Brown Recluse Spider
by Dale Losher
Pekin, Illinois

It was a quite morning at 5:00 am on May 6, 2002 and I was lying in the bed with my wife. I felt a slight tickle on my upper thigh of my left leg under the covers and proceeded to brush it away. As my hand struck the blanket I felt a slight stinging sensation on my leg. I lifted the covers to see the outline of a small, brown quarter size spider on my bed.

My wife woke up startled and asked me "What is it?" I said, "It looks like a spider. Hold on." I ran to the bathroom, grabbed some tissue and quickly grabbed the spider and threw it in the toilet. My wife came into the bathroom to look at the spider and all we said at that moment was "Wow, that is a big spider." I flushed the toilet with a feeling of personal victory. Almost within the hour the bite area swelled to a quarter size area.

That afternoon I went to the doctor and he asked me if it was a brown recluse. I have never seen a brown recluse before but both my wife and me agreed that it quite possibly was after hearing the description of one but I had always thought those spiders were in southern Illinois. The doctor gave me some antibiotics and circled the area with a marker and sent me on my way. Later that evening a white infected area formed in the bite site.

I am told this is called the "bulls eye" and is a definite tell tale sign of a brown recluse bite. The area around the bite site turned blue, dark red and had gone outside of the circled area. My wife took me to OSF Emergency room where they rushed me to surgery. I spent eight days with an open cut at the bite area to drain the spiders toxins from it and almost 24 hours a day on IV antibiotics and pain medication. In the end, I had a 5 inch diameter area of dead tissue, a result from the toxins, cut out of my upper leg. My next step in 8 days is skin grafting, which I am told is skin taken from another part of my body and placed on the cut away area. But that area will never look the same. Never would I have thought this type of spider was right here in Pekin or central Illinois. It seems most people know little about this spider. If I had waited a day longer I might have lost my leg to this spider.

Since that time I have had a skin graft and scar recision. We also did a re-enactment on the Discovery Channel.


The first day of the bite

Day 3-the skin is dying

11 days later



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