Thursday, October 14, 2010


Pretty flowers from the Williams... they go well with our tablecloth!
Things have been going much better the last day or so. The nausea is completely gone, I can walk fine, I am getting my energy back, and I have begun easing off the pain meds. I still have a few things... tightness in my chest, residual cramps in my stomach, and chills. Hopefully that will all be gone in a few days.

Today was my first day back teaching. The students (and teachers... especially the science teachers) were very curious about my Black Widow encounter. Most wanted to share with me their own spider stories... which I don't really care to hear right now! After hearing a number of Brown Recluse stories, I guess I am grateful I wasn't bitten by one of those, since that evidently causes your skin to rot (yuck!).

As Mom already mentioned, we won't be decorating for Halloween with spiders anytime soon!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Liz vs. Black Widow

Well I was thinking I would post about our 10 year reunion when I got back to Atlanta. However, the Saturday afternoon event takes precedence!

Saturday afternoon at approximately 3:20PM, Doug and I were watching TV at his parents’ house, when I felt stinging under my arm. My first thought was that it felt like razor burn, but it was so bizarre to have razor burn when I hadn’t shaved since that morning and it hadn’t bothered me at all earlier in the day. Plus it wasn’t really my armpit- just outside my armpit. I looked down and saw that it was pink and swollen… then I saw her. (I say “her” because Wikipedia says that male black widows don’t bite). Of course I didn’t know it was black widow at the time. I just said “Doug- it’s a spider- kill it!” He gasped and when I asked what was wrong, he said nothing and told me to go splash cold water on my arm in the bathroom. When I returned, he was in the process of trying to catch the spider in a water bottle. I was very annoyed that he didn’t just kill it, and when I asked what he was doing, he just ignored me. After a minute he caught the spider and went downstairs with the bottle.

I could hear serious voices talking downstairs. I followed a couple minutes later and he was showing his parents. They all pointed out the red hourglass and said that we needed to go to the hospital. Although you can't see it in the pictures, the red hourglass was really clear.
I thought they were overreacting… I mean my arm was just stinging- it didn’t really hurt or anything. I suggested going to a Minute Clinic, but they insisted on the ER.

While we were in the car, my arm started aching… kind of like after you get a flu shot. About 15 minutes later, it started hurting- stronger than aching- and had moved down my side and down my arm to my fingers, so that it was difficult to even sign my name. While in triage, my stomach started cramping up, as well as my back. Since Doug had the foresight to bring the spider bottle to the hospital with us, we were able to go back to a room right away since the hospital staff could clearly see it was a black widow. Once in the room, they hooked me up to a monitor- which I still thought was a little overkill based on the pain I was experiencing.

(at this point it was hurting, but I was mostly just annoyed at all the inconvenience I was causing... I think I still thought I would be out of the hospital in a few minutes)

Within another 15 minutes, though, the pain in my stomach and back was excruciating, as well as pain shooting down my legs, tightness in my chest, dizziness, etc. They did and EKG scan, took a urine sample, took blood, gave me morphine and Ativan, then put me on oxygen. When I started shaking a few minutes later, they put warm blankets over me, gave me an IV bag, and moved me to a room where they could more closely monitor me. As my pain continued to increase, so did my drowsiness (three more rounds of morphine and Ativan!), so between writhing in pain, I dozed off. They did a series of tests on me, most of which I don’t remember because I was so out of it.

(now I was reeeeeeally miserable)

Doug was so good- he stayed by my side the whole time, calling my parents and sis to keep them informed, holding my hand, rubbing my back (the pain in my stomach and back were the most unbearable). Finally a little after 11PM they said that my vital signs had stayed strong through the most critical period, so I could be discharged. I was shocked when I realized that my legs were so weak that I couldn’t even walk on my own. I hobbled out holding onto Doug and his mom. I ate a couple bites of pimiento cheese sandwich when we got home and then fell asleep until 2AM. At two the pain was back, but it was another hour and a half before I could take another dose of the pain medication. I tossed and turned and was not able to get comfortable. Even after I took the meds at 3:30, I had a hard time going back to sleep. It was so hard to get in a comfortable position when every part of my body was hurting. The nurses told us at the hospital that once the venom is in your bloodstream it attacks muscles all over the body.

We had intended to attend South Fork this morning, but considering I couldn’t walk (or eat due to nausea), we decided to go ahead and head back to Atlanta. Not a fun ride between the hurting, on and off splotchy skin, and nausea! We picked up my prescription for pain medication and for antibiotics at CVS, and to top it all off, the nurse practitioner at the Minute Clinic confirmed what the Dr. had warned might happen- a bladder infection caused by the venom breaking down in my system.

So now I am just hanging out in bed… but I’m not very comfortable! And all I have eaten today are two small yogurts. On the bright side, my legs are doing a lot better this afternoon and I can walk from one room to the next without holding on to things.

The doctors said I should be doing better in a couple of days, so I won’t be working tomorrow, but hopefully I’ll be able to go back to work Tuesday.

So, not the Saturday I would have imagined, but I am thankful to be home and to be getting better!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

10 years?

Tomorrow morning we go to NC to visit Doug's family and attend my 10th high school reunion.

10th? Really?
Well I guess it has been a while since...

...cheesy senior class playground picture

...Daniel on retro day

...little Katie Jean and Lilly

...visiting with Kendra and Kelli on one of their visits home from Lipscomb

...retro Halloween dance

...birthday party for Daniel

...exploring Dad's knife collection

...Homecoming queen Sarah

...little Jess and Les

...Kendra's favorite dining establishment, Ronnie's

...quite possibly the scariest picture ever

...and it was another before until I met Doug, but here he is as a Senior, playing in the homecoming band :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Saturday night

This past Saturday we invited three Lipscomb friends who now live in Atlanta over for supper. Eryn and her husband, David, Ashley (her husband was in TN), Holly, Shawn, and their two cute boys came over. Fun was had by all :)