There is a man that catches my bus and has done for years now, in fact I was surprised to still see him around after my seven year absence from this particular area.
He is a short very round man, walks with a cane, with much difficulty…with even MORE difficulty now, since he’s gotten impossibly even rounder.
My heart goes out to him, it really does.
With every step he takes you can hear the struggle it takes him to breathe…to move.
He is morbidly obese and to be carrying that kind of weight must cause his body so much pain and discomfort.
It looks to me that he has some complex medical problems, and not all from lifestyle necessarily.
He talks to lots of other people who catch the bus. In fact it’s a lovely community of “bus-ers”.
Everyone seems to know everyone. Everyone talks to everyone, no matter who they are, what they’re like… Even the bus drivers in this area are really nice and friendly. Chatty.
I like that a lot.
I don’t usually talk to many people, unless they talk to me of course.
I’m a bit reserved and just enjoy watching them to be honest. I’m not really in the golden circle of the “regular bus-ers”…yet.
I think about them. Wonder what their lives are like. Often I get to see where they live because the buses just stop anywhere here.
All you have to do when you get near your house is point out some sort of landmark and they’ll pull up and let you off. Most of the drivers already know where all the regulars live.
Today when we were “in town” I’ll say, I sat down with my daughter on a bench to sort through my handbag and as I did so I noticed this same short round man leaning on a wall smoking a cigarette.
Of course my mind went “Oh my…you are already at such a great health risk….but to still be smoking too?”
Don’t get me wrong. As I thought that thought I took a long drag and exhaled as well….
Except I don’t smoke anymore.
Not with smoke anyway.
I use an electronic cigarette and have done for the past two years.
As we got ready to leave the short round man said something to me.
“Sorry?” I said and moved closer.
“I’ve seen people with those things before” he said, catching his breath
“Where do you buy them?”
I explained that it’s perfectly legal to purchase all the bits and bobs – the “hardware” of these Ecigs in Australia, mostly online, but they are making their way into the wider population now, but mostly they are purchased online.
If you use nicotine, of course you cannot legally buy that IN Australia.
“Do you have internet access?” I asked him, hoping to steer him towards some reading material.
“No, I don’t”.
Oh I felt so bad. He is probably an invalid pensioner. I forget sometimes that not everyone has the privilege of internet access.
Nor maybe the know how about all this “online” stuff.
Maybe he doesn’t even have family, or friends who could help him with these sorts of things.
Not that it’s even my place to encourage people. (But if people ask I’m happy to explain.)
The best option ultimately is to quit completely. Be free of all vices.
Though “vaping” is widely recognised as being a much safer alternative to cigarette smoking, after all, you’re minus a multitude of KNOWN carcinogenic chemicals, and minus the damaging effects of the smoke itself, but there IS a bit of an unknown element to it which still causes some controversy.
Simply put, the studies are just not being done as freely as they ought to be, because …well, there will be once the tobacco companies work out a way to make money from it. I’ll put MY money on that!
But I never could, and probably never would have quit cigarettes. So I’m grateful to be feeling SO much better and healthier, and I can BREATHE so much easier now.
But I feel for this man.
He probably doesn’t have much more time left to live.
Probably has few pleasures in life.
Smoking compounds his health problems, puts even more strain on his heart and lungs. This in turn limits the amount of exercise he can do.
Without exercise, which will become more and more limited – he will become unable to even leave his house – and the more weight he will gain, and the more weight he gains the closer to death it will take him.
He’s not OLD.
If he could clear his lungs a little….maybe his quality of life at least would be a little bit better.
There is a part of me that feels I would like to have just GIVEN him an electronic cigarette.
But of course, I can’t do that. It wouldn’t be right. He’s a perfect stranger. That’s something he should discuss with a family member, or…someone who knows him. His doctor!
I wish doctors would get their act together and start looking at some of these alternatives.
Most are so clueless.
Do the damn research HERE! New Zealand did!
But after all…the tobacco companies have all the power.
When it comes down to it, it’s not about peoples health and well being, it’s about the golden dollar.
Who gives a toss about short round men waiting for death to jump out from around the corner.