Update on the spider bites

I just got back from visiting with the friend I briefly mentioned earlier. For those of you who didn’t catch it, she was bitten by a brown recluse in two places. These were classic recluse bites, I would say based on what I’ve since read and seen online, there were signs of clear and pronounced envenomation. Like clockwork the bite sites enlarged and burst into widening wounds, by the weekend they were weeping, angry red holes in her flesh almost the size of a silver dollar and on the verge of revealing underlying fascia. She doesn’t have health insurance, she was laid off some time ago, her resources are drying up quickly. There’s not a good time for this to happen, but there is a terrible time and this was it.


When I mentioned that in the post several people volunteered to kick in a few bucks in the event gruesome complications from these kinds of bites developed. They weren’t kidding, and I’ve never set up any kind of personal fund or done a bleg for a friend, but I would have gladly accepted, I would have taken anything. It was pretty damn touching to tell you the truth, it made me feel really fucking good in the midst of a scary situation.

I’m real relieved to say the bites look noticeably better. They are scabbed over, filling in, they’re only about half as wide as they were at peak involvement. She’s also getting another round of antibiotics from the clinic she managed to wrestle up enough cold cash to get into a few days ago, the round she’s almost done with now seem to be kicking in very well. So, for now, my amateur prognosis is much improved. I’m tempted to say she’s out of the woods, or at least on the edge in the last group of trees. In fact we’d love to confirm that by having a doc look at em, but she can’t afford a “look.”

Anyway, I think she’s going to be fine, and I can’t tell you how relieved that makes me! These bites can be disfiguring even when they are treated.

When my friend is clear, I might have her read what some of you wrote. I think she’ll be touched, too. Maybe if she’s up for it and we can protect her identity and dignity, I’ll see if we can get some pics of the healing bite sites or the resultant scars to give you an idea of the pain and anxiety she has had to deal with; like so many uncounted men and women and children who have gone without basic healthcare in this country for years on end.

For now, thank you for listening, thank you all very much.


  1. Don Quijote says

    I had no idea what a brown recluse was. ¡Hostia! I do now.

    I just can’t imagine what it would be like to live in a country where you can’t go to the AE hospital or see a doctor because of money with trauma such as this.

  2. johnb says

    Glad to hear your friend is recovering. Had a spider bite myself a few weeks ago, painful but thankfully not brown recluse.

    It really pisses me off that the allegedly Christian conservatives are fighting so hard against providing universal health care. Sad that we have to deal with repetitious horror stories like this. Of course, per Mitt’s spokesperson, she could always move to Massachusetts!

    Please let us know if there is a need for a fund-raiser.

  3. flherp says

    It may or may not have been a spider bite. In South Florida we have around 100 or so diagnosed brown recluse spider bites reported, but no brown recluse spiders to do any biting. A friend of mine specializes in the subject and gives an entertaining talk on the matter. A short paper on the subject – http://spiders.ucr.edu/necrotic.html I hope your friend recovers from this incident without complication.

  4. says

    Thanks flherp, I did read there are other possible causes for these kinds of injuries, maybe that’s true here. The doc said it was consistent with recluse bites he’s treated, she was in a location where brown recluses were found, and someone who was with her there was also bitten in one spot and had similar symptoms. So it sounds like a reasonable starting point.

  5. No Light says

    I’m with Don Q, it’s heartbreakingly sad.

    As a human, my part in the social contract is to care about the suffering of others, to help relieve that burden, and to ensure that nobody is left behind.

    I know that sparks thoughts of “Reds under the bed!” in many Americans, but ‘socialism’ and ‘liberalism’ aren’t accusations here, not dogwhistles for “MAH TAX DOLLARS!”.

    Taxes are necessary, in that sense of a rising tide lifting up all boats. It saddens me to think that certain people would see the likes of your friend as mere collateral damage in the ‘war’ against the social contract , against health equality

  6. den1s says

    I once was bitten by what we think was some kind of spider that was hiding in the new pair of shoes that I had just purchased. Bit me on the outside of my little toe. The docs put me into a soft cast over this and I spent many months visiting the lesion clinic at the hospital. Probably the most acute pain I have ever felt. Though the ordeal is over, I was left with a pronounced dent on my toe that never completely returned to normal. I still shake out my shoes before wearing them, and likely will continue doing that.

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