Posts tagged ‘Champix’

August 20, 2010

Keep on walking


Originally uploaded by globewriter

This weekend marks a month of stopping smoking and also just about a month of walking around the Savannah every single evening.

The not smoking part has done little to make me feel any better or worse so I am really not seeing the point of stopping but I must say I have come to relish the walking. One walk around is 3.5 km and I walk around at least twice but more usually three times and lately four. It seems like a lot but the final two rounds actually put me in a very relaxed state. It could be the endorphins or it might just be the 80s and 90s club music I have blaring on my headphones. I strongly suspect the latter. In any case, it sure beats a gym.

My next step is to introduce some minimum looks standard for being allowed to walk around. I walk in a counterclockwise direction and I swear it is not a pretty experience – quite literally – with about 90% of the people. Also, if you are an overweight man or woman please, in the name of all that is holy, walk and don’t run. The sight of flab flying up and down is not a pleasant one.

August 5, 2010

Quick update from my phone

I bought an app for my Nokia that lets me blog from my phone so I am giving it a quick run. As much as I love my E series keyboard this entry will be short as it still a bit too fiddly to type on for long stretches.

I can report that I am on my third week on Champix and , as much as I am loath to admit it, it really works. I haven’t smoked a single ciggy for going on two weeks now. In what is a completely unrelated event I have also been walking 7 km most evenings, While I am sure there are health benefits the main advantage is just the thinking time. The mechanical act of walking seems to help me focus – mind you the eye candy on the walk is nice too.

Still, despite what the health Nazis say, I feel not one whit better. It must be said that I rue the fact I put smoking on hold just when I mastered the art of looking piss elegant while doing it.

July 31, 2010

Up in a puff

The quickly snapped mobile phone pic is of my latest foray into the world of drugs. Nothing sordid I hasten to add, but still interesting. I love smoking and I make no apologies for it. It is a vice I share with many ( if not all) of my literary heroes. But I recognize that, like alpine skiing and other daredevil sports, as one advances in age the odds of coming to an unpleasant end start looking decidedly unfavourable. With that In mind and knowing that chemicals are our friends I asked my doctor for a prescription for Champix ( aka Chantix to our American friends). She ( I have a very cool young female doctor) highly recommended it and told me that many of her hardcore surgeon friends had managed to stop by taking it. I was a bit distressed to hear that some surgeons actually leave their patient halfway through the operation to run outside for a puff – but I kind of understand.

Long story short – the pills actually work. You are supposed to smoke for the first 8-14 days on the regimen but I found that without intending to I had cut my smoking in half by day 4. Heading towards the cutoff date I was told to set I found myself stopping two days ahead of time without planning to. I just stopped. I have now not had a cig for 6 days without so much as a sneaked puff. This is a record for me. Do I feel healthier? Nope. Can I walk longer on my exercise jaunts around the Savannah in Port of Spain? Nope. I never had a problem in the first place. But I will see how the experiment goes and perhaps I will not be smoking for a long time. I know it will make a few people happier and at least one that helped motivate me to take the pills in the first place.

I should note though that Champix has some well known side effects. It has been implicated in hundreds of suicides and serious depression episodes. As someone who suffers from occasional clinical depression I was lucky in that I had no such effects. It also totally screws with sleep and vivid dreams and frequent waking are very common – I have been experiencing this since I started taking them. No nightmares so far and I  quite enjoy the dreams…the waking up – no so much.

The experience has taught me a few things though.

  • Not smoking is not as great as those earnest types tell you.
  • Nothing is guaranteed to make you want to smoke again as much as non-smoking friends telling you to keep it up ( as if I just gave up molesting animals).
  • Many former smokers are a sort of fanatic group similar in many ways to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Telling me that “I am glad you gave that up…I really hated it” makes me want to say “You are really stupid and I always hated that”.
  • Scotch without tobacco is a pointless exercise.
  • People who tell me that they think kissing a smoker is like kissing an ashtray are stuck in the 80s. Especially when many of them frequently put their mouth on things that would make an ashtray seem like a sterile petri dish.

The best reaction to my experiment ( and it was largely encouraged by the person in question) was “Well Vern I am proud of you and if you slip up a few times I will still be proud of you.”

As I told a few friends recently I will never be a non-smoker. I might, however, be a smoker on hold. It makes me feel better not to be part of the squeaky clean bunch.