Seedy Underbelly of Thermometers

My kids are still pretty small and oftentimes... inarticulate. On any given day, the only warning I get that someone might be ill is a dramatic proclamation of "I siiiiick" and a slight, yet totally rehearsed, flop onto a cushioned surface. Squirt is especially guilty of this little production. Any further attempts at finding the exact cause of the ailment, or any actual symptoms is a choreographed rain dance... that produces no rain. Either I get the "I siiiiick,"or my perma-cold hands falsely accuse the baby of coming down with the plague.

So getting the exact temperature of my children- it's pretty important to me. Because a lot of times the "I siiiick" cry is more fueled by a desire to lay on the couch with a special blanket, watching unlimited hours of TV, and being waited on hand and foot (who wouldn't want to do that all day?) than actually being sick.

It seems as though the science of taking a child's temperature has changed drastically in recent years. And I'm not sure if it's for the better. You see, I have thermometer drama.

There is, first and foremost, the rectal thermometer. Say that to yourself again- rectal thermometer. I don't do rectal thermometers. I have effectively convinced myself that I would surely puncture my baby's spleen if I even tried poking that long pointy device into my child's... um, hindquarters. I'm guessing a punctured spleen is worse than knowing whether or not the kid has a fever. So no. No to the rectal thermometer. I am confident that my children will thank me someday for that. (You'd better thank me, dear children!)

Then we had the laser ear thermometer. (Ooooh, lasers!) It was simple, there are snappy little covers to keep icky ear gunk out of foreign ears. (I'm all about the cool details) One press, wait for the beep, and voila! Your core temperature!  This guy has been my best friend:

The only problem is that it really isn't for kids; It barely fits into my freakishly small ear canals. (Sadly, I have passed down that gene to my poor progeny- freakishly tiny ear canals for all! Earbuds will be lost on my brood) Anyway, the Thermoscan has been a fixture in our sick arsenal for quite a while. 

When the twins were born, my Mom bequeathed our family with the brand new forehead laser scanner. It seemed like an impossible gadget from the future. Something you'd only see in Dr. Crusher's sick bay of the USS Enterprise. (geeky Star Trek reference)

It was a miracle new technology- and so easy to use, I embraced it with open arms. Just scan across the forehead? One swipe? Really? Anything to save me from the rectal thermometer! However, my excitement over this waned. Every time I called the doctor practically hyperventilating and rambling faster than the human brain can comprehend- mypreciousbundleofjoyhasafever! the nurse always asked if I had gotten a "real" temperature reading. ie: rectal check. Most of the time I hung up on them. Or brought the suspected sickie in- let the nurse do THAT. 
At some point every doctor I have seen in the past couple years, switched from the trusted stick-this-pole-under-your-tongue to the forehead scanner. So I guess their credibility in the medical community has been universally earned? No problem, then... right? 

Wrong! I am enormously skeptcial that the thing works- like, at all. Getting a "fever" reading from the swipe is like finding a pair of identical and completely adorable outfits in the same size... and on clearance. It almost never happens. In fact, when I was feeling icky one day, I scanned myself with the forehead scanner- 96.5. Um, I'm pretty sure the body needs to be hovering somewhere in the vicinity of 98.5? Then I used the stuff-in-your-ear-reader- 102. Which device do I believe?! I went to the doctor, and she used the forehead scanner on me! "Well, you don't have a fever." She concluded. I argued my case about the flighty forehead scanner. She then asked me if I was using it right. USING IT RIGHT? How could you use it wrong?! (Did I have radical lobotomy that I forgot about? Someone please tell me! Cause I thought I was a smartypants college graduate! Perhaps I'm typing this from a padded cell? If so- I must be pretty smart to manage a blog and a straight jacket simultaneously- harumph)

I want the under the tongue stick, back! Those actually WORKED! (however the ones I buy from Target don't seem to do the job either- this is likely the reason they cost two dollars... or less than a Diet Coke) I want the big roll around thermometer the doctors used to believe in. I still believe in them.

I am a total spaz when it comes to fevers. They're kind of a big deal! Like a big banner from your body that proclaims "Dude! Something is Wrong Here!" (in big, sparkly letters) Perhaps accompanied by a waving inflatable arm flailing tube man... just to drive the point home. 

Soooo... with my Mom being fully aware of how crazy I am about temperature taking and proper procedure, she brought me this:

The groundbreaking fever reading technology of the 80's. The same power was first discovered and used in the wildly popular trinketry of the mood ring. However, it was science of the time of parachute pants and Alf that harnessed its true potential.

Where else would one find such an archaic- yet awesome device- sold as new in the packaging? Utah, of course! (Utah, why so many Bump Its?) Why not at least update the packaging, Flents medical products? That kid in the corner is probably 45 by now! The tricky part with these strips are keeping Little Man from ripping them off with a big "pffft!" and crawling away (he's a fast little sucker) in the opposite direction. But still. I'm keeping my handy fever strip at the ready. I trust it way more than the lasers. Besides, it's the same thing my parents used on me when I was a wee one- and I turned out awesomely! pretty good! alright! at least average! Or I'm not aware of the brain damage!

1 comment:

  1. OMG, I thought I was the only thermometer-incompetent mom out here! We have gone through three ear thermometers and a "fast read" (LIE) underarm one and none of them work right. One ear thermometer consistently reads low--like, around 94 degrees, so when it reads 99 does that mean the fever is actually closer to 103? Who knows?? The other ear thermometer seems closer to right, but 60% of the time, I get an error.

    I'm on the hunt for those strips, starting now. And thanks for saving me some money on the temporal scan.