Been awhile since I’ve written anything in this journal. things just don’t seem to be pushing me in this direction lately…must be the weather.
I’m beginning to feel a teeny bit proud of the fact that I’ve not had a cigarette since April 20. Quitting has been difficult, but actually not as violently awful as it was the other times. I’m still disappointed that I allowed myself to start smoking again after being nicotine free for 8 years. Quitting that time was quite an event. Here’s the story…
Brni and I began seeing each other shortly after he had his famous assignation with the truck in Maryland. His arm was in a lucite sleeve to keep the bone from being displaced since the break was high up near his shoulder and not castable. He was going to physical therapy a couple times a week and at night he had this wonderful contraption to stimulate healing of the bone. The electric “bone stimulator” consisted of a cuff that wrapped around his arm secured with velcro. Brni had to be plugged in for 8 hours a day, so the logical time to do this was at bedtime. The stimulator emitted this soothing humming noise, much like the drone you hear in Indian classical music. After plugging Brni in, I’d get into bed with my head in the crook of his arm and the humming would soothe me into the most restful sleep I’ve ever experienced. I loved that thing.
Brni told me that the physical therapist could always tell when he’d stayed over at my place because he smelled like cigarette smoke. Brni would take these opportunities to ask me (nag me), “When are you going to quit smoking?” I would say, “Not unless I can get the patch for free.” At the time, to quit smoking using the patch cost about $400. I figured it was a safe bet that this wouldn’t be happening anytime soon.
So one day Brni came over with a little box. Inside the box was a 3 month supply of nicotine patches.
His roommate’s wife’s father was a pharmacist and some idiot drug salesman had sent them a bunch of samples. Drug stores can’t dispense or sell samples, so he asked Kim if she knew anyone who wanted them or he was going to throw them out. Kim thought of me.
So, I take the samples to my doctor to see if there’s anything wrong with them and maybe I can get out of this mess. No such luck.
The deal with the patch is, you stick it on your body when you get up and leave it on until you go to bed. Some people leave it on all night, but I figured, who smokes in their sleep? You should not get the patch wet, so you can’t bath or swim with it on. I suppose you should rip it off if you ever get caught in a sudden downpour, but I think I’m the only one who worries about stuff like that.
Ten days after I started the patch, Brni and I went to visit a friend in West Virginia. The day after we got there, we decided to go swimming, so I removed the patch. When it came time to put it back on, I had such a feeling of revulsion that I just told Brni that I was going to give myself a rest from it. I’d been feeling strangely awful for awhile, but I couldn’t articulate what was wrong. I felt disconnected from everything as if I were moving through a dense, oppressive fog.
Five days later, I still couldn’t bring myself to reapply the patch. I was sitting at my desk shortly after lunch, feeling awful as usual, when I realized I was swelling up. My legs were huge and I felt stretched out all over. I went home and weighed myself…I was 10 pounds heavier than I had been that morning. The next day, around the same time, I start swelling up again, plus I’m now covered by a very itchy rash. I called the doctor and he told me I was reacting to the patch and to take benadryl. I told him it had been over 5 days since I had used it, but he said, “Your body started a reaction and now it won’t stop. Take a double dose of benadryl.”
so i did…
Brni came over that evening and was a bit alarmed by my condition. He would ask me a question. I would answer, but it took about 5 minutes to get the words from my brain out my mouth. He called the doctor who said, “Oh shit, now she’s reacting to the benadryl.” He told Brni to put me in bed and just wait it out.
I was in bed for about a week. What I remember about that week is being in bed in a stupor where occasionally Brni’s or Jesse’s face would appear out of the fog in front of my face. I remember them asking me questions, but that’s about it. I don’t know how Jesse got to school or how he got fed…I don’t even remember getting up to go to the bathroom. It took a year for the episodes of swelling to disappear and I still get rashes occasionally when I’m stressed physically or emotionally. Turns out I’m allergic to adhesive.
This time I quit cold turkey.