Well, I’m back today with another strange tale to tell. You know, things like the cold, flu and even covid don’t get me. Instead, really bizarre off the wall encounters like bats, my appendix and now a spider are more my speed. I am currently recovering from a spider bite and in a detailed wound care protocol. It has been ugly – both figuratively and literally – and I thought I’d share here as a cautionary tale and to explain my absence from social media. I only have had blog posts up the past couple of weeks because I prepared them before I went on vacation.
May 23 – I was awoken from a deep sleep by a sting on the back of my thigh a couple of inches above my knee. I think I rubbed it for a second and then went right back to sleep.
May 24 – Woke up with what looked like a mosquito bite. It bothered me all day – something between an itch, a burn and just general discomfort. My girlfriend L came over that day and even asked me about it. I told her, like I had shared with Honey, that a mosquito must have got me during the night. Honey immediately rose his brows and said “I haven’t seen one mosquito this season.” We didn’t think to check the bed sheets or look for a spider at this juncture.
May 26 – By this morning, there was a hard nodule about 3″ x 3″ under the bite. A red area was spreading out all around that, reaching the front of my thigh. It was warm to touch, but no red streaks, fever or other telltale signs of infection. We were leaving town on May 27 so I called my primary care and dermatologist. The dermatologist could see my the morning before we left.
May 27 – Dermatologist said it is hard to tell what bit me at this point. However, there were signs of infection with the hardness and celluitis (the red area). She prescribed an oral antibiotic and said I should feel a lot of relief in 24-48 hours. We are off to Disney!
May 28 – I can hardly walk at this point and can neither fully straighten or fully bend my left leg. I stay the course.
May 29 – The original bite part shows signs of just barely splitting. It isn’t too alarming to look at, but I wasn’t sure if it was normal. Google has been zero help! I messaged the DR a new photo. She called me, we talked through things and she called in a topical antibiotic to go along with the oral.
May 30 – I wake up and now the entire bite part is gross and a little bloody. We cancel our day plans but I rallied to go to dinner that night. By the time dinner was over Honey insisted on taking me to urgent care. We choose one in close proximity to Disney and make a 10pm appointment online. It is only 8pm but I’d rather wait in our room than in the urgent care. When we arrive they won’t let me wait inside, saying the waiting room is full (2 people waiting, probably 35 chairs). Honey had planned to drop me off since the boys were in the room alone. And, it wasn’t just any room, it was a standalone treehouse in a wooded area without anyone they could easily go to if help was needed. I was already in a state, and the anxiety over this was likely overstated but it was very real to me at the time. They told me I would have to wait outside. I told them that I was here for my leg and could not stand. They said I could carry out a chair. Can you even?? Honey ended up waiting with me so I could sit in the car. At 11pm, he went in to check on where I was. We had seen nobody go in or come out in the hour past my appointment. They told him it could be 1-2 hours. At that point we decided to cut our losses and find another urgent care. I have always loved the Celebration area and thought maybe we’d have better luck there than at Lake Buena Vista. We pulled up to 24/7 Urgent Care and they were amazing. They took me to a room right away and had me looked at within a couple of minutes. The DR called in a second DR and they grimly said that this “wound” was beyond an urgent care and that I needed an ER. They said I would likely either be admitted for 2 days or go in for a night and need to return for a second night. Honey and I tossed around idea of driving back to Atlanta so that we could be home to handle it. I won’t forget the look on the doctor’s face when he said – that’s a 7 hour drive and you don’t have 7 hours to lose.
May 31 – It’s the wee hours of Memorial Day and I’m now in the ER at Celebration Hospital. Honey left me here to go be with the boys. As our bad luck would have it, we were also changing Disney resorts just a few hours later at the 11AM checkout time so he wanted to be with them, reassure them and start packing. Everyone at Celebration Hospital was absolutely outstanding. There were banners in the lobby showcasing “best hospital in Florida” awards and I believe it. They were professional, compassionate and knowledgeable. They started me on an IV antibiotic right away and began to prepare for a “procedure” and they almost immediately declared this a spider bite. They said lots of people think they have spider bite but few really do. We laughed a little when they said not many people come in with an open wound and think a mosquito got them. :-) They gave me time to call Honey and for him to return before they started because I was so scared. They gave me some crazy drug that made me hallucinate (I remember it ALL…. so bizarre) and then Honey said they injected large amounts of stuff into my leg to numb it. They ended up having to cut out a huge abscess (3x3x1″). They were relieved that it hadn’t reached the muscle. They suspected MRSA and a culture that came back June 2 confirmed that. Afterwards, the DR said he believed he got all of the infection and started me on a new antibiotic and pain killers. The cavity was packed and we were sent back to the hotel the next morning for about 18 hours. This was the day my parents and sister were all joining together in our trip. I was so sad to spend it in bed but so happy to have my parents and family there.
June 1 – After a family dinner, Honey and I went back to the ER. They unpacked the cavity and gave us wound care instructions going forward. I was still unable to walk well and in a decent amount of pain.
June 2 – Me, trying to make the most of our family trip!!! We had a VIP Tour and alllll I wanted to do was enjoy this day. The scooter, a great guide and a fun loving family made that possible.
June 3 – We decided to cut our losses and end our trip early.
June 7 – My doctor at home is on vacation so I made a follow up with another in her practice. He has some concern about another lump and extended my antibiotic. He said it is hard to tell if this spot is coming or going infection wise but that if it doesn’t correct by next Monday we may have to start over by cutting out another abscess. (tears) He moved me to a wet to dry wound care procedure, just like the ER doctors in FL had said would likely happen. This one is pretty painful to remove, but we are supposed to stay on it until the hole in my leg “looks red and beefy like meat”. (yum) I really wish I had seen my own doctor because I just didn’t click with this one.
I don’t know that there is anything I could have done differently to not be at this place. If you have strange spot, get it looked at. If you think a spider might have bitten you, or wonder if something on your body is infected, I am happy to email you pictures. I certainly wasn’t going to post them here for unsuspecting eyes! Honey says for halloween he is going to print out one of the pictures he’s taken of my wound and tape it to his forehead to go as the walking dead. That should give you the gist of what it looks like. :-(
I’m continuing to take it easy at home, mostly just working for lack of anything else to do, although I keep making little mistakes. My medicine makes my stomach hurt and I don’t have much of an appetite or energy. I tried to go to Whit’s baseball game but the meds make my skin so sensitive that even indirect sunlight makes my skin feel like it is burning off of my body (no joke) and then it leaves my hands and fingers numb for the rest of the night. I can’t swim or take a bath (more tears as I stare at this pretty pool) and was advised not to exercise until I don’t have a hole in my leg (they said 6 weeks as long as we don’t have to start over with more infection forming). I really am trying to stay positive and I know this too shall pass but it has been a long, scary few weeks and I don’t feel like I’m quite out of the woods yet. MRSA is a scary thing. If you have a prayer to spare, I would be grateful.
DIXIE DELIGHTS DELIVERED