The other day I was reading a post on a blog called French Word-a-Day. Kristin Espinasse, who writes it, was talking about an incident where her child was sick. Her French friend was present and there was a certain uncertainty about the “correct” way to take her child’s temperature. Kristin was using one of the new mercury-free stick thermometers, after a digital ear thermometer had already failed her.
I am totally bewildered by thermometers! Even after trying umpteen varieties and brands over the soon to be 12 years I’ve been parenting.
First I tried a digital thermometer “stick” that could be used rectally, orally or under the arm. Now, to me, using a thermometer rectally sounds like a torture device. I’ve only been able to get myself to do that when my child was much younger and feeling very hot. I took a rectal temperature one time. My son was feeling so lousy. I have to say that it wasn’t making him feel any better taking his temperature that way. He got hysterical crying, so I decided that was a bad idea. Wouldn’t that make his temperature rise more? So I got rid of that one.
Next I tried the digital ones that go in the ear. That doesn’t seem too unpleasant.
They seem to work in the beginning. Though you’re supposed to insert them at some weird angle pointing to the front of the opposite ear. The mind takes some time wrapping around those instructions. Once I figured out how to use it, it actually seemed to work for a while. Eventually though, it starting reading temperatures that were always off the charts.
The next one I tried to use under the arm. It kept beeping at me at odd times, which made me think it wasn’t working. What’s more, you’re supposed to add a certain number of degrees to the result, and I could never remember what that number was.
Of course in the middle of all this, whenever I’d take my kids to the doctor, the nurse would ask for a temperature. Sorry, I don’t have one, my thermometer broke! Sorry, I don’t have one, it kept beeping at me weirdly. Sorry, the dog ate my thermometer!
Of course, the nurse always looks at me like I’m nuts!
Finally, I decided to buy an expensive ear thermometer again. It worked beautifully for about a month. What a blissful month that was! Until it broke.
Next I decided I should try the old fashioned way – mercury. Just like Mom used to do! But it turns out that they no longer sell mercury. It’s a hazard to the environment.
So I decided to try the non-mercury variety stick thermometer. It worked once and after that it consistently read 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Even after I ran it under cold water for 5 minutes!
I’m starting to give up on taking temperatures again. As Kristin said, as a mother you can pretty much tell when your kid is sick by feeling his or her forehead with the back of your hand.
Of course, my kid’s doctor doesn’t agree with this and he wants the hard scientific facts. What’s your kid’s temperature?
I sort of slink down, and come up with another lame excuse as to why I don’t have an actual number – my kid’s been warmish for a couple of days…
So if there’s anyone out there who has good thermometer advice, please feel free to comment below. Then maybe I (and who knows how many countless other parents) won’t have to suffer the nurse and doctor’s disapproving glances anymore!
This article was posted on Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 at 10:26 pm and is filed under Language Sites, Mama Lisa, Parenting, Recommendations, Sites about Childhood, Thermometers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
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