Last Wednesday, before leaving for work, I took Andy (Black Lips Houlihan) for a short walk, so he could pee and log-out. When we returned he went straight for his water bowl, and I came down here to the bunker. I flopped in front of my computer, and the next thing I know… I’m plunged into a world of pain and panic.
Something stung or bit me on the left forearm, and it HURT. I jumped to my feet, did some light flailing and shrieking, and the pain just wouldn’t let go. Usually it spikes, and quickly subsides. But this was spike, spike, spike, spike… Not even a hint of subside.
While all this was going on, I instinctively pawed at the pain center, and never actually saw what got me. It stung like a bee or wasp. But wouldn’t I have seen something so large? I’m not sure. Afterwards I looked around the room, and saw nothing. It’s still a mystery.
The stinging continued, which was weird. I ran cold water over it, and rubbed the area, thinking there might still be a stinger in there. I even took a credit card and rubbed the edge across the area, because I read somewhere you can get stingers out of your arm (or ass) by dragging a plastic card over top of it.
Within seconds the swelling kicked in, and by the time I arrived at work it looked pretty bad. People were literally gasping when they saw it. There was a large swollen area with a red dot in the middle, and a much larger area around it that was reddish.
But it’s not unusual. I’ve been stung dozens of times, and it’s always a big production. I always turn into Rocky from Mask for a few days. So, I wasn’t all that worried. My only small concern? I wasn’t 100% sure I’d been stung. It could’ve been a spider bite, and that was unknown territory. Ya know?
A few people at my job were aghast, literally aghast, and insisted I needed to be airlifted to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, or whatever. I assured them everything would be OK, but they were spinning doomsday scenarios about Brown Recluse and Wolf spiders, and insinuating that I’d have nothing but a skeleton arm, or a strip of beef jerky sticking out of my shirt sleeve by the next morning.
That didn’t help. They were getting to me, making me slightly paranoid. But I know how I react to bee stings, and this was consistent with previous episodes. I went against my instincts, however, and did a Google search for spider bites. I read that I’d probably be vomiting if it were something bad, and I wasn’t vomiting; I felt fine. So I tried to put it out of my mind.
The next morning I woke up with a goddamn Popeye arm, and a large open sore. It looked horrible, and the skin felt like it was stretched to its fullest capacity. So, I wore a long-sleeve shirt to work, and tried to ride it out. About halfway through the day it started leaking a clear fluid, in great volume. My shirt was soaked, and I was starting to think that maybe I should go see a doctor.
Friday was even worse. My arm was super-red and itchy, and the sore looked like it was bubbling. And was it just my imagination, or I could also hear it sizzling? It was now about the size of a 50 cent piece. Crazy! Again, I wore a long-sleeve shirt to work, and kept wiping away the fluid with napkins. This shit was getting out of hand. But I still felt OK, so I did nothing.
And things got a lot better over the weekend. The swelling is gone, and all that’s left is something that looks like a single slice of pepperoni stuck to my left arm. It’s still not great, but a million times improved over the darkest hours of Friday afternoon.
A few questions:
1) What do you think it was? I’m leaning toward spider, since I was never able to find it. What are your thoughts?
2) I probably should’ve gone to the doctor, huh? This was pretty bad stuff. But it feels like people run to the doctor for every little thing (“I farted this morning, and it sounded exactly like an early Dylan harmonica solo. Is it cancer?!”) I don’t want to be one of those people. Plus, I hate the doctor, and it’s a GIANT hassle: sitting in a waiting room for two hours with people suffering from SARS or African River Blindness… Count me out.
3) Why do people always go to the worst case scenario with everything? One of my co-workers in particular believed this would ABSOLUTELY lead to my death. I mean, it wasn’t even open for debate.
4) And I probably shouldn’t laugh about it, until it’s completely gone, right? That pepperoni slice is still lurking, and changing. I guess it could still do me in. It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to get all cocky with it, just yet.
And let me know what you think about this weirdness… Ever since that bite or sting, or whatever, I’ve been walking around humming “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money. Why?? I don’t think I’ve heard that song in years, but it’s now been in my head for days. Do you think the two things are related? Is there a chance this was triggered by the poison? Help me out, won’t you?
Today’s Question is pretty predictable: Please share your horror stories about being bitten or stung. By an insect, or a snake, or a jellyfish: whatever you’ve got. What was the most spectacular example? Please tell us all about it in the comments.
And I’ll see you guys again soon.
Have a great week!
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