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Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Last Saturday my up the street neighbors were having a yard sale. I’d already asked if I could come up early—most detest that but my friends didn’t mind. It was cold here at seven in the morning so I put on a shirt, long pants, a coat and took off my shoes as I decided to wear my flat rubber rain boots. That was a big mistake if ever.

Those rain boots are kept on top of an umbrella stand by the front door. Last time I had them on was in February. The yard sale adrelaine was getting to me and did I look inside of those boots? Of course not. I put them on as fast as I could and headed out the door and up the hill. Oh I found treasures all right and my friend’s husband even carted them down the hill to my house. I was in “after yard sale heaven” staring at my treasures. Felt fine for about an hour or so, changed into my shoes, discarded the coat and plotted out my day.

Well that plotting didn’t last long because I started feeling sick to my stomach, got chills and wondered why my right calf hurt. Took to my bed and minute by minute I felt worse. Back up to get an extra strength aspirin and had to put on a robe on top of the other clothes before I got back in bed. I never thought to look at the back of my calf in the mirror; just thought it was a shin splint. And being the teacher I had been, it is innate in me to think that things will get better. They didn’t.

Sunday was a miserable day and I did get a hand-held mirror and looked at the back of my calf: There was a huge bump and around it, my skin was as red as a beet. That bump hurt when I touched it. Scared.  I decided to wait it out and go to see my doctor the first thing on Monday and I’m glad I did. After examining it, he told me that a spider had bitten me. “Funny” I said to him for I never felt the bite. Maybe most people don’t. He phoned in an antibiotic for me and it was picked up; said he wanted to see me if it got worse. Thank heavens the place didn’t get worse. I took his orders and stayed off my feet which is not normal for me at all. Fear can do that: Make you follow directions.

It is now Tuesday and yesterday I took the last prescribed pill. My calf doesn’t hurt and the swelling is gone but there still is a place that is visible.

Maybe you are wondering why I didn’t go to the emergency room:  I didn’t realize what was going on that Saturday. Should have looked at my calf [the bite was on the back of it] in a mirror but assumed it was a shin splint. Shin splints don’t make you sick to your stomach or give you a fever. Spider bites do if you realize you have one.

I can tell you this:  The rubber rain boots are no longer on top of the umbrella stand by the front door. And I will never put any type of footware near it for spiders love to come in that way. And I will look into boots or shoes before I ever put them on. Luck was with me for it could have been a bite from a spider that had deathly venom. The moral of this story is not to assume that one has a shin splint without looking at where the pain is coming from by using a mirror—and never put on boots without looking inside.

Along came a spider and it bit me. And I spent a week in bed. Who wants that? Count me out next time.

Sherry Hill

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