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A Piece of My Mind
May 28, 2014


Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
JAMA. 2014;311(20):2069. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.3270

The two reasons why I dreaded my monthly house call to a tiny old man with big round glasses were loud and furry.

The angry barking and frantic scraping of claws began even before I’d pressed the doorbell. Once, the larger dog—a scruffy, overgrown terrier—snapped his jaws at my legs. I panicked, shoved my doctor’s bag between us, and slammed the door. After that, my patient’s daughter herded the dogs—the yappers, I called them—to another room where a sliding glass door muffled their braying, and I could listen to the old man’s raspy breaths and trim his rough toenails in peace.

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