Dear Nhs A & E; Wolfspiders Can Bite.
0 comment Saturday, August 2, 2014 |
I'd take a photo of my leg and post it up but it wouldn't be pretty....excuse the rant, but I'm furious and laid up on a beautiful day.
A few weeks ago, lifting my compost bags, I discovered a hatched nest of baby wolf-spiders. There are loads of the things here in the area where I live, and some of them have grown to truly massive proportions. I found one had made a nest in my son's toybox with silk so strong I had to cut his toys apart with a scissors. When you suck a spider into your hoover and you can feel it thunk down the hose, it's a big bloody spider. So I am rather cautious about having them in the house, but outside, it's their world and I tend to just leave them be. That isn't possible however when you pick up a compost bag and find a bunch of spiders swarming beneath. I backed up hastily, but - and my grandfather would have been appalled - I didn't check my trousers or brush off afterwards, merely carried on.
I'm not the squeamish type by half, and I've been bitten by all sorts of things - spiders, snakes, rats. So when I happened to look down at my leg and notice a small scratch well with blood on the inside of my calf, I didn't really think anything about it. At least not until several hours later, when it had swelled up to several inches in diameter. I rubbed some garlic on it as it was itching, but left it be. I've been bitten before and eventually it will pass.
However by the next day it was really not doing any better. A trip to the GP resulted in the usual NHS protocol of treat-the-symptom and look no further; a bit of topical antibiotic which did absolutely bugger all, and back home I went with a bit of it's-not-serious, cheer-up.
Again, I've been bitten by stuff before; I never had a bite do this. On Wed, the cellulitis had set in, now over 9 cm across, and spreading. In the US, this would be A Problem; time for blood cultures and making sure staph hadn't set in. But again, there's a lack of this thing called "preventative medicine" here in the UK. I tried to pick up a prescription, but it wasn't waiting for me. At that point, walking was nearly impossible, the pain was so bad that I burst into tears when I got home. Called my ex down from London, and he called an ambulance as I was incapable of walking and in the worst shape he's seen me in a long while.
Now you'd think this would mean Help Was On The Way; instead, I was subjected to an extremely humiliating few hours in which the only thing anyone asked me was why I had called an ambulance for an insect bite. By now, my lower leg was half-covered with hot swelling, and a bullseye of the bite. When I tried to explain I had been bitten by a spider, the doctor broke in and said "No, sorry, there's no spiders in the UK that bite humans." I just stared at him in disbelief - if provoked, a wolf spider will bite, and bite hard. I've been bitten by enough to know this, but no matter what I said to the main, he interjected. He merely glanced at my leg. No vital signs check, no temperature taken, even though I was half-delerious and disoriented and shaking due to pain (but then, I'm female, aren't I? We're all wimps).
So the crux of the matter came out that I wasted their time by calling an ambulance, rather than driving to A & E. The fact that I do not have a car was immaterial. I was being "inconsiderate of the community" by wasting time on a non-emergency. They wrote up a prescription, and I happened to hear him muttering to a nurse how an ambulance and a trip to A & E for a antibiotic prescription was such a waste of his time he was tempted not to write it. I left the hospital without bothering to fill the prescription out, I was so angry and humiliated, completely dizzy and out of it from infection that I went home and for the second time that day, dissolved into sobs.
My ex was furious and made a call to the hospital and Had Words; he doesn't swear, he doesn't have to. He does something worse; cites the law, chapter and verse, down to the very minutest clause - and he knows them, every single one.
So, now, I have an incredibly strong dose of antibiotic, my ex has my son in London, and I am hobbling about and hoping the antibiotic actually works - if it doesn't, staph will have had a headstart, when it could have been spotted yesterday by a proper examination. So far, no fever, but splitting headaches continue.
On top of this, the oven went out and Ludo has managed to chew herself raw in an attempt to get at the very Frontline-Resistant Fleas which have infested her.
*inhale, exhale*
Amazingly enough, it's not been all bad. A friend, hearing my laments of being trapped indoors on a gorgeous day, came out with her car, and loaded me off to the recycling centre for more compost. Then, after a bit of restorative ice-cream at her place, we went off to a nursery for some plant therapy; I've got a new lavender plant, a spider plant for indoors, and two rosebushes which I've chosen for fragrance. In addition, she gifted me cuttings not only of some of her indoor plants, but also some huge rhizomes from her very ancient peony! I adore peonies and I'm overjoyed to have this plant making its introduction to my garden space.
So, with both sitting down a lot, driving the Slowest Motorised Scooter Ever in Tesco for ice cream-runs, planting, and sitting in the sun on a gorgeous day, I've almost been able to forget my nasty brush with NHS Managerial Targets. I have been treating Ludo internally and externally with garlic, and happily the infection is being a hasty retreat, and she's on the mend. The oven is fixed, and I have four wump-free days to try and recover and regain my strength. My only issue at the moment is that the antibiotics I'm taking don't seem to be doing a whole lot, so I may find myself taking some garlic as well. At least I'll know THAT will be effective in case the bite turns out to be going necrotic.
So, a word to the wise - the wolf spiders are hatching at the moment. Please don't go killing them wholesale, but do be aware. I spent enough time in the wilderness, I should have known better, but it's a fitting reminder; fall and spring are spider season in the UK. It's something I'm now keeping in mind with regard to the Wumpy House, and I don't want spiders making their nest anywhere my son will be playing as he won't know to back off. There's herbs which will deter spiders, as well as ultrasound devices which do the trick. We'll see how we go.
And in the meantime, lovely, glorious, sunny spring weather. Enjoy!

Labels: ,