Back in 2015 I was wandering about in someone’s garden when, unknown to me, I was [apparently] chomped by a Spider. I’ve been told since that it was likely to be a False Widow Spider as they’re super common in the UK, live around houses and have the reputation of being biters.
False Widows aren’t venomous, but the bite creates a bridge between the outside and the inside and it’s that [we think] that caused my problems. The hospital people think I was bitten and simply gave the itchy bite a little scratch without even knowing it was there, I would have had dirty fingers as I was measuring for some fencing at the time and it was likely me who caused the infection that almost killed me and that eventually took my leg.
The Sun called me “The First Brit to lose his leg from a Spider Bite”, I call them ‘Sensationalist arseholes who told lies in order to try to sell papers”.
All of the above is well documented. What isn’t documented, until now, though is that a couple of weeks ago the same thing happened to me all over again, only this time we’re not sure what took a chomp out of me.
It all started last week. I had an appointment with my GP on Friday morning. I also had a blister on my calf [long story but I knew it was there and how I got it] anyhoo I went off to see the doctor but as I got out of the car I managed to bash my leg and burst the bloody blister. Super! Not only did it look gross, it also hurt like bloody hell.
I haven’t seen my GP in 2yrs because I’ve had no reason to see him. I’m usually fit and healthy and the only time I need medical attention as a rule is when I hurt myself or cut something off, or both. This time I needed an injection in my knee because it’s been stupidly painful since I’ve had the leg full-time. The knee is stuck at a permanent angle and won’t bend beyond it, I also have chronic osteoarthritis and need a steroid injection from time-to-time so I can function.
The doctor said hello and then went a deathly shade of pale [which is a neat trick] he took one look at my leg, complete with now-popped blister and told me that he wouldn’t be giving me a steroid injection. Instead he started bashing his computer furiously and then frogmarched me down the hall to the nurse practitioner who took blood, ignored my blister and then told me to go away [she’s a lovely woman and has a bedside manner that Joseph Mengele would be proud of] when I got home I took a call from the community nurses who asked if my medication had arrived yet – I genuinely had no idea what was going on at this stage – a while later a woman turned up with a carrier bag full of medication and that was it, it all went quiet.
At 9:30pm everything went noisy again when two dudes showed up announcing “we’re from the community nursing team and we’re here to fit a cannula and get the antibiotics started” , umm, pardon? Badger & Bodger repeated themselves and then added [just for shits & giggles] that I needed what’s called a ‘load dose’ and that needed to be every 12hrs for the first 3 doses, and that meant another nurse at 9:30am and another at 9:30pm on Saturday, so that was nice!
Badger got cracking on finding a suitable vein, he was the brains of the outfit and is, surprisingly, the only one at the local community nursing team who is able to install cannulas. Bodger sat on the sofa, breathing heavily [seriously] while he talked about his dog, and showed us pictures of his dog, and then talked about our dog.
Badger spent 45 minutes looking for a vein and was becoming increasingly frustrated and embarrassed at his abject failure to locate anything suitable. He kept tightening the strap he’d brought with him and every time a vein popped up he’d plunge his needle in, and miss by a mile, then the vein would collapse and he’d revert back to hunter-mode. He eventually found a vein on my forearm and managed to set the cannula at the 17th time of asking – I shit you not – It was at this stage that Badger said “oh, I should have mixed your antibiotics first because they take ages”, and he was right. 30 minutes later we were still watching him desperately try to turn 800mg of Telcoplanin crystals into liquid so he could bung them in and get the hell out of Dodge, Bodger, meanwhile, was still talking about his fucking dog. I never saw Bodger again and I’m still not sure if he was a Nurse or just some random who happened to be outside when the Nurse arrived. Nurse assumed he was with us, we assumed he was with Nurse, that sort of thing.
Sometime around 10:30pm the dose was administered and we were allowed to let poor old Bob in from the cold. We’d been asked to keep him outside just in case he disturbed the transformation from crystal to liquid, and Bob hated every second! Bob is a very social pooch and was mightily pissed off at missing new people. He moaned and sulked the whole time the guys were here and was none too impressed with us, especially because Bodger obviously smelt like dog, or drugs or something. Ah well, tomorrow wouldn’t be as bad, would it?
Saturday started well, we were visited by a very friendly lady who came, did her work, chatted and left without fuss or fanfare. She told us that we would be visited by “Fidel” [I remember his name because of Castro] and that he would call me when he was on the way. I told her that I didn’t want him turning up at 9:30pm and he needed to be with us no later than 8:00pm so that by the time the meds were mixed it would be within the 12hr window [they +/- an hour either side which put us just about at the right time] she promised to make a note of that and she also said she’d ask Fidel to call me during the afternoon.
Fidel called, I answered, he seemed nice, he promised to be on time and told me he only had to make 3 calls including mine all day so there was no way he would be late… he called again at 8:20pm to tell us he was running late. No shit, Sherlock! Fidel arrived in a blur of officious nonsense. I’d been told that he had the reputation of doing everything correctly. “There’s the right way, the wrong way and the Fidel way“, apparently.
The first thing Fidel did was complain that there was no authorisation to administer the required dose of Telcoplanin and that he needed to get that before he could do anything. It didn’t matter that two other nurses has given me the stuff already, he needed written authorisation or he’d be going home and we’d be starting from scratch. He called the office but first he needed to get his phone from the car because he couldn’t let me have the office number that I’d been given on day one in case I did something crazy like ring it and ask to talk to someone. The next thing he did was lose his pen. A Bic Biro. He needed a pen to fill out the forms you see. I offered him the Bic Biro next to me on the table, he took it, but gave it back because he needed his Bic Biro… 15 minutes later he found his pen, [hooray!] Fidel complained that nobody had filled in the 40 page document in front of him so set about doing so. Luckily for me he had remembered to mix the antibiotics so while he was twatting about that was being done at least. Finally, with it all complete, he was just about to administer the dose when his phone rang, it was the office and they wanted to know where he was as he should have been finished ages ago. By now it was 9:40pm and they wanted to go home but couldn’t until they knew he was safe. He convinced them to go [in fairness they didn’t need much convincing and even though they should have been there until 10pm, they bailed out sharpish]
Fidel inserted his needle into the cannula and flushed it before administering the drugs. Then he told me a thrilling tale of how he shouldn’t even be working but had turned up to work on the wrong day and was working a split shift to make up for it, or something, I think I’d slipped into a coma by then, not sure.
Fidel left just before 10pm but told me it’d be easier tomorrow as the load dose was complete and the next ones just had to go in within 24hrs, so I could be visited anytime from 8am – nice one!
The next day I waited patiently until noon but nobody had turned up so I gave them a quick call and was told someone would call me back. I called again at 4pm when nobody had called and had a lovely chat with a super lady who decided the best way to talk to me was to pretend I was 3yrs old. I told her I’d like a visit before the children went to bed as I didn’t want them disturbed, she laughed, I told her they’d been upset the previous night as they mistakenly thought we’d told them not to come downstairs, she laughed, I told her that I didn’t appreciate the laughing and could she tell me when they were coming, she told me they’d be there at 8:30pm – I took a deep breath and explained, very politely, ish, that they wouldn’t be getting in if they pulled that shit. She laughed.
From that point things went South in a hurry, I don’t appreciate being told what I will and won’t do, I don’t appreciate being patronised and I sure as fuck won’t be laughed at. The lady in question was left with no doubts how I felt about her. She was also told that they had until 7pm or they shouldn’t bother coming because I wouldn’t let them in – a really nice guy turned up an hour later, did his work, and left – how hard was that? It was obviously possible all along but Florence clearly enjoyed the power trip.
I don’t know the name of the bloke who turned up but he was mega. He was an African fella and he was a vegan [why the fuck do they insist on telling everyone they meet?] he had kids and he had also noticed that my cannula had popped out, which was bad because this bloke couldn’t put it back in [I knew that] and so he’d need to mix the antibiotics and inject them into my arse.. shit!
When the time came I had to stand up as best I could and turn around, he then debagged me, which is a tad unnerving let me tell you, and started apologising [never a good sign] he pointed to the 2” needle now aimed straight at my batty and told me I’d be having one of those on each side and it had to be so big so it could go directly into the muscle. EEP! As it turned out I shouldn’t have worried, it was totally painless and all over in a couple of minutes. The rest of the doses would need to be given the same way now but really, who cares!
On Monday I was visited by the ghost of Sunday past. I was expecting a dude, because I’d been told to expect a dude, but before me stood a woman who made a point of not telling me her name. I knew instantly who she was though, because I recognised her voice, it was my pal from Sunday afternoon, the one who likes a laugh.
I didn’t say anything and she never let on so we entered into an uneasy relationship of patient and care-giver. Then we started to chat and it turned out we got along pretty well. The news came on, we tutted at the same things, chuckled at the same things and generally had a decent hour or so. She apologised before popping the needle into my batty but as I said before, who cares?
Me, that’s who.
I knew in an instant why she had come. The first injection was absolute agony, I mean it felt like I’d been bum-raped, twice, and then had my balls stamped on for good measure. The second injection was even worse and as I stood there wishing for death I vowed not to make a sound. She didn’t get the satisfaction of knowing she’d hurt me. We parted ways soon after. Her with satisfaction of a job well done, me, scouring Amazon in the hopes of being able to buy a new arse.
The last time I was injected was by Badger, we’d come full circle and here he was to finish up and let me go merrily on my way. He’d had a think in the car, he said. He could give me painful arse injections or he could save me by redoing my Cannula, which way did I want?
I elected to go back to the Cannula because my arse had stopped talking to me [we’re still not friends now] and so Badger got straight on it. He knew where he was going this time, he wasn’t going to piss about [his words]
His plan to impress me with his Cannula-setting skills failed horribly and he gave up after another 5 or 6 goes. I actually felt a bit sorry for the bloke. He’d spent a while puffing out his chest as he told me about being the only one in the team who could insert cannula’s and here he was, looking properly crestfallen, after failing to locate a vein despite plunging his needle in over 20 times.
Looking suitably defeated he started to prepare the injections. That was when I truly knew the identity of the woman who visited. I told him about the ‘squabble’ and about how I think she’d visited and he didn’t react. His eyes didn’t move from what they were doing, they was no “eh?” or “Nah, mate”, there was no nothing in fact, and that said it all.
It’s a fair one I suppose, I didn’t swear at her, nor did I do anything other than insist on not being dicked about by a total stranger but I guess she felt slighted enough to abandon her ethics. Meh.
Believe it or not, the day after the final jabs had been given I answered a knock on the door to find two very concerned community nurses stood there looking at me. I wasn’t expecting them and actually thought they were a courier looking to dump a parcel for next door on me. I opened the door and they said they were here to check my wound, “what wound” I said, “your leg” they said, “It’s fine” I said, “look” [points to leg] and they said “oh”. Then they said that they needed to check my mobility as they were a bit concerned that I couldn’t get about very well. They asked if I’d mind walking for them, and transferring from the chair to the sofa, and then transferring from the chair onto the toilet for them and then could I please go up and down the stairs for them …guess what I said [hint, it starts with NO] as Christine pointed out when she got home, where the fuck were they when I left hospital 2 days after having my leg amputated on a pair of forearm crutches, with no wheelchair? Nowhere, that’s where. Twats.
They’re coming back next week, apparently, so that’s something to look forward to at least.
For the record, good people, I’m not poorly and haven’t felt in the least bit ill throughout any of this but I’m fairly sure I would of died at some stage. My GP reacted very quickly and went from being a laid-back cheery chappie to a very busy, very concerned doctor in a heartbeat. He’s a great bloke and we get on really well, I did a bit of fencing for him a few years ago and we’ve been kind of pals ever since. I suppose I owe him one now. Bleh