Day +4

After some initial qualms, I’ve followed my doctors’ and nurses’ advice and requested a PCA (Patient-Controlled Analgesia) line for my painkiller, Dilaudid. My doctors recommended it as the usual recourse for someone whose mucous membranes have disappeared (as mine seem to have done, hence the ongoing sore throat I talked about yesterday) but what sold me on it was my nurse pointing out that if I controlled my doses I would actually be less likely to doze off every time I needed some. The PCA allows only rather small doses of the drug at a time, so I can tailor those doses to the amount of pain I’m feeling, as opposed to nuking the pain with a manually administered dose that can’t be spread over a longer period. Since I don’t want to be nodding off during the day more than is actually required by fatigue (and there’s plenty of that), this rationale really hit home. This was also a reminder of how amazing my nurses have been at UC Davis Med Center; I have a brilliant oncologist, of course, and he is extremely down-to-earth in his explanations of my lymphoma and how to treat it, but nurses are where the rubber really meets the road: they get to know your values, your personality, and your way of being a patient in a sense that a doctor simply can’t.

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