Can there be such a thing as a funny nursing home story? For the most part, nursing homes are tragic and heart-wrenching places that remind us all too painfully of our own likely fate.

But if there is such a funny story, it happened yesterday. I was at a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility, waiting at the reception desk for the Director of Care to meet with me. There was an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair next to me, an obvious stroke patient with the characteristic contracted fists and rigid facial expression typical of the condition. He had a bag of chips in his lap and was struggling to get a chip gingerly into his mouth with his contracted hand.

A young nurse came up to him and yelled, “Mr. Smith (not his real name), you shouldn’t be eating those….they’re not good for you!”. He looked up at het guiltily and mumbled defensively in his slurred voice, “They’re baked”.

I wanted to laugh out loud at the sheer lunacy of this exchange. The man’s at death’s door and the forces of Nutritionism are still trying to make him feel guilty for enjoying a small pleasure.

Like the old joke goes: I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep at 90 years old; not like the screaming passengers  in his car at the time!

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