Spiders — Who Knew?

Imagine my surprise — shock — disbelief — when I woke one morning last summer to find this garden spider in its web …  a web that stretched from the headboard of my bed to the window frame! At first I thought it was outside, until I changed my angle. It had built its web while I slept.

These black and yellow garden spiders aren’t small, they’re BIG, especially when they’re right over your head. After taking pictures, I successfully caught it and released it outside. I never did figure out how it got inside in the first place, much less into my bedroom (I keep the door closed to keep the cats out).

Flash showed the spider’s markings

Garden spider in it’s normal habitat

The reason for this spider blog is to pass on some information my youngest son learned the hard way.  He and a friend left to shoot a national archery tournament last July in Ohio. Davis thought he was getting a cold the day they left. His throat and sinuses started hurting. That evening his lower lip felt like the skin had been ripped off. His sore throat got worse, and it felt like something was stuck on top of his windpipe.

While shooting the next day, he had cold chills like he was running a fever. His throat went from just hurting to where felt like the flesh was being ripped off. Then that night it got cold. (They were camping in a pop-up.) His sinuses and throat hurt so bad he couldn’t sleep. Davis (31 years old) has an exceptionally high pain tolerance. He’s disabled with a bad back and takes medications for pain and associated problems.

The third day (Sunday) he wasn’t able to eat, because when he swallowed, it felt like the food went down so far and got stuck. He couldn’t drink and had problems taking his meds. They both shot their archery course early and left in the morning for home. That’s when his throat’s closing got worse and became claustrophobic for him.(Why he didn’t go to the ER then, I’ll never know. Plus, the person with him was a nurse.) He took a day’s worth of a dose pak and several Benadryl.

His throat stayed the same. He got home at 10 p.m. The meds started wearing off and little puss pockets started popping up on his lips, inside his cheeks and on his tongue. His bottom lip swole up so much it cracked and his throat split and he coughed up a little blood.  My husband took his straight to the emergency room.

They did a strep test and looked in his ears. They gave him a steroid shot and said he had strep throat. Later they came back and said it wasn’t strep, that is was an allergic reaction, and gave him a shot with enough steroid “to last for a whole year.” It was actually a 2-3 month amount. They waited. It didn’t work. They gave him something for pain. Nothing helped, so they gave him another steroid shot with the same amount. Then they sent him home!

His condition hadn’t improved the next morning, and he went to see our family doctor. Before he left, he had a coughing spell where he coughed so hard it busted a puss pocket near his windpipe. He coughed up … I won’t go into those gory details. Then he could breathe normally and food/drink went down normally. The doctor couldn’t give him any more steroids because of the amount he received the night before. Davis was given antibiotics and had an x-ray.

Now for the reason for this story set-up. The doctor told him that the average person swallows 7-8 spiders during their life, and that he sees 5-6 people a year who have swallowed one. This happens when the person’s asleep. Apparently, they go for the moisture in the mouth. It tickles when the spider gets to the back of the throat, and naturally the person swallows. Davis said, “That’s when they get ya.” A lot depends on the size and kind of spider too. It just so happened that Davis was allergic to the one that bit him.

The doctor called the emergency room and “yelled and cussed” the ER because they ARE NOT to release a person that has breathing problems like Davis did.

My intention with this blog isn’t to scare anyone. It’s just to make them aware that this can happen.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Therese on July 29, 2012 at 10:26 am

    “Especially when they are right over your head” Love it!!!
    I remember when that happened to Davis but to see it in writing…Wow! Only Davis!


  2. That’s one tough dude and ine scary story. I try to sleep with my mouth closed. It just doesn’t work.


    • He is tough. It was too scary for a Mom. Not sure if I sleep with mouth closed or open, so try to keep the spiders out of the bedroom. Usually have a small pet one under with window sill above the kitchen sink.


  3. Whoa. I am petrified of spiders, and now I may have them crawling around me & I might swallow one at night? Holy cow, I can see me now trying to keep my mouth close as I sleep restlessly. And if I had found one over me as you did, well, I probably would have had a heart attack.

    But for real, I am very glad to hear your son is okay, what a very scary thing to go through when your child is so sick and you don’t know why or what to do.


    • It was worse than scary with Davis. The spider over the bed startled me. I thought I was seeing things at first. Then I realized it was inside. This time of year, I usually have a small build a web under the wide window sill by kitchen sink.


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