Rabobi – iSpiderman!

I have always been an eternal optimist, and whenever destiny throws me a boomerang of bad luck (such as the recent spider-bite), I throw it right back at her. Three days in hospital brought on enough boredom and a good portion of creativity (never type in “douchebag superhero” in Google’s image search) to produce an true african superhero movie:

While the above clip is hopefully funny, read on after the break – this could really safe your life or at least a lot of pain or a limp.

Perhaps I just had a bad pick of doctors (all three of them), but my experience taught me the scary news that very little is known about spiders and how to treat it. True, it does not happen often, but after all we live in a more exotic countries, very poisonous snakes roam our backyards and as such you would expect that the medical profession in this country has at least some understanding of what is going on.

If it was the US, I would have sued two doctors for malpractice – they prescribed me anti-inflammatory cream without even looking at the bite. The other took the antibiotics-and-come-back-in-10-days approach. Had I followed either one, I would be spending months in hospital to undergo extensive skincraft and suffering. The 3rd doctor was too busy checking out some internet-forum (yeah Doc, it sucks with your reflecting cabinet doors), that he could not be bothered to listen – otherwise he would have ruled out a tick-bite which takes 10 days to result in tick-fever.

If you are ever in the unfortunate position that a spider bites you, you will probably not even notice it. If you do, the better – then you can nuke the bastard (stepping on it makes it really hard to identify) so that you get the right treatment. In most cases there is no anti-venom (somebody please explain this – there are millions of those things around – why aren’t there?) and you will have to go with strong antibiotics.

As the cytotoxin venom literally eats it way through your lymph-nodes, it will take some time (about 4-12 hours) until you really notice something strange – in my case the following history:

Day-0: Dow… New Years Eve – drunk… in bed… sleeping…
Day-1: Woke up with hangover and headache. Called myself a sissy, since I really didn’t drink much.
Day-2: Noticed a reddish “pimple” on my calf. Thought it was a mosquito bite. The spot was sore.
Day-3: The “pimple” is now 3x3cm big. Time for the doctor – this does not look right. Get cream and antibiotics. Headaches get worse.
Day-4: Heavy fever. Attribute it to the antibiotics doing it’s goodness. The “alien” on my leg is now 8cm long and 5cm wide. My whole calf is sore and tender (imagine all muscles torn)
Day-5: Holy Jesus! My whole leg (up to my thigh) is purple on the back and I can feel a thick “string” running from the bitemark close to by manly goods…. TIME FOR MAJOR PANIC! – Emergency ward
Day-6-10: 3 days on a drip with strict bed-rest. The spiders venom has attacked my body severely and having headaches, motion-sickness, black-outs, fever, dizzyness all at the same time is no fun. I am not sure how much drugs had been pumped into me, but it knocked me out the first day for 18 hours. The 2nd day I counted the nurses replacing the drip every 2 hours (two small bags with antibiotics and some drug I can’t remember) and 4 hours (with one of those 1-litre bags). As the drugs entered my blood-stream I could feel how the body reacted. My white blood-cell count was at the lowest scale and me reactive protein count was 50 (!!!) times over the standard value. All other tests where also way off the mark – a clear indication that had I waited longer I would have suffered even more serious consequences.

So it is Day-12 now, I am still on another 5 days of antibiotics, still get the fever but the spreading of the infection has stopped and is getting smaller by the day. I hope that in a few weeks or months everything is gone.

So take my word of caution (and don’t get paranoid) and be more observant before you climb into bed, don’t drop your clothes on the floor and at least shake them out if you get into them. I am more wary about spiders now and will kill anyone in my house after this experience.

BTW: Hope you enjoyed the clip and give me a rating and forwarded this to your friends!!!

2010-01-08: Anniversary – the bitemark is still there — about 3x3cm with a greyish/ashlike colour.