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Nurse worries about the agony of lung cancer

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http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincitie ... 400252.htm

As I understand it, St. Paul is trying to protect bar workers and patrons from secondhand tobacco smoke, but bar owners worry about having to adjust.

I'm a nurse. I worry about different things. I was counting lately about how many people I have been with when they die, pass over, go to the light, whatever. I think it is about 75 to 100 people who I have witnessed leave this Earth.

While the bar owners worry their worries, I worry that the worst deaths I have seen are the people who have lung cancer. You see, lung cancer patients don't just get their diagnosis and go to glory. They linger and linger, and are eaten from the inside out.

Their lungs fill up. Their physician makes a hole in their back, simply by pounding this metal tube with a mallet, so this brown fluid can be drained out of the lungs. This gets the patient relief, for about two days. Then they begin to fill up again.

Family has to watch: The medical profession can only do this so long, because patients become so weak they can't tolerate the procedure. Their family has to watch this happen. Those who love them die a bit each day, inside.

Their loved ones stand by helplessly and watch this entity take over their body.

Doing this work does funny things to you. Sometimes I daydream about getting a research grant to find out if we could communicate with cancer. I would tell the cancer that it is killing its host.

I would tell it that it will die when the host dies, and suggest that maybe we could coexist. Just a long-standing idea I have had. I am accepting all grants.

But in the meantime, cancer can't be reached and doesn't seem capable of logic.

I guess it's not alone in that respect. The bar owners who are worrying their worries should worry about something bigger.

Try this at home: They should put their hands over their mouth and nose, and cup their face, fairly hard. No, really, I really want you to do this. Now try to breath through your hands.

Welcome to emphysema. That's about as good as it's going to get.

They fight for every breath they take. I know, because I have to stand there while families lose 20 or 30 years of having their loved ones by their side.

And 87 percent of lung cancer is caused by cigarette smoke.

The tragedy is great when it is a smoker, and when it is one of the 3,000 nonsmokers who, according to the National Institute of Cancer, get lung cancer from secondhand smoke.

As a nurse, I've seen too much, and I hate watching this happen. I worry about different things than the bar owners do.

Diane Staeheli is a resident of Eagan and is a nurse.

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Every day the paper has an article about the smoking bans in bars in Minneapolis and now in St. Paul.

Every day they say that their business is down and they worry about loosing their customers.

They are not really worried about loosing their customers, it is money and only money that they are worrying about.

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