Susan Morrison: online advice is gobbledygoogle

Searching the internet to find out what's wrong with you can be extremely misleading. Picture: Reuters
Searching the internet to find out what's wrong with you can be extremely misleading. Picture: Reuters
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So, the foot just sort of stopped working. I put it down on the bedroom floor and made to spring forward to greet the day, all vim and vigour, but as I say, the right foot decided it didn’t want to co-operate. It also hurt. A lot.

Now, I tend to regard illness as a bit of a nuisance, and certainly nothing to write home about. It’s a hangover of being a child of that generation that held little stock with the idea of being ill. We left that sort of thing to the whimsical effetes who had access to chaise-longues and lap dogs and came over all vaporous at the least sign of a sniffle.

The women in my family were tough. Both my mum and my great auntie Suzie held firmly to the view that there were few things in life that could not be cured by hot sweet tea, chicken soup, and in dire emergences, a short lie down.

Auld Suzie was a tough wee sparrow. Her rude good health held up nicely until the week before she left us. As she was wheeled into the ward in Dunoon General Hospital, a room she knew she would never leave, she exclaimed ‘Och, look at this! This is so nice! A wee nap and I’ll be grand”.

A wee ten minutes was her ultimate cure for everything.

I’m a bit of a wuzz. I favour the more extreme measure of thirty minutes. In fact, the Yorkshire husband has said he’ll have the words ‘I’ll be fine in half an hour’ engraved on my tombstone.

So, when bits of me stop playing the game and working properly, I tend to ignore it until it either goes away or falls off. Two years ago I tried to ignore a broken ankle until it was finally x-rayed and I was officially diagnosed as a ‘twit’ by the caring nurses at the Western. It was the same side, as a matter of fact, the right.

Anyway, it hurt like billy-oh. What could it be? I did what any sensible person would do when faced with a strange sore bit that you just can’t ignore any more. I went on line. Within five minutes I decided I either had gout, on the basis of a description on a website about gout, or a rare syndrome caused by a tick bite. The only problem was that the tick in question is endemic to the wilder reaches of the Siberian Steppes, and is a particular pest for nomadic herdsmen.

A quick phone call with the only person I know with gout ruled that out, so that meant the tick. The symptoms are faintly worrying. They include pain in the infected foot (check), shortened temper (difficult to judge, that one,) and I can expect to stop giving milk in the next few weeks. Oh, and I’ll probably stop breeding, start bellowing uncontrollably and the loss of fur around the infected area could cause chaffing.

It’s tough, being a tick-struck yak.

Wincarnis was perfect tonic for my Great Aunt

My Great auntie Suzie’s remarkable health well into old age was probably down to her incredibly cheery personality, her refusal to believe in being ill, and she also set great store by the restorative properties of Wincarnis Tonic Wine.

Scarcely a day passed without her rigorous adherence to the stern injunction to drink one full glass, three times a day. Actually the instructions on the back stated it should be one tablespoon, in a glass of hot water three times a day – but the print was very small and her eyes were not what they were, she said.

Suzie had survived two world wars and getting chucked out of the Panopticon Music Hall in Glasgow for spitting cherry stones at the trombone player – so who was going to argue with her?

Catherine’s my body double

Re the nude celebrity photo scandal. You will all be relieved to know that my own archive of images taken whilst unclothed are safely beyond the reach of internet hackers and the Daily Mail. They reside in perfect security in the box in my mum’s wardrobe and apparently feature me and my nappy.

So, be warned. Should anyone offer you images claiming to be of me, please check.

It could be Catherine Zeta Jones, to whom I bear an uncanny resemblance in certain lights, if she’d suddenly got 2ft shorter, four stone heavier and was standing at the bottom of a particularly dark mine.

It’s better not to know

That’s the problem with Dr Google. Life was a lot simpler when we didn’t really know what was wrong with us. In fact, we had a whole non-medical dictionary for non-specific under-the-weatherness. Children were a bit “hingy”. Old folk were “dyspeptic”. You could be a bit “no’ well”. And the foot? Oh, I suddenly remembered I’d dropped the sofa on it the day before.