On smoking, pneumothorax and Arashi fandom.

Aiba’s hospitalization has somehow forced me to examine fandom and what being a fan meant. This self-examination has even led to my first actual LJ post. 

The first time I heard that Aiba was hospitalized for recurrence of pneumothorax, I was worried for him. But after learning that he walked into the hospital to have himself checked up for some difficulty in breathing and that he was admitted and was being made to rest has reassured me really fast that I was more worried that Aiba was going to feel guilty for making his loved ones, the fans and the other members worried. 

I had also commented on how everyone in Arashi should stop smoking. I know that smoking is associated with spontaneous pneumothorax and its recurrence. I will be posting a short review with references later. I wasn’t even surprised that Aiba had a recurrence. Because when I read reports last year about how he had started smoking again despite stopping after he had the pneumothorax, I had thought that his chances of relapse was high. But somehow reading comments from fellow fans on how Aiba was not smoking, or how smoking was not the cause of the pneumothorax, that he had a relapse just because he was tall and thin (a risk factor), or that he even had the pneumothorax because he was really really tired. And all these on posts about what pneumothorax was and what its risk factors were. I was really ready to scream. 

What made me really feel bad about all this is that somehow I feel bad that I wasn’t driving myself crazy with worry about Aiba being hospitalized and that I somehow I don’t like the boys enough because I think they smoke and that I think that smoking was definitely a risk factor Aiba has for pneumothorax recurrence. Nobody has directly accused me of these things but somehow reading through tweets and posts, I am made to feel this way. I feel guilt for being NOT “OMG Aiba’s in the hospital, I wanna die” and “Nino and Ohno smoke like chimneys, Jun, Sho and Aiba did but stopped a million years ago”. 

My views: 

(1) Aiba walked into the hospital and had himself examined after having some chest pain and maybe difficulty breathing. Then he was admitted for observation and rest. These are good things because that he brought himself to the hospital meant that we was well and stable. Also, that the management was rest meant that the pneumothorax was small enough that it did not even need aspiration means that the pneumothorax is small and that Aiba was not having significant respiratory symptoms. 

(2) Yamakaze’s recent update says that Daily Sports reports that when Aiba was hospitalized in 2002, he was back to work in 5 days. It also says that the scar Aiba had was 1 inch in length (I haven’t seen it in pictures, you see). This tells me that the surgery Aiba had then isn’t surgery where they had to enter the chest cavity to get rid of bullae or get rid of leaks. Most probably, a tube was inserted with negative pressure (vacuum) administered to get rid of air in the pleural space and/or to re-inflate the lung. This reassures me as this mean Aiba didn’t have major surgery in 2002. 

(3) The boys smoke or have smoked in the recent past. Fan reports have said so. Pictures say so. What they say on their shows, both radio and TV, imply that they do. Sneak glimpses during making ofs say so (fans have pointed out to Saigo no Yokusoku making of as the lates). I accept the fact that they do. If you cannot accept it, then I leave it to you. I still like the boys even if they smoke like chimneys. What I do not accept is the fact that it is okay for them to do so. I care for the boys enough to be concerned about their health. That it is somehow okay for the boys to smoke because (a) everyone in Japan smokes and it is part of their culture, (b) Japanese cigarettes are less potent than Western ones so they are not harmful to the health, (c) the Japanese are genetically predisposed to good health so tobacco smoking don’t affect them are all bullshit. That smoking increases the risk of one developing spontaneous pneumothorax and recurrence of spontaneous pneumothorax should serve as a warning.  Again, my more scientific review will follow. 

Now, I have decided, with this post, that I will stop being guilty for trying to view things objectively. So I am deeply sorry to those who cannot accept what my views are. I will not behave or think like a teen-ager because it has been more than a decade since I had been one. I do think it is okay for everyone to be emotional and worried BUT I will not feel guilty for not killing myself with worry. I think it is okay for everyone else to believe that the boys are these sparkly beings who will do not wrong BUT I will not feel guilty for accepting that the boys have bad habits and for believing that they should refrain from such bad habits. If you feel that I have been a bad fan, then you are free to your opinion. I just refuse to feel guilty of things I shouldn’t be guilty about.


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