Daring Jumping Spider
photo courtesy of Google Images
Today, I was sitting at the bar on the back porch, enjoying the beautiful weather and working on a word puzzle when a spider dropped down from the ceiling. I thought it was a fly and batted it away, but it was attached to a long piece of web, so it bungeed right back in front of my face. Several minutes of slapstick style jumping, swatting and yelling ensued (me, not the spider) before I lost sight of it. I've been imagining that it's crawling on me ever since.
When we were renovating our house, we had the whole place gutted right down to the studs, and while I don't remember seeing all that many, I'm sure we disturbed more than a few spider webs. Those walls had been closed up for more than 140 years, after all. One day I was working on staining a door which I had set up on sawhorses in, what is now, our home office. I was brushing the stain on the door when I felt something like a hot needle being poked in the base of my left thumb. I had semi transparent gloves on, but they were covered with mahogany stain, so I couldn't see anything through them. I pulled them off and found a small black thing (stinger? fang?) sticking out of my skin. I yanked it out and tossed it aside. Without thinking about it, I pitched the gloves, too, so I don't have a clue what sort of creature might have been inside them. I just assumed it was some kind of spider.
My dad and my husband were ready to break for lunch so I went outside and sat at the table on the back porch. When I showed the spot on my thumb to them, I was surprised to see that it had turned bright red and had a drop of blood oozing out of it. By the time my husband came back with lunch, about 20 minutes later, the area had gone from red to blue. When lunch was finished, it had become blistered and purple. We were all a little concerned about it, but I didn't want to stop working to sit in an emergency room for the rest of the day, so I put on a fresh pair of gloves and went back to staining the door.
That night the bite area started to look pretty scary. It was beginning to swell so badly that I could barely flex my thumb, and the blister and surrounding skin were now black and shiny. My husband tried to convince me to lance it, but it was so tender I wouldn't even consider it. I wanted to get some sleep and see if it looked better in the morning.
When I first woke up on Sunday morning, I didn't notice any pain, so I thought maybe it have gotten better, but when I looked at it, it scared me. The wound was much bigger than it had been the night before and a lot more of my skin was turning black. What really concerned me, though, was that I had dark streaks running up my arm. There was no more putting it off, I had to get medical attention.
The doctor looked at my thumb and then poked and prodded it for a while. I asked her if she had any idea what could have bitten me and she said she wasn't sure. What she did know for sure was that I had an aggressive case of cellulitis (bacterial skin infection). She told me it was a good thing I hadn't waited any longer to get treated because the streaks on my arm were caused by the rapid spreading of the infection. I could have ended up with septicemia (life threatening blood poisoning). She prescribed strong antibiotics and told me to soak my hand in hot, soapy water twice a day until it cleared up. Luckily, the treatment worked quickly. It healed without leaving so much as a scar.
That was nearly 10 years ago, but I still feel like I've got a score to settle with the insect community. The butterflies, moths and bumble bees get a free pass, but everything else is fair game. I used to think lady bugs were okay, but then I found out about the imposters that only look like lady bugs. They aren't the cute little helpers that they appear to be. Not only are they destructive to garden plants, they bite. Since I can't tell the difference between the real lady bugs and the clever look-alikes, I don't want any of them around. Don't even get me started on mosquitos...or wasps....or June Bugs.....
I'm sure you've noticed that my blog renovations are complete (I'm trying desperately to catch up on all of your blogs I missed while I was renovating). What do you think of the new look? Is it "springy" enough for you? I had one problem I was not able to overcome. I cannot change the font on the titles of my posts to a "designer font". Well, actually, I can do it, but if you don't have the same font downloaded into your font files, you'll never see it. There is a tutorial on how to do it here, but it hasn't worked for me. If you know of an easier way or have any suggestions on why these instructions didn't work, please let me know.