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Leonard Nimoy and COPD

30 Jan 2015
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Leonard Nimoy and COPD Lung Institute

Live long and prosper, the quintessential goodbye made famous by Mr. Spock from the movie and T.V series, Star Trek, is an idea that the millions of people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) constantly struggle with. COPD is a lung disease that not only affects a person’s ability to breathe easier, it is also progressive and terminal. Those that suffer from COPD will only see the disease progress over time, and they will have it for the rest of their lives. Sadly, the man known as Spock, Leonard Nimoy, has developed COPD from smoking cigarettes, and his signature line now contains a much deeper meaning.

Nimoy’s COPD Announcement

On January 27, 2014, Leonard Nimoy was seen in New York at John F. Kennedy Airport in a wheelchair using supplemental oxygen. This event was widely recorded and led to a frenzy among the diehard Star Trek fans worldwide.  Two days later, Nimoy posted on his Twitter the following message:

“I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! LLAP”

Nimoy’s salutation, LLAP, refers to live long and prosper, which is an eerie message in the context of his announcement. The actor followed this tweet with more in hopes of encouraging people to heed his advice and quit smoking:

“Smokers, please understand. If you quit after you’re diagnosed with lung damage it’s too late. Grandpa says learn my lesson. Quit now. LLAP.”        12:42 PM – 6 Feb 2014

A few months after his announcement, Nimoy went on the Piers Morgan Live and spoke about his condition. One stark comment he made was when he said he didn’t believe it was fair that he’d developed the disease after not smoking for 30 years. However, he rebutted his comment when he said that smoking at any point was harmful, and as the lungs digress with cigarette smoke, so do they with age, and complications can happen much later in life. He attested his late diagnosis in life to these reasons.

Oxygen for COPD

Nimoy also brought with him an oxygen concentrator to the set of the show. This device is one of the cutting-edge pieces of technology for people who require supplemental oxygen. These machines essentially use the ambient air in any given space to produce a concentration of breathable oxygen, which the user will receive through a nose piece, much like a traditional oxygen mask. In the most basic of descriptions, the machine pulls in the air and filters out everything but oxygen. In the past, these devices have been quite large and require some sort of wheeled system for transportation. The one that Nimoy brought to the set was a handheld device about the size of a large thermos. This device was an interesting reminder of the new age inventions used on the U.S.S. Enterprise in Nimoy’s days as Mr. Spock.

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