Temperamental Thermometer

Melisse My younger sister Melisse has been sick for the past three days, her fever never going below 37 degrees Celsius. I should know, I learned to read a thermometer just for her. Now, don’t go thinking, “Omigawd, I used to think she was a wee bit brighter but now I know she’s just another pretty face.” (Not that I mind, do go on.)

Let me explain. I *know* how to read a thermometer. The wall thermometer, that is. Remember those days when wall thermometers were the rage and every house had one? It was a long large stick made of transparent glass with huge numbers on the side and a ginormous amount of mercury inside so you couldn’t possibly mistake what temperature it was, no matter how short your eyesight.

I wonder, though, how useful that was.

Maybe it was used as a way to fill in those awkward moments of silence during socializations. Sorta like another angle at the weather conversation.

“Ooh, chilly isn’t it. I’m feeling 20-something degrees.”
“Mmm, it’s actually 37.5 degrees, doesn’t look chilly to me.”
“Right, I’m starting to feel kinda 36 degrees now.”
“So, what temperature do you think it’ll be in ten minutes?”


As I was saying, wall thermometers are a breeze. But my mother’s body thermometer, that’s different. It’s a tiny transparent glass tube, only 3-4 inches long, with really tiny, almost indecipherable fading numerals. But that was okay, with a bit of squinting and eye-crossing, I could make it out. The problem was the mercury. Couldn’t find it, no matter how I twirled it around or turned it.

I thought, hmm, maybe it’s in hiding. Old thermometer! Probably just needs a wee bit of shaking. I saw my mom use it a couple of times, she used to hold it in her hand and tap it against her other one before putting it under my sister’s arm. Couldn’t tell why, though, but it must have served its purpose. So as not to seem as though I didn’t know what I was doing, I also tapped it a couple of times. You can never look foolish in front of your younger siblings. It’s hard enough gaining their respect, although judging by the way my younger sister bosses me around, I don’t know if I even have it!

Luckily, the mercury magically appeared when I held it up against the light. (All along I thought it was due to the rise of the temperature, but this was a temperamental thermometer!) I had to beam a flashlight onto the thermometer while reading it just so I could see the little slip of red that was an eensy teensy weensy bit thicker (“thick” isn’t even the right word to describe it because it was so thin it hardly existed!) than the rest of the red line. Anyways, hah, I got my dignity intact. Hah, hail the older sister who knows how to read a thermometer!

Anyway, Melisse’s blood test result came back today, and it was positive for dengue. I feel sorry for her, even though she is evil to me sometimes. I do hope she gets better. It’s much easier making fun of her when she’s not sick.


  1. If your sister is positive with dengue, then u must be carefull too, andyan lang ang lamok na kumagat sa sister mo.

  2. You’re right. We had our entire home sprayed with Baygon the day we found out. One can never be too sure.

  3. i beg to disagree with ka webspy. the mosquito that bit your sister did so months ago. accordingly, the dengue manifests itself months after the bite. so perhaps that mosquito is no longer around, and may have bitten you already before pa. but hey, i’m not saying this to scare you or anything.