Today was a little weird. During the day, while at work, I had a lot of energy and spark; was really weird, yes. Whether that can be attributed to non-smoking or not remains to be seen. I’m thinking that the prospects of having some kind of change happening in my life, something for the better, has made me more boisterous, or at the least I’m carrying on a little more loudly to drown out my cravings.
Still, I feel like it’s nothing less than natural for me to have a lit cigarette in my mouth to breathe through. I usually don’t notice my breathing, but I get that catch in my chest, the one that usually is felt when there’s smoke in it, and suddenly I’m paying attention to my breathing and the fact that there’s no cigarette in my mouth. It’s mildly frustrating, but I remember that it’s for my own ability to breathe freely that I quit.
I did have the most amazing thing happen to me a few hours ago, though. After depriving myself of some much-needed dinner for a few hours (I was visiting a friend), I went to a nearby fast-food restaurant and ordered a bacon cheeseburger meal. Man, what a burger. Anyway, I don’t know if it was the food deprivation or the smoke deprivation but one thing was for certain — that was the best god-damned burger I’ve had in years. I could taste everything; this was made clearly apparent to me when I noticed that for the first time I actually tasted a mild smokiness in the bacon. Wow. After two years of eating there, basically the same thing every time, I have never tasted that before. Mmmm. I’ve heard that your sense of taste comes back when you quit, but that brief encounter proved it to me.
Flavorful fullness aside, though, I am fighting the cravings, the physical cravings. With a full belly and nothing to fill my lungs, I feel a little incomplete. I definitely feel dizzy, light-headed. Not sure what to make of it. The neural pathways that have gotten accustomed to the tingling buzz of nicotine are numb and mildly spinning; there’s no more buzz, no chemical vibrations, nothing to mask any natural headiness that may have been there all along, and I’m left with this. It’s not nauseating, not disagreeable, it’s just that my eyes are dryer, sleepier, and less attuned to what my inner ears are saying, so sometimes things spin a little when I move my head. And, of course, there’s the low-grade headache. Acetaminophen is my closest friend.
Earlier today I got a hint of things to come — I had a good hacking fit, felt like something in my lower lungs jarred loose because they stung for a little bit. Over the course of the next week or two I can expect some “flu-like symptoms”, also known as “my chest is starting to work again by getting rid of the crud that’s been hanging around for a few years” cough. My doctor has assured me that when I go through that stage that I’m not sick, just healing.
I’m sorry for the gross details but this column is my attempt to fully chronicle my own experiences with quitting smoking. If you’re quitting, or wanting to quit, then your mileage may vary, of course. But for right now, though, my second day has been a harder test which I feel I passed. If I can make it past tomorrow, I think my physical cravings should start to diminish; it’s my neurological and psychological cravings I worry about. Here’s to staying on the wagon.