Here's a Tale of Pain and Mayhem You Won't Believe!

Hoosier Perspectives

Even a tiny skin infection is no laughing matter.

Published on: September 13, 2010

It's harvest season, and with all the climbing on and off equipment, working with augers and the like, it can be the season of minor cuts and bruises. Do yourself a favor. If after a day or two a cut or bruise is hurting more than it should, especially if it's swelling or getting feverish, seek help, even if it mans shutting the combine down if you're in the field.


I've just experienced a week of agony that I was sure due to a spider bite. At least that has some dignity - getting attacked by a vicious spider out to do mayhem to anything in it's path.


I had the feverish, puffed up leg, soreness, one central sore spot - I thought all the signs of an allergic reaction to an insect bite. The doctor thought more along the lines of an infected hair. Oh come on, in a man 57 years old?


Then he heard my story. I arrived in Ames, Iowa of work at the Farm Progress Show two weeks ago amidst a driving rainstorm. Not having seen one for so long, and with my eyesight not exactly providing night vision, even with glasses on, I actually started to enter the wrong ramp to an interstate instead of the driveway to the hotel. “Started' means I was half way up, saw the sign, and luckily turned around.


At the hotel I got wet getting to and from the car. Not drowned or soaking wet, just uncomfortable wet. Next morning we heard they had 4 inches at the show site near Boone, Iowa. In the old days, that would mean the show was over – rained out. Now, with semi-permanent sites, it only meant a two-hour delay to let exhibitors reset things. Thinking there would be lots of mud, and only having a couple extra pair of jeans with me, I decided to wear the 'damp' ones.


No big deal, I thought. And at the site, it was amazing - I didn't even get muddy on the show grounds. I tromped around all day, and by night I felt this little itchy, sore spot on my thigh.


By the time I got home the next day there was some swelling. It had to be a spider bite, even my wife agreed. But by the next morning, it was worse yet, with a big red area running down the leg. I seldom cancel interviews; that's my equivalent of shutting down the combine, but common sense told me maybe it was more important to get this goofy little spider bite checked out.


Two visits, a lancing, a shot, a high dose of antibiotics, and much pushing and prodding later, I figured it was a good thing I bit the bullet and went for help. Before it was over, swelling went below my knee. For two days I could hardly walk. And it hurt, although not as much as when the doctor stuffed a foot-long piece of gauze, one-third inch wide, into the tiny hole of the wound, using tweezers!


Now it's finally getting better. But the ultimate insult is that it wasn't a spider bite. The doctor is convinced chafing from wet blue jeans bruised the skin enough to let bacteria get a foothold. Wet Jeans? I must be a wimp getting sick from wearing wet clothes.


You might keep it in mind if you're working outside, assuming it ever rains again in Indiana.