Name: Dawn and Spiderman Andy--Story of our Daughter
Date Bitten: 5/1/2003
Body Part: Knee
City: Winter Park
Found Spider: No
Severity of Bite: 5 - Life Threatening
Recurring Bite: No
Pet Story: No
Medications: Antibiotics, Cephalexin, Surgery
Vicadin, shot of antibiotic in the arm, tetanus shot, morphine, many IV antibiotics, etc.
Well, well, well. Here I am again writing the story of how someone in my family was bitten by a brown recluse spider. A spider the experts claim does not exsist in my area. Hmmm. I have news for them. Let's start by once again saying how I thank Mark and Linda so much for maintaining this site and keeping it up and running for the public. It's not an easy task but I *do* greatly appreciate it. If any of you reading this post now would like to take a little journey and look back at the last year of our lives you may do so. Type into the search engine bites in Florida or go for message 921 and I believe 919. You will see the pictures and a record of the course of events that have taken place. Now let me fill you in on what happened this past May to my 12 year old daughter.
My 12 year old daughter, we will call her Kobie, came home from school one day with many mosquito bites on her leg. We didn't think anything of it because we always get a lot of mosquito bites here in Florida in May, or nearly any other month for that matter. A few days later most of the bites were clearing up except for one. It was redder, more swollen and itchier than the rest. I joked and told Kobie we'd better watch that one, it kinda looks like a brown recluse bite. We laughed, not realizing the nightmare that was in store for us, especially her. Within a day or two after my comment, Kobie told me that the bite was still bothering her a lot and it concerned her because it really hurt and felt bruised deep inside. I took a close look at it and informed my husband that I think she has BRS bite. He could not believe what I was saying. It couldn't be happening again. By day four or five after the bite, it was clear that Kobie had a BRS bite. I waited until I was sure the emergency room would treat her so I waited until the end of that day to have her go to the ER knowing that if it weren't "bad" enough they'd turn us away. We went to the ER and they looked at her and gave Kobie a shot of antibiotic in the arm, some Vicadin, a tetanus shot and a set of crutches and told her to go home. They sent her home with this wound oozing and a nice necrotic pit starting. She had a fever of 100.2 and cellulitis spreading up and down her leg at least 8 inches away from the bite. Not a pretty site. I was not a happy girl. I will show you picks of what it looked like when they sent us home from the hospital. Truly appalling and then they wonder why their malpractice insurance is through the roof. Ding, ding ding!!! I have a clue!
The next day, we went to Kobie's primary care physician, who was brought to tears by the sight of Kobie's knee and after hearing our awful ordeal at the ER. The doctor immediately called a different hospital and arranged for Kobie to be admitted without going through all the normal dealings to get admitted to the ER. Well that didn't work. We went to the second ER and they told us we would have to go through the ER to get a bed just like everyone else even though I kept showing everyone the note the PCP had given us. By this time, Kobie's knee was red, hot swollen, the cellulitus had set in and was from ankle to thigh. Her fever was 102.6 and she was semi-delirious. She hadn't urinated in 36 hours except for a few small drops which were reddish-brown to dark brown in color. Her legs were numb, cold, and turning yellow. She was in the first stages of renal failure----her kindneys were shutting down. The wound itself was a dime sized hole with exstensive blackness under the skin and it kept oozing and bubbling colors I have never seen come out of a human body. Red, yellow, green, black, brown, white, and so the rainbow went on. It was terrifying. The worst part was no one would listen to me. No one would listen to how severe this was and how I knew what I was talking about to a certain extent because I had gone through this several times in the past year. Kobie had never received as much as an Advil for pain during the hours we spent waiting in the ER. After 5 hours waiting in the ER without ever seeing a doctor, the physicians assistant came in with the decision. "We are going to send Kobie home. There's nothing we can do other than let this run it's course. She'll be fine. Just have her follow up with the plastic surgeon when she's feeling better. " I was shocked. I turned into a monster of sorts, said a lot of bad words, made the PA feel very inadequate, and refused to leave the hospital. I told the PA that he would need to get security if he wanted me to go. I threw a fit and showed him my original note from Kobie's Primary Care Physcian. He instantly said, "OH! I didn't know you had this!" Which was not true because I had shown him the note twice before.
We did get a room that night and once we were out of the ER and into a room, all went smoothly. They took great care of Kobie. She needed 2 mg of morphine every so many hours to keep the intense pain under control and tons of IV antibiotics. She was in the hospital for 5 days. The first 2 days were to pump her up with antibiotics to try to get the massive infection under control. They took cultures of inside the wound, (VERY PAINFUL!), and they found many nasty things. Gangrene and staph were present along with a few other creepy creatures. The necrosis had eaten through all her layers of skin and her sub-cutaneous fat layer and was sitting at the muscle. She had surgery to remove the dead and dying tissue before it made it's way into her knee joint. Another day and she would have lost her leg from the knee down. That's the best case scenario. Kobie was at the beginning stages of renal failure and was in great distress. Her kidneys would have shut down shortly after that and we might have lost her. It was a very scary time. I stayed by her bed for all 5 days. I was so afraid for her. The doctors talked about skin grafts but they won't be necessary. Kobie has healed up nicely. She doesn't remember much of the nightmare, thank goodness. Truly amazing.
Thank God all is okay now. We completely tore our house apart. Took down sheetrock and wood looking for these creatures. Fogged, sprayed,and sealed everything. We never found one brown recluse spider.
Last week our family of 5 took a trip to the west coast of Florida. While there, I felt a weird pinch in my shorts. I didn't bother to look as it felt like an ingrown hair. That was October 19. It is now clear that I am the latest to be bitten---twice. Both at the same time near the same spot. I think I pinched the little bugger between the fat on my hip. Must have been in our suitcases. We'll see how this goes. If necrosis sets in, it'll happen within the next 3 days. Wish me luck. Hurts more than I had imagined. You must understand that I am looking at my ordeal in a very scientific way. I want to know what my poor child and hubby have gone through. I haven't seen a doctor as I am the only one in the family with no insurance. I have tried squeezing it and getting the nasty thick yellow pus out but that only works on the smaller of the 2 bites. I noticed this morning that the smaller bite is turning black under my skin. I can't even believe this nightmare is still going on. I really wish an entomologist would come out here and inspect of house. I'm sure they could find something.