My Issue With Vaping

Recently, I presented a collaboration with colleagues on the dangers of vaping. Alongside we also explored rhetoric in advertising. An examples was a fifties picture of a pack of Viceroy cigarettes, with a dentist promoting the idea of using filters to protect our teeth and body. The premise was meant to identify safety in ingesting tobacco. We live in that time again of false representation, or we might easily acknowledge the practice has never gone away.

I remember as a child, or young teen, cigarette ads were banned from television commercials because somewhere along the line, someone with influence managed to convince the producers this method a dangerous precedent, especially given the impact on teenagers.

I was a heavy smoker from my late teens until around 15 years ago. There have been many gifts to my life that have occurred because of my decision to stop smoking. I can breathe again, without rasp, without a chronic cough, without the fear of blackening my lungs. I had a medical procedure nearly a decade ago. I had quit smoking a few years before hand, and so during the testing I feared they would find spots on my lungs. I was fortunate to live with the resiliency of our body’s capacity to recover their full health. Certainly not always the case. No spots, no memory of years of cigarette smoking.

So what does all of this have to do with vaping in today’s society? In my own personal life I feel fortunate to have quit smoking years before the trend began. Had I been a smoker I would have been one of the first to buy a vape device. I’m a trend junkie, and it would have been the right transition because it might have seemed and looked rather cool. I feel fortunate as I read the increasing evidence of its damaging impact on society, people, our teens.

I write about this today, because I came across a picture of this young woman laying in a hospital bed with tubes, diagnostics and oxygen at her nearby. The commentary to follow the photo is sad, supportive, hopeful and at times cruel. The idea of a person in a hospital clinging to their lives as being weak is reprehensible. The very nature of what we do not know about vaping and its unknown ingestion of chemicals just in simple terms scares the hell out of me.

So, two things pop into my mind about this picture. One, my immediate compassion for this young woman’s welfare. The very fact that even if the picture is photo-shopped or exaggerated, the truth is there are people in her position in hospitals across the country experiencing her condition as we speak. The evidence exists. This cannot be considered weak, it needs to be understood as dangerous and fact.

The other piece even more frightening is the practice of using pot, or THC to be hidden inside the wonder of a Juul. People laugh about it – they can walk anywhere and hit their Juul without being detected. The reality their body is impacted matters far more than a hidden treasure in the midst of a public audience.

So today, as I watch this phenomena in its still early stages, not even peaking with intrigue, I think of the young people whom are so easily drawn to the dangers of vaping. We know lung cancer is what it is, rather than directly connected with smoking or not. Imagine what will become common knowledge or memory for the lives of so many people caught up in the seemingly safe and potentially life threatening rave that is vaping.

Yes, as much damage as cigarettes did and do over the long term, vaping in any regard frightens me to no end. Those that have lost their livelihood, their health due to such an unidentified habit, my heart goes out to all and I only pray for their strength to overcome the medical consequence that may lay ahead of them.

We just don’t know.


© Thom Amundsen 2019

juulclaims.com

 

 

Moments Before My Surgery

The many thoughts that go through my mind before surgery. Why did I walk into the ER? I wasn’t losing a leg, losing my sight, losing my mind. I’m only going through a minor procedure, though some would say it is major. I’m not asking for something to be removed that is going to thrive in the next few weeks, months, years. I’m told it will only worsen. I know now the pain I was feeling is something real, and not my imagination, though it took a couple of days in the hospital to figure that out.

I guess that is part of my dilemma. What if I don’t go in? Then I walk around thinking of some mass in my body that is only going to worsen. Some condition that goes undiagnosed. Then I believe that because I already have an identified heart condition, that shortness of breath isn’t anything to take for granted. Then I wonder what would it be like if I lived in a society where I didn’t have nearly the medical benefits I have in my own world today? Would I just have to tough it out? Yes, unfortunately there are worlds where my conditions would not be resolved and my longevity as a human being would be shortened. 

So maybe that is the biggest question. What is our responsibility when given chances to maintain or extend our lives because of medical prowess. Shouldn’t we just let ourselves be in God’s hands? There are many factors that preclude that natural outcome with our mortality. Think of the things we lose when we are taken ‘before our time.’ We each have those bucket lists that apply to our own lives. We then are often brought to mind those that take their lives in their own regard rather than through the natural course of the human condition. So many factors are evident.

Today, minutes away from surgery, I wonder how important it really is. I am told the organ being removed is no longer functional and that it is not a dire loss to my body chemistry. Though there is a healing process, adjustments and recovery, and a somewhat lifestyle change. 

I guess my quick conclusion before I am drugged into anesthesia is that there is a purpose in maintaining our health, if the tools and devices are there and readied for our welfare. I suppose it gives us opportunity to again look at the bigger picture and understand theses choices are meant not to be in our own hands.

What I have ahead of me is a minor surgery in the greater scheme of things, but yet still a learning moment I cannot pretend is non-existent. 

First Glance

Eyes open

still in mourning

a soft reminder

precious

in the quiet of a breeze

rustling leaves

the next stage

a would be journey lay ahead.

What follows

will be stark extreme

immediate loss

in sensory perception

for some a routine

cycle of life

while others we know

traverse a newer universe

one shares in

solemn

Mortality

When the World Stops and Everyone Continues to Walk

We have these,

call them,

whatever you might preference at the moment.

An epiphany, a catharsis,

a smack in the face in expression,

the reality of our lives.

 

Just when the seasons began to express

their natural beauty,

the leaves that decay to a certain brilliance,

representing death and love

all the same,

Crisp autumn breeze.

 

Walk outside on familiar soil,

feel the fragrance of winter’s

slow methodical drift in heavy horizon.

We know the air is changing,

Sense a sort of reminder,

What it is we desire we internalize.

 

The other morning, while sunlight spoke

aloud the wonder of Nature,

he too would smile and laugh and then

cry,

for life begins a journey, meant to keep stride,

whether ready to climb aboard –

 

offer a choice, it is not always the case.

 

We decide, who decides, when did everyone

choose sides,

and were we even a consideration,

beyond the normalcy of our lives.

Did anyone even think to imagine,

inspiration is destiny within a moral compass.

 

So what if you don’t know your legacy,

instead rest upon a certain faith,

the sort that maintains a beautiful smile,

an energy,

we all thrive upon when entering the room.

For it is true you can save the world.

 

Because it is a sojourn we all must respect,

and the climate around us all,

needs the accentuate ritual of love,

Because without that handshake,

a quick smile, a silly joke,

we are all still floating an aimless travel.

 

It’s a short trip this trek toward mortality,

Be thankful you give us smile.

While we wait,

In earnest,

we seek a natural horizon,

Gives credence to the strength of His beauty.

Living With Anxiety

How many are out there, when the sky turns gray,

where does the heart remain,

the fear in our mind,

in the quiet of an angry world,

how do we all come to terms with that reality,

the personality of peace.

 

We all seek that solace,

no matter the denial, beyond the circumstance

suggests we can belong inside this melting lava of judgment,

seems everyone does want some time to cool off,

and yet,

we plod on,

build the walls around ourselves,

that will prevent the leak,

that could envelop our soul to such a dire degree,

it no longer matters if we believe in freedom,

that kite has flown,

yes it is a pretty sight,

so tangible as the sky does drift its matter into eternal waste.

 

Would we really call it disposable justice

to recognize we might all feel it.

There on the horizon, we wake to look at the sky,

if a storm looms, we immediately recognize

the nature of our lives is out of our control,

and yet,

we fight that truth with every fiber in our body,

and then,

there is always the truth, when suddenly

we become lost in the translation of our it is,

we might even breathe another gasp,

instead we pretend we are beyond this mortality.

Dad

How close do we come

to understanding

where it is that we belong,

when

alone

we sudden realize

we remember a song, a laugh,

a sort of posture always held true.

If I could see you in the manner I feel you,

would that be all I need.

There’s so much more

beyond the memory of your kindly heart.

So often can I recall your beauty,

when

just in the Grace of your being,

I see so many faces

they exist around me,

I always have you nearby.

If I ask, you’ll go away,

so I find myself

using peripheral vision,

my ideal is to not frighten you away,

with some mortal insecurity.

Did you know I am working on bringing you back,

well it’s a facade,

a sort of well put together imagination,

brings you to mind,

every time I hear the word

Dad.

In A Short Minute*

IMG_3639

Life ends

simple bitter finale

minutes before our ideas

thrive in the mind

of the present

For the nether

a mystique in soul,

deep resonate despair.

We want control of that

scope beyond, infinite magic.

Sweet mystery is love,

realistic to the wakeful eye,

more impactful in fear,

when our lives become

measured.

A life spent

entertaining the seats,

mentoring the masses,

forgiving the ill,

now manifests a timely

farewell,

one sure to confuse

a following,

heart-wrenching pain.

 will us all say good-bye

now.

~

*we lost a master of the stage to tragedy today.