Friday, July 18, 2008

Tonight I Reflect...

... on all of the dangers and threats we've encountered to date: a twister touching down a half-mile away, golf-ball sized hail, scorching asphalt, gale force winds, a tree toppling over not too far from our tent, lightening strikes within meters, several bridges of death, feral dogs, teenage kids trying to play chicken with us on the road, a grandmother with Mr. Magoo eyeglasses, Uncle Jesse from Dukes of Hazzard (no kidding!), supersized semis driving recklessly, trigger happy sheriffs, a stalking cattle farmer, venomous snakes ....

I planned for all of them (except Uncle Jesse) yet nothing could have prepared me for what I awoke to yesterday morning. It started out with a spider in the bathroom sink. Sleepy eyed I thought nothing of it at first but upon closer inspection, I realized it was none other than a brown recluse staring up at me.

Now I've watched enough Discovery Channel to know that these spiders didn't just come by their common name accidentally and that made me curious so I began pulling out furniture in the guest house we were staying at. I can't remember much between that and the horrifying reality that came shortly afterwards - we had slept in a place infested with one of North America's most deadliest creatures.

I found them on the shower curtain, in the kitchen cabinets, and a nest with babies behind one of the couches; some I captured in a plastic container and photographed above. It was like a real life version of the movie Arachnophobia. For those who lack familiarity with the brown recluse, they're also called fiddleback spiders because they are readily identified by the 'violin' shaped dark pattern on their cephalothorax.

Relatively small (about the size of a quarter including leg span) but their bite can pack a wallop as evidenced by these photos. WARNING - VERY GRAPHIC. It starts with blistering and ulceration around the wound and can very quickly lead to necrosis (tissue death) and other complications like kidney failure.

The good news is only a small percentage of cases result in that. Medical studies show that if you have been bitten, the wound will become extremely painful and itchy within 2 - 8 hours. Since our encounter, Ive kept constant watch over my boys and am quite convinced now they're fine. However, YBD is still trying to shake off the experience.


2 Dogs 2,000 Miles said...

NOTE: The owner of the guest house we're staying at felt quite horrible about exposing us to this risk. But from my research, brown recluse infestations are more common than you'd think. They can even occur in a spare, unused bedroom. Even the wife of our Bloginnator, Erich, lost part of her earlobe to a bite... YBD

LiveWorkDream said...

YIKES! OMG, we are so glad you guys are OK.

Frightening encounters like the ones you've been exposed to would make anyone run away and never go back. But you guys keep on keeping on. Truly a sign of amazing perserverence, dedication and love. You are AWESOME!

Whenever we run into hassles or bad situations, we try to keep in mind that it's probably a test of some sort from a power greater than ourselves. So we keep the faith and do our best to move on. You are such an inspiration, we'll think of you next time that happens to us.


Vicki Tankersley said...

Thank god none of you were bitten. The thought of being around those very dangerous spiders makes me cringe. And, then, you're having to "Walk the Plank", survive mosquitos the size of sparrows and defend yourself against voracious horse flies (god only knows what else). And, you have such a long way to go, yet. I worry about you every day. Stay safe and puppy up!
Vicki Tankersley