Clearly, I am not Peter Parker

Haley Cooper, Reporter

I looked in the mirror and was mortified.

When I returned home from the KSPA Conference in Lawrence, I wanted nothing more than a cold shower to end my long day, which started at around 4:40 a.m.

But while admiring my reflection before I stepped in my refreshing shower, I was faced with something not so refreshing.

A monstrous growth was on my shoulder blade, almost resembling a mosquito bite in coloration but maybe quadruple the size.

I showed it to my mom and she said it looked like a spider bite, but I thought little of it. I jokingly tried to tap into my spidey senses, scale walls, shoot webs from my palms… All of my attempts were unsuccessful.

The next morning, I woke up with a 101.7º (F) fever. I was feeling nauseated and as I headed to the bathroom, I nearly collapsed due to dizziness. Soon enough, the swelling at the site of the bite reached from my shoulder to my waist on the whole right side of my back. Abdominal pain, headaches and shortness of breath ensued. No Spiderman capabilities yet.

We went to the doctor and he told me I might have appendicitis, but I received no treatment whatsoever.

Within the next couple days, I was covered nearly from head to toe from a burning, itchy red rash. So on a second trip to the doctor, he acknowledged that I was bitten by a bug- he refused to recognize that it was a brown recluse- and I took a steroid shot and received antibiotics.

Since then, all of my symptoms except for a little soreness have subsided. Nonetheless, the “core” of the bite did fall out, leaving a hole in my back that you could literally stick your finger into. Luckily, skin is already growing back over it- some people undergo a much slower healing process.

Moral of the story? Don’t get bitten by a brown recluse. But if you do, don’t let your doctor tell you have appendicitis.

Spider bites are not limited to the appearance and the symptoms I described. If you experience any of the ones I listed, however, seek medical attention. The treatment really helped alleviate my discomfort.

Help yourself get informed about the spider situation and check out Andrew Minter’s article on the awful arachnids.