"Mum, I've got a lump on my leg and I feel a bit sick..." Mum had her nose in her laptop whilst sipping her morning coffee. She gave me the 'I'm sure it's nothing...' look and got up to have a nose. Seconds later she backed away and giggled "Wow. That is a blister. I think I feel sick too." Awesome. Now we both feel sick. Just excellent.
'Doctor Carelle' self diagnosed the problem. There was a red ring around the blister so surely this HAD to be a bad case of *drum roll please* RINGWORM. As soon as I Googled 'does Ringworm really hurt?' I quickly realised my blister was something more sinister, I also discovered it was in fact NOT bloody Ringworm! Both Mum and I were Googling my symptoms and the next thing I know I'm running to the toilet to be sick. Brilliant. It was pretty clear I was reacting badly to whatever 'it' was. Mum encouraged me to go to the Doctors but my fear of the Doctors Surgery far outweighed the worry of my blister so we met in the middle and Mum drove me to the Pharmacy. Well wasn't that a waste of time... "Hello Carelle, that looks like a bite. Take an antihistamine. Goodbye".
I spent the next 3 days watching my blister get bigger and bigger. My leg was getting more and more uncomfortable but I was determined to A) Not go to the Doctors (it's only a blister..) and B) Carry on as normal! So off I went to work for the next few days.
The blister started to fill with more and more liquid and I had been advised to allow it to pop naturally. My boyfriend picked me up from my house and in the car started to quiz me about what the 'Doctor' had said. Yep. I somehow magically turned the Pharmacy trip into a 'Doctors' appointment. Next thing I know I've burst into tears, admitted I never saw a Doctor, apologised for telling a fib and finally admitted I was starting to get a little concerned about this blister. After a sea of tears, snot and hyper ventilation we soon came to a compromise. "Look Carelle, as soon as the blister bursts we're going to the Doctors". Yes Sir.
Sure enough a day later my blister burst. Fluid splatted onto my boyfriend's Mum's cream carpet (Sorry Pat!!!) and streamed down my leg into my shoe. Delicious. I was very relieved it had popped and the next day I plucked up the courage to go see a Doctor. The Doctor told me it looked like a spider bite (as she had seen some recently) and that it was infected. I started a course of antibiotics and had to have it bandaged every day for the foreseeable future.
The pain was absolutely unbelievable and the antibiotics made me feel so sick. I spent the next couple of days in bed with nausea and went to see another Doctor that changed my antibiotics and a nurse started re dressing my leg every few days. As soon as the air would touch my bite tears would stream down my face. I became very nervous about anyone going near my leg and the pain was getting worse. I wasn't sleeping as I associated my bed with the location in which I got bitten by the spider and I was really starting to get frustrated that no one was giving me any answers as to what was going on! The look of the bite and the pain I was in was getting worse.
Two weeks and countless trips to the nurse to get my leg redressed plus two courses of antibiotics shoved down my throat later, I experienced a really terrible turn. One evening my leg was incredibly swollen and that night I got no sleep. I was lying in bed crying with pain and I could hardly walk. I was immediately rushed into A&E, saw four different doctors and if I had a pound for every time one of them said 'Bear with me whilst I get a second opinion on this' I'd be stinking rich! I was given a third set of antibiotics for my spider bite and was warned these were STRONG (I later found out that they were antibiotics you'd give someone with TB!)I was taken home with a bottle of Morphine and was told to have at least 2 weeks off work with bed rest. I was given MediHoney (Honey patches to keep over the bite).
I was now off work, completely bedridden, my leg was constantly elevated above my heart and I was pumping myself with a third set of antibiotics and also the morphine. By this stage I was really struggling to sleep in my bed at home. With my background of suffering from severe allergies AND no medical professional being able to tell us a huge amount about my 'spider bite', we put my pain down to a bad allergic reaction to a regular house spider bite. I didn't even know house spiders could bite! I must have rolled onto it in my sleep and it bit my leg in self defense. Although we had previously turned my bedroom inside out when looking for the 8 legged bugger and found nothing we did eventually find one... One night I decided to hobble downstairs and make myself a hot water bottle, on my way back to my bedroom a spider ran towards me along the corridor outside my bedroom. I immediately started shaking and crying and my super hero Mum managed to calm me down. It was a bitter sweet feeling... Sweet because I'd like to think that this was the exact spider that bit me and now it's been caught, but I felt bitter because I was psychologically distressed and traumatised by seeing it just before I went to bed.
Weeks later of much of the same thing, I visited my Dad and showed him my leg for the first time. He was pretty horrified I was still being majorly affected by it nearly a month later and he immediately organised me to see a Dermatologist to get a further more specialised opinion. Dr Rosebotham took one look at my leg and signed me off work for a further two weeks. I had another blood test to make sure I hadn't contracted Lyme Disease (which I hadn't. Phew.)
I found these visits extremely traumatic. When the nurses would change my dressings I would howl in pain. One nurse would be dealing with my leg whilst my boyfriend and a second nurse would be pinning me down on the bed. By this stage the severity of my bite was clear. I had an actual hole in the side of my leg.
Another week passed and off I went to the hospital once more. By this stage the dermatologist explained that the longer the necrotic tissue stayed on my leg the skin underneath the bite would not be able to heal. She was hoping the necrotic tissue had loosened and she'd be able to start teasing the dead tissue away from my leg. My leg flinches every time someone's finger goes near it, you can imagine the state I was in when she was trying to dig at my leg with a scalpel! The pain was unbearable, I had five people in the room pinning me down on the bed but unfortunately the necrotic tissue was firmly glued to my leg. It was not going anywhere fast. It looked like I was facing surgery to remove it :(
I have decided to write this blog post in two parts. It's now been nearly 9 weeks since I was bitten and I'm still really suffering. I AM certainly improving but I still have a way to go. There's a lot more to explain and some more gory pictures to update you on and I thought doing it all in one post would have just been far too gruesome. I never really intended on discussing my bite on my blog or social media. I have recently found that so many people have been asking me about it so I thought writing my story down would be a good way of explaining it all.
My blog has been an amazing outlet for me to keep my mind busy and I've used it as a great way to forget about my leg and remain positive. I've realised there's a lot worse that could happen and it's always great to gain perspective. I've had some really frustrating and sad days and creating this blog has really kept me going. I am so thankful to those that have read my blog posts so far, you didn't know at the time how much it meant to me.
I will be uploading part 2 of my spider bite in the next couple of days. I'm now about to lay on the sofa so my Mum can bandage me up once more. It's become quite a daily routine!
Thank you for reading and I do hope my pictures didn't put you off your dinner.
Click here for Part 2. Lots of love.