Along Came A Spider… Not For The Faint Hearted


An eye opening account of a well traveled local Athletes encounter with a Spider right here in Kilmovee.

Social media has become a hub of information from Births to Sports events and everything in-between.  I came across a few friends towards the end of a 10 day stay in Castlebar Hospital in the lobby with their first reaction being they didn’t hear & didn’t see anything on Facebook.  Quite frankly I was too embarrassed to put up getting carted into hospital after a bite of a Spider.  One or two people I would really respect from a member of the Local Clergy to a parent said this is exactly what should be posted.  I could see their point as conversations changed from Watts (Cyclists Power) & training zones to Cellulitis, Weils & Lyme disease in the space of a day.  These dangers are within arm’s reach of us at all times but we don’t realise it.

Blow by blow account, got a little nip on Monday night.  Tuesday Morning, shin bone bruised & I thought I slept face down with my shin bone out over the end board of the bed.  Jane said it was a bite & other than my 11 year old son unbelievably pressing it & asked “is this sore” to roars, life was normal.  I struggled through my first 30 min training session that morning of which isn’t much more than aggressive yoga apart from 5 X 90 second planks with 30 seconds recovery.  Sweetspot efforts on the turbo was next (My least favourite training day) so I shoveled a bowl of Ready brek & honey thinking I was getting the flu back for a bit of extra fuel.  If you want to circulate poison through your body apparently a 20 min warm up on the bike is the way to go!  Made it down to the house in bits after just 20 mins warm up & was “bonking” (cyclists use this phrase when over trained, tired & their sugar levels hit the ground while still on the bike).  It’s a horrible feeling but a can of coke & chocolate gets you outa trouble but that didn’t work, a pint of freshly squeezed juice was next with no joy.  I realised I’d fueled enough to cycle to Drogheda & I hadn’t the power to get down the hall.

Local GP diagnosis was spot on that evening with Cellulitus & left with oral antibiotics, Painkillers & strict instructions if it went outside the pen mark they drew around the area which was only the size of the top of a cup get straight to A&E. Next morning S*** hit the fan.  Leg felt it was broke, sick, temperature & weak as water & leg swelled.  Making comparisons to levels of Cellulitus is like to generalise any ailment as some get it worse than others.  In case you still think that it wouldn’t happen to you because you are strong & fitter than me & hammering out a 57 min 40k Time Trial means nothing to you, there are guys that break 40mins in a 10K race, easily break 3 hour Spider Bite Day 2marathons that are handy on a bike & I can handle them in races & I’v one leg.  Regular party piece when in hospital is staff sending a student to do my observations, my resting heart rate is always under 4O BPM & when they ask me would I be extremely fit I say “I play darts a bit” to see the reaction so it’s a bit like sending the new guy for the striped paint for the barbers pole.  Speaking of heart rate it was up around 60BPM so the body was struggling for a few days.  I wouldn’t post pictures of days 3-7 as they are disgusting but you can see from pic of day 2 it was getting pretty angry.  I was urinating between 5-6 litres in 24 hours trying to shift infection so it gives you some idea what was going in between intervenes antibiotics etc etc. Pain was the same as when your opposite number in football cleans you out of it with the studs into the shin & your lying there not knowing can you run it off or is it a stretcher you need.  On day 6 the body won its battle so we were better equipped to fight the infection in the leg & it was always getting better from that point onwards.

We have lovely & strange ideas that we have cream in the press for any bite, Weils disease comes from a female rat that pregnant & gets into a cut & you could only get Lyme disease from a river in Africa or somewhere abroad.  Apparently you are more likely to contact Lymes disease in the west of Ireland than any other place in Ireland, Weils disease don’t come alone from rats urine  but most Wild & Domestic animals including Cattle, Pigs etc.  After spending early mornings/late nights building bikes in basements of hotels & Hostels in Spain, South Africa etc with cockroaches the size of Jackrussells, it goes to show you can have an vaccination Passport & only one leg a still get bit on the other leg by a Spider in Aughadeffin that floors you.

Compared to people that are terminally ill & people that are ill in hospital the story is trivial however the point is, this was preventable.   I did not have PPE on me doing the task I was doing when the situation occurred.  I was wide open & on this occasion was lucky it was just a Spider that put me in hospital for 10 days.  

By Jerry Towey

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