I have been surviving for nearly ten days now without my taste buds and sense of smell. This bout of something that I have contracted is quite strange in that it came, stayed a few days, appeared to be leaving and then changed its mind last Friday, unpacked all its bags again and decided to take up what seems like permanent residence. It’s got all the hallmarks of a bad cold and chest infection first thing in the morning but then morphs into a flu like ache-y-ness and tickly cough during the day. When I cough, pain soars through my skull and the cold sweat that now seems to be my normal state of temperature is just downright uncomfortable.

I am trying my usual course of action; work my way through it while self medicating on any over-the-counter drugs I can get my hands on, along with hot whiskeys. At this stage in the game I’m not sure if I’m suffering from just plain alcoholic poisoning or if I am genuinely ill. My handbag is like a small chemists with everything from tissues, sachets of Lemsip, Strepsils and bottles of Benilyn. The sensible thing to do would be to go to a doctor but I keep telling myself that “tomorrow it will be gone”. I am trying really hard to remember the last time I was in a doctor’s waiting room and it is evading me completely.

However while I waited for the Bank Holiday weekend to pass and the normal doctor’s surgery hours to kick in again, I turned to the internet (that thoroughly unreliable encyclopedia of medical help that makes us all think we are qualified physicians), typed in a few symptoms and I got a diagnosis. In fact if you want to throw caution to the wind completely, you can, with a little more dedication, illegally buy the prescription drugs that you have prescribed yourself. I stop short at the diagnosis in the full knowledge that anyone who only relies on the internet for medical information is completely mad. However my digging around about health produced some fairly hilarious sites and information and if nothing else, having a good laugh cheered me up immensely.

One site suggested that flus and colds could be helped by properly detoxing the body. It suggested that one of the quickest ways of detoxing was colonic irrigation. This is the procedure whereby the colon is washed of all its deposits that, apparently, could have been stuck there for years. Devotees claim instant results of feeling lighter, losing several pounds in weight and generally feeling better. I’ve seen the procedure on TV and have often thought about it from a weight loss perspective but have remained a little squeamish at the idea of someone inserting a small tube into the rectum in order to wash out the colon.

That’s when I happened upon the home colonic irrigation kit! On the internet you can actually buy all the gear to do this yourself. Check it out, complete with pictures on pinkboard.co.uk. According to the blurb “For health and beauty, constipation, stamina, strength and longevity. British made unit for easy, safe effective colon cleansing. Myriad of benefits for chronic ailments and as an effective preventative. Removes toxicity and clears clogged colons to prevent autointoxication.

Helps remove the 7-21 pounds of hard impacted waste we all carry. Helps in losing weight, fatigue, bowel conditions, rejuvenation, clearer skin, sinus problems, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhoea, common cold, flu, arthritis, skin wrinkles, bloating, hypo tension, hypertension, health and fitness. Save money, will have paid for itself after four sessions, safely, easily in the comfort of your home. You will be surprised at what comes out of you; essential for change of diets, lifestyle changes, health regimes and regular cleansing of your disposal system”.

You have to love that line, “you will be surprised at what comes out of you”, but surely not half as surprised as your family will be when they see the contraption you have set up in the bathroom. The home colonic irrigation kit comes with a bed like board that you place over the toilet bowl and the other end on a chair. You then lie on the board and hook yourself up to 3 to 4 gallons of lukewarm water held in a large container that must be placed above you (I assume this is gravity based). Balance it on anything from a laundry basked to a stool – it’s just so easy! For the next 40 to 60 minutes you just lie there massaging your stomach and ‘naturally eliminate everything’. Just like self-medicating on the internet surely washing the colon, an internal organ, is a procedure that should only be carried out by a qualified person. Isn’t it dangerous to go inserting water tubes into yourself, never mind the inconvenience of tying the family bathroom up for over an hour?

I moved swiftly on deciding not to bother ordering a pink board. I then found an article on ‘well-dying’. This had nothing to do with the flu, necessarily, but it is a new therapy being pioneered in South Korea. Basically it is a mock funeral where you can read your own will, get nailed into a coffin and pay around €200 for the experience. Customers in the South Korea ‘well-dying’ centre are brought into a room and dressed in traditional funeral robes. They are then placed in caskets which are nailed down for about fifteen minutes and earth is sprinkled on the top while funeral music is played loudly. These mock funerals are intended as a cathartic experience, “enabling people to map out a better future by reflecting on their pasts, futures, lives and deaths”, according to the organisers. Apparently you feel very differently about life after this near death experience. Some corporations believe the service may improve their staff’s performance. Electronics giant, Samsung, has reportedly sent 900 workers from one of its factories for the therapy. For most of us work in itself can be a deathly experience so why you’d need to do this I don’t know.

Anyway, I eventually found the difference between a cold and the flu and now I’m not sure what I have. I just know I’m sick and I had better go and see a doctor before I become totally addicted to the intoxicating effects of a shot of Benilyn with a whiskey chaser. I just pray that the doctor doesn’t suggest a home colonic irrigation kit as the answer to my problems.