Diary

Binning the cigarettes – Days 4-7

I’m running slightly behind with this diary so I’m doing my utmost to get up to date. I only decided to start making the diary two weeks in so I’m slightly further ahead in the process than my posts would suggest. For this reason you will see me churn out the next two and a bit weeks in the next few days. Unfortunately I have not mastered the science of time travel yet. Rest assured though, once I’ve cracked it you’ll be the first to know!

As I mentioned in my previous entry the first few days have been a complete non event. On Tuesday I was rushing around and didn’t have time for breakfast. I took my pill anyway just before leaving the house and by the time I’d walked the twenty minutes or so to work I felt like I was going to throw up! It’s like travel sickness, something I’ve always suffered from. When you’re in a car or on the loser cruiser (my A-Level Philosophy teachers witty name for the bus) and your stomach goes all funny, all you want to do is vomit but for some reason you can’t. Anyway that was probably the pinnacle in terms of excitement over the first week and after eating a cereal bar and some fruit I felt fine.

I am worrying now that these pills aren’t going to have any effect on me. I still feel no different and I’m five days in. I have my next clinic appointment after work so I’m hoping they’re going to tell me this is normal and I am not some kind of Champix resistant freak of nature. Funnily enough my colleague who was raving about Champix and started taking them a week before me seems to have thrown in the towel. She should have hit her quit day by now but she’s still going out for her cigarette every break. It doesn’t fill me with much confidence and to settle my nerves I give my Dad a quick call to find out whether the pills had an immediate effect on him or not. Big mistake! He tells me he is pretty sure they more or less did have an immediate effect on him and were really good. If I was unsure about these pills not working on me before, I’m utterly convinced by the time I get to the clinic.

Lawrence isn’t there to greet me this week. Instead it’s a lovely brunette lady, (can’t quite remember her name) who talks in a very soft pleasant tone and has a constant smile painted on her face. I’d guess she’s in her late thirties and normally this kind of over the top nicey nice attitude would annoy me, (in large part because I’m a miserable bugger.) However, I find it oddly reassuring this time around. I explain my worries while she continues to smile and nod. She brushes it off almost as though she was expecting it to come out of my mouth. It’s perfectly normal apparently. The tablets take time to build up in the system and it can build up quickly or slowly. She explains if I’m still not feeling any different after another week then we can start to look at other options. I’m not keen on this. I’ve invested in the Champix now. It’s going to be my saviour, my smoking penicillin.

Smiley Mcsmilerson (it really annoys me that I can’t remember her name) show’s me a couple of booklets and the smoking calculator so I can keep tabs on how much money I’ll be saving, which is the tangible upside to this torture. Sure I’m less likely to get heart disease and all kinds of cancers, but that’s not something you will really feel or immediately see when quitting. The extra £150 in your bank account every month definitely will be. She recommends a good few apps I can get on my phone as well which I promise to download and look at.

Finally I blow into the carbon monoxide detector. It’s basically the same as a breathalyser but instead of detecting alcohol it detects the carbon monoxide in your system. At my first appointment with Lawrence the reading was 21 ppm (parts per million), this time round it’s 19 ppm. I’m guessing the slight difference is because I had a cigarette before my first appointment and waited until after my appointment the second time round. I’m still supposed to be smoking at this point so I thought the breath test was a bit of a waste of time really.

I leave this appointment feeling slightly more reassured but it is starting to dawn on me that in about a weeks time I’m supposed to be having my last cigarette. This is something I still can’t quite wrap my head around. I finish my first week off still smoking roughly the same amount of cigarettes and unfortunately still not really feeling any different. 

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Binning the cigarettes – Days 1-3

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Putting aside all the faff of actually procuring the Champix, (it would probably be easier getting heroin) I’ve actually got to start taking the things now. Seems pretty simple, I take one 0.5 mg pill every morning for the first three days. Then take the same pill morning and night for the remainder of the first week. After this I work my way up to the big boy dosage and start hitting the 1 mg tablets twice a day.

I don’t really know what to expect from these pills. I’ve heard different things. My Dad took them a few years ago and said they were really good. However he’d already quit cold turkey about a year before so the hard work was already done. He’d found himself falling back to the dark side and started taking the Champix to prevent full blown relapse. I have a colleague at work who has just started taking them a few days ago and she said even though you’re supposed to keep smoking when you start taking the tablets, they’re so good sometimes she forgets altogether to have a cigarette, (I’m taking that one with a pinch of salt!) In the interest of fairness I’ve heard some not so great things too. Another colleague of mine has tried quitting using Champix before. The side effects really hit him hard. He said when he got to the increased dosage he started tripping out. He likened it to an acid trip, I’m not familiar with this type of trip myself but experiencing it every day while you’re at work probably isn’t ideal.

Speaking of side effects, there seems to be a list as long as my arm. So many in fact they fit into four categories; very common, common, uncommon and rare. Pills can cause drowsiness, nausea, increased appetite, constipation, diarrhoea, abnormal dreams and even stroke to name but a few. Here’s a picture to give you an idea:

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I haven’t read them all if I’m honest. I have always believed that the more you look at these things the more you start thinking they’re going to affect you. The more you start thinking they’re going to affect you the more likely it actually happens. Power of suggestion is very real in my opinion and sometimes ignorance is better. If I start feeling weird or tripping out everyday I can always look it up.   

I’ve decided to take my first pill on Saturday 5th April, (good a day as any I suppose). If I’m honest it is a pretty uneventful day. Actually it’s a completely uneventful first three days. I’m only taking one 0.5 mg a day and I can still smoke while taking these pills, something which I’m taking full advantage of while I am able. Slightly anxious these pills aren’t going to work. The only side effect I’ve had so far is something which resembles travel sickness if I take the pills on an empty stomach. Other than that there’s been nothing, nada, zilch. Still smoking the same amount as I usually do and not feeling like I want to stop smoking any time soon. I have an appointment at the clinic on the Wednesday, five days in. Hopefully this is all normal.