Medications: Pain Killers, Prednisone, Vancomycin
I.V. pain pump with Dilaudid and 7 days in the hospital
I woke up on that Saturday morning feeling as though I was catching the flu. My arm felt like I had slept on it funny. I did notice a small 'possible' bite mark on my arm, but did not relate the two things until later. I took some Ibuprofen and layed around all day. I vomited three times and had the chills. I finally decided to go to the hospital that night. They had me on an I.V. with an antibiotic and Demerol for about two hours and sent me home with a script for Cephalexin and Vicodin. The E.R. Doc said he couldn't tell me what had bitten me, but that it would get worse before it got better...he was right about that one thing at least! I slept through the night that first night and felt pretty decent all day Sunday. Sunday night was a rough one though...the pain was increasing and I could not get comfortable enough to sleep most of the night. So Monday morning I went back to the E.R. This time they admitted me and put me on an I.V. of Vancomycin, Clindamycin and Dilaudid for what was becoming excruciating pain. In fact, this was the most painful incident of my life at 33 and I've had two babies! I ended up being there for 7 days. The wound evolved over that week. I had a rash from head to toe(that itched like MAD) either from the meds or the bite, who knows which. My arm swelled up to twice it's normal size and started to look bluish-gray. After the first few days, large blisters formed and eventually I broke one open by rolling over in bed and accidentally scratching it(Ouch!) The other one stayed intact until after I was released. My plastic surgeon busted it a few days later. What was left was an open wound with dead tissue all around. Luckily, the plastic surgeon, who I saw, chose NOT to debride it(Thank God!). Over time, I removed the dead tissue myself just by kind of peeling it off with my fingers the way you would peel a sunburn. Eventually, a new, thin layer of skin formed over most of the wound, except for the areas where the two bubbles are. Those areas are indurated(sunken in) with thick scabs. I'm at about one month out from the time of the bite. I have lost some feeling in my ulna nerve(from the elbow up through the ring and pinky fingers). The Dr. thinks that I will get that back within 6 months...I hope so...it feels tingly and weird to the touch. I was out of work for a month and lost a lot of summer time with my family(I still do not want to go swimming until the scabs heal completely). I now have arachnophobia. It's hard to even look at a picture of one on the internet! The main part of my story that I hope PEOPLE WILL PAY ATTENTION TO is that I would not let anyone debride the tissue! I have heard from a dermatologist(distant relative works for one) that it can make it worse and usually a skin graft is required, which produces yet another wound normally on the rear end! Not all skin grafts take either! So, if you are a victim of this horrible and disgusting creature and someone wants to debride your wound....GET A SECOND OPINION! I went to one Dr. after being released from the hospital who wanted to do just that. However, the plastic surgeon who had seen me in the hospital didn't feel the need to cut on me, so I got up and walked out and I'm glad I did! This thing is going to heal on it's own. I finally feel somewhat normal again. I know I have a way to go, but I see it getting better every day! I hope that I have given someone else HOPE too! THE ONLY GOOD SPIDER IS A DEAD SPIDER!!!
Update July 20th: I have gone back to work and can use my arm a lot more these days. The area is still sore and I have two large scabs that are getting smaller each day. I still cannot straighten out my arm completely and have some loss of feeling. At least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I might even go swimming this weekend! Good Luck to All and REMEMBER.....DO NOT DEBRIDE!