Between work and school, I tend to spend a lot of time indoors. I enjoy being outside, so I try to make time for outdoor adventures whenever I can.

Last weekend, I spent an afternoon canoeing on the Braden River with some friends, and managed to get bitten by a spider during the two hours I spent on the water. I ignored it at first, thinking it was just a particularly nasty mosquito bite. By day two, I became pretty concerned at the overall size of the bite (and the accompanying fever), and decided maybe I should go to the hospital.

The red ring around the bite had pretty much disappeared by day threeThe red ring around the bite had pretty much disappeared by day three

By day two, the bite had a large red ring surrounding it, and was very hot to the touch. By day three, the red ring had mostly disappeared, and the overall size of the bite had decreased a significantly. I was relieved it was getting better, but I wasn’t convinced it wouldn’t get worse.

Not having health insurance can make visiting a hospital a fairly intimidating experience, so I decided to document it to put things in perspective. (Also, after seeing pictures of brown recluse bites that went untreated, the decision was pretty easy to make.)

I went to the Sarasota Memorial Urgent Care Center, and told the receptionist I thought I had a brown recluse bite. I was told that the fee to see a doctor was $140, and was discounted nearly 70% for self-pays. Instead of using a drivers license, they have a machine that you place your palm on, and it reads the veins in your hand! Neat!

The palm-scanner machineThe palm-scanner machine
The scratches on my hand are from my overly-enthusiastic kitten trying to liberate the roast beef sandwich I had been trying to eatThe scratches on my hand are from my overly-enthusiastic kitten

After a quick sign-in, I was given a wristband. This had my birthday, age, and some other details written on it. A nurse took me into a room and did a quick check of my vitals, which all came back “Very normal.”

Proof I'm alive!Proof I’m alive!

After a 10 minute wait, a doctor came in to take a look at the bite. I was told while it was definitely a spider bite, it probably wasn’t a brown recluse bite, as they are not very common in Florida. This went against what I had read online the night before, but I was more inclined to believe the doctor over a few web sources (mostly because he was wearing a lab coat and carrying a clipboard).

He gave me a band-aid so I wouldn’t bump the bite on a door or anything, and told me that the venom had already been processed by my body, and the bite should disappear in a few days.

The $140 Band-AidThe $140 Band-Aid

I felt a little silly when I left, because I had spent $140 on a band-aid that I probably didn’t even need. Regardless, after seeing the pictures of brown recluse bites, I decided it was probably better to have spent the money and confirmed I didn’t have one of those!