Thursday, September 18, 2008


Spiders are persona non grata at my house now.

I have always been a live-and-let-live kind of person when it came to spiders. I didn’t tolerate black widows or brown recluses, but the others mostly had free reign in my house. I’d occasionally find a daddy long-legs in the bathtub and I’d get a soft Kleenex, very carefully balloon the tissue over the spider so as not to break his legs, and move him outdoors. In my book he was nothing but a “friendly” house spider.

Until recently.

Apparently one unidentified spider snuck under my nightgown as I slept and bit me on my right breast. I discovered it when I woke up, but I thought it was a mosquito bite and didn’t pay much attention to it. The following morning there was a quarter-sized red spot just above my bra line on my chest. The third morning the red blotch was as big as a 50-cent piece. I worked at the library that afternoon and showed my “wound” to my friends. With one voice they yelled “SPIDER BITE!” and tried to convince me to go to the doctor then and there. I refused to do it, but when I went home, I took a ball point pen and as best as I could drew a ring around the edge of the red spot so I could be sure what it was doing.

By Friday morning, the red swelling was the size of a silver-dollar on my chest, the red extending way beyond my ink mark. I hate to go to Urgent Care, because I always get triaged into the lowest priority group. So this time I wore a scoop-necked t-shirt and when the receptionist asked me why I needed to see a doctor, I quick as a flash pulled the neck of my t-shirt down and said, ‘This,” pointing at the bite on my breast. I was almost hand-carried into the doctor’s office. I got a tetanus shot, an antibiotic shot, some salve and a BIG lecture on not waiting so long to see a doctor when you get a spider bite. The doctor drew a ring about ¼” outside the red area and told me if the red got to that mark, I was to come back immediately. He started mumbling about not wanting necrosed tissue – and I didn’t either, believe me! Luckily the red began receding almost immediately and within a week I was all better, except for a permanent brown spot as a memento.

I do not tolerate spiders anymore. One friendly house spider bit the hand that fed it and that was the end of our relationship. None escape my vacuum or my fly swatter. None get a free ride in a Kleenex anymore. Only fools suffer spiders gladly!

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