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The first steps

Posted 23-02-2012 at 15:55 by lettie

I mulled over the idea of quitting smoking for a few months. It was never the right time, I was busy at work, had taken on a new course at Manchester Uni which I had to do lots of extra work for. We were going to be moving house and a million other excuses filled my head, all of which paled into insignificance at the thought of losing my teeth at an early age.

Over that few months I started to enjoy my fags less. I begrudged standing outside in the rain and cold. Lots of other people, who I knew had done it successfully. I had tried several times before, each time culminating in me starting again after a few months/weeks. I was mulling it over more and more then........

I ran into a colleague at work. She was a good mate of mine and I hadn't seen her for ages. I worked in the hospital and she worked on community so our paths rarely crossed. We did our degrees together and quite frankly, spent a lot of our time at Uni in the smoking shelter outside. Every break time, we made a beeline for the shelter, yes, Sandra was definitely a die hard smoker. SHE HAD GIVEN UP!!!!!!

I was flabbergasted, but really pleased for her, she had been 6 months without a fag and was doing really well. I told her that I was considering it and asked how she had done it. Well, she went to smoking cessation at Accy Vic. I groaned to myself, I really didn't want to resort to going to smoking cessation. She reassured me that it wasn't terrible, you were seen individually, you didn't have to tell a group of people how you were doing, just the counsellor.

That made me feel a bit better about maybe giving the smoking cessation a whirl. I pondered on it for a few weeks knowing that I would have to be in the right frame of mind. Then, one wednesday evening in the summer, I just went for it. Spur of the moment, Sparks was going to be late home from work, it was a nice evening, I had nothing else to do. I shoved my shoes on and trotted up the hill to Accy Vic and made my way to the dining room.

Walking in, I couldn't believe how busy it was. People were all sat, holding their numbers. I took a number off the 'New Client' pile and sat down. A counsellor came round with a pile of health related forms for me to fill in. There were several 'newbies' that evening so, one of the counsellors took us all to a separate room in order to go through and show us all of the stuff that you can use to help you give up.

She showed us the -
Patches - used them before, give me a rash and made me itch.
Inhalator - used one before, quite good for taking the edge off a craving but I couldn't quit the inhalator so had a fag instead..
Gum - used it before, like chewing cardboard, tasted like something that dropped out of a dog's bottom.
There was plenty of other stuff to go at though, so I didn't give up hope.

We all traipsed back to the dining room with a lot to think about. I went to see another counsellor when my number was called. She discussed my health questionnaire with me, I discussed my absolute lack of willpower, previous failures with nicotine replacement products and the fact that I would more than likely fail this time too. I had a lot on, Uni assignments to complete, a house to move and we were gearing up to move our service to a new hospital and I was involved in that too.

'You can only do your best,' she said.
'If you do fail and want to come back in the future, we are always here to help you, most of us have done this ourselves and we know it's hard.'
After discussing my options further. I decided that I would give Champix a go. I had heard both good and bad things about Champix but reckoned it was a viable option for me.

I left with an order to my GP for a prescription. Instructions on how to take Champix. Lots of information on ways to help myself succeed. Telephone numbers for smoking cessation service and helplines and a little treatment card with the next appointment date for 2 weeks time.....
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