Quickie at the clinic

In and out. Quickly. This is exactly how it ought to be.

Arrived at the cessation clinic at (high?) noon. Quick chat, carbon monoxide levels at 2ppm (for which I blame the bus belching out diesel fumes that I passed on the walk down), new prescription for another week of Nicorette patches. Left at 5 past the hour. Job done.

Life as a non smoker. What do I do, now that I have all this extra free time? I am so much healthier for it too. I feel a cooked breakfast coming on to compensate.

Stop Smoking!

Grrrrrr. I am told by my wife that I am a grumpy bastard in the morning. Even the kids agree. Hell, even the dog (when we had one) kept well clear for that first hour.

So today is THE day. I collected my prescription of patches and an inhaler yesterday. My last smoke was around 11pm last night. I made a list of things to keep me occupied when I feel a need to smoke (there is still half a packet downstairs somewhere). I got rid of the sleeve of cigarettes I had. I also had a late trip to Tesco to stock up on the recommended items, fruit juice, bananas, yoghurt, sugar free gum, etc.

I read the instructions for the patches and inhaler last night. Normally, my first smoke is within minutes of crawling out of bed.

So there I am, eyes still not fully open, trying to figure out how to unwrap the patch to put it on! Grrrrr. Not a good start. It took me a few minutes. The fact that you don’t feel the affects of it for about 30 minutes didn’t seem to take the edge off my frustration.

The inhaler, well, it doesn’t seem that good to be honest, I have tried a few puffs and am sure it is working, but I don’t get anything psychologically from it.

So, it is almost 9am, I’ve been up for three hours, and not smoked for 10 hours so far. According to the info from the NHS cessation clinic, my nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in my blood have reduced by half and oxygen levels have returned to normal. Great, I’m ready to do the Great North Run. Not!

Really though, it doesnt feel too bad just now. I am having difficulty focussing on work and am kind of skipping around (figuratively, not literally!) from thing to thing. Speaking of which…back to it…no doubt I will write more later.

A first visit to the Smoking Cessation Clinic

So I called them Monday and spoke to a helpful chap called Andrew, who explained the opening hours, location etc. Basically you can drop by anytime, but need to allow 30 minutes for the initial consultation. I turned up at the first available date today.

It was a struggle, to get through the crowds, not!

The clinic is held in a large hall and consisted of two nurses at separate desks. There were no other punters, er, I mean lepers, er, damn, I mean smokers.

I was directed to the first lady, and took a seat. She was most helpful, though I didn’t catch her name (I am appalling with names) and she explained she would go through some stuff with me, test my CO2 levels and then I would move across to the next nurse.

She was very efficient, helpful and non judgemental, which can be rare for a none smoker these days. My CO2 test came in around 47 though I am not sure what units that was. I recently cut down to 30 (yes 30!) a day from around 40. The lady showed me the chart which only showed CO2 levels up to 20, so that wasn’t so good! We also discussed smoking habits, when I am most likely to light up and methods to combat it. Very useful.

I moved onto the next lady and a few more people started to arrive, maybe I was just keen. The next lady (Lesley?) was really nice too, we discussed the different options and decided to try patches, the strongest available, which will give me about the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigs per day, plus an inhaler. As I pay for my prescriptions, she recommended a prepaid prescription card, £29.10 and it covers 3 months of prescriptions. Sounds good to me – I ordered one online as soon as I got home. When asked about a date – not the dinner kind – I said as soon as possible. It isnt that I am keen, just given the situation, it needs to happen sooner rather than later. So we settled on Sunday or Monday, depending on when the prepaid card arrives. I will need to go back each Saturday between 10 and 1 to have a chat and get the next week’s prescription.

So there we have it, I am soon to be a none smoker! Piece of cake.

I may be eating those words next week 😦

Speaking to the doctor about giving up smoking

Having smoked pretty much since I was 15, this giving up lark could be a big issue for me. I am trying to push aside any negative thoughts and focus on the positives, as well as the fact that if I dont, I cannot give my sister a kidney.

I spoke with my doctor about it, he recommended giving up gradually, but also gave me the Smoking Cessation Clinic number. I have some points to make on this Doc…should you be reading:

If you research it on the internet the consensus is don’t attempt to do it gradually. Someone posted a blog which seemed to capture the sense of it….if you really hate someone and they smoke, convince them to cut down, to give up very gradually, that way they will the longest period of suffering nicotine craving and they are unlikely to overcome the addiction.

The second point is that the cessation clinic number is really the NHS National Smoking helpline. So you call up, speak to a lovely lady, who asks you a barrage of questions and it takes about ten minutes. At the end of which, she has recorded all the information she needs for the NHS statistics and she says, now you need to call a local number to speak to the real cessation clinic people. Doh. That just gives a smoker another hoop to not jump through. I wonder how many give up giving up at that point, before they have even started. I know it was some weeks from me calling that number before I called the local one, and I have some real motivation for doing this.