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.
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!
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.”
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.
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!