I got smart and called the oncologist's office this morning to ask a nurse if I should continue to stay on the fentanyl patch. She asked good questions:
How long had I been on it already? (2 patches x 3 days each = 6 days)
Did I have any breakthrough pain? (some itching where my hands are healing)
How affected are my hands? (almost every affected area has opened, the dead skin has come off and those areas I've covered with bandaids)
Have I had any side effects? (a little constipation, easily addressed with prune juice)
The nurse's recommendation was to stay on the fentanyl patch for another two weeks to be sure that I have completely recovered and that I have no pain while recovering. To be sure, she is going to check with the oncologist covering for Dr G while he is on vacation and will call me back by the end of the day with whatever the doc recommends.
I'll see Dr G in two weeks anyway and he can supervise my slow reduction off fentanyl.
This was a great customer service experience. The receptionist was able to connect me with a nurse right away and the nurse listened to my concerns. That's one reason why I like my doctor so much -- he hires good people!