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A Piece of My Mind
April 23 2008

Thank Goodness for My Ass

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2008;299(16):1879-1880. doi:10.1001/jama.299.16.1879

I am not referring to my backside, although I do have a well-developed gluteus maximus due to my stocky German build and 15 miles of running every week. My ass is Jimmy, a shy miniature donkey who has been the companion of my horse, Indy, on my 20-acre farm for almost four years. Recently Jimmy saved my ass. Please pardon my crass language, but it is the truth.

About 8 o’clock one evening, my cell phone chimed as I was driving home. The local nursing home staff needed help with an elderly gentleman, Mr Olson (not his real name), who had been admitted three days earlier. My partner had given him some furosemide late that afternoon for congestive heart failure, but Mr Olson was still edematous and very short of breath. “The family is upset and wants me to do something,” the nurse reported. “His hemoglobin is four and his potassium is six. Will you talk with the daughter?”