Well into the fourth week of Champix pills and more than three weeks without a smoke, two side effects have become noticeable, one minor if unpleasant, the other more worrying.
The unpleasant one is farting, often and loudly, even when I do not indulge in fart food, I mean wind-inducing foodstuffs such as beans or cauliflower (but then, what about that huge bunch of bananas a neighbour kindly offered I’ve been forced to ingest in unhealthy numbers before they spoil?); as I live alone, this incommodes only me and a few house lizards, not to mention cockroaches which, I’ve noticed, are dying in greater numbers in my chambers these days.
More disturbing is drowsiness and a tendency to listlessness.
For years my sleep pattern has followed a three-day cycle: four to six hours on Night 1 and Night 2 followed by seven to nine hours on Night 3. Now it’s three to six hours every night. The occasional drowsiness of until only last month has become a semi-permanent phenomenon, making it really difficult for me to read Thai, by far the activity that requires the most mental power from me: half a page and I’m on the verge of sleep! If I leave the rocking chair for the sofa, sleep eludes me, but I’ll spend twenty to thirty minutes adrift on a mental cloud – a shame for a grown man who’s abominated siesta since he was a child.
Also quite noticeable is a tendency towards apathy. I keep catching myself thinking idly and thus postponing whatever it was I meant to do to begin with.
In truth, the socio-pathetic context of the times hasn’t helped: while the world around me celebrated first that well-known Buddhist funfair, Christmas, and then, for some reason I’ve never been able to fathom, the change of year (a period of compulsory collective fun which in merely six of its seven days has already achieved a record 332 deaths and 3,037 injuries in 2,884 road accidents nationwide, yippee!), it was rather hard to preserve the happiness I enjoy beavering away quietly every day of the year. Actually, the soporific effect of Champix may have helped dampen my seething at being serenaded by Wat Karaoke all day long on Boxing Day, forced by carousing natives next door to watch TV two nights running until almost sunrise, and shot at from far and near for more than two days and nights by urban guerrilla urchins that went berserk for twenty minutes around midnight last Monday. (Even as I write this, two days later, hardly five minutes go by without explosions here and there.)
For all that, the situation is still under control, but to fight the temptation of a nap I had to go shopping just now. Maybe that now that everyone is back in town, I’ll venture out to some seaside. But who’s going to water my plants? Which is what I must do this minute, before mosquitoes rule the air.