Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Today was my first day without a cigarette in a very long time.
That is, of course, unless I was so sick I was coughing up blood and I sounded like a stalled car when breathing.

It has actually been about 24 hours without one, now.

Which is HUGE. HAYOOOOGE. Big.

I am wearing the patch. I started wearing the patch (from a pack I bought about 6 months ago and never used) approximately two weeks ago. I immediately noticed a significant decrease in my irritation level, something I think the four or five of you reading this will raise your eyebrows at, because what is Salome if she is not irritated???? And the answer to that is, of course: BITCHY.)

I wore the patch and occasionally smoked until the patches ran out. Then I went to get more patches. My smoking hadn't stopped, but it had significantly decreased, enough to make me want more patches. And at the store I discovered an ASTOUNDING thing.

I bought the wrong patches the first time. I bought Step 3! I tried to cut in line!
The first time I opened the right patch (Step 1, I'm doing it right this time...) I about gagged.

Step 3's patch is tiny and cute and fits discreetly on my upper arm, where I would painfully rip out seemingly endless hairs each morning while removing it. I alternated between arms and rarely was bothered by it, in fact, almost always was able to forget about it completely.

Step 1's patch is not fucking around. It has about 3x more nicotine than Step 3 and is about 20x times the size. It is almost just exactly kind of like stepping into a body-sized flypaper. It covers the width of my arm and extends further than a really bad tattoo. I can't help but notice it, because it wrinkles when I move and is visible in a Tshirt. It also rips out all kinds of new seemingly endless hairs, on a much larger scale.

And seriously, when am I going to rip out all the hairs? I can't possible have this much hair on my upper arm. Gross!

The increased nicotine made the skin around the patch (in bleedy, veiny patterns) bright red, almost immediately. I saw it and was alarmed at first, and then thought, "lung cancer is probably way grosser," so I left it alone. The red is gone now, except for a perfect, patch-sized square that remains no matter how long it has been since I forcibly ripped it off, wincing and dancing every morning in the shower.

And I like it. I'm not freaking out or anything, this high level of nicotine isn't making me loopy or weird like the Zyban generics do, meaning I don't sit and drool vacantly in front of my computer anymore, and I really don't feel a tremendous urge to smoke. I finished out the pack (of course) when I first started wearing them and smoking was nasty, something I had to do, but really wanted to get over as soon as possible.

The only thing that freaks me out about these patches is the dreaming.
I'm dreaming in vivid technicolor, and soooooooo detailed. I'm detailed down the hairs on a dog in a farm in Ireland where I've set up a complicated business of creating paper from words spoken by druids that survived all these years by eating the DNA off of roots of the hairs plucked from Scottish beards. I could probably sit down right now and write you my business plan.

I've thought that I should write these down, because they are WAY weird. I mean, no one would believe this stuff. I think my REM cycle treats nicotine like coffee, and is finally like, "Now is MY turn to talk!"

And Brain?
You're fucking strange.
I mean, all along I've thought I was a bit off. But THIS?

This is INSANE.

Last night I dreamt that my brother and I were taking some sort of seminar together, in an area that my entire family was vacationing (because what better time to go to a SEMINAR??).
Each morning a buffet was laid out in my parents' hotel and my brother and I would go there to scavenge it. They had some dish that had cottage cheese and fruit all mixed together like a salad, and it was good, it was really good, and I woke up thinking I needed to write it down so I could make it. They also had a runny, bean-dip kind of salad that had tortilla chips in it and my Dad yelled at me that I was taking too long in line trying to get one single tortilla chip to sop up all the goop with. Looked like it had a bunch of chips mixed in, but every scoop was just more and more bean dip. I ended up somehow with my cousin Ricky and some other person in my tiny apartment in the heart of a city and while I thought we all went out and had a great time, I woke up in the dream and everyone told me I had fallen asleep early and just dreamt that I was a good hostess and they were all annoyed with me. There was a lot more, but I'll move on....

The night before I went to a Bible Study Class and it was cool. Which surprised me after I woke up (of course nothing fazes me in the dreams, except for the night before, which I'll tell you about in a sec) because I've always been reticent to attend Bible Studies Classes because I think I'll end up in a circle of overweight women who don't wear makeup and don't color out the gray in their hair, and they'll wear dresses with anklet socks and scrunchies in their hair. These people (men and women) were hip and cool and funky and real. And later John Paul and I returned there and they hooked me up to a heart monitor for hours, and let me sleep and then fed me a chocolate dessert plate with something lemon on it and I remembered thinking, "I should be on a diet, but honestly I'm on a fucking heart monitor here, so fat can't be the worst of my problems" and then we were driving over big hilly roads and I looked out the window and thought, "these would be a bitch to walk up." and then we were antique shopping with the cool people from Bible Study. (This is about 1/100th of the detail and length of the dream. I kid you not).

The kick-off (I've been on the patches for three days) was dreaming about some book being published on the architectural history of the Paris city of Nantes (CLP!!) and at the last minute it was changed to some other city which I remembered the whole next day but now I forget and I was working with the researchers who were really well respected and somehow in the middle of this I had to run to my hotel to get my stuff out of the room, only when I arrived there I didn't just have enough stuff in the room for a hotel stay, but I had apparently lived there for a many years and my entire life collection of crap was there. So I compromised and took three pillows and a cloth purse (because, of course!), and folded them neatly into my suitcase. But to get to my tiny bungalow hotel, I had to go through some ancient but well preserved 4 star hotel, and the whole thing was a mess of weird hallways and elevators and marble sloped floors that I slapped along running like a primate and I was really stressed and pressed for time, and the whole time I'm learning about this architectural city switching and how the researchers are pissed off because they've been working for months and have to redo everything in two days, and then I'm in class telling everybody what I had just learned (so clearly it was really important to my real brain to listen to it) and then the researchers complimented me as we walked outside and I was walking in a ditch next to them, and I handed them my card and felt really hopeful like they were going to make me famous, and then they walked away and the sun was shining and I walked into the cathedral entryway of what was apparently my college and a man walking with his girlfriend stopped me and said, "you know who they were, don't you? Those professors?" I said no, and he said, "They were two of the 11. The Tina Steenson 11. They were two of them." And I gasped like I really knew what the hell he was talking about and the girl he was with pulled at his arm and said, "Let's just go," and the guy walked away and I heard a BUM BUM BAH! in my head like I was a TV detective and my new case had just been revealed for myself and the viewers.

Needless to say, I'm absolutely exhausted every morning.


Anonymous said...

I've been told you can take the patch off at night while sleeping. Your body isn't used to getting a steady stream of nicotine during the night.

Disregard if you are enjoying the bizarre dream sequence. :) CLP

Salome said...

Ya know, it actually never occured to me to do that. DUH.