Friday, September 12, 2008

Arachnaphobia

Spiders creep me out! Just the mere thought of them, almost sends me into a state of hysteria. Back when I was working as an RN, I took care of an elderly woman who had been bitten by a brown recluse spider. She almost died and ended up losing a huge section of her colon. Although, hers was an extreme case, it still freaked me out. I'm not ashamed to say, that if I see a spider in my house, I will stand guard over it, while yelling for one of my kids to come and squash it. I just cannot kill them myself, because of some irrational fear that I may "miss" and then the spider will come after me. So, imagine me, last night...all the kiddos were in bed sleeping, my husband was on duty at the firehouse (he will be there until Saturday), I take the dog out one last time before going to bed. I flip on the back porch light. I step out the back door with the dog leash in hand. And, I glance to the left of the back door, and on the brick wall is a big spider web. And a spider. This spider (well, not this exact spider, but this kind of spider - no way was I going to actually stick around to take a photograph). A black widow!


~photo from wikipedia~

I knew that these spiders could be found in our little part of the world. But, I have never actually seen one. I did not like it. Not a bit. I high-tailed it out to the yard to let Emma take care of her business. Then we high-tailed it back in the house so that I could figure out a plan of action. Do I wake up my 15 year old son and make him kill the spider. Do I try to be brave and kill it myself. Who am I kidding, no way was I going to go near that thing. Not only was it big and scary, but, it was tucked in it's web, in a corner of a brick wall. That would be a very tricky kill, indeed. I would undoubtedly not be successful, instead angering the spider, thus, making her come after me. So, I told myself I would let her be. Maybe she was sleeping. I would wait for daybreak, and call upon one of my neighbor menfolk to come and kill the beast. I tried to get ready for bed, as if nothing was wrong. But, I couldn't get the spider out of my mind. What if, during the night, she came in my house through some crack or crevice? What if she found her way to my bed? Or worse, what if she found her way to one of my children? Then I felt guilty. By not squashing her myself, I was not protecting my children. OY! Bad mom! Finally, I managed to fall asleep. And, surprisingly, I didn't have any spider nightmares. This morning, I peeked my head out the back door and...she was nowhere to be found! Why did I think she would still be in the same spot? Now what am I going to do? I tell you what I'm NOT going to do. I'm NOT going out the back door. I'm NOT going anywhere near the back porch or back yard. When my son gets home from school, I will send him out to hunt her down. Wish him luck!

FYI (some educational info. from widipedia):
"Although their venom is extremely potent (it is also reported to be much more potent than the venom of cobras and coral snakes), these spiders are not especially large. Compared to many other species of spiders, their chelicerae are not very large or powerful. In the case of a mature female, the hollow, needle shaped part of each chelicera, the part that penetrates the skin, is approximately 1.0 millimeters (about .04 in) long, long enough to inject the venom to a point where it can be harmful. The males, being much smaller, inject far less venom with smaller chelicerae. The actual amount injected, even by a mature female, is very small in physical volume. When this small amount of venom is diffused throughout the body of a healthy, mature human, it usually does not amount to a fatal dose (though it can produce the very unpleasant symptoms of latrodectism). Deaths in healthy adults from Latrodectus bites are relatively rare in terms of the number of bites per thousand people. Sixty-three deaths were reported in the United States between 1950 and 1990. On the other hand, the geographical range of the widow spiders is very great. As a result, far more people are exposed, world-wide, to widow bites than to bites of more dangerous spiders, so the highest number of deaths world-wide are caused by members of their genus. Widow spiders have more potent venom than most spiders, and prior to the development of antivenin, 5%[8] of reported bites resulted in fatalities. The venom can cause a swelling up to 15 cm. Improvements in plumbing have greatly reduced the incidence of bites and fatalities in areas where outdoor privies have been replaced by flush toilets."

3 comments:

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Creepy! Hey did you ever get to Stephanie Meyer's blog to see the beginning of the 5th book in the series?

Kimberly said...

Hi Kari! It's been awhile since I stopped by, but I'm totally lovin' your new blog design!

More, More, More said...

yuck. I also hate spiders and have been know to keep watch over one until my husband comes to rescue me. Black widows are pretty though - in a creepy kind of way. My nephew "caught" one and had it in a jar so we could all examine the markings. She'll probably come back to her web - right?