Saturday, June 24, 2006

Shake Out Your Shoes

Snakes, Bugs and Spiders Week continues here at Jingo Acres, with the news that the father of one of my son's friends was bitten a few days ago by a Brown Recluse spider.

Common knowledge informs us that the bite of the Brown Recluse is a one-way ticket to horror, devastation, plague and pestilence, with emailed photos circulating of the most lunch-unsettling variety. However, cooler heads inform us that the horrifying necrosis of the skin that the spider's bite is reputed to cause is actually quite rare, and most victims of the little beastie get off with a little red mark that heals without event.

In my son's friend's father's case, he was working in an enclosed area, felt a little tickle on the elbow, and brushed it away without more thought. He sensed a mild stinging that resolved to a whitening of a rather large area on the elbow. He reported to a local clinic, where they diagnosed the spider-bite, put him on oral antibiotics and sent him home. A day or two later, he spiked a fever and the bitten area worsened. I don't know if he's done it yet, but his loved ones were urging him to go to the hospital, where the expected treatment will be intravenous antibiotics.

He is fully expected to live. About the worst he can expect is a nasty scar, but the fact that he's receiving competent treatment will go a long way to preventing even that.

Oh -- and I saw another baby snake in the garage last night, this one unambiguously a Northern Ringneck, a completely harmless -- cute, even -- hunter of "insects, earthworms, small snakes, small lizards, salamanders and frogs. It usually swallows its prey whole, but may also use partial constriction." My kinda guy.


Res Publica said...

Christ how I hate those little fuckers. I had a spiderbite earlier this year that got infected and turned into a nasty abcess. I thought for sure it was a recluse bite, and was (surprise!) extremly dramatic about my impending doom. Alas, I survived, and my doctor assured me that it was NOT a brown recluse bite, but some other kind of spider bite that got a staph infection.

I have a really sexy life.

Jeremy Cherfas said...

Sounds to me, from the antibiotic treatments, that it isn't the spider's venom as such that causes the problems, but the fact that it doesn't brush or floss regularly and hence bugs on its fangs get in and do the damage. If that's right, it really doesn't seem appropriate to hate them.

fgfdsg said...

I have two lawn chairs out the back I never sit on because they seem to serve no other purpose but as a breeding ground for Redback Spiders. I agree with Res Publica here.

Hope he's better soon.

Kevin Wolf said...

Only bit by a spider once when I disturbed its sleep in my washcloth one morning as I commenced showering. Hurt like hell but no real damage.

The unfortunate spider went down the drain, though.

Spiders seem to love the showers around here. Not sure if it's a New England thing.

BTW, was you ever bit by a dead bee?

Employee of the Month said...

Welcome to Jim Stafford Acres.

helmut said...

A dead bee? Life beyond death? Little fuckers.

I once rubbed poisonous frog skin secretions in my eyes and was blind for three days. Little fucker.

Bobby Lightfoot said...

I was out in th' woods one day with Sal Th' Feist and espied a frightening sight indeed; the New England Cupid Spider. One bite of this little fucker and you fall deeply in love with the first thing you see.

Took three hours to stumble home with my eyes shut tight. Thank god Sal was there to guide me but I'm already content with my high regard for her.

Stumbled into my studio and felt around the walls, not letting myself open my eyes until I was sure I'd found my own portrait.

Man, it's been easier since I learned to love myself.

MichaelBains said...

... the father of one of my son's friends...

I had to read that 3 times, first on your BlueGirl comment to her boy, then twice more here, before the "..son's FRIENDS" clicked.

Glad it wasn't you, and hope he recoups quickly.

Growing up rurally, I always check my shoes first!

Anonymous said...

I was bitten in the foot by a Brown Recluse- this became apparent when the area necrosed. Having no desire to watch a surgeon carve a big chunk out of my foot, I adopted a watch and wait treatment plan, and after about a month everything was pretty much normal.

Not sure I would recommend this plan to anyone who isn't already a nurse or doctor, but it worked for me.

ye olde serial catowner

BOSSY said...

I grew up in a high rise in the middle of the city, but for two years of my married life I lived on a farm in Virginia, and the spiders there were so big they had visible leg joints. Did i mention i grew up in a high rise in the middle of the city? Also? There was an infestation of spiders with leg joints on the farm. So we got chickens to reduce the bug population. 27 of the idiot babies. And then we got cats to reduce the newfound rat population. Who knew rats followed chickens? But the cats weren't all that helpful because they were frightened by the newfound snake population - who were attracted to the rats who were enthralled by the chickens. Who says the country life is simple?