by Eunice Trotter
If she knew then what she knows now, Mildred Ellis would have never smoked. For more than 40 years, she puffed daily on cigarettes, depending on them to provide a little "zip" to an otherwise depressing or mundane day.
If she could recover all of the money she spent on cigarettes, it would probably purchase a home, or at least provide a nice down payment on one. Cigarettes were her crutch. But today, at age 81, she has nothing but regret for leaning on them.
Mrs. Ellis is a resident at North Capitol Nursing and Rehabilitation, an American Senior Communities center near Downtown Indianapolis. She was diagnosed with lung cancer recently and is now tethered to a ventilator that helps her breathe. She also recently had a stroke and was sent upstate for long-term nursing care in a ventilator unit. With demand for residential ventilator care high statewide, Mrs. Ellis cried with joy when she learned a room had become available in Indianapolis, allowing her to return to where her family lives.
Unfortunately, very few nursing communities offer nursing units that specialize in providing ventilation care. Demand for such services is only expected to increase as boomers age.
We’ve all seen the smoking awareness commercial of the woman with the raspy voice who puts on her wig, then her teeth and trachea cover, then her scarf and declares she is ready to leave home. Mrs. Ellis cries because she can’t do that.
“It was the smoking,’’ she said. “It was the smoking.”
As Indiana embraces the state’s new smoking ban, now is the time to find the way to quit that works for you.
It’s never too late.
Guest blogger Eunice Trotter is the communications specialist for American Senior Communities. North Capitol Nursing and Rehabilitation and all of the other 23 Indianapolis-area American Senior Communities help residents quit every day. For more information, visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.