I recently had that cold with the croupy cough that makes everyone think you are dying of TB. You rasp and gurgle and need a place to spit. People eye you like they wish you’d drop through a black hole and stop spreading cooties before you get close to them. I’m past the contagious stage, but the death rattle doesn’t make me popular.
The day I thought I was dying, not of TB, but pneumonia, throat cancer and beri-beri, I found my mother’s fifty-year-old mercury thermometer. I took my temperature, which was normal. It did not occur to me that no one uses a mercury thermometer anymore. I still have Ko-Rec-Type in my desk drawer and my trusty portable Royal typewriter in my closet, just in case.
I called a friend, who happens to be a nurse. I am helping her buy a condominium for her two year old granddaughter. Yes, her daughter and son-in-law too, but mostly for the adorable, curly red-headed terror, whose favorite word is, “Mine!” This of course made showing property that much more exciting. Nothing like little glass figurines on table tops to attract tiny paws. “Juanita, are mercury thermometers recyclable?” I asked. “I have five. Three of them are centigrade, which I can’t read.”
Juanita gasped, “Mercury thermometers. You’ve got to be kidding. Nobody uses those anymore.”
“Are they toxic waste?” I asked.
“Probably. Or valuable antiques.” She laughed.
So I ask you, “Anybody know? Or, who would?” I emailed all the nurses I know. None of them have replied. They undoubtedly think my message is spam? Horsnyder’s Pharmacy! They’ll know. They recycle meds and needles and stuff. I called them. They’re closed today, open tomorrow. Answer soon.
Meanwhile, do you have any dubious items in your medicine cabinets? Your closets? The garage? Or do you have only valuable antiques? And….does anybody want any carbon paper?