The butt of the joke


There is no easy way to quit smoking. Trust me on this, I have tried.

The longest non-smoking period (7 years) was achieved by moving to another country and undergoing intensive hypnosis. Of course, I was also pregnant for most of the time and the smell of smoke (along with 99% of everything else) made me sick to my stomach.

I am the first to acknowImageledge the abject stupidity in taking up the habit again.

I remember the exact moment standing outside my office having a minor breakdown and turning to a colleague (who has managed to quit) and begging a quick drag. That was a slippery slope.

Then I bought an electric cigarette, that was okay, but didn’t quite have the same effect.

I spent more time charging it then smoking it and eventually it disintegrated. The bonus was that I could nip into the aeroplane bathroom for a quick hit of nicotine on a long haul flight and no-one was any the wiser.

This time around I went to my doctor who handed me over a script from something called Champix. He hailed it as a miracle cure for pretty much everything. The first week was fantastic. I was down to two smokes a day with no cravings and only slight insomnia easily treated with some Melatonin. Image

The second week ups the dosage. The first day I was rocking. The second day I spent curled around the toilet bowl weeping in abject misery. By the end of the week I had lost about 5 kilograms and was borderline bulimic. The nausea refused to dissipate.

I was not ready to admit defeat just yet, so I halved the dose again and waited an hour before taking the next half. That worked for a day. I think it might build up in your system until your body just revolts in horror and begs for an end.

I still have the box. I feel sick just looking at it. Since then I’ve discovered I am not the only one so afflicted. Of course it mentions it on the paper slip in the box, but I try not to take side-effect warnings too seriously or I’d never take any medication at all. It was not a side-effect, it was all-encompassing.

So I am still smoking, except I am smoking revolting menthol things with a ball you burst for spearmint breath.

I am quite willing to book myself into rehab, but think I might feel a little silly at the NA meeting standing up and saying, “My name is… and I am a smoker” in front of a bunch of hard-core heroine or Tik addicts.

It harkens back to my first pregnancy appointment at a dreadful London hospital. The waiting room was filled with pregnant drug addicts and me. I was assigned there by virtue of where I lived and because I was high risk as a a result of my advanced age (23). Most British mothers are popping them out at 16, so 23 was positively ancient.

The midwife caught me drinking a Coca Cola, which settled my very unhappy tummy.

“What are you doing!” she bellowed. “How can you do something so damaging to your child?”

The woman next to me had track marks up and down her arms and had her equipment open on the seat beside her. Surely intravenous heroin usage is slightly worse than a Cola?

Apparently not.

I drank hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows on top for the remainder of the 9 months.

I find attitudes towards drinking and smoking while pregnant very confusing. Image

In the UK it was okay to have a glass of vino, but criminal to have a puff.

In South Africa it is the exact opposite. You can puff away, but touch a Savannah Lite and you’ll be hauled off to the pregnancy police.

I reckon they are as bad as each other really and was lucky both reduced me to a heap of quivering jelly.

South Africa is determined to criminalize the sale of alcohol to pregnant mothers. It is a noble cause, but how can you police it?

Are you really going to ask the fat lady if she is pregnant?

She can’t exactly show you proof can she?

It’s fat-ist. That’s what it is. I see a lot of black-eyed bartenders in our future.

Rule number 1 when dealing with women: Never, ever assume pregnancy and never ask to make sure. If you are wrong, you will shortly be going into the ER with brain trauma.

My husband tasked with finding passably attractive maternity wear, once stopped a lady in the mall and asked where she purchased hers. She didn’t. The last thing I saw was him running for his life pursued by a handbag wielding Valkyrie.

Lesson learned.


3 thoughts on “The butt of the joke

  1. Oh the joys of smoking! So sorry to hear you started again after seven years. I quit seven years ago and now I’m stuck in a war zone (literally) and it seems like a great way to catch a break!
    I think I’ll try to stick to picking up my writing again instead…
    Thanks for another fun read!

    • Thanks for your comments. Love the picture on your blog. In a funny twist of fate, I am off this afternoon to a Mad Hatter’s Tea party and am wearing my Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter t-shirt. I’ll have a cup of tea in your honour!

      • How crazy ironic is that! Although, I must confess, the inspiration for the picture was actually the label on Charisma Records (now defunct, but the label of one of my favorite bands!). However, as the Hatter will note, it’s always time for tea – Thanks and Cheers!

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