I don't know that I have ever shared my arachnophobia with the rest of you. It stems, I believe, from an incident in my childhood. My parents were unusually thoughtless and in addition to making me sleep on the sun porch, rather in the house, they also made me sleep in footie pajamas. One night I awoke to an odd tickle on my calf. I reached down to scratch it and grabbed a struggling body in my hand. Unfortunately, the body (with all eight of its frantically scrambling legs) was INSIDE my footie pajamas. There I was, innocent child, clutching a huge spider in my hand, trying to hold it away from me while struggling to be free of bedding and full body footie pajamas. It is with me to this day, that sense of panic, the snaps and rough cotton, and the really icky squirming.
So, last night, when my sweetheart suddenly started up from the sofa during our TV hour and rushed to get a flash light, my first thought was "Not a spider! Not a spider!" Sadly, the SO immediately confirmed my third worst fear. It was a spider. And I was needed to hold the flashlight on it. Approaching the task on rubbery legs, I found my SECOND worst fear realized. It was a HUGE spider, easily the size of my palm. It also had silver glowing eyes in the torch light. The eyes were pretty much my undoing. I don't know if you have a phobia or not, but one of the signs of it is that you can't really LOOK at or consider the object of your fear. I have come a long way with my phobia, since the days when my teacher foolishly suggested I read Charlotte's Web. I can look at pictures of spiders for a few seconds. I can read illustration free articles about them. I can even tolerate small ones (like smaller than a dime) without screaming or running. But this one...was far too much for me. I told my SO I couldn't hold on any longer against the fear and I ran to hide. So did the spider.
Happy to be free of the flashlight stare, it zipped away...vanishing into our TV console/bookcase arrangement. Okay, now we are closing in on my NUMBER ONE WORST FEAR. There was a large spider freely roaming my home. I figured I would have to move in with my sister until this whole thing was resolved. I would require proof of death, before I would be able to return to my own bed. Sensing this, Jan was not giving up on his hunt for the spider. After a lot of swishing around behind the TV and bookcases, he flushed the monster into sight. I screamed that he should kill it. KILL...IT! And he did.
I am not proud of this immediate blood lust. I know spiders are helpful creatures. But they really shouldn't be that large. Or in my house. Not if they expect to live a long and prosperous life. But I was feeling pretty bad about my Karma after the fact, thinking that all this poor innocent spider did was scamper across my wall. Until, that is, I started getting ill, muscle aches, chills, fever. And what do we find on my leg? A huge blister with radiating red lines around it. Spider bite. Tracing back what happened, I remember a flutter of something I assumed was my robe's belt tickling my leg as I walked along the hall. I stopped to swish the robe around angrily, very near the spot where the spider turned up later. I had pulled on the robe as I hopped out of the shower and headed to the couch for our TV viewing hour. The robe hadn't been used in about two weeks (it has been hot here) and was just hanging around on a hook.
Which brings me to my absolute worst level of FEAR...spider in my robe. Spider touching me. Near me. OMG! HUGE SPIDER...ON...MY...PERSON!! :gah: :faint:
The bite is so secondary to the proximity issue.
Like Jan said, when we found the bite, "Boy, it is a good thing you didn't notice him." I think he means good for his ears (some neighbor would surely have called the police) and my heart, but the spider also got a few more precious minutes of life out of that, too. And suddenly, I don't feel so bad about his demise.