A poofy job

Have pity on those of us whose labour of love is Health24.

There’s a lot to love about working here, but there’s a lot to be frightened of, too.

Like the annual health calendar.

I’m a fan of the health calendar. Without it, we’d probably forget to give proper thought and care to those health issues that are forgettable until something goes wrong. Like sun awareness: that’s a drag... until you get malignant melanoma. Or World Glaucoma Day (tomorrow, by the way)... glaucoma is very likely something that’s waiting for you further down the track, and I bet you’d never thought about that.

However, March contains one of our more challenging health calendar details of the year: it’s Diarrhoeal Disease Focus Month.

For stand-up comedians, what goes down the loo is a compelling subject. The rest of us don’t really talk about it too much. But that doesn’t mean we at Health24 can ignore Diarrhoeal Disease Focus Month. Oh no.

I’ve just tried to raise it in a meeting, and was told sternly: ‘No botty talk!’ But what is one to do? Botty talk is important talk. The cholera epidemic has a lot to do with botty. And, for instance: half those who rode the recent Sani2C mountain bike race had to talk botty when they cross-infected one another with shigella enteritis. If they’d been less coy and spoken up earlier, perhaps many might have got away without catching the runs, thus compromising their rides.

I think we need to take our lead from those northern Europeans who take such fervent interest in their bowel movements that they build a special shelf in their toilet bowls, all the better to display the product of their bowels before flushing. Because, of course, there’s quite a lot your poo tells you.

Go on. I challenge you. Find it in yourself to think botty stuff this month, and to learn about this most regular of reminders of our general state of health. And when you can talk about gas without giggling, I’ll know you’re ready for the next challenge: Continence Awareness Month in September. 

 (Heather Parker, Health24, March 2009)

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