Even though it’s really hot here in Central Texas right now, the mornings aren’t too horrible, and I sometimes go out and sit on the pew on the front porch and read. It’s in the shade until early afternoon, and I even might eat lunch there, while I’m reading, which is what I did last Saturday. If I’m going to be outside working in the yard, especially in the back yard, which has some low places, I always use insect spray. We don’t have standing water, but I’m not so sure about the neighbors. But, sitting on the front porch, I don’t, ordinarily, until recently, use that precaution. So-o-o-o, after enjoying a relatively pleasant time of reading and lunching, the temperature escalated and I went back into the house, and noticed how my left forearm was itchy. Really itchy! And, being a responsible adult who knows better, I went ahead and scratched it. It was REALLY itchy. As the afternoon wore on, I would idly scratch the itchy place, not particularly paying much attention to it. When I actually looked at the thing, I saw that there was a pretty large red (itchy) patch, and in the center of that, a smallish raw, gooey circle in the center. Hmmmmm. And I went to bed.
When I got up Sunday morning, it was still a little itchy. The red part was larger and the little gooey part in the center had become a dark, blackish, scabbyish, thing. And it was pretty swollen. I went straight to the computer and Googled “brown recluse spider bite.” The video was enough to cure anyone from ever leaving the house again. (Actually, that might not help, as those creatures like closed-in, dark, dusty spaces, like a house that no one ever leaves, or cleans.) Then I made David look at it.
“Should I go to the emergency room,” I asked. He thought we should wait and see, and maybe go after church. My backup plan was to talk with professionals, and I have two friends at church who are nurses, and one of them teaches Sunday School with me.
“So,” I said, showing her my arm. “What do you think?” She thought it needed professional help. By time Sunday School was over, there was a little red streak growing from the larger red splotch.
“Don’t wait until after church,” she suggested. Because I’m diabetic and have kidney problems, my health is already compromised. And, a few years ago, I had an incidence of MRSA.
I said, “Where should I go?” and she suggested a local urgent-care clinic, so I went on over.
“It’ll be an hour wait,” they said, “maybe more.”
“Okay.” Because what are my options? Driving all around town, spending an hour trying to find a place where I could be seen in 30 minutes? Going to the actual Emergency Room, which was bound to be crowded? I stayed. I filled out some paperwork, but not much, because this place is part of the medical system that includes my physician and the hospital where I went once. So the information about all my medications and diagnoses were in their computers. Saved us all some time. And it wasn’t an hour.
The doctor came in and looked closely at the bite. “You seem to have some blue fluff here,” she said. I hadn’t noticed it, but it’s clear in the photo, isn’t it. And it’s exactly the same color as those socks! (I don’t know how that happens!) Then she took some sort of instrument and ripped that blue-flecked scab right off my arm. And, incredibly, almost immediately, the redness began to recede (not completely, but some). She cleaned it up a little, and wrote two prescriptions, called them in, and gave me a sheet of generic “how to care for bites and stings” instructions and sent me off to Target (where my prescriptions go, which she knew because, as I said before, I’m already in the system).
and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt.
Psalm 139:14 (Contemporary English Version)
I don’t know what bit me. Not a mosquito. I’ve had lots and lots and lots of those, and I know what those bites look like. Not a wasp. I’ve had those, too, and you feel those stings right away. Not fire ants, either. Their bites cause immediate pain, too. I’m just guessing spider. I didn’t feel anything painful from the bite. I don’t even know if the itching started immediately or was a delayed reaction. I just know that this was different than anything else I ever recall having. And, my wonderfully created body reacted with itching and redness. “This isn’t normal! Take care of this!” So I did.