Thursday, 22 May 2008


As I am usually a very healthy person, I don't really have a thermometer at home. Actually, I don't even know my regular temperature. I mean I know sister #1's temperature is normally below the average (so when the poor thing had a temperature in the army & wanted a leave to hospital, she wasn't permitted since her temperatures weren't high enough..), but is this a family thing? Should my regular temperature too be a bit below the average?
After Michal asked in one of the comments if I was tracking my temperatures in order to know when I ovulate, I decided that maybe I should. It is not the most accurate method and I don't really need to (I do u.s & blood tests), but I figured - what the heck! It can't harm, on the contrary it might do me some good to know my body a little bit better. To know for myself when about I should be ovulating.
So I decided to buy a thermometer. I expected to buy an old fashioned one, that is a long tube with numbers along side and a blob of mercury that goes up according to the temperature. Yes, just the one we used to have at home when I was a kid. Well, the world must have moved around somewhat since then because the shop only had digital ones.. Oh well, had to choose a digital one (not that I really mind, but: a. how does one choose!? b. somehow I thought that a digital one is less accurate). Anyway the one I chose ended up to be faulty. Now I was very proud of myself to phone the attached telephone number and complain, but when it came to changing it for a different one, well that I let my dear mother do.
So now everyday I get up early just so I can take my temperature. For the time being, it looks like it's all over the place, but we'll see.

But the funny thing is, I was so sure I saw somewhere about digital thermometers not being all that accurate which is a problem when trying to use the to track down ovulation. So what one should do is wait another three! more minutes after the thermometer beeped (announcing the temperature) in order to get a more accurate reading (I think more digits after the point). Obviously the source of this information must have been some kind of weird dream I had, but still I had to test it.. I cracked after about a minute with no change appearing. Hey, maybe it's because I haven't waited the whole three minutes?

Later: So I managed to put my hand on one of those old fashioned mercury thermometers. But, hmmm... advantages and disadvantages. It might be more accurate and not prone to giving false data when the battery is low, but after the comfort of seeing the numbers straight in front of you to go back in time and start counting the lines (which is one of the things I'm so terrible at. For example, when one counts and marks it with 4 lines crossed by a 5th diagonal one [and thus every such block equals five items] I always get so confused after the third line). Anyway I'll see how it goes (still have digital thermometer).


Michal said...

I resorted back to the really old fashioned ones, eventually. Have two of them in the house. But I admit I hardly ever use them, I'd rather kiss the forehead and back of the neck (the latter is more accurate), and I never really care for the exact temperature...
But when I was following my cycle, I did indeed use it daily - had the alarm clock ring, put it on snooze, put the thermometer in my mouth, fall back to sleep, and get up with the measurement when the alarm goes off again. I remember my graphs were nice and consistent...

The problem with digital ones is that you can't tell the status of the battery, so when that's close to its end, the measurement is totally off, but you have no idea. I don't like digital ones. I do think (though have no real idea) that they stop measuring when they beep. Plus I think 3 minutes is far too long, so must have been a dream :-).

Billy said...

So I wasn't completly wrong thinking digitals were no good. Oh, well, I'll look out for an old fashioned one but I don't think they have them anymore.

And - how can you sleep with a thermometer in your mouth?? (and anyway it's only for about a minute).

Michal said...

You never have to count more than 5 lines, though...
The main degrees have numbers (36, 37, 38) and are marked with thicker/longer lines. In between each such main degree, are 9 small lines. If the result is closer to the main number below it (say 36.4), you need to count up to 4 lines from it. If the result is closer to the main number above it (say 36.8), you need to count up to 4 lines from the number above. If it's in the middle, you know it's .5.

Billy said...

I tried it this evening, but couldn't at all see the mercury (but take into account that I was lying in bed with a little kitten on me, so maybe I wasn't in the best position to see something..)

Anyway 4 lines is deffintely beyond me (With 3 I'm O.K). luckly there is a bigger line in the middle (the 0.5), so I can go 2 below/above the half. But counting 4 lines up or down - no way, no how!

For the meantime however, I think I'll stick with the digital one..

Michal said...

Really? 4 is too much?! :-D
So it's good that you have the middle bar.
The mercury is indeed not easy to see, you need to tilt the thermometer till you hit the point where it reflects light in a different way than its background...
Mind you, mercury thermometers don't lose their status (or at least are not supposed to) so you can let someone else, at some other time of the day, check for the exact value.

And... perhaps you need a thermometer that reads the value out loud? ;-)