Some days I feel like all I do is try to convince people to stop smoking. It definitely gets old always telling people that smoking is bad for them and that they should quit. And then there's the fact that people NEVER, EVER actually quit. At least that is what it feels like. In spite of the fact that the smoke is damaging to them, is the biggest reason why they are in the hospital, is causing permanent damage to their children's lungs, they smoke on. But I try to not give up, remembering all the scientific studies that show that people whose doctors talk to them about quitting, or offer to help them are much more likely to quit.
But today, I was completely shocked when one of my long-time smokers with numerous other problems came in and when I glumly asked him how much he was smoking, he replied, "I quit. I haven't smoked in a few weeks." What?? This was unexpected. I had given him some Chantix at his last visit, and apparently, that stuff works really well. (I'm not a big fan of the lastest and greatest expensive medicines, but this is one brand name I give patients a lot, though many refuse to take it.) He said the smell of them even makes him sick. When he got a craving after he started taking it, he light one cigarrette, took a single puff on it, and then threw it away - he couldn't stomach them any more.
So today's lesson is that patients apparently occasionally can surprise you in a good way. And 1 positive patient interaction like that absolutely makes my day.