I got the following email last night. So did Michael McFadden.
Frank and Michael –
I feel like you are the only people in the world who don’t bash me because I smoke.
So I’m writing this email to both of you.
This has been a most horrible day, smoking-wise.
Because I’m disabled, I have an aide/companion who comes in for two hours a day four times a week. She does light cleaning, takes me on errands and is just generally really wonderful company. I’ve been getting her services for a year.
Recently she’s been diagnosed with high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis. Both run in her family. She’s 54 years old, about 100 pounds overweight, and her diet is junk-food-heavy. (Her breakfast consists of potato chips and a candy bar).
So today she (I’ll call her Jane) came in wearing a mask. Why? Because yesterday her doctor asked her if she smoked. No, she doesn’t smoke. So her doctor asked if she’s around smoke a lot. Jane said, well, one of her clients smokes. Jane told me the doctor got really stern and said that my cigarette smoke is what’s causing her rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups AND her high blood pressure, and that she MUST wear a mask every time she enters my apartment.
I was like, Jane, that is NOT true! She of course didn’t believe me, because Doctor Knows All. And Jane told me she talked to her aunt later, and Aunty (a fervant anti-smoker who won’t visit anyone who smokes) said, yup, it’s the cigarette smoke that’s causing all your health problems.
Jane is one of the sweetest people in the world, but has a limited education and believes everything “authority figures” tell her. I just dropped the subject, and she wore her mask while she was here.
Okay – then the building manager called me in – about my smoking. In my apartment. Which we’re allowed to do.
A little bit of background –
Last weekend, a bunch of residents were sitting right by my door, in the hallway, making a big racket. They had dragged a bunch of chairs together and were having their own party. Now, this apartment building, which is for low-income seniors, has on the first floor a large, beautiful living room with many chairs and couches, two large back porches, one screened in, with lounge chairs, a spacious community room with a full kitchen, chairs, tables and a large-screen television, and there are comfortable, well-appointed common rooms on each of the other two floors. Apartment rules are that people are not to have gatherings in the hallways but are supposed to use the above-mentioned rooms. Which sounds perfectly sensible to me.
But for some reason, a particular group of people often choose to gather in the hallway by my door. For hours and hours and hours. And the hallways echo.
So I was trying to read, and the noise (whooping, hollering, cussing, etc.) was driving me nuts. So I went out to them and VERY POLITELY said, “Excuse me, but could you please keep it down? The halls echo, and I can hear you as though you’re sitting in my apartment. Thank you so very much.”
They glared at me, and as I walked away, one woman said, “THE NERVE OF HER!”
So today, the building manager calls me in. She warned me that there was a petition being made by a group of people on my wing to get me out of my apartment, because they hate my smoking. I happen to know that one of the people is the woman who said, “THE NERVE OF HER!”
Then the building manager told me that once again my smoking is stinking up the hall. Which IT IS NOT. The damn halls smell like damn PERFUME from the industrial strength air freshener thingies all over the walls. If my smoking was stinking up the hall, my aide would let me know as soon as she walked in the door.
I also found out that this group of people literally hates me because I smoke, and it doesn’t help that I’m the only Jewish resident.
I’ve never said anything to them but a pleasant “Good morning,” or “Good night.” I’ve never been rude to them. All I did was ask them to “Please keep it down – thank you.”
I don’t know if it’s a racial thing that’s motivating them or what, but I am SO upset tonight that I’m shaking. I smoke. SO WHAT? Does that deserve a hate mob in the place that I live?
Of course both MJM and I replied.
I said people needed to see this, and asked if I could publish the email, and received permission.
My instant reaction to the story was profound anger at the medical profession. It’s another example of vile, unethical doctors setting people against each other, and using lies to do so.
This disabled (old?) lady in Virginia needs help and support. If I lived near her, I’d want to go and see her. I think maybe the best thing I can do, on this side of the Atlantic, is to publicise her predicament as best I can. If anyone reading this feels there’s some way that they can help, I’ll ask if email addresses can be exchanged. Maybe also someone might have some Jewish connections they could call on.
I guess the main thought I had was that I wished there was the smokers’ army I was talking about (again) a few days ago. In the town nearest where she lives, there are probably 10,000 smokers or more. And I bet that some of them would be more than happy to help, to go visit her, talk to her building manager, and see that doctor. But how do you reach them?
Well, maybe that’s where a blog like mine might be helpful. I don’t know anyone in Lynchburg (although oddly enough, I used to have an English friend who lived there), but maybe somebody knows someone who knows someone who lives in Lynchburg. It needn’t be a smoker. It could be someone in Lynchburg who knows one or two smokers. And once you’ve got to one or two smokers, you’d probably find a lot more.
Hence my question in the banner.
Maybe another route would be through smoke shops. Likelihood is that people selling tobacco are also smoking it.