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A Piece of My Mind
May 13, 2009

Beyond the Numbers

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2009;301(18):1860. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.638

They are largely forgotten. They sit forlornly at the end of the body, usually housed in cotton and leather and bathed in a distinctive aroma. Toenails. They are often unsightly and decidedly unglamorous. For that very reason, I think, toenail care can really make a patient feel loved.

Wanda (not her real name) is a lovable 85-year-old woman who has diabetes, hypertension, sassy wit, and charm to spare. She is as independent as they come. In her time, she raised six foster children, but now she lives alone in an apartment building. She has lots of concerned neighbors who want to check on her and help with the upkeep of her place, but, as she told me with a twinkle in her eye, “I tell ’em no because I don't need them nosing around my home.”