Black Widows Are Not Our Friends

While we’ve been traveling, there’s been drama at the ranch. Our niece Kathleen, who lives on the ranch with us, has been dealing with some health challenges, so while she’s still getting lots of work done, she also needs to rest more than usual. Very soon after posting a photo of relaxing and reading on the porch, she shared this.

Yes, it’s a black widow. Those words were repeated a lot.

What a way to spend July 4! I was at my horse lesson. By the time I got home, she was at the ER. This has been a worry for me. Our pest control gets most of them (sorry nature lovers; I don’t like poison things in the house, so we try to minimize these guys, scorpions, and brown recluses), but it can’t get them all. I dreaded the day this would happen.

Interesting to me is the fact that they didn’t give her any anti-venom. They seemed to think the best thing to do was to just treat the symptoms. So, she sat in the hospital a couple of days in horrible pain watching the venom eat at her foot. Ugh.

Not a pretty sight!

Since she’d just spent days at a hospital with another family member, I’m sure this was the last thing Kathleen wanted, but she needed monitoring. She did get to go home, though, and even felt like riding Dusty one day, when it wasn’t 113° (I guess the worst heat wave in decades is a good time to be confined indoors).

It’s my turn, finally!

Black widows are powerful. I knew that from my grandmother’s huge scar on her leg. Their venom stays in a long time. Dang neurotoxins. About the time I’d stopped worrying so hard, we got notice she had to go back to the ER due to pain and more symptoms. That poor woman can’t catch a break. It’s a huge test of anyone’s ability to be positive, even someone who’s been working as hard on their mental health as she has.

This does not look much better to me.

This appears to be a long healing process. She was told it could take months for the toxin to get out of her system. I assure you I’m more committed than ever to shake out every towel and cushion on the porch before sitting down. The spiders hide in dark places, so it’s prudent to check. But, as we have learned, in Texas, stinging and biting things are everywhere. I just wish they’d leave Kathleen alone.

There’s always hope!

I’m impressed that she’s keeping her spirits up. She knows her friends and family are with her. Someone even sent her a visiting pigeon this morning. It looked like it was there just for her.

I’ll hang out with you, Kathleen.

She kept telling us to stay in California, but I’m glad to be heading back so I can take care of the animals and let her recover and let everyone else do their stuff. I was supposed to leave town again next month, but there has just been too much going on at home (most of which I’m not at liberty to discuss). Plus COVID is worse. And air travel has gotten so weird. I’ll stay home with the family and animals!

If you have spare good thoughts, send them this way. Kathleen is so good at staying cheerful and optimistic, but this is an unexpected added challenge for the ranch family. Send more doves, pigeons, butterflies and wolf spiders (they eat black widow).

Send energy, too!

I hope she’s home again by the time we get there. There’s still a lot of desert between us and the Hermits’ Rest.


All images and stories shared with permission.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

8 thoughts on “Black Widows Are Not Our Friends”

  1. Oh wow, I am so so sorry that this happened (I have never seen a black widow bite before and … yeah, I don’t have the desire to do so again). I hope that there is something she can do about the pain (why didn’t they give her anything against the toxine??). I hope healing will go as well as possible with no more complications!

    Liked by 1 person

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