8 May 2011

Ear or arm?

Paige has been Neutropenic for some time now, which means that we need to be super-vigilant: if she has a temperature outside of the normal range (36-37C) then she may need to go straight to the hospital. At 37.5 we start to get worried and at 38.5 get in the car (also 35 is a problem. But how do we measure her temperature with such accuracy.

When we were in Trinidad the doctor said that the most accurate way to take a body temperature was via the rectum. Fortunately, Paim Brown believe that the underarm (axillary) temperature is the best. So, although we have an (expensive) ear thermometer, we invested (a whole £9.95) in a small digital one with a probe.

Actually, knowing what we are like, we bought two - one Braun and one Boots. The problem is that this morning they gave two different readings. Then we got a third reading in her ear. One reading was 37.5C - just on the cusp of anxiety. Do we call the hospital? Is she feverish or not? How long is a piece of string?

An herein lay a lesson: the actual number was less important than Paige's overall wellbeing. She had been cranky and lethargic - plus she has only had a fever one other time in her life. If she looks unwell, hasten to a hospital. So we took her to QA in Portsmouth, and the consultant was happy that we came, even though Paige did not meet the strict criteria for admission, because it's impossible to be too careful.

The result was a CRP of 4. They gave her some Codeine (which cheered her up right away!) and did a raft of other tests while we were there (including her temperature, in the ear). But no harm done (apart from Lisa got peed on...long story) and the end result is that we are back at home, safe and sound.

Also, we will be using the ear thermometer from now on, unless Paige has a fever and is clearly unwell. If it's good enough for QA, it's good enough for us.

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