Sunday, June 12, 2011

Alarmist Thermometer

Already sick?
Some thermometers are guaranteed to make you feel worse!

I’m ill. In typical invincible style, I pretended that wasn’t the case until Friday night when I shook with chills. I checked the house thermostat and nobody had lowered the temp from my cheapskate 81 degrees, so I knew something was up. I kind of already knew something was up, but I ignored and explained away my symptoms. I ached all over, but did yoga the two previous days and figured I was sore because I been away from my stretching routines for too long. I had an awful headache, but figured that was because I had been out with my sister all day Friday and didn’t have much caffeine. I kept moving, closing, and changing the air conditioning vents in my sister’s truck because I was cold, but chalked that up to her preference for a cooler ride.
Trembling with chills as soon as I walked inside at the end of the day, I could no longer rationalize my symptoms and instead added them up to some sort of virus attacking me. I went to bed. I’ve been in bed since Friday night and will likely stay here, with my hot tea, my cool drinks, my card deck, and the TV. I read a book yesterday, but I’m bored with reading, especially because my concentration level, in opposition to my body temperature, keeps getting lower and lower. TV doesn’t appeal to me. I have Steven Pressfield’s books, The War of Art ( and Do the Work (, hidden beneath a pile of pillows, but am avoiding them because I know that not having the energy to fight the Resistance and Do the Work will frustrate me.
About the only thing that provokes much of a response in my fever-addled brain is my thermometer. It’s digital and I have no idea what brand. It’s the standard beep-when-done model, except with a twist. If your body temperature is within a degree of normal, normal being 98.6, you hear a beep, beep, beep tone when your maximum temperature is reached. A fever, however, provokes a much different response: The sound is a few decibels higher and it shrieks Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! It’s unnerving. It’s like the thermometer is yelling, “You’re really sick now! You have a FEVER! Get out the Tylenol, Advil, aspirin, Aleve, and take something quick! Subtle it is not. Like I need to get more riled up about being sick. With some trepidation, I remove the thermometer and check it. Thus far, it’s gone only as high as 101.6, so I cannot imagine what it would sound like if I pushed 102.
After the most recent shrieking beep that announced I’m 100.6, I took some ibuprofen and put the thermometer aside. I marked the time so I don’t subject myself to more fear-invoking temperature taking a moment too soon. Four hours from now, I’ll face the beep again, ibuprofen and water nearby. When I’m sick, and cannot accomplish anything except fester and sweat, I tend to make lists of all the things I’m going to do as soon as I feel better. Number one on the list for this illness: Buy another thermometer.

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