Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Where did all the mercury go when you really need it?

Between Christmas, MLK Day, and the snow days it seems we've been out of school more than in over the past few weeks. This week seems to be more of the same. It is Wednesday. There have been three days in this work week and I have missed two of them. John-Heath has the flu so his dad and I have taken turns staying home with him. Actually, this all started this past Thursday night. I stayed home with Friday. So, really I've missed 3 of the last 4 work days. I have never complained about a day or two (or three) off though.

What I have been complaining about a lot lately is how much I miss a quality thermometer! I miss the good ole days of actually being able to read an accurate temperature. If my child had a fever of 102 then it read 102. That's not the case today.

I know the makers of all the digital thermometers on the market would disagree but, sadly, they are wrong. I have yet to find a thermometer that is consistently accurate, and I have bought several lately.

Of course, since the powers that be determined several years ago that mercury is too harmful an element to be used in medical thermometers we're stuck with these little crappy ones that are said to take an accurate temperature in a fraction of a second. The not-so-funny thing about them is they are never consistent. John-Heath, who has been so hot it was uncomfortable to even touch him, fevered out below 100 on a recent purchase. And when I took mine I had a body temp of 92.4. Wouldn't I be dead? Maybe I am and this is all just a dream and John and the kids are having a rip-roaring time spending my life insurance. Anyway, back to my story.

I don't know who this little girl is but her mom sure is fortunate.

The typical "fever thermometer" contains between 0.5 to 3 g of mercury - too small an amount to be poisonous, but potentially problematic if one were to inhale it. I have broken a few glass thermometers in my time. I can assure you no one, not even my daughter who was very young at the time, tried to sniff the stuff. The biggest concern I had was figuring out how to clean up those little silvery beads. The are quite slippery.

Oh, well. It looks like it's time to start looking for someone who might be bootlegging some mercury. Thank goodness for eBay.

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