Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Along came a spider...

Beach roses grow along the seashore near our summer house.

Sometimes I can time travel.

Whenever I sit under my favorite tree at the summer place, I am a child again.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time here, mostly reading, thinking and dreaming.

Consequently, I still yearn for solitude on weekend mornings, when I can give my imagination free rein.

So today when I pulled up a chair under that tree, I let my mind wander, expecting to revisit happy summer days. But instead of conjuring up fanciful things, I am fixated on the ugly wound just over my ankle on the inside of my left leg.

I love nature, and I write about God's handiwork in all its manifestations. I even have a healthy respect for insects. Whenever I find a bug inside my house or at work in my office, I carry it outside and give it a second chance.

Lately I have been rescuing lots of gypsy moths. My kids joke that I brake for ants.

A musician, I have performed with a 30-piece concert band for most of my adult life; and a month ago we played in an open grassy field at a beautiful complex.

It was the perfect venue: the sun was shining, a slight breeze blowing and an appreciative audience clapping.

However, midway through one piece, I felt something bite me near my ankle. I am a professional and kept right on playing, even though I am sure I winced.

When the number was over, I quickly changed music and continued with the performance like nothing happened. Frankly, I chalked it up to just another mosquito bite.

Fast forward a day later in the middle of night. I felt feverish, and the two puncture wounds burned and itched. All day I tried to put the sensation out of my mind, but my leg began to swell and the skin was red and on fire.

By the next morning the wound was gigantic and filled with fluid. I took a photo and texted it to my daughter, an eye doctor.

“U need to go to urgent care… that is severe inflammation,” she texted back. “U don’t want that stuff to get into ur body… People get paralyzed from spider venom.”


At urgent care, the doctor did a double take. He said the spider bite was rare and took out a syringe, draining the fluid and sending it to the lab to be tested for black widow and brown recluse.

I went home with a huge bandage wrapped around my leg; instructions for treating cellulitis, an infection of the skin and tissue beneath it; a healthy dose of antibiotic; and a warning to report to the Emergency Room if the conditioned worsened.

A week later I returned to my primary care doctor for a follow-up. “It will take months to heal,” she said.

So today I praise God for the warm sunshine, the gentle lapping of the waves in the distance, the seagulls circling overhead and the birds nesting in nearby branches – but not for the spider. 

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