I have taken my temperature no fewer than half a dozen times in the last 35 minutes. Because I need to know if I have a fever. Because having a temperature or bleeding from the head are the only legitimate indicators of illness.
I learned this quick and easy set of diagnostics as a latchkey kid growing up in Central NY. My single mother's work schedule as an underwriter for a regional insurance agency meant that my four siblings and I got ourselves off to school AND handled the after school routine sans adult supervision.
And if we didn't want to go to school? Or we wanted to get out of some afternoon obligation? Or wanted a little adult attention? Or maybe one of us genuinely felt sick? Well we'd start calling mom at work. Incessantly. And she'd start to get in trouble with her supervisor for the constant interruption. So, on the 5th or 10th call to mom at work she'd hiss into the phone, through clenched teeth, "Unless you have a fever or are bleeding from your head, you are not sick. Now STOP CALLING."
Therein lies the extent of my medical training.
And now, nearly 35 years later, I'm almost nearly obsessed with taking my temperature.
Today I feel sick. Laryngitis, sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, ear ache - a generic upper respiratory infection manifesting itself in multiple ways. But I haven't yet registered a fever. So I can't stay home from work. But I'll keep taking my temperature. A girl can dream, right? Crazy, fever-induced dreams.