Nicotine Patches

I’ve stuck to a resolution pretty well so far.

I haven’t had a cigarette since January 1st.  I tried quitting last Fall, but just doing it out of the blue didn’t seem to work too well for me.  Guess I needed a place holder, or a landmark, or a milestone to start.  Why not New Year’s Day?

So there it is, no smokes since  4 AM, New Year’s Day.  I saved my last two for that morning.  I had to get up and go to work, so I stuck to my usual morning ritual.  I got up, had some breakfast while reading email and Facebook, then grabbed a smoke before the bathroom.  I had my last smoke after the bathroom, then took a shower.  The patches tend to stick better when you’re freshly showered. And use regular soap on the area you’re going to stick the patch.  Shower gels and other such products leave a residue of moisturizers that interfere with the patch sticking.  And plan on putting the patch on a different area every day.  They may look like bandages, but they are delivering chemicals that are absorbed through your skin.  When I take a patch off at night, the area of skin where I placed it looks sunburned.  The directions even say to use a different area every day.  I tend to alternate between shoulders.

And ya, read the directions.

I take mine off at night.  They can be used twenty-four hours, but, that must be for really heavy smokers.  I’ve forgotten and left a patch on when going to bed.  That didn’t end well.  I tossed and turned a lot.  I also had very vivid dreams when I did fall asleep.  I’ve been woken up by dreams before, but I would instantly forget them.  No such luck if I left a patch on.  I will wake up startled and not be able to forget what the dream was about.  The worst was a couple of nights ago.  I woke up, trying to save myself from a situation.  I figured out how to solve it and slipped back into the dream, only to presented with another problem after my solution.  I slipped back out of the dream and repeated the cycle.  I’m still not sure if I actually woke up, or if it was just one continuing dream.  The patches can fuck with your head like that.

Take the patch off before going to bed.  I actually try to remember to take mine off 30 minutes to an hour before bed, just to be sure.  Throw them away where pets or kids can’t get to them, there’s still a lot of chemicals on the patch.  On your skin, too, still being absorbed.

I’ve used the gum on a couple of occasions.  The gum helps with a strong craving set off by a trigger.  My trigger is usually spicy food.  In a related story, I seem to be craving chocolate more since quitting.  Must be something to do with brain chemistry.

Back to the gum.  The gum can be effective, but it tastes like crap.  Imagine keeping a hard candy mint in your back pocket.  All month.  Then shitting yourself before trying the mint.  That’s the gum in a nutshell.  I remember the first piece felt like fiberglass insulation in my mouth, but that sensation seems to have receded after more uses.

I started Step 3 today, the 7 mg patch.  I started with 21 mg on January first, and went to 14 mg at the beginning of February.  I think the multiples of 7 subconsciously appeal to the Math major in me.