Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Redefining myself

I had a little chuckle when I wrote that title. Ten years ago I started this blog with a single paragraph posting about how I was redefining myself in the wake of a failed relationship, except I used 225 words to effectively say nothing. Following that paragraph was a five month hiatus until my next posting. Now I'm saying the same in the tail end of ending my relationship with tobacco. The difference is that at least I've built up a habit of regular blogging over the last 6½ weeks.

For that 6½ weeks I've been thinking of myself as a person who was quitting smoking. and quitting has occupied a lot of my attention over that time. As it exposed me to support and advice from an audience of other New Zealanders who are also quitting, this made quit-line a good place for my blogging. I'm now finding that I'm thinking about other things a lot and if I find I mainly want to discuss those things, then this or ¿Que? are the venues I'd prefer.

The other thing to consider is that giving up smoking is a process.
  • Smoker - Self explanatory - becomes
  • Quitter - Someone who is no-longer smoking, probably with great difficulties, possibly using chemical aids, support groups and services like quit-line - becomes
  • Ex-smoker - able to resist smoking without using chemical aids, still recognising an addiction, may need a level of support - becomes
    Non-smoker - Able to resist smoking without using chemical aids or support groups. No-longer thinks much about smoking.
    There's lots of other scales, for example quit-line goes straight from Quitting to Non-smoker, I want the Ex-smoker step in there, because I see it as a measurable step in my recovery from nicotine addiction and one I want to get to and then go through. I would like to define myself as an ex-smoker today, except that today I am using Champix, I am due to use Champix for the next 3 weeks. I don't at the moment know if I could successfully continue quitting without using Champix, and I've decided not to try and find out. This means by my definition I'll still be a Quitter for those 3 weeks. Of course there isn't a sudden transition from one stage to the next, obviously going from Smoker to Quitter is sudden, but the other steps are progressions, one day you realise you have moved from one to the other and even within each stage there are a lot of levels.

    One of the things I'm finding on Quit-line is that when I read postings by those who have just quit (or are just about to quit) I know that only 45 days ago I was where they are now, but it seems a lifetime ago. They and I are at opposite ends of a wrong-way-telescope; I try to give useful advice to their questions and know from what I've seen that those who survive will be where I am now around Christmas / New Year, to me when I was there the people who had managed to stay given up for 40+ days seemed to be in an unimaginable position of success; now that I'm there I know that it's just one day at a time repeated a lot of times. It may only be  one day repeated lots of times but I know that it is moving me closer to my goal.

    I'm hoping I can move on and find the energy to think of blogging about other things that fit here; or at least some more small essays for ¿Que?.

    Sunday, October 19, 2014

    A nice day for a smoke

    After Sunday market Tessa and I occasionally go down to St Heliers beach for a "picnic" late lunch from the local bakery.

    We've done it plenty of times, including the nicer Sundays over the winter but this was the first time we'd done it since I quit smoking.

    We sat on the bench seats looking out over the beach to the sea, eating our lunch, watching the people go by along the promenade. I finished my lunch, leaned back in my seat looking out to sea. As I did this the thought "Nice day for a smoke" came unbidden into my head.

    I said "Yeah, it would have been" quietly to myself and put it out of my mind but it's interesting how often the first time I do something I haven't done since quitting, or go somewhere I haven't been since then causes a smoking trigger to be released.

    When the trigger comes up I often realise that yes, this was a place / time I regularly smoked. I almost certainly would have lit up after having lunch in that very seat in the past.

    Alternately, as I'm now going to places I only occasionally visited before quitting, I'm wondering if I really do associate those places with smoking or if the addiction is asking "maybe here??" If it is the latter, will visiting places I've never been before act as triggers in the future. Will thinking I should have a cigarette become my standard reaction to new places? If so, I wonder how long will that last?

    Rust never sleeps. Nor, it seems, does addiction.

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    Moving Beyond Quit-line

    Tomorrow morning I will have been 6 weeks without a cigarette, but as recently as last night I had a craving for a smoke. It came on while Tessa and I were in the Ponsonby International food hall.

    I think there were a number of things behind this craving hitting. Having two blog postings censored on Quit-line had stressed me and being a bit bored and having my increasing stress at dinner not noticed by Tessa helped increase the gravity of the situation. Suddenly there it was. It was strong and it was difficult to shake but I got Tessa to drive me home. As soon as I was away from sources of temptation I could work on dispatching it from my life; this time.

    Previously I would have probably posted something about it on quit-line, but having had two postings censored there yesterday. I really didn't feel like talking about it there. I was shaken but not out. The rest of the evening wasn't very pleasant but I got through it; which is in itself a lesson.

    I got to bed, a little late, and slept without any problems. Today at work I wasn't having any nicotine cravings. Obviously while it helped a lot in the early days, I think my recovery has advanced to the stage where I don't benefit greatly from the quit-line board. It is consuming a lot of my time and it's probably time I started to wean myself from it.

    On the subject of my censored postings, I did point out to them by email that I didn't feel that they should have been censored. I received an email from them today where they did concede the main point I made in my second posting; but I feel it was too little too late.

    That brings up my big problem with Quit-line. This blog posting is about a problem with my giving up, so it should belong on Quit-line, but because my annoyance with Quit-line either I couldn't tell the real story or if I did tell the real story they would immediately censor it.

    I have this blog. I think it's time that I started using it and just putting my story here.

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Censorship at Quit-line

    The government supported Quit-line service has rules about posts on their blogs. One of those rules is that you must be supportive of other bloggers. Tonight when I pointed out that their system confused following a bloggers postings with supporting the blogger they censored my post with a bland "it goes against the blog house rules, which includes being supportive towards other bloggers"

    Luckily as Quit-line can't control my ability to post in other places I can still show what I was trying to post. As you can see below I was not only not being unsupportive of other bloggers but explaining how I support them.

    I emailed straight back asking exactly what  part of my post broke their rules. They declined to answer, sending me instead a form letter claiming they will respond but as they've previously shown in actual fact they don't respond. I think they just like to brush things under the carpet.

    It looks like quit-line can't take a single piece of mild criticism.

    Update 6 PM Thursday

    They did respond with
    This blog has been declined as being unsupportive because it does not support fellow bloggers. However I will refer your email to the Team Leader for their consideration. 
    At around this time they also decided to remove the Original post after 11 hours.

    This was censored later: the original Post Thursday morning
    I just went through a strange little exercise. I was supporting about 40 bloggers and couldn't name more than a dozen of them so I decided to clean out the ones that were no longer of interest to me.

    When I've found that a regular poster stops interesting me I've dropped them off the list so this was only ever going to remove infrequent or departed bloggers.

    I just "unsupported" all the bloggers in the list after opening a fresh tab for that blogger's posts; I kept doing this until the "Bloggers I support" list was empty.

    After that I went through the individuals either adding them back into the list or deciding otherwise. I've ended up supporting 19 people,

    The regular posters and new ones that have posted in the last couple of days were safely back in. They haven't had time to change much and I haven't had time to lose interest in them.

    By the time I got back to the ones that haven't posted in the last week I was starting to find a mixture of people I miss because they haven't posted recently and a smattering of people who just posted once, either to say they were starting or to say they'd now given up for an extended period and were just checking back in.

    The further back in time I went the more people I found who were at day1, 2 or occasionally 3, blogged once or twice and then vanished from here. When someone was at day 2 a month ago and has said nothing since then I hope it was just that they found quit-line blogging wasn't for them and have continued their quit on their own.

    Alas I fear for many it is not so. To those people, I hope you can find your path to non-smoking, one that works for you.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit-line on Thursday 16 October 2014.

    This is what they first censored:
    Update 17:00 Thursday - What do you mean by "supporting"

    I seem to have upset a few people when I said I was "unsupporting" people on Quit line when they no longer posted blogs that interested me or even posted blogs that I disliked.

    There's a flag on Quit line that makes it easy to find a small group of bloggers out of all the bloggers on here. This could have been called "Follow" as Twitter does, but no, Quit-line decided that to be more positive they would call it "Support" which means that when I no longer wish to follow a person's postings I need to click something that says "Unsupport" they really haven't though that one through.

    Get a life people, this flag has nothing to do with supporting people or not supporting people.

    When I really do support people I post encouraging follow-ups to their postings, or when I can't think of anything to say that hasn't been posted by a dozen other people I try to remember to at least give a thumbs up by clicking the "Like" button on their post.

    I think if you look through the past month of blogs here you'll find I've posted a lot of encouraging follow-ups to people's blogs. That's supporting.

    An earlier version of this update was originally published on Quit-line on Thursday 16 October 2014.

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

    First Uninteresting Day

    In mathematics there is a semi-humorous paradox known as the "Interesting number paradox": It holds that if it is possible to classify all natural numbers as either interesting or uninteresting, then it is impossible to find the first uninteresting number.

    * 1 is interesting because it's the first number,
    * 2 the first prime, first even number, etc,
    * 3 the first odd prime,
    * 4 is the first square,
    * 9 is the first non-prime odd number
    * 64 Is the first cube of a non-prime
    ... eventually you will come to a number that is uninteresting, except that the mere fact of being the lowest uninteresting number is sufficient to make it interesting.

    In terms of my journey to becoming a non-smoker today nothing happened except the time gap between my last cigarette and the current clock setting increased.

    This means that today was interesting as the first uninteresting day of my journey.

    Broccoli sprout chemical treats autism

    Oh, the irony of it. Now we just need a much larger and more skillful group of scientists to find a way to get, not just children in general, but autistic children in particular, to eat broccoli.
    "many of those who received a daily dose of the chemical sulforaphane experienced substantial improvements in their social interaction and verbal communication, along with decreases in repetitive, ritualistic behaviors, compared to those who received a placebo. [...] We believe that this may be preliminary evidence for the first treatment for autism that improves symptoms by apparently correcting some of the underlying cellular problems"

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014

    $1,000 Mark (Non-smoking savings)

    I'm determined to keep with this non-smoking process, but as time goes on it usually gets further from the immediate part of my consciousness. Today when I went out for lunch today I had quite an acid gut and went for a vegetarian curry at the Rialto. I think the acid gut is Champix related. Recently I've forgotten to take Champix a couple of times and haven't noticed an increase in desire, but even so I don't want to be risking the progress I've already made so I'm trying to keep to the two a day for now.

    On the other hand, I do know I'm still hooked, Today was a bit of a relapse in my mental processes. When I left work at lunchtime I immediately thought cigarette; I put it out of my mind and walked up the street. As I walked past the bottom of Khyber Pass I noticed quite an attractive young lady smoking a cigarette. I'm ashamed to say I could tell you how the cigarette looked in her hand and her mouth, I could even tell you how she blew a little cloud of smoke, but was completely oblivious to her chest and trouser areas.

    Tonight this site tells me I've saved $1,000 Dollars and change.

    Stats Update: 38 days smokefree

    Smokefree days: 38 days
    Cigarettes NOT smoked: 1140
    Total savings: $1,022.20

    I've already spent over half of that on my Delonghi Magnifica coffee machine, but from now on it's pure profit :)

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Tuesday 14 October 2014.

    Monday, October 13, 2014

    Annoyed at the politicians

    I think I must be getting back to normal. Today I wasn't focussed on my giving up smoking.

    I was listening to the news at breakfast time and getting annoyed at the politicians. Not the furious, irrational, nicotine withdrawl anger, just my "Do you really think the public are as stupid as that" anger I direct at politicians and journalists. Not just one set of politicians, but both sides & all their hangers on.

    Eventually I decided it was time to resurrect another of my blogs. This time not my personal diary but my "Bruce Howling at the Moon" blog on human stupidity ¿Que?.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Monday 13 October 2014.

    Sunday, October 12, 2014

    Diwali, celebrating Indian culture in Auckland

    Tessa and I went to the Auckland Diwali festival on Queen St today. We've been going every year since around 2006. Initially we went to the one at the Waitakere Stadium then we switched to the Queen St one. When possible we did both. I can't find out when the Waitakere one is this year, if it's still going we may have missed it.

    Given that this was my first street festival since giving up smoking the question is raised, "how did I cope?" The answer is pretty well. Very few of the crowd smoked and I only caught the occasional whiff of tobacco smoke, I noticed it but didn't have any strong smoking triggers going on in my brain. When Tessa asked how I felt about one guy's smoke that I'd commented on, I said it was disappointing that he was so large that I doubted my ability to floor him with a single blow to steal his cigarette. The joke was that he looked like a repository for at least two varieties of plague and stealing a cigarette off him would have been a much worse health risk than the smoking.

    Yesterday I seemed to have worried a few people when I mentioned that I was moving my blog history from quit line to my public blog at . I'm not planning on giving up posting there any time soon, but going forward I will be more focussed on the non-smoking stuff there than here.

    Now a word from our sponsor
    Stats Update: 36 days smoke free
    Smoke free days: 36 days
    Cigarettes NOT smoked: 1080 --- Damn, even my non-smoking count is poison
    Total savings: $968.40

    I'll wish you all a possum, kea and tobacco free island.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Sunday 12 October 2014.

    Diwali, an Indian Christmas in Auckland

    Diwali, aka Divali and Deepavali is the Hindu/Jain/Sikh festival held in October or November each year. In Auckland it is commemorated by a festival celebrating Indian culture in general. The stage of the main Auckland gathering is a tribute to a displaced Indian culture. Children's dance groups doing traditional Indian or modern Bolliwood dance. Indian traditional and modern music. This year there were a couple of Bolliwood dance groups that were composed of young females who were obviously European.

    As a sop to the religious history, the stage entertainment finds room for a nativity play telling the Hindu story honouring the exile and ultimate return of the lord Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana. Other versions of the festival such as the West Bengali Kali Puji, the Sikh commemoration Bandi Choorh Divas or Jainism's Lord Mahavira, attaining Moksha (release or Nirvana) don't seem to get a look in.

    The small and discrete compulsory religious notes over, it's an open air party with celebrations, including street dance and commerce led by the selling of Indian clothes, vegetarian food, real-estate and banking services from temporary stands erected on the street or in a park near the entertainment going on on-stage. In other words it's the Indian version of Christmas and, at least in Auckland, is pretty much as commercialised.

    I don't mean to sound cynical, it's a great party and I try to catch it every year. Many of the food stalls are commercial, but a lot of them are run by this temple or that yoga group and are fund raisers much like church fetes were in my youth. The food at these stalls seems less commercial and more authentic than much of the "kiwified" Indian food we are used to getting here. The banking and real-estate stalls can be bypassed. I did think of visiting the Air New Zealand stand to ask them about flights to India ... they don't even go to Singapore any more but other than that I shut them out and just enjoyed the party.

    I love the way that many of the immigrant communities in Auckland have brought us part of their cultures and choose to share with us. Diwali and the (Chinese) lantern festival have become two of the highlights of the year.

    Given that this was my first street festival since giving up smoking the question is raised, "how did I cope?" The answer is pretty well. Very few of the crowd smoked and I only caught the occasional whiff of tobacco smoke, I noticed it but didn't have any strong smoking triggers going on in my brain. When Tessa asked how I felt about one guy's smoke that I'd commented on, I said it was disappointing that he was so large that I doubted my ability to floor him with a single blow to steal his cigarette. The joke was that he looked like a repository for at least two varieties of plague and stealing a cigarette off him would have been a worse health risk than the smoking.

    Saturday, October 11, 2014

    Quiet day Reblogging

    Hmmm, last time I put "Quiet day" in a post title I was coming down with that damnable energy sapping virus I hope I've finally shaken.

    I've spent today copying my old postings off quit-line and into this my (largely abandoned) public blog at blogspot. I'm going to re-post them here in sequence, a few a day until they catch up with quit-line.

    I'm not planning on stopping blogging there, but a side effect of blogging there is that I've got back into the habit of blogging. The quit-line house rules say that the blogging space here is for posts that primarily discuss our progress with quitting and as I progress with being an ex-smoker and prospective non-smoker the non-smoking side of what I do becomes relatively less important while the other aspects of my life become relatively more important to me.

    As with all of us, there will be a time in the future when my blogging ceases to be a good fit for quit-line. When that will be I have no way of saying. Last time I was a non-smoker, blogging hadn't been invented.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Saturday 11 October 2014.

    Friday, October 10, 2014

    We've come so far

    I had a regular phone call from Quit-line today after it I was pretty stewed up. No names, no pack drill, but as one of my co-workers pointed out my fuse has been fairly short the last month and 4 days. The upshot of everything was that I was stressed out. Annoyed, but no real desire to head off to the dairy and get a pack. Now I've repatriated the blog from their servers I may write up the full story.

    Tessa and I had a picnic dinner in Cornwall park tonight then went on to Circus Circus for coffee. While we were there one of the staff dropped a bottle of water right by our table and there was glass and water everywhere. Other than Tessa's immediate "It wasn't me, this time" we were mostly just amused by the experience.

    A month ago tonight I was on day 12 of my Champix starter pack (Day 5 of quitting). Tonight I'm having the last tablet from the first regular Champix pack. Tomorrow I start on the 2nd and last pack.

    That night was the first time I'd gone out socially since giving up. That night we also went to Circus Circus after dinner and I was concentrating on avoiding the smoking triggers hitting me from all kind of stray corners. Tonight I wasn't feeling any triggers ... just the occasional "I'd like a cigarette" feeling I get on a fairly regular basis. Those unexpected "out of nowhere" triggers were so strong I almost caved quite a few times. Now the feelings are weak and not a threat.

    As time goes by I become more and more convinced that I'm going to succeed. Sure I've got to watch for stray side swipes from triggers, but I now believe I could do it.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Tuesday 10 October 2014.

    Thursday, October 09, 2014

    Yersinia pseudotuberculosis - another reason not to smoke

    I was watching the news tonight and this pesky ailment is spreading via
    vegetables including carrots and lettuce. I'd guess if lettuce can
    spread God's punishment on the vegans, tobacco leaf could too.

    This critter isn't just a food poisoning, "Genetically, the pathogen
    causing plague, Y. pestis, is very similar to Y. pseudotuberculosis. The
    plague appears to have evolved from Y. pseudotuberculosis about 1500 to
    20,000 years ago.[" - Wikipedia.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a public health expert; I'm a computer programmer
    who occasionally does stand-up. If you want to base personal health
    decisions on tips from me, can I also get you to help me get a
    considerable amount of money out of Nigeria?

    What about the rats? They spread plague, they could probably spread Y.
    pseudotuberculosis when they are having their morning showers.

    One of the scariest things I've ever seen was a (pet) rat running across
    the floor towards cover with a lit cigarette in her mouth. I never left
    another lit cigarette in the ashtray in that flat again. Of course now I
    haven't had pet rats for over 20 years and no-longer smoke it's all
    rather academic.

    Those rats were real sweeties. Once when I had 'flu one of them hopped
    up on the bed, sniffed me, then turned and ran off. "Great", I thought,
    "Even the rat doesn't want to know me". A minute or so later he was
    back, walked over to my hand, opened his mouth and dropped an uncooked
    piece of tapioca in my hand ... he'd worked out I was sick and gone to
    his food bowl to get me a treat.

    OK, he didn't actually like the tapioca, but probably figured that since
    I kept giving it to him I must.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Monday 9 October 2014.

    Wednesday, October 08, 2014

    Rewarding myself for not smoking

    Today had it's moments. On the way in I was hit by a strong desire for a meat pie. I stopped at the local Hollywood and by then had changed my mind and looked at the fruit salads before finally deciding on a salad sandwich.

    When I got to work there was a strong smell of paint. All the internal doors were being done. So I needed to take the sandwich out onto the balcony to eat it. While I was out there I noticed that my ashtray had vanished. I found where it had got to, it had blown away and ended up on the balcony below ours. The lid's come off, but luckily it was empty and cleaned out. I don't think the people on that level ever go onto their balcony, but am wondering if I should go down and 'fess up or just leave it. It was only $3 from the dollar shop, and I don't need it any more so it's not like I care very much.

    I've been having problems running an ancient version of a program that doesn't seem to like 64 bit windows. I couldn't run it in a 32 bit VM because for some reason these couldn't see the database. After struggling all day I finally got it going right on 6PM. 15 minutes later I was out of there so fast you couldn't see the dust. I had to get to a date with my new toy.

    As I write this I'm having a coffee. Not just any coffee, but a freshly brewed long black from my new fully automated Delonghi espresso machine. Water in the side, coffee beans in the top, press the button and there's my coffee.

    I understand that for a lot of people coffee was/is a trigger. Luckily for me it was the other way as I used to have a cigarette while the kettle was running and the coffee afterwards. This means that the coffee doesn't make me feel like a cigarette, quite the opposite really.

    Yes, I have spent some of that money I've saved by not smoking on another of my likes. I picked up the machine at a reduced price at the big box sale Noel Leemings had at the ASB show grounds last weekend.

    I unpacked and set-up the machine last night but by the time I'd finished it was too late for coffee. This morning I lazed in bed enjoying the warmth and once I was out I needed to leave quickly so the grand christening was tonight and then I was stuck at work.

    I'm not doing this for the money. I'm doing it for the health. But, I'm happy to use some of that money that's not going up in smoke.

    Some time in early January I will have saved enough to buy myself a 3D
    printer. Then we'll see how good I am at resisting temptation.

    I've just finished the cup so I'll post this now.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Wednesday 8 October 2014.

    Tuesday, October 07, 2014

    Moving on and up

    Stats Update: 31 days smoke free

    Smoke free days: 31 days
    Cigarettes NOT smoked: 930
    Total savings: $833.90

    WOW. One whole month has gone by, I stopped off at the chemist today
    and picked up my (final) repeat of Champix. I didn't even realise the
    month was up until I saw the calendar on my PC at work this morning.

    I logged in to Quit-line from work today and got a little pop-up asking
    how much I'd smoked in the last two weeks. I was very proud to be able
    to answer "Not one puff"

    Adding to that I haven't felt much in the way of exhaustion either today.

    The sun was shining, the birds singing and the spring flowers blooming
    all to celebrate my month.

    After this I was asked why my quit date and a visual cue on the site
    didn't match. My immediate reply "I'm not sure. It's possibly because
    when I first signed up I thought you were supposed to take Champix for 2
    weeks before giving up so my quit date was a week later than what I
    discovered it could be when I actually got the prescription filled.

    "I've changed my quit date on here but it only seems to have partially
    taken. My auto emails and phone calls are also a week out. [...] I've
    just queried their web master about it." started a process I'll deal
    with later. Let's just say I'm no longer quite the enthusiastic
    supporter of quit-line that I once was,

    Now I've moved to my own blogging space I no longer need to worry about
    the censorship on quit-line blogs. Let's just say for now I'm no longer
    quite the enthusiastic supporter of quit-line that I once was,
    Yay ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Tuesday 7 October 2014.

    Monday, October 06, 2014

    Darkness in the city of the soul

    I woke up this morning and my clock radio's face was blank. Yes, I was one of the 40,000 Aucklanders without electricity today. [[Note 12 October - This was the number I'd heard at the time, subsequently I've heard other numbers up to 85,000 and in one outlier, 85,000 homes. Obviously I didn't do my own count.]]

    Just in case there was still no 'lecky tonight, I decided to save the hot water in the tank, a lukewarm shower tomorrow morning being preferable to an icy cold one. I also decided I didn't want a cold breakfast in an unlit room with no Internet so MacDonald for breakfast, St Luke's for a roast pork and salad lunch and Ponsonby Road for Fettuccine Bolognese for dinner. About 10 Million calories while feeling uncomfortable in my unwashed skin.

    What I didn't do was have my morning Champix. Not intentionally, I just plain forgot. The packet sits on my computer desk so I normally have them in my face at both ends of the day. This morning I didn't sit there. I didn't notice any difference to my desire to stay smoke-free, but the addiction did try to slip in on the annoyances with the news that today was obviously special and a cigarette today wouldn't count. Ah, the ingenuity of my desire to lie to myself. Thankfully I was able to resist.

    The power's back on. I've neither bathed nor smoked today. Tomorrow I will shower, but not smoke. I'm also seriously considering halving my Champix dose to see if it makes a difference to the fatigue.

    I'm reading that most people who halve their Champix do it because of insomnia; I've got exactly the opposite problem and could happily sleep 19 hours a day. More on this when I post tonight's blog.

    I'm scared of the comments that people who have halved their Champix found the cravings stronger. I just don't want to go there.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Sunday 5 October 2014.

    Clean, clean at last

    The electricity was still on this morning and it looks like Vector turned the hot water heating on overnight as well so I had a lovely hot shower. After feeling so sticky and horrible yesterday it felt so good to be clean.

    As noted I've been having ongoing problems with fatigue. For example Saturday I had a full night's sleep, then was up for 2 hours then asleep for 4 or 5 then up for a few hours and then a full night's sleep. I don't know if it's Champix, a flu' like illness that Tessa and I have both had, or possibly some other medical condition. There's no way I want to risk being taken off the Champix early so I'm reduced to self diagnosis.

    Despite the above confusion, I've been seriously thinking of halving my Champix dose, mainly as a way to work out if it is actually the Champix. I've been reading comments by people who have reduced their Champix dose because of insomnia. They find the cravings are greatly increased and I don't want to be dealing with any increased desire for inhale-able salads. I've decided for now to keep taking the full Champix dose, but I'm closely monitoring the situation.

    Yesterday I forgot the morning one and didn't run out of energy. Today I deliberately took the morning one and the evening one and haven't felt the exhaustion yet. Tomorrow I'll take the morning does and monitor my progress. If I start feeling done-in early to mid afternoon I may try moving my tablet times to later in the day and just before bed.

    As a footnote, Tessa had a bad night's sleep the last two nights because of another problem. Early afternoon today she hit the wall and needed a nap. She thinks it was the broken sleep; I'm not convinced that the flu-like illness wasn't involved and am watching there as well.

    Usually writing these entries out helps to clarify things in my mind. Today I'm as confused as when I started. Oh well, let's find out if tomorrow is really another day.

    I will go to the doctor if this becomes long term or if it starts getting much worse. Meanwhile there are reasons I don't want to discuss here why I'm not ready for that step yet.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Monday 6 October 2014.