"Keep a Journal: How else are you going to get a good look at who you were?"

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Let me tell you about my achilles heel.


I'm not afraid of them.

I'm just prone to injury if I get bit by one.

I mentioned in a post dated Sept. 8, 2004, that I had lost ten days work to an injury that had occurred several years before. I also mentioned being admitted to Royal Columbian Hospital for day surgery. The surgery was necessary to remove some necrotic tissue from my right knee.

All this was caused by a spider bite. I got bit while laying on the couch in our apartment in New Westminster. The bite itself was painless, and didn't show signs of infection or even inflammation until a day later. By day four, an intramuscular blood clot had developed and my leg swelled up like a party balloon. By day seven I could barely walk and hobbled my way down to the clinic on Columbia st. to see if there was anything they could do for me.

They gave me oral antibiotics. Didn't help much.

By day nine, the clinic MD determined that if the wound were lanced, it would probably help the pain and fever I was then experiencing. It sure did, and by the amount of discharge the MD was fairly sure that I needed more assistance than the clinic was able to give me. A call was placed to Royal Columbian, and the vascular specialist who saw me scheduled me for an immediate exploratory. So, under general anesthesia, the good Dr. and his assistant dug some dead tissue out of the middle of the wound, and then packed it open for a few days. I still have the scar.

A week or so after I had started to heal...I found one of these crawling out from under the couch where I'd been bit. It's a tegenaria domestica. The Common House Spider.Although they don't often bite, Wikipedia informs me that when they do bite, it can be "unpleasant". Uh-huh, especially if you don't do anything about it for several days.

Now lemme tell you what happened last month.

I went on vacation the week of July 13. My friend Mark Bell was delivering telephone books in Ladner and Tswassen as a fundraiser with the young men of our church congregation. He needed some help and another vehicle; preferably a van. I had the time off, and my Eagle Summit Wagon is almost a van; so I volunteered my time. Sometime wednesday afternoon, I got bit by one of these:That is a tegenaria agrestis, more commonly known as a Hobo Spider.

How do I know?

Well, first of all, they're fairly common around here. Second, they're an outdoors type and are found in places like hedges, around gardens, planters, and the like. I had been tromping around a lot of that kind of territory while delivering the books with the boys in Ladner.

In fact, I assumed that Ladner was where I got bit. That is, of course, until...


Looked just like the picture. Coincidence? I think not!

The Hobo Spider is known to be venemous. This time 'round, the damage took only 4 days. I got myself to the ER at Delta Hospital sunday night. I had an immediate IV treatment with heavy-duty antibiotics and was poked for blood cultures and given a tetanus booster. I felt like a pincushion. They left the IV in my hand (having badly bruised me trying to find a vein in my arm - I hate needles!) and I had nine more treatments over the next five days. Got lanced on day two, and once again had the wound packed open. That was fast. Was switched to oral antibiotics on friday and by today I am pretty much healed up. The scab still hasn't fallen off yet. Where did I get bit, you ask? On the ankle...right leg. Again.

I hate getting stuck with needles. Did I mention that already?

Both species are from the tegenaria genus of funnel-web spiders. Apparently, I'm somehow sensitive to bites from these critters. However, as a nurse at the Delta Hospital ER happens to have a similar sensitivity, I now know what to DO when I get bit...and waiting a few days is not part of the action plan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems that if I want to know the state of your health and well-being I will have to become a regular on your Blog. Sorry about all the pain and suffering with the spider...did you 'RAID' under the kitchen and bathroom sinks? Anyhow, we are close to pouring footings for the house and getting the baasement walls up...have been to Lethbridge a couple of times to see what progress is being made. It might even be finished one of these days. Bought the new appliances from Sears during the Warehouse sale...yup, looks like I'm going to have to have a house again...love ya, Mom