September 13, 2005

A "I'm Still Quitting Smoking" Update

Yeah. I'm still off the devil weed.

A few observations.

  • The Quit Plan people are a bunch of freakin' idiots. You're gonna love this one. I'm using their program to get help for quitting, right? I'm dependent upon them for my patches. So, I talk to them a couple of weeks ago to get my last shipment of patches. It's an eight week program, but they only send you the first five weeks worth---working under the assumption that most people start smoking again well before then and they don't want to waste postage/patches if they don't have to. They'd called me a few times during my first few weeks to see how I was doing, etc., but I'd missed their calls. So, when I finally got around to calling them, it was because they'd sent me a letter saying I needed to talk to them or they wouldn't send out the last batch of patches. I called, I chatted with this chick for a half hour, I told her I was fine with everything, that I haven't slipped because the patches had been so effective so send out the last batch, please. She agreed that they would and all was hunky dory.

    Problem is, I haven't received the patches and if they don't arrive before Monday, Kathy's going cold turkey. So, I called them today, wondering why I hadn't received the shipment of nicotine-y goodness. Turns out the chick I chatted with forgot to do one simple little thing. After this half-hour "we really want to help you quit!" phone call, she forgot to click on the "send patches" button on her screen. To my mind that's the equivalent of a doctor working at freakin' methadone clinic forgetting to give someone their methadone. Talk about being surrounded by the obvious, yet somehow managing to forget the goddamn basics.

    Pretty funny, eh? But wait, it gets better...

    During today's phone call, the person who answered the phone had a thick Spanish accent, which I suppose is multicuturally wonderful and all that, but for someone who has trouble with accents because her ears aren't top notch, and who consistently forgets how much she uses lip reading to make up for her shoddy ears, well, it's not all that great a situation over the phone, eh? Yet she just answers the phone; she's not a counselor, so I'm not going to get too worked up over it. She tries to transfer me over to one, but apparently none are available. Is it all right if she sends them an email telling them they need to call me? No, it's not all right, I say, put me on hold. She apparently has some trouble with this, but manages it after about four minutes of goofing around and pressing buttons. After a ten minute wait, I am transferred to a counselor who makes me give her all my information again because it didn't pop up on her screen. Then, when I inquired as to where my patches were, she told me the information above: that the chickie-babe I talked to before never hit the "send patches" button on her screen. She apologized, clicked the "send patches" button and after apologizing briefly, told me that she hoped they'd make it to me before I ran out on this coming Monday. But if they didn't, well, she hated to advocate this, but I wasn't supposed to smoke more than ten cigarettes per day. She was really adamant about this one. Absolutely no more than ten cigarettes because that was the equivalent of the patch I'm currently on.

    I had to laugh at that point, because I found that really funny. Because of the bureaucratic incompetence of a program designed to help people quit smoking, I'd be right back where I started---smoking.

    Furthermore, she informed me that if I'd managed to go cold turkey for three days, and then the patches arrived, well, I wasn't supposed to use the patches then, because all the nicotine would be out of my system and I'd make myself sick.

    For the love of God, etc. ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

    The only reason I contacted these people in the first place was to get free patches, because I knew I wasn't going to be able to quit by going cold turkey and I sure as hell wasn't going to pay for them, not when the taxpayer could fund my largesse. If I'd quit cold turkey, no one would be able to stand the bitchiness. I would have found myself on the street because the husband would have kicked my ass to the curb within twenty-four hours of quitting.

    But now it looks like, unless there's some miracle in the shipping world---it takes seven to ten days for the patches to arrive---I'll be doing precisely that.

    It'll be fun, no?

  • I've been on the 21mg patch for twenty-eight days. I jumped down to the 14mg patch yesterday and I'm freakin' tired.

    Yesterday I spent the day with Christi and the kiddies, roaming around downtown, seeing what the skywalks are all about (kids love those things for whatever reason) and playing video games at this place (which was a lot of fun and earned me the eternal gratitude of my nephews and niece.), swimming in the pool at their hotel and, just in general, hanging out. I meandered my way home around four and I was freakin' exhausted when I actually got there. And I mean tired, like I'd been digging ditches for the entire day. Of course hanging out with kids is exhausting, particularly when you're not used to it, but this was above and beyond tired. It didn't occur to me until after dinner that it was probably the patch---and the lack of energy boosting nicotine---that was to blame.

    Since we're babysitting tonight, I decided to stay home today and take a nice long nap to fortify myself for the evening.

  • Eating hard candy to deal with the oral fixation will result in zits if you overdo it. Even if you're thirty-four-years-old and well past puberty, you will have a pizza face. Trust me on this one.
  • I have yet to see any benefit from quitting. My lung function has not increased. I don't feel any healthier. I never had a smoker's cough to begin with, so accordingly I haven't lost one. I can't suddenly run a marathon. My sense of taste hasn't improved. Neither has my sense of smell. My palate was pretty darn good while I smoked and in some cases it's turning out that the smoking made things more flavorful.

    Honestly, all I have to recommend quitting is a bunch of zits. Whoop-de-freakin'-doo.

  • I have to say, I miss smoke breaks. Just taking a step away from everyone and everything and going and communing with the nicotine was a beautiful thing. I'm going to miss that.

And that's all there is folks. And no, still no comments allowed on these posts.

Posted by Kathy at September 13, 2005 11:59 AM | TrackBack