, tho, and sits in his "smoking chair," or finishes a meal, he'll have a decision he'll need to make.

I'm not sure if this might help shed some light on the physical addiction (the chemical dependence on the drug itself) vs. the strong psychological addiction.

Lots of cyber wishes coming your dad's way for a speedy and complete recovery.

Old 07-18-2007, 10:11 AM   #4
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pwally HB User
Re: smokers as patients in hospital

thank you both, so much, for your insight. I thought he might be suffering worse withdrawal and was just keeping us from knowing about it. The situational example is very interesting. Unfortuantely I'm sure he'll have his first cigarette within 10 minutes of leaving the hospital (or I will eat my hat). and thank you for your good wishes. Best!

Old 07-18-2007, 10:48 AM   #5
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Re: smokers as patients in hospital

I was a 2 pak a day smoker.

When I was hospitalized in march for an MS attack,I was there 5 days,discharged on day 6.I never once thought about smoking or had the urge,but once I left the hospital ,cigs laid on the dash of the truck and thats all it took and I was over the worst part the first 3 days.

Now I can say I've been smoke free for 18 days now.

Old 07-18-2007, 04:25 PM   #6
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Re: smokers as patients in hospital

nuffs3 -- that's fantastic. hang in there. you won't regret it. it might just save you some hospital visits in the future. Best!!

Old 07-20-2007, 02:53 PM   #7
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Re: smokers as patients in hospital

pwally, I was in the hospital for a week last spring and I didn't want to or need to smoke because I was on morphine. I made a decision to try to keep quit when I got home and I did... it's been a tough go, but I did it (so far)! Now, if I was 85 I might not have seen the need to quit, but at 50 I figured it would be a good idea. I hope your father is recovering!

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