Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Smoking for Nurses

Ok, so being a nurse, let me first say that I know better. I really do. However, for the last 11 years, I've been a pack a day smoker.

It's been pretty easy to keep it up: at first I had nursing school as an excuse. I told myself that I'll quit right after nursing school. However, right after that I was dealing with my divorce. I'll quit right after my divorce. Now it's a paternity/custody battle with my son. I'll quit right after that. Also, my job is really stressful at times; I'll just smoke when I'm stressed out. I once had a COPD patient go into respiratory distress, desat to about 68%, get put on a full-rebreather, and sent to the ER; the entire incident stressed me out so much I had to take a break and go burn one. Oh, the irony of that situation is epic.

I definitely recognize this behavior as self-justification. For God's sake, I learned about it psychiatric nursing. Anyhow, since no time will be a good time to quit I decided to just dive right in.

Having several failed attempts with patches and gum, I decided to go with a medication. First of all, let me state that I personally am very skeptical about medications and their long term effects on the body, so it has to be a pretty extreme circumstance for me to consider medication for anything. Especially if the medication works on the brain.

My reasons for quitting are pretty much "DUH!" at this point, but I think the real kicker that got me moving is that I'm sick of hacking up copious phlegm every morning and I really noticed that I've been getting winded easily when I exercise.

I decided on Chantix because it seems to have a general consensus (among websites like WebMD; I refuse to pay $30 for the actual research) to have a higher success rate than Zyban. I liked the more attractive pricing of the Zyban, as well as the antidepressive properties (after all, it is just rebranded Wellbutrin). However, I decided to go for broke and get the newer, supposedly more effective drug (ignoring the research that links depression and suicide to its use). So far, I'm about a week in, so I can still smoke.

My experiences thus far has been pretty positive. I've had no disturbances in sleep and I don't believe that I'm feeling any more depressed than normal. Sure being in the middle of a court case, apartment hunting, and having bill collectors call 24/7 for debts from my marriage that my ex has no intention of paying makes you feel pretty rundown, but I don't believe anymore so than normal. I'm certainly not thinking of offing myself either, so worries there either. (By the way... not me in the photo!)

One thing I've noticed is that I don't have the urge to smoke as much. At the end of my first week, which would be tonight, I've noticed about a 75% reduction in the amount of cigarettes I'm smoking. Sometimes I just forget to, even though I can. I'm smoking about 5 a day instead of the normal 20. When I smoke, it doesn't have the same appeal that it used to. The way the action of the medication works is that it supposedly inhabits the receptor cells in the brain that nicotine used to. I immediately think to compare it to narcotics and narcan. It seems to be doing a decent job so far.

We'll see tomorrow when I go smoke-free. Fingers crossed!

2 comments:

Cathy said...

"We'll see tomorrow when I go smoke-free. Fingers crossed!"

Hope you will be successful with this endeavor, eh. Smoking as we all know it, is dangerous to our health, but then we are humans that why there are many bad things that we really want to do. haha. Hope someday you will be smoke free. :)

Cheers,
Cathy@Nurse Up for Nurse Amanda!

sage-armstrong said...

Hi, I hope you will be smoke free soon. It is true and I notice that my non smoking friends do not get winded easily during marathon. That being said, it is not easy to break a habit even though it is for a good reason.

Sage @ how to become a CNA