Done in by. . . a Spider?

Last Sunday, after a visit with two old friends on a sunny afternoon at Castle Island Park, we came home and I switched from shorts to jeans.  It was an ordinary evening, of catching up with email and the blogs/websites that I read.  Then getting undressed for bed, I discovered an itchy spot on my leg; three bumps, actually, in a larger reddish area.  By morning it was an angry-looking red blotch fully two inches in diameter.  I took a photo, and sent it to the kids.

Over the next three days the blotch grew larger and irregular, with a dark purple center.  Dr Janie (now retired) assumed that since there were no signs of infection (streaks up leg, sore lymph nodes, chills and fever) it was just reaction to the venom.  We assumed it was a spider.  It wasn’t a bee or wasp: when they sting you, you notice right away!  I suspect it was in those jeans, but I never saw it.  Dr Janie drew circles around the lesion as it expanded.  By Wednesday, we thought it had stopped.

Orb spider web;J Schmidt; 1977

Orb spider web. No idea what spider bit me, but this is a pretty web and an analogue for the spreading lesion on my leg.  (National Park Service, Yellowstone’s Photo Collection, photo by J. Schmidt, 1977; Public Domain)

But Thursday morning the redness expanded past the latest circle and I hied myself off to Urgent Care.  The NP called in my PCP, Dr Hu, and he urged ‘shock and awe’: intravenous antibiotics at the hospital.  So now I’ve had two days of IV infusions at the Metrowest Medical Center, and I’m ordered back today.  Walking is a little less painful, but then, adding insult to injury, I developed a lower-back strain Friday, so between the two I’m giving up: the show today is pre-recorded.  No calls, please; you’ll wake the computer.

One way or another, this mess should be resolved by next week.  And anyway, it’s a holiday weekend.  Are we having fun yet?  /CL

PS Thanks again to David Elliott for getting this (and other) pre-recorded shows on the air.

PPS Just heard me spinning Ray Park’s wonderful version of the fiddle tune, “Flying Cloud.”  Wow!  I should listen to this show more often!

UPDATE 8Sep17: Horrendous spider bite is improving, after four days of IV antibiotics (plus oral ones as well), so I should be able to come in tomorrow. 

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5 Responses to Done in by. . . a Spider?

  1. Melissa Totten says:

    Dear Cousin Lynn — Yikes, what a story. I’m sorry for your troubles. It sounds absolutely awful. Here’s hoping you can get better very soon. Yours, Melissa

    Melissa Totten Content Producer 505-231-0860


    • lightgraphs says:

      OMG, Lynn. I hope you’re better. That exact same thing happened to someone I knew in California. She put on a pair of jeans and the spider was inside and bit her leg. Only it was a Brown Recluse. A really BAD spider. You have to have the whole bite “cut out” it’s so bad. But it sounds like your spider was a pretty bad dude, too. I have more mosquito bites than usual this week but we have them at the pool this year. So sorry about your bite. Be careful from now on when you put on your jeans!!!

  2. renzscott says:

    All best wishes for a speedy recovery. Ouch!!!

  3. Thanks, Peter, Melissa, and Jenny— According to the ER midlevels, it’s not at all uncommon, though my instance is fairly impressive. Apparently a lot of people get infected spider bites. I’ve always captured spiders and put them out. Will continue to do so, but will be warier from now on! /CL

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