Gary Tetz

Well, it looks like I’ll be seeing some of you sooner than expected. A new study, reported by McKnight’s, suggests that the average American has a 60% greater risk of someday needing skilled nursing care than previously thought.

Except for being half Canadian, I’m a fairly average American. So you might as well gather your facility staff, blunt the bad news with doughnuts, and start preparing for my impending arrival.

Fair warning: Having me around won’t be easy. I’ve lived with me my entire life, and, frankly, it’s been no picnic. But because I’m a Boomer with strong feelings of entitlement, I suggest you just smile and meet my demands. These include:

My own room. As a shy person, I’ve always had difficulty sleeping with strangers. This is likely to continue.

Kombucha and organic almond milk. Because I live in Oregon, I’m required by law to be insufferably quirky and unreasonable.

My own music, played loud. It will either be Tchaikovsky or Rob Zombie, depending on my mood. I won’t want ear buds either, because it’s not the same.

A safe place for my sleep disorder. I’ll need to wander the building, bleary-eyed, in the middle of the night, eat a 2 a.m. bowl of breakfast cereal, and then finally fall asleep on a lobby couch while watching reruns of “Walker: Texas Ranger.”

Peace and quiet. No bursting in suddenly, or loud talking in the hall. I’ll be trying to sleep, because I was up half the night watching “Walker: Texas Ranger.”

I know, I know. You probably won’t be able to provide all, or maybe any, of those things. So when I show up at your skilled nursing facility, my sense of loss and restriction will be overwhelming, and I’ll probably be a little unpleasant to deal with.

Understand, my whole world will be upside down, even if I can’t adequately communicate that. Please don’t take it personally.