Catching Up for 2020, Pt. IV – March 6, 2020

…Continued from Pt. III…

I left off the last part of this (really too long now) blog post by telling you of the problems I was having trying to quit smoking using Champix, and how I went online to try and find out why I was having such bad side effects…

Usually, that’s a mistake, as often enough you can be lead to believe that you’re dying of cancer after you Google that weird rash on the inside of your elbow, but this time it actually worked out.

After wading through the dire warnings about side effects even more severe than the ones I was already experiencing, I stumbled on something that triggered the memory of speaking to the pharmacist when I’d first had the prescription filled.

He had made a point of telling me that I should take ONE pill, twice daily, twelve hours apart. If I missed a pill, I was just to wait it out, and NOT double up on the dose to make up for it. Further reading explained that doubling the dose of Champix would make the likelihood of side effects greater, and the effects could be much more severe.

I should have stopped taking the pills altogether at that point, and made an appointment with my doctor to tell her what had been happening. Of course, I didn’t do any of that. Despite the awful side effects, I have never had an easier time not smoking.

I haven’t had any cravings whatsoever, not even when driving or working in my shop, which are big triggers for me. I’m not even bothered by people smoking around me. It’s been nearly miraculous.

So, I’ve had to weigh whether or not everything I’ve been going through is worth it for a shot at quitting smoking permanently, and I’ve decided that it is. It’s taken a little over a month after taking the pills properly for me to start to feel somewhat normal again. I’m still having messed up dreams, and occasional leg cramps and my appetite is still bigger than it used to be, but my moods seem to be improving. I’m not as sullen or withdrawn as I was, and I am getting back to doing things – I’ve been able to motivate myself to get back to my writing, to do some workouts and get back to some reno projects.

I’ve also gone nearly six weeks now without a cigarette.

Another unfortunate outcome of being on Champix is that with my greatly increased appetite, which I‘ve tended to indulge, I’m sure my blood sugar has been spiking like crazy lately. I’m due to see my endocrinologist soon, and I’m sure my A1C test is going to be high, so he’s bound to rip a strip off me.

I’m hoping I can convince him that the Champix has been the ultimate cause of my elevated glucose and keep him from putting me on any more meds. A full course of Champix is twelve weeks long, and finishing that gives you a fifty percent chance of permanently quitting smoking. Doing a second twelve-week course can increase those chances to about seventy percent.

I’m two-thirds of the way through my first course now, and I’m considering asking my doctor for a second. I may see if I can lower it to a half-dose for the second 12 week period, though. I really want this to work. I need it to, and I’m willing to put up with the side effects if it means I can finally succeed in giving up the smokes for good.

Now that I’ve had a few weeks on the proper dose of Champix, I’ve started to feel more like my old self again. I’ve gotten back to a (semi-) routine of daily writing, getting between 200 – 500 words a day for the first few weeks, and now up to about 750. I’m hoping to get that back up to 1000 words a day soon, but for now, I’m just happy to be making progress again.

The story is getting close to the climax, but I’ve said that before, so I probably shouldn’t speculate as to when the draft will finally be finished.

While the writing has been plodding along, other projects, unfortunately, continue to languish. I’ve not touched the greenhouse heater project since before our trip to Cuba, and though the weather has for the most part been unseasonably mild, I haven’t been able to motivate myself to get back outside.

I haven’t worked on the stairs to the house’s upper level either. The only reno project I have put some work into these past few weeks has been my “Movie Theater” – converting the back half of our “Hot Tub Room” in our basement into a movie theater, complete with screen and projector, and reclining vinyl chairs and large cup holders. That project is still coming along slower than I would like, though.

My workshop is a mess, as I haven’t been spending much time in it lately, and haven’t been keeping up with cleaning it. I’m hoping that as more time passes, I’ll be better able to get myself together and back to my previous level of activity.

I still have my “down” days, where even getting out of my pajamas seems an accomplishment. But, hey, I’m not smoking 🙂

Beyond all of that misery though, there have been a few bright spots in the past six weeks or so since my birthday. Several friends threw some great parties that they invited me to. One was tropically themed, and another was a “Super Soft” birthday party. Coming up with outfits to wear to both of those did provide a small but much-needed distraction at a time when I was feeling really down.

I’ve also gotten a lot of support from family and friends with this latest attempt to quit smoking, which has been a big help. I’ve even gotten the occasional email from people from the “community” I was involved with. After finding out I was backing away from organizing events, a few sent me messages thanking me for the work I did and telling me how much they appreciated it.

All of those little things helped greatly in keeping me from getting too low this past couple of months.

Beyond all of that, there’s little else to mention. My daughter had a recent birthday, and we helped throw her a party which went really well. Mostly, though, I’ve just been living day to day, doing what I can to try and get back to something closer to normal, or at least normal for me.

We did get a disappointing notice from my work that they were going to go ahead with the elimination of the third shift at my plant, which they originally announced a year ago. With all of the extensions they had made beyond the original cancellation date, many of us were hoping that they would eventually change their minds and keep the shift, but that’s not likely now. The mood at work has been rather grim, as about 1500 of my fellow employees will now be out of work come the end of June.

I have more than enough seniority that I don’t have to worry, the worst that will happen to me is that I will move from the midnight shift to days/afternoons swing shift, which might even prove to be healthier for me. Moral is likely to get worse at work as the end of the shift gets closer, so, unfortunately, we’ve all got that to look forward to.

With spring approaching, I’m hoping that my mood continues to improve. Working permanent midnights makes the winters extra hard, as you rarely get to see any sun, and with the winter I’ve had with the Champix complications, I could use some sunny days to help push out the gloom and motivate me to get back to my prior level of activity.

There are a few things on the horizon that I’m looking forward to… a local bar is having a “Goth Night” this weekend, which is always a good time, and a good friend is throwing a party near the end of the month. There are also a few concerts coming up that I’d like to attend, including Rage Against The Machine in the early summer. There’s also the Movement Music Festival that I’ll be going to in May, and I may look into attending a few conventions as well.

So, that brings us to now, and finally, to the end of this over-long catch-up post. Thanks for reading, if you actually did.

I’m hoping to start keeping up with this blog a little better, and to finishing my latest draft in the next few months and getting back to editing the work I’ve already done.

I’ll try and keep you all posted as to my progress.

Hope you’re all well, and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.



Final NaNo Word Count – 56,095
Current Word Count – 70,448

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