The Black Widow

black widow pic

From black widow bites and scorpion stings to finding the pound puppy of my dreams, I’d say I’ve had a memorable year with critters of all sorts.

It was my third time being bitten by a black widow (note that I did not intentionally handle these fantastic beasts, it was always done while gardening) and it was a bite to remember. I felt an instant pain right after finding the little monster biting down into my left wrist. Still, the pain was minor and nothing to stop me from cleaning the yard. I had been bitten two other times with no reaction whatsoever, so I wasn’t worried about the latest bite. This was a stubborn spider I had tried and failed to remove from the entrance of my tortoise burrow for over a year.

She was a big fat mother of many little spiderlings. I personally blame her for our infestation this year! She was always able to avoid the caustic fumes from the can of Raid I so liberally shared with her and the offspring. I had to be extremely careful as this was the entrance to my tortoise burrow. I didn’t want to cause ‘Fluffy’ the Tortoise any harm (yes, I allowed my son to name her when he was three). The spray was never directly aimed or released into the burrow. It always sprayed at a kind of funny angle, hence the reason I never managed to get a direct hit. She would retreat back into the safety of her den of iniquity. It was only a foot out of the entrance but a sacred line she seems to know I would never cross.

Ten minutes after the bite I felt faint, my vision blurred and I lost hearing. I could feel myself folding up like a deck chair in a strong wind. I grasped my shovel and pulled myself up from the sun-baked dirt, sweat pouring down my shirt. A sudden coolness encompassed my failing body. The left arm began to go numb except for a piercing pain that could be felt all around the violated wrist. I managed to get inside to safety. My right arm was covered in small red bumps, an indication that I was having an allergic reaction on top of the shock. My stomach ached, and I doubled over in pain. I struggled to find the phone when finally my son handed it to me. He was so worried: what was happening to his mommy?

I immediately called poison control. They needed to have a record of what was happening. At the same time, I managed to swallow down some Benadryl and a prescription anti-inflammatory I had on hand. The intense pain in stomach lessened shortly after it had begun. While still on the home phone, I used my cell to text my husband, letting him know of the assault made by my formidable foe. I had lost that battle, but not the war. Poison control went over all the symptoms, none were so servere that I couldn’t handle it on my own. My call to them was more of a documentation, for the ‘what if’.

Within 15 minutes of taking the antihistamine, the red bumps that cursed my right arm faded. I felt sick and beaten, but alive. I was exhausted with my battle, and the meds didn’t help all that much. Fortunately, my children did not fight the early bedtime, but instead they peacefully laid themselves down to a sweet slumber. In my own room, I curled myself up into a regrettable ball under a sheet, my shirt still moist from the sweat of the day. It didn’t matter to me, I just wanted to close my eyes and bring an end to the pain.

The next morning when I woke up, both arms were in fair condition. Pain in the left wrist persisted, but that was to be expected I guess. A bitter reminder of the past day, a moment I hoped feverently to never repeat.

I hunted for my worthy opponent most of that next day. I finally found her retreated safely in her web… I could only curse her. It would be months until I had my revenge, and that would be carried out by a professional. She would not taste my blood again. Her killer was proud and well-armed with a long, throbbing stick dripping with poison could not be avoided. She met her maker that day, and I had found satisfaction in her death. There would be no mourning her loss, but instead a childish celebration, “Yay baby, take that!!!”

I will, however, always reflect on our battle. In that way, I guess my eight-legged nightmare will find immortality. A legacy only achieved by the heinous fiends of our dark past… She will forever infest the aging synapses in my brain.

Writing by Irene B. Smithi

Edited by Kristin Wilson of Writing Bits

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