Owing to the resignation, at no notice, of the present incumbent, a situation for a General Factotum has become immediately available. The length of tenure is uncertain but the contract will be on a rolling weekly basis. The role is to support me, Mr Kneedyman, as I recover from a very painful knee replacement operation by undertaking general domestic duties. The duties required of the role can be undertaken outside normal working hours so it does not matter if the applicant is already in full time employment. A typical day will be as follows:
- 0600 – Reveille. Don’t worry about setting the alarm, I will already have been awake for at least 2 hours and will rouse you by shouting down the landing. It wouldn’t surprise me if my groaning and moaning hadn’t kept you awake for most of the night anyway.
- 0610 – Brew. A blend of Earl Grey and Darjeeling, leaf, brewed for exactly 4 minutes. Measure out medication and ensure that it is taken as prescribed.
- 0630 – 0715. Exercise the hound.
- 0720 – 0730. Prepare Breakfast. You should also be prepared to assist should I have an accident in the shower (there is a an increased risk of slipping trying to keep one leg dry whilst soaping up and rinsing).
- 0730 – Dressing. Ensure that a full set of clean clothing (including TED stocking) are laid out and assist with dressing as required.
- 0740 – Breakfast. One bowlful of porridge made with water and organic oats, overlaying a single, peeled and diced kiwi fruit and 75g of blueberries, topped with lashings of agave nectar. Really.
- 0745 – Hound Snack. Feed the hound a single dental chew, accompanied by one large Bonio biscuit. Ensure that water bowl has fresh water and is full. Entertain him briefly.
- 0750 – Physiotherapy Exercises. Oversee my morning exercises ensuring that I complete the necessary number of exercises for the required amount of time. This is not for the squeamish and you should be able to cope with the sight of someone in a significant amount of pain.
- 0810 – First Settling In. Ensure that I am settled in on the sofa with everything that I need until lunchtime. As a minimum this should include medication, a reminder of when to take it, a plentiful supply of ice, plenty to drink and something for Tiffin mid-morning. You should also ensure that the TV is angled towards the sofa and that all remote controls are within arms’ reach. The house phone, mobile phone, and iPad should also be immediately available. This will enable me to end calls immediately from annoying people trying to persuade me to let them, on my behalf, claim back PPI premiums for policies that I have never had and contact you by email, text, or voice as the need arises.
- 0815 – Depart for your Place of Full Time Employment. Should there not be enough time between Reveille and Departure to do the things that you need to do (showering, dressing, blow drying hair, straightening hair, applying makeup, etc), you may need to consider an earlier Reveille. A male assistant should be able to manage the tight morning schedule more easily.
- 1240 Approximately – Arrive Home for Lunch Break. Enquiries after my general health should be made whilst ensuring that I have taken the correct medication at the correct time and nagging me if I have omitted to take them at the correct time or at all. You should also replenish the supply of ice whilst sympathising with my pain and general plight.
- 1245 – Prepare Luncheon. I am not in a fit enough state to make decisions regarding my diet and, although fresh chicken soup and dried toast are preferred, the daily menu choices will be left to you. You should consider that I need to reduce my BMI and this will be challenging as I am largely immobile and inactive.
- 1255 – Luncheon Served. Having served luncheon, you should let the hound out to the rear of the house and clear up any doggie doo from lawns. Wash hands before collecting dirty luncheon dishes.
- 1315 – Second Settling In. As for First Settling In
- 1320 – Return to Work. It is recommended that you park outside your office and not in the town centre car park. This will ensure that, in the event of an emergency, you are able to get home as quickly as possible. You should ensure that your work colleagues understand the necessity of this and induce sufficient guilt in them that they will park elsewhere, leaving a space free for you at all times. You could get to work earlier of course but this would mean that you would be unable to meet my needs.
- 1730 – Leave Work.
- 1740 – 1830 – Arrive Home. This time may vary as I will, on occasion, require you to pick up a few things from the supermarket or pharmacy. These will be in addition to the shopping lists that you will have already drawn up when designing the weekly menu. It is expected that you will do the main grocery shop during the weekend.
- 1830 At the Very Latest. Arrive home, enquire about my general state of health, ensure medication has been taken, replenish ice, offer soothing words to ease my discomfort. This should take place at the same time as switching on the lights and drawing the curtains.
- 1840 – 1930 – Prepare Dinner. Whilst preparing dinner the hound should be let onto the rear lawns. You should also aim to feed the hound by 1900. His food consists of boiled rice, cooked egg, and fresh chicken, overlaying a small handful of kibble. This can be made in 3 day batches and sound planning is required to ensure that cooking the hound’s dinner does not delay my dinner.
- 1930 – Serve Dinner. This should be served on a tray in the lounge so I don’t have to suffer the pain of standing up and sitting at a table. Extra cushions will be required to prevent food spilling all down my front, creating additional washing for you. You may join me in the lounge for a full update on my condition and the progress of my recovery.
- 2000 – 2200. Administration. This period of free time should be used for general administrative activities such as washing up, cleaning, washing laundry, ironing, preparing my clothes for the next day, menu planning, preparation of shopping lists, checking amount of remaining medication (it is in your own interests to ensure that I have an adequate supply of pain killers), and liaising with my mother to plan who is going to get me to and from my thrice weekly physiotherapy sessions. Mother only has Flower Club once a week, on Tuesday, so don’t believe her if she cites it as a reason for not being able to take me or pick me up. Physio is on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. She is retired and has nothing else to do except provide cover when absolutely essential. As the telephone is free to other land lines during this period, you will be permitted to call members of your family and whatever friends you have left.
- 2200 – Preparation for Retirement. You should ensure that the bedside lamp is illuminated, the bed covers are turned back in such a way as to allow the easy facilitation of getting my poorly knee into bed, my medication is easily to hand and I have a list of what to take and at what time throughout the night, that I have a fresh jug of water and a clean glass on the bedside table. I will also require a plentiful supply of ice in a drip and leak proof format (the last incumbent had a problem in this regard) and my iPad must be fully charged and to hand so that I can do The Times Soduku puzzles and crosswords in the small hours before Reveille.
- 2215 – Retirement. I retire at 2215 each night and you will need to ensure that I am settled in bed and comfortable before:
- 2220 – Exercise the Hound. This is a shorter duration exercise than the morning exercise and the hound will need no longer than 30 minutes exercise.
- 2300 – Hot Chocolate. I will require a mug (250ml) of Green and Black’s Finest Drinking Chocolate before settling down to sleep. You may join me before going to your own bedroom.
- 2315 – Lights Out. Prior to going to bed and before Lights Out you should ensure that the hound has a plentiful supply of water and is bedded down. I will try to ensure that the clanking of my walking sticks does not wake you if I need to venture to the bathroom during the night but this cannot be guaranteed.
The above provides specific tasks but other duties include: being on a moment’s notice to leave work (leaving your colleagues to do your work) in the event of a emergency or crisis (there have been two to date); being at my beck and call whether at work or at home; humouring me; toenail cutting (a high degree of affection for me is required for this task); endless nagging to ensure that I am managing my medication properly and doing my exercises (I have been a good boy to date and have only overdosed once, the latter leading to a brief state of euphoria and the best night’s sleep to date); driving me to and from physiotherapy sessions during the working day (your employer will probably require you to make up the lost time); driving around the countryside at my whim to collect things that I think I might need.
The applicant should demonstrate a sense of humour, the ability to plan , a high degree of initiative, endless patience, and boundless energy.
Renumeration: None, just the satisfaction of looking after someone and knowing that you have helped them recover after major surgery. You can expect a pretty special and expensive Christmas pressie, however.
Assistance: In addition to occasional support from my mother, the hound has been known to help. The picture below shows that his intention was well meant but that the execution was wanting. Not what you want to see at 5am when you can’t get up to go to the loo. I can report that it was unused at the time the picture was taken.
My recovery has not been plain sailing and I have had a couple of setbacks caused by pain killers but I will cover that in another blog. The drug in question is also the reason that I have not been blogging at all of late and, now that it is all out of my system, I shall be blogging more regularly.
I have no doubt that I would not have got through the last few weeks without The Unfeeling One’s care and ministrations: her stamina and patience have been severely tested and she has come through unscathed. I may have appeared to have been giving her a bad press in my previous blogs, so I have decided to change her moniker to ‘The Very Feeling One’. I am older than the Very Feeling One and, as you know, I am very young: this means she is a mere babe in arms. As a result, she is very fit and healthy and has been able to do all the everyday things for me that I couldn’t do and which we normally do without thinking. How she has stuck it out, I am not sure. Needless to say, she hasn’t resigned but she did move into the spare bedroom pretty smartly. Her reward is a place reserved for her in heaven and, more materially, a very expensive Christmas present. She had better like it. It is a serious point however. With the average age of a knee replacement patient being 70 years old, post operative care is something that needs to be carefully planned long before surgery takes place: you will be totally dependent on other people for at least 2 to 3 weeks and those people need to be fit and healthy. I had totally unrealistic expectations about how quickly I would be up and about and, 3 weeks after discharge, I have yet to make it back to work. Some of this is due to medication rather than my knee, but plans need to include some contingency.
Hopefully, another blog tomorrow in which I will describe the Very Feeling One’s attempts to achieve the perfect leak free ice pack (it took a few modifications from the original prototype to get there: patent pending) and my electric shock therapy at the hands of a physiotherapist. They are not nice people. Please spread the word that I am now up and about and blogging again.
PS. Just had a phone call from Number One son to let me know he is home from University tomorrow and can I come to Birmingham to pick him up. Do they ever listen to anything you say? Now he has realised that I can’t cook and clean up after him, I suspect his enthusiasm for coming home has taken a severe dip.