Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jinxed it

Yesterday while on a family walk, I sadly watched an ambulance drive towards the Children's hospital near to our home, sad for the family and the child impacted by the need for doctors and hospitals. I thought in my head that I'm glad we've never had need to take Willem to the emergency room for anything. I choose to not say anything to my husband walking along side of me for fear that I would jinx it and something would soon happen that would take our little one to the ER.

It happened last night. After our travels, I'm not surprised that Willem would be coming down with a cold. Around 2 am, he woke up crying, hot and irritated. I decided to take his temperature to get an idea with what I was dealing.

The thermometer reported 107.3!

I thought for sure that the thermometer gave a faulty reading. I switched to the back-up thermometer which was taken between 30 seconds and a minute to register a change in one tenth of a degree. I wasn't about to wait for it to get to 107 if that was really his temperature. I knew then that I all I need was a reliable, working thermometer, but at that hour the stores I could get to quickly would be closed. Any other time of day, rather than the middle of the night and that's what I would have done, or gone to my neighbor's to borrow theirs. But I wasn't about to do that and so we headed to the ER after dosing with children's acetomeniphen.

At the ER, he was cranky and tired but feeling cooler. Their cool temporal artery thermometer reported no fever. The diagnosis was acute upper respiratory infection, with clear chest sounds and ears. Big surprise.

Thank goodness for state medical insurance, with our old insurance that visit probably would have cost us between $200 and $400.

Since I was in need of replacing our thermometer, I looked into the temporal artery scanner at medical supply stores thinking that even $100 for a more reliable piece of medical equipment was worth it to me. I was surprised to find out that home models are sold at major retailers very affordably- $30. I was even more surprised that there were some in stock when we took our Costco trip. I am now the proud owner-mama for a temporal artery thermometer.

For the nifty technical sounding description of how it works:
The superficial temporal artery demonstrates the necessary requirements for the skin thermometry method: it is easily accessible, contains no mucous membranes, and notably, it has no or very few arteriovenous anastomoses (AVA).1,2 Lack of AVA's means that perfusion rate is reliable under essentially all conditions, and the blood flow is relatively free of vasomotor control in response to thermomoregulatory stimuli. This property is unique to the temporal artery when considering all accessible cutaneous blood vessels. The high and reliable perfusion allows accurate mathematical computations of the heat lost to the environment due to the cutaneous flow, and thus an accurate calculation of the source arterial temperature at the heart.

And a fun video:

1 comment:

Susana said...

Wow. thanks for sharing. Can you believe a couple of years ago I had to take my daughter to Children's Mercy hospital in Kansas City (she had some crazy infection that made it look like she had a golf ball under her chin and they had to lance it etc... very awful) and the whole trauma began in triage when they insisted the only way they could take her temp was rectally. I was so upset.

I hate hindsight. I realized later that I should have just told them NO!!!

These kinds of situations are what makes it soo difficult to go to the doctor and also to have someone in attendance at birth. Even when we think to resist their obtrusive ways, it is usually difficult to fight for your rights. Then later you wish you had.

You'd think Children's Mercy would have mercy on the children and have some high-tech non-invasive gadget like this. Maybe I should make it a campaign......