Rectal TemperatureReading people's stories, I guess it used to be much more common to take kid's temperatures rectally than it is now. I only vaguely remember from when I would have been really really little- it wasn't something that happened after I was four, maybe five years old (I think my mom probably switched me over at the same time my little brother would have been old enough for oral thermometers, so when he was three and I was five). Anyway, even though it wasn't something I experienced, I remember being FASCINATED with it when I was growing up. It was always a feature when we played house, we would pretend to take each other's temperatures in the butt. I don't know how this worked its way into childhood rituals- I doubt any of the other kids in the neighborhood were having it done that way at home (this is mid to late '80s), either, yet we all knew about it and I guess were all fascinated about it to some degree.
So anyway, I would always feel this weird rush whenever a character on tv or in a book would have to have their temperature taken rectally. It just seemed so fascinating to me. I would fantasize about myself in that position, hopelessly protesting before being turned over, exposed and then laying there helpless as it pokes out of my butt.
Much, much later on, I would notice rectal thermometers for sale at drug stores- always in the aisle with the baby care stuff. Looking at the rack of glass tubes that would eventually find their way up unsuspecting buttholes, my interest was peaked, but I was still living in a college dorm at the time, so didn't even entertain the idea of buying it (who wants to be the weirdo roommate who takes her temperature up her butt???) Eventually, though, I moved out of the dorms and into an apartment of my own.
It would be a lie to say the first thing I did upon living on my own was rush out to buy a rectal thermometer. There were other freedoms that came with living on my own for the first time ever that I explored- ************ without having to muffle my sounds, not having to negotiate around roommates when having sex partners over, long showers, watching tv in my underwear- these were all the top of the list of things I could enjoy by not living with someone else.
But it was still back there buried somewhere in the back of my head and eventually I ended up walking down a drug store aisle with items made for child care, and there with the pacifiers and diaper rash lotion was the red capped thermometer waiting for its eventually home up someone's hiney. I quickly reached out and grabbed one and dropped it into my basket, perhaps saving some toddler the trauma of having her/his bottom poked. I went to the check out, hoping the cashier didn't notice that nothing else I was buying in any way said "young mother".
In the nine or ten years since then, I haven't even owned an oral thermometer. I lost the original one (I assume when moving, but also wonder if maybe someone stole it) and since I don't know how long the shelf life on thermometers is, I've replaced a couple more since then (does mercury go flat? does the glass eventually wear down where there is a risk of it breaking?). There's one in my medicine cabinet now, silently waiting until the next time I feel a little sick. I don't exactly have it in there prominently- but it is in there so I guess if someone rooted around for a minute (and knew that cap color difference between oral and rectal) they'd see it. As I write this I guess I should be concerned that some guest is in my bathroom feeling a little sickish, finds my thermometer and takes their temperature orally with it, but then again, anyone who helps themselves to stuff in my bathroom cabinet probably deserves.
So yes, I don't know what it is about taking my temperature rectally, but I still love it. In my adult life I certainly have had more "substantial" items up my butt, and it lacks all the intense sensations of things larger or moving around or whatever, but I still love it. There's something about the preparation ritual, about laying there for a few minutes immobile while it's in their gauging my body temperature that isn't like anything else. It's like for those couple of minutes the whole world goes silent and still. It's very relaxing I guess.
Thank you for reading this :)