As all men know, time marches on. Although I do not consider myself old, I realize that somewhere down the line I may be faced with the prospect placement in a nursing home or as more fashionably titled these days, an assisted living home. As far as I am concerned, they can call them an assisted dying facility. Recognizing this could occur is disturbing especially when I consider choices that might be made by the 9-year-old princess girl and 7-year-old hurricane boy. I can almost hear the conversation now. Princess, “Hurricane, I think we need to put daddy in a nursing home. I really liked Heavenly Acres Gentle Care Facility.”
“Didn’t that place cost almost $6,000 a month?” asked Hurricane. “What about It’s the End of the Road Nursing Home? It only costs $1,500 per month and it guarantees that the elderly will enjoy life like they were children.”
“Well, they guarantee it will be like returning to Boy Scout Camp. You’ll be living in a tent and eating out of a can,” says the Princess. “Well, Dad always did enjoy the outdoors. I vote for the End of the Road.”
Given that the inevitable may occur at some point, let me please make a few statements while my mind is still arguably sound. Once placed in such a facility, I do not wish to be placed in a contest to see who wins the weekly, monthly, or yearly award for best silly hat. I am not particularly found of hats and as I reach my golden years, I do not foresee any great entertainment value from sporting a cap with propellers or with a saying such as “I’m not bald, I am a solar panel for a sex machine.”
I also do not wish to be crowned Nursing Home King. The last time I was interested in such a contest, I was in the second grade and lost out for Halloween Carnival King. I did not win then, and I doubt I would win now. More importantly, I do not wish to have my picture placed in the paper with a crown on my head announcing that I am the King of I’m Almost Dead Nursing Home.
I am not interested in being enrolled in any painting and art classes. I did not like art in the first grade. I haven’t drawn anything of note in my entire life. I recognize I will not be playing one on one basketball games at the nursing home. That does not, however, mean that I have decided to become Grandma Moses in my remaining few years. If I want some artwork, I’ll do what everyone else does that is interested in artwork and buy it.
If you come to visit me, I understand if you need to leave in a few minutes or do not wish to stay for a long period of time. Please do not make some elaborate excuse when it is time to go. I do not need to hear that you hate to leave but ... Johnny’s got a ball game tomorrow, or I’ve got to work on a project for work tomorrow. Just say I enjoyed the visit and leave. Just because I’m stuffed away does not mean I have forgotten all the visits I made to see people in similar circumstances and the fact that someone always made up a crummy excuse for leaving.
If I am the last one standing, don’t try to fix me up with some old woman down the hall who has already buried two husbands. I didn’t need fixing up with somebody when I was young and I don’t need it now.
Finally, if I become senile and no longer know what’s going on, please bring me the tape from the Auburn/Alabama game of 2010. Tell me the ball game is about to start, put a cold beer on the table beside my chair and let me enjoy the game. Instruct the nurse to bring the game every morning thereafter and I’ll be able to go out with every day being a great victory for Auburn. Thank you for your consideration of these requests. Love, Me, in 30 years.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.