First off, I’ve never smoked. In the 1970’s, I was a hospital patient sharing a room with a smoker. I was there for two days.
I felt fine until they wheeled in Thelma. I was fine, that is, until she woke up and lit up the first of many cigarettes, which she chain smoked. After awhile, the fumes began to nauseate me, and my head to ache.
Up until that time, smoking was rare enough in my family life that when I went out, I sort of enjoyed the smell. Now I was trapped, and I had to endure it.
The room stayed hazy all of the time. When Thelma’s family visited in the evening, they all smoked. I complained to the nurses and the doctor, but those were different times. While they were sympathetic, I was told Thelma and her visitors had every right to light up, even if it sickened me.
My eyes, nostrils and throat burned from the smoke. I’d walk down the hall and sit in the waiting room, but smokers were there, too, or the cigarette odors they left behind.
Because I couldn’t leave and go home, I resented being forced to inhale the smoke and have its residue stick to my hair, skin, gown and bedding. I could taste it, and I couldn’t wait to get out of there!
When I finally did get out to our car, my head began to clear. I brought the odor home with me, and my parents complained about it, too. I showered and washed everything, but it took a couple of days for the odor to fade from the house and the car.
Now, the smell of cigarettes is rare enough again that I sometimes enjoy the smell of them. However, based on my experience when I was 19, I don’t know if I could physically tolerate smoking in close quarters for very long.
Thelma and her visitors? Why they were just plain offish, selfish and rude individuals. They didn’t know whether I was in for tests, or sick, and they didn’t care.
That’s the way it was. “Good times”, indeed.
You should write a book about your exposure to smokers and the pain it caused you but I see you already did.