Practice makes progress 

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I really am out walking right now.  Yep, down the side of a tiny residential street too small for lane-marking, striping, or even a sidewalk.  There isn’t even a curb.  But there are beautiful flowers; I think these bloom until November, or maybe even December.

The sky is grim and cloudy–my favorite sky expression (skies have facial expressions, too!), or at least one of my favorites.  There is just enough of a breeze to ward off stagnation.  The temperatures are remarkably mild for this time of year; “Miserable May” (wittily designated as such by yours truly on account of its intensifying sun, unforgiving heat, and unpleasant, persistent humidity) isn’t quite so miserable after all…at least for now.

And now is what I have, so now is what I will take.  Speaking of now, I’m pretty sure that about 17 elderly people (the ones who live in the houses I’ve just walked past–twice–which proves that I’m up to no good) have called the non-emergency police line, reporting a “suspicious person” wearing medium-gray hospital scrub pants and a blue-purple button-down shirt that’s missing its lower buttons.

New Fashion Low; it’s like a race to the floor, with me.

I’m writing because I’m restless, and I reckon at this point, y’all get to be restless with me. 😉

I also want to tell you how my day went! 🙂

I started my day with one kretek in the morning (boo), and then a little later, before we left for work, I went walking (yay!).  It wasn’t much, about 12(?) minutes’ worth around the apartment complex with my ear-budded music player.

I coughed a little more than average throughout the day.  I guess I’m getting some gunk out.  It didn’t help that I swallowed some water (very) wrong because I forgot to concentrate on swallowing.  I know it’s supposed to be automatic, but sometimes it’s only semi-automatic for me.

I didn’t crave any extra food or anything today like they said you do when you’re going smoke-free.  I did drink my fruit and vegetable smoothie (yay!)  I’ve decided that if/when I feel any cravings, I’ll get out an exercise instead of reaching for a snack.

I started taking a bunch of the supplements I had laid out in the plan on my mobile’s Notes app (yay!).  One of them was Vitamin B.  Talk about a little extra zip!  (OK–a little more than a little.)  I felt restless, so I got up and walked around the office, never leaving the suite.  I even steadied myself with my hand against a wall and did leg raises to waist-height; I haven’t done that in forever!  And I did 20 on each side (lots of yays!).

I was actually hungry for lunch, too (three cheers for normal physiological reflexes!).

And then…as lunch was drawing to a close… the histamine barged in, uninvited and unwanted.  I had no choice but to make a trip outside and desert the No Kretek Zone for a while (boo).  I was pissed (off), because after that one in the morning, I had been doing pretty good at abstaining, and with hardly any abstention symptoms, too (yay!).

It took one and a half to calm my immune system down and show it who was boss (boo).  Within 20, maybe 25 minutes, I immediately remembered exactly why I had started such a hare-brained habit in the first place: histamine attacks and the misery they brought.

Big Boo.

Not exactly encouraging when you’re trying to see how few you can get by with.  The fact remains that I still need some kind of histamine control.  I had to have been suffering pretty intensely and pretty often to even allow myself to get tangled up in something like kreteks, and I don’t want to, can’t afford to, and will not go back to, suffering like that again.  But if not kreteks, then what?  What other magic wand will chase away the histamine, preferably without making me drowsy and taking my brain out of the game for the rest of the day?

My partner thinks he may have an answer (yay?).  My body and its nature frustrate both of us to no end, because it doesn’t follow any rules, or fit into any nice, neat patterns.  He believes that my issues are seated far too deeply to access with garden-variety interventions, and I think he’s right, because I have stumped every single healthcare provider I’ve ever had, regardless of specialty, training, or experience.

Rather than using that explanation as an excuse to give up and tell me to deal with it, however, he’s rising to the challenge, in a quiet, no-frills, and uncharacteristic way (yay!).  He read six chapters from some way-advanced reference text over the weekend, to add to the gradually-growing arsenal of herbal formulas he has chosen for me.

I started them, too (yay!).

Screw the system of baby-steps I had planned out; I’m still going to take some baby steps, but not divvied up the same way.  It’s as if you’re cutting a pizza and you’ve decided you’re going to cut it one way, but then you realize that’s not doing any good–cutting it a different way would make more sense.

I learned something today: that it takes eight hours after every one of my kreteks for the oxygen levels to come back up, so this stopping slowly/gradually bit is not going to work.  I’m going to have to go cold turkey.

I’ve just started shoveling supplements into myself.  Today I’ve taken two capsules of each of my partner’s three or four Chinese Medicine formulas, three of each of my B-Complex, Vitamin C, and detox formulas.

My brain doesn’t feel any more alert that I can tell (boo), but my body sure does (yay!).  I haven’t been perfect today, but the important part is that I’m showing myself what my daily routine will look like, and I’m convincing myself that I’ll be just fine, even in the No Kretek Zone.  You could say I’m practicing to live in that zone for good.  Kind of like practicing for the real game.  (I only have two kreteks left.)

I’ve been walking this whole time (about an hour), instead of sitting and kreteking.  I guess “practice” went fairly well today, then, eh? 😉

PS: the intro to this article is (soon-to-be-was) me.

And here’s an actual picture from my walk, of the flowers in the featured image.  Calledcaesalpinia pulcherrima, they’re a beautiful drought-resistant shrub found from Texas to Arizona, and probably other places as well.  🙂

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