Richard Oliff: second chance at life without smoking

Richard has managed to give up smoking, but it's not been easy
Richard has managed to give up smoking, but it's not been easy

It’s been nine months since I last smoked a cigarette.

I’d been down this road before during my time at the BBC, going as far as having my ups and downs highlighted in diarised form on the BBC’s website.

On that occasion, my personal life became massively unsettled and I resorted to the dreaded ‘weed’ once again.

It was around that time that I was admitted to hospital with a serious case of pneumonia and pleurisy.

I spent enough time in Kettering General Hospital’s Harrowden C ward – a place for those suffering serious respiratory problems – to know just how devastating the end can be for someone dying for lack of breath due to a lifetime of smoking.

There was a lovely man in the bed next to me whose life of smoking had led him to this place: sitting barrel-chested and upright in a hospital bed, an oxygen mask strapped to his face, and breathing in and out as hard as his small frame would allow with what was left of his lungs. I remember he called me Gordon after the previous occupant of my bed.

This poor man hung on to dear life for all he was worth, but to no avail.

He died one night during my short stay. Some of us get a second chance, a chance that must not be wasted.

The difference between then and now, however, is that today I’m in a much happier and settled ‘place’ which I see as an important ingredient in any attempt to quit any such gripping addiction.

That’s the positive news. There are, however, several negatives: ask anyone who’s had to live with someone going through a similar experience.

Surely there’s a pill or procedure to cure massive mood swings.

I must ask my doctor as he tests my lungs’ capacity for getting me through the rest of my life.