Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bitten by a Black Widow Spider

Remember in the book how I was talking about biologists being sort of "proud" of their encounters w/ animals that resulted in scars/bites? Well I wasn't thinking about venomous animals. No, those are not to be joked about and I never thought about being bit by a venomous animal.

My Dad was bitten by a rattlesnake when he was about 16, but he had smuggled it into his room and was keeping it as a pet, unbeknownst to his parents! He had tamed it pretty well and, as 16 year old kids will do, he got a little careless and it bit him. Did he run to his parents and tell them? Noooooo! That would be too easy. His parents were very kind and permissive so it's not like he would have gotten in big trouble but he just shrugged and went to bed that night. The next morning his arm was swollen to twice or three times its size and some of the tissue was dying. He almost had to have the arm amputated, but they used a new treatment and were able to save it. Sheesh!

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I guess. I wasn't keeping a black widow as a pet, but the spider was living in the piano, right next to my bed (I didn't know it though). I woke up one morning about 3 weeks ago and could barely get out of bed, I was sooo dizzy. I had to hold on to the walls to walk. Did I go running to the doctor? No. I mentioned it to Cait on the phone but when you've had an illness w/ lots of strange symptoms you tend to say to yourself, "Well, this is a new symptom but it's probably more of the same stuff I deal with anyway." and it never occurs to you that this could be a NEW problem!

So for 2 or 3 days I was pretty much bedridden from being too dizzy to get up. Then when I was able to get up, I felt like I'd been in the house too much so I went over to my Mom's house and we went to dinner. Only I still felt horrible and my eyes were running so much that it looked like I was crying my eyes out - only I wasn't. I told my mom I had a "cold". I was too tired to go home so I slept on her couch. Next morning I got up to go home and fell right back to sleep on her couch and didn't wake up until she got home from work that evening! I still felt bone tired.

Oh. And I had this huge itchy burning round rash thing on my chest right below my throat, and in the center the skin kept dissolving and sloughing off! Over and over again! It was like a flesh eating bacteria or something, so I kept putting iodine on it and such.

Geez you'd think I'd get a clue!

Finally, I went back home and was in bed and felt something crawling on me. I smacked it and turned on the light and there was the black widow!

Suddenly it all fell into place. DUH! I had been bitten by a black widow spider! I called my doctor and he said that it sounded like I'd been through the worst of it and there wasn't much else to do now but just ride it out. So that's why I haven't been online in AGES!

I'm starting to feel like myself again.

I hadn't realized that black widows were quite THAT venomous, but I've since learned that people have died from black widow spider bites. Gosh, we have them everywhere in California. My garage is full of them!

If there's a next time (God forbid), I'll pay more attention and go to the doctor. ;-)

On another subject, Wendy has THREE litters of her champion Ragdoll cats. They are so cuddly and sweet and pliant - hence the name ragdoll. Some of them play fetch like a dog! They are the most awesome cats!

I was visiting Wendy last September and was sleeping on a mattress on the floor. She had put all the many cats in their room but I asked for at least one to stay out with me and sleep w/ me so she left Crem-Broullette (spelling?) out w/ me. Well, I had Wesley flashbacks all night as the kitty kept catching mice and putting them gently into my hand as I slept! I kept waking up to her little gifts, which I put in the trash. Just like Wesley! So considerate! ;-)

copyright Wesley the Owl, Inc. 2009


Anne said...

Dear Stacey,

First, let me say I'm glad you're feeling better! I posted a comment yesterday on another post but don't see it, so i'll chance repeating myself here. Just finished Wesley last night, and I can't get it out of my head. Truly, you and he were both blessed to have each other! We have three birds (a green aracari, bred in Fallbrook) and two mini macaws, so I always love reading and hearing about others' experiences with bird companions. I think you're right when you say that birds are like angels.

We lost our 20 year old Amazon parrot (we'd had him his entire life) to liver cancer about a year ago. (Strangely, the same week that Alex passed away.) It was heartbreaking to lose him before he'd had a chance to live his full life, and we still miss him. Just have to believe that his spirit is at peace.

I am glad to have found your blog, and wish you all the best! Anne

Anne said...

P.S. Oops, forgot to mention, if you'd like to see a video of our aracari playing with her favorite toy, she is on YouTube under "Pet Toucan Plays Toss With Toy." I think it'll give you a smile!

Chris Marthinson said...

I had been bitten by a black widow also. Check out my story if you like at

Wesley Lover said...

I've read "Wesley" so much that I can almost recite. Last night a friend I'd given the book to said she'd finished it, and we spent almost half an hour reminding each other of different bits and laughing like crazy. She's sending HER copy to her daughter in CA (we live near Portland, OR) while I've promised to give her a replacement for Christmas. If there are any memories not in the book, please write another!!! And thanks for sharing the memories in the book. My friend says reading about Wesley has changed her life.