To preface my story, allow me to state that I took the below picture a few days ago just to show you all what terrible creature was setting up housekeeping right outside my kitchen window. Little did I know...
Alas, poor spider. It isn't your fault you got squashed in my sweater.
This morning began like any other. I woke up ungodly early and watched Jim toddle about for half an hour or so before convincing myself to get out of bed and crawl into a big fuzzy hoody to escape the ungodly cold that is our current Georgia weather. It gets down to 55 degrees at night now, you know, which is just awful, particularly since we haven't bothered to light the pilot light in our furnace yet.
Anyway, I donned my lovely warm sweater, found some breakfast for Jim, and then perched on the couch to read my book for a few minutes while I finished waking up. Before I was two pages in, my neck started to hurt. I couldn't figure out what it was. It didn't itch, although I could feel a couple of bug-bite-style bumps there. It didn't feel like I'd been cut or stabbed, even though I could feel something smearing around like blood. It just inexplicably hurt, and the longer I sat there, the worse it hurt. In fact, the mild stinging was turning rapidly into a major burning on the entire right side of my neck, accompanied by a throbbing ache from my ear to my elbow.
Well, I'm no fool, and since everyone knows that the best remedy for all ailments is a nice hot shower, I started disrobing at once. Lo and behold, the second I pulled my hoody off, out falls this big ugly spider - just like the one above, only now kind of smooshed. The poor thing had been squashed between my neck and the collar. Here, clearly, was my assailant. I was relieved to know it was just a spider bite, and so I resolved to carry on with my showering plans as soon as I looked up the venomous spiders in Georgia just to make sure that this wasn't one of them.
As you may be able to guess, it was. Look back at that picture, ladies and gents, and mark it well, for that is a brown widow. They're about the size of a quarter, including legs, and are typically beige-to-tan with dark leg joints and an orange-to-red hourglass on the abdomen. Apparently they used to be restricted just to southern Florida, but they've been spreading north and have become quite a problem in areas from Georgia over to Texas and even southern California. They don't inject quite as much venom as a black widow, for whatever reason, but they're still damned unpleasant and an actual danger to those with weaker immune systems (like, for example, toddlers - you would not believe how glad I am that the thing crawled into my sweater and not, say, Jim's shoe).
So, I called Noah, he ran home from work, and off we went to the emergency room, where I proceeded to gleefully text various relations in order that they might worry about me. Jim had a delightful time investigating every aspect of the room, dropping ice into the sink, trying to get into the sharps container, and reaching insistently for any button that was brightly colored and might be able to sound an alarm. They eventually let me go with some benadryl (for the swelling), a prescription for valium (for the eventual muscle spasms), and firm instructions to come back if the wound starts rotting or I start vomiting uncontrollably. So far I've been content to just sit around aching from ear to elbow and not turning my head too much, but we'll see what happens.