Owing to the fact that children are vectors of disease, three out of four members of the Free-Ride household have been feverish, achy, sneezy, sleepy, and grumpy for the past few days. (It’s not clear yet whether the progression of this bug will include other dwarves.)
Since I’m still kind of dopey, in lieu of a content-ful post, I’m offering some random musings from the sickbed.
Parental fever detection:
Before we go looking for the ear-thermometer, we check for fevers the old-fashioned way: kissing the forehead. If a forehead feels hot (or even warmer than usual) to our lips, then you can bet money that the ear-thermometer is going to display a fever-range temperature.
So … why does this work? I understand why hands on the forehead would be unreliable fever detectors, what with hands getting hot or getting cold depending on the circumstances. Do lips actually maintain a fairly constant temperature? Do there exist people whose lips are not reliable fever detectors, and if so, do they have other feasible low-tech ways to detect fevers?
(By the way, is our ear-thermometer the only one that registers a consistent temperature gradient between left ear and right? Should we expect north-facing ears to run a little colder than south-facing ears in this part of the world? Or is this gradient a clue to brain-hemispheric-dominance?)
Pushing fluids when everything tastes funny:
You’re supposed to drink a lot of fluids to flush the bug out of your system, yet the bug creates conditions (which may include a really sore throat or rivers of mucus flowing through your head) that make it hard to drink anything. Not even water tastes right.
Options that meet with some success at Casa Free-Ride:
- Ice chips, especially for really sore throats (as the cold numbs the pain). You feel the ice more than you taste it, so it doesn’t taste funny.
- Hot cranberry juice (or cran-apple, or cran-grape). The base flavor is strong enough not to be significantly distorted by the bug’s influence on the tastebuds, and the cranberry actually cuts through some of the mucus pretty effectively.
- Hot Tang. Strong flavor, soothing vapors, and vitamin C. It’s what the astronauts would drink if they were under the weather.
- Whiskey-free toddy. Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a big mug. Combine with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and boiling water to fill the mug. (If desired, add whiskey. But maybe not at 7 AM.)
The younger Free-Ride offspring insisted on going back to school today. While no longer feverish, the child is still sniffling a lot, so I provided a roll of toilet paper for nose-blowing and a plastic bag for containment of used TP.
“What if my classmates think I’m strange?”
“Tell them this is how the kids in college do it,” I replied.
“They might still think I’m strange.”
“Well, then blame it on me. Say this is what I gave you, so it’s me that’s strange, not you,” I said.
“But you’re not strange!”
“Yes I am! Here, let me kiss your forehead.”