Letter from a son

By bappaditya paul

My father is 72 and is a heavy smoker for the past 45 years. Recently he has been diagnosed with aneurysm ~ a serious heart ailment manifested by the dilation of the ascending aorta. At extreme, aneurysm leads to the rupturing of the affected aorta and thus resulting in instant death of the patient.

Medical experts opine: though aneurysm is not directly caused by smoking, puffs do contribute to the build up of the ailment and also exacerbates it afterward.

The only cure my father can now take a chance of, we are told, is to get an artificial tube implanted replacing the dilated aorta of his heart. But given his age and also that he suffers from hypertension and diabetes; it will be too high a risk, cardiologists have cautioned.

Since then, our family is under utter mental trauma. With every passing moment, the worry is only getting multiplied by the sheer helplessness that we are faced with in combating the disease. How badly we wish, if Dad was not into smoking, he might have never been inflicted with the ailment at all.

In fact, for the past several years, everyone in our family ~ my mother, we siblings and the extended families, have relentlessly urged Dad to quit smoking. But every time we pleaded, he would whiff us away saying ~ “Would giving up smoking make me immortal?”

One can hardly find answer to such stubbornness !

But now as he suffers, the submission that crops up in my mind is ~ Death is certain, we all know, but must one consciously make it so painful that it also causes trauma for the ones she or he cared for? Does it make sense to torture the emotions of your sons and daughters, for whom you withstood so much hardship all along?

They say: to streamline present and secure the future, one must know the past. Dad attributes his smoking habit to his venturing into professional life at an early age ~ that is at the age of 18. He started off as a small-time businessman and because of his sheer hard work, flourished into a merchant of fortune overtime.

“When you are young and earning ~ especially into business ~ you acquire many ill habits from the professional company that you need to keep. Unfortunately, when I got into smoking there was hardly anyone to tell me it was suicidal. And gradually, I became so addicted to puffs that I couldn’t ever think of quitting,” he explains now.

Perhaps, it is really too late for my Dad!

Yours sincerely.

(The author is a scribe with The Statesman, India.)


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