Craig Orr, Senior Staff Nurse, Forth Valley Royal Hospital
My name is Craig, I’m 45 years old and I started smoking when I was 16. Back at the time when I started, it was cool to smoke and you were rebelling against parents who didn’t smoke so it was even better.
Over the years, through media and the like, you learn how bad it is for you and you learn how it can impact on your life and others around you. I didn’t take any heed of this whatsoever because I enjoyed a cigarette, especially in the car or after a meal. Reflection might suggest that it wasn’t only the cigarette that I craved but it gave you five minutes of solitude or thinking time, which was also great.
So cut to present day and I have tried to stop several times without success. I have tried the gum, the spray, Champix prescribed by my GP and artificial cigarettes but nothing worked for me.
On a chance meeting about four months ago, I met Gill, the smoking cessation officer at Forth Valley Royal Hospital so I spoke with her and explained that I had tried everything to stop but had failed dramatically. Gill explained several bits and pieces to me and gave me literature, but she didn’t lecture me and that’s what I liked. She understood how difficult it was. She arranged a prescription via my GP to provide me with the Nicotine patches and small inhalators. She also took a measure of my Carbon Monoxide levels (which were off the chart).
Now the ball was in my court and it was up to me, but it was easy this time. It was easy because my head was in the right place to stop where it hadn’t been in the past. Gill kept in touch over the following weeks and continued to assess my Carbon Monoxide levels (which reduced remarkably quickly) and check if I needed anything, which was fantastic. By now though I was focused and determined. After two weeks I came off my patches, and after a further week I stopped using my inhalator. Now I was clean or that’s how it felt.
Gill gave me all the support I could have asked for, and even though I’m a nurse, she never judged at any point ever. She continued assessing me up until 12 weeks when I received a small gift to say well done!
Its now been four months and while I could do with a cigarette in the car, I understand this is habitual behaviour and not because my body craves it. I’m a non smoker now. My family and friends are proud of me. I no longer stink and my kids don’t get into a smoke smelling car. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the support from Gill, and even now I’ve been discharged, I know I can just give her a wee text if I need to and I know she’ll be there.