I am scared of spiders. I could say frightened and be fancy, but I am scared out of my bejeeben mind over spiders. I know they are God’s creatures and have their purpose. I know the world would be terrible without them (I think that is debatable). And I did cry over a garden variety spider that I accidentally killed the other day outside my house (although I suspect I was really crying about my life right now). It’s very simple. If you are a spider and enter my house, you die. You stay outside, you live. A very simple, yet enforced law in my home.
I have a serious fear of spiders, an out of control fear…a phobia.
You might say, JW, what has a spider ever done to you? I say this, I remember it well. I slept in a tiny bed at the end of my parent’s room, my infant brother slept in a baby bed closer to the folks. The other bedrooms were upstairs in their farmhouse, so we slept in their room. Sometime during the night, I awoke crying … scared… you got it… out of my mind. My quilt was covered in tiny spiders. I can still see their sinewy (is that used correctly?)legs. You say, JW, are you lying again? I say, maybe... or maybe I was dreaming. When my mother finally reached my bed that night, I remember showing her the spiders which were in fact the tacking threads that lovingly held quilt top, bottom and batting together. My dear perfect mom (you all know how I feel about her) gently comforted me and squished all the terrible spiders right in front of me. I did feel better. She tells me I went back to sleep. She tells me the next morning she found me asleep behind our rocking chair in the living room.
Unrealistic, Unfounded fear. Wait a minute, my story is not over.
Since that time, I have been so afraid of spiders that I have influenced others to fear:
• My sister
• My son (he might deny it)
• My daughter
• My childhood best friend
• And now my granddaughter has a fear of spiders. She told me so.
Since that time, spiders have made me:
• Throw my baby son at my mother (one dropped from the ceiling)
• Scream and run while pregnant (one dropped from the tree…at night)
• Almost lose control of my 1965 Mustang while driving (one fell down my blouse)
• Drive the lawnmower erratically in the yard (one fell from the tree and onto my lap)
• Leap from the couch spilling my Yorkie pup across the room (she brought me a Wolf spider laying it on my chest as I napped)
• Have more than one nightmare
As I write this, I feel spiders crawling in my clothes. Do you see how I am?
Fast forward a few hundred years, as my grandmother use to say, to June of 2003.
If you have a fear of spiders you might want to closed the Internet and turn off your computer, otherwise you will be tempted to read on. By now YOU know my warnings are real.
Where was I? Fast forward to 2003. I am sleeping in my king size bed. I am too cheap to turn on the air yet and I am too warm. I throw off my covers to be cooler. I had accidentally left the TV on so there was a little light. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain behind my knee. I sat straight up in bed and saw it; a spider running across my quilt at the end of the bed. I jump out of bed and turn on the ceiling light. I thought maybe I had dreamed it. But, hiding under a throw draped at the end of my bed was a quarter sized (legs and all) spider.
This is what I do next.
• I capture the spider in a jar
• I clean behind my knee with alcohol
• I put an antiseptic on the throbbing area
Then I start to strip my bed. I find another spider under a pillow on the driver’s side of the bed. I capture it, then flushed it.
This was Sunday morning at 2 a.m. By midday, I had broken out in a rash. Despising ER’s, I waited until Monday morning to see my physician. Yes, I took the spider with me. I wanted to prove something, I guess. By then my knee had swollen.
Conversation (yet another) with a nurse.
“I am pretty sure it is a Brown Recluse Spider.”
The nurse kept writing.
“I brought the spider with me.” I handed her a plain brown paper bag.
I had her attention. “Dead?”
I shook my head. “No, it’s alive.”
“Loose in the bag?” her eyes were very big now.
“No, in a jar.”
I know it’s too late to say, long story short, but here it is. I reacted correctly by putting the ointment on the area; it weakened the venom which in turn helped it not to ulcerate. They gave me an antibiotic and steroids which made me feel very good I must say.
I did have an infestation under my house (probably not an infestation), but I cured that.
But now, I had a reason to be scared of the itsy bitsy spider.
Two things I learned:
• Never, ever look on the Internet to identify spiders if you have a phobia.
• Never, ever look at pictures of other people who have been bitten by the Brown Recluse.
If I live to be 29, I will never be able to figure out why I developed this phobia of spiders at such a young age or why I am still terrified of Arachnids, but I am.
Excuse me now; I must strip all clothing from my body to make sure the crawlings I feel are not real spiders.
I bet you are glad I didn't post photos of spiders with my story.
Stay tuned for: The Story of the Attic Spider