It was, according to Cormac Ó hEadhra, a nadir of radio and medical discussions. What prompted this claim of a new low for the national airwaves? Bringing your phone with you into the toilet.
Well, our phones go with us everywhere, don't they? So why not the bathroom as well? One reason, GP Dr Nina Byrnes told Sarah McInerney, is that the bathroom isn’t a very hygienic place to be bringing items that you hold up to your face into:
"I think there was a study a few years ago that talked about the germ cloud that happens when you flush your toilet and even suggested that keeping your toothbrush there wasn’t a great idea."
The thought of an invisible plume of germs from the toilet settling in and around your toothbrush is really quite unpleasant.
But that isn’t even the reason we shouldn’t bring our phones with us when we’re going to the toilet, according to Dr Byrnes:
"Sitting for prolonged periods or straining to pass a bowel motion is actually not good."
Ah, says Sarah, but what about all the people – particularly parents of young children – who say that the trip to the bathroom is the only time they manage to get some peace to look at their phone? Nina is not moved:
"I think you need to look maybe at where you can find your peace. And I do get it, although I used to always argue in our house that as soon as I went to the bathroom someone would come looking for me and I’ve spoken to many parents who say the same."
Look, Nina says, the fact is that sitting for long periods is not good for us. We've known this for some time. The specifics of sitting on the toilet and scrolling through the latest Gardiner Brothers clips on TikTok while, well, going to the toilet, could mean bad news for you and your bowels:
"Sitting on a toilet and straining at stool is not good for your bowels, to be very medical about it."
This is where Cormac jumped in to wonder if this was actually happening. But it’s all old hat for Nina:
"People spend a lot of the time talking about their bowel motions and actually haemorrhoids are something that we see incredibly commonly and so actually in that conversation you do talk about not sitting for too long on the toilet and straining at stool. So, you know, I have long conversations about bowel motions with people."
If you were doing it properly, Nina says, you shouldn’t have time to be checking in on your favourite influencer:
"Your body tells you what to do and you should listen to it. And usually a proper bowel motion, you should go in and be done and be out, there should be no sitting around there for a whole load of reasons. And life should be better than that."
Ouch. Put down that phone. Just don’t put it down near the toilet because, you know, the plumes. Maybe, just maybe, rather than being the nadir of medical discussions on the radio, perhaps this conversation was the beginning of a more open, mature and useful radio universe? Or perhaps Cormac was right.
Listen to the entire conversation above and see if you can get to the bottom of it (sorry).