People in the military take on a lot of risks — they have to face IEDs and snipers, not to mention battling the sun, heat, wind, and sand. So it seems crazy for someone to survive a deployment unscathed only to come home and be fighting for their life… but that’s exactly what happened to this soldier.
Matt Clarke woke up one morning to something a bit surprising, what he described as a “tingly sensation” on his leg. He didn’t realize that he had in actuality been bitten by a spider, and not just any spider: a false widow spider. After a few days, however, he realized something was wrong.
“I just felt this dripping down my leg and it was a painful type of burning sensation,” he said in an interview. “I then checked it out and the bite area had burst open — it was a hole I could see my muscles through. I couldn’t understand why the bite wasn’t healing so I tried to find answers. I researched spiders and my symptoms, and I [realized] I had been bitten by a false black widow.”
Clarke was later told by a doctor that the bite was “toxic”, and he needed to make sure it was monitored consistently.
“I’ve been in the Army for 10 years, I’ve been all over the world and slept next to more dangerous spiders and never got bit. But I got bit in my own bed,” he said. Clarke, who served in the British army, was lucky to find out that false widow bites are not lethal, although the bite can resemble that of the black widow, which is dangerous.
Readers easily sympathized with Clarke, sharing their own stories of spider bites on social media.
“I got my spider bite in a restaurant on Houston’s shop channel,” one person wrote on Facebook. “Bite me 2x’s, I thot my leg was gonna rot off. Nothing drs. Did worked at first. Finally was put on antibiotics and cream call Ascend……you can’t even tell there was a bite. Both spots looked like raw meat. It’s awful. Hope you’re better soon.”
“My husband was bitten by a brown recluse spider and was hospitalized for six days and they used all the different antibiotics that they could use on him and if the last one of the antibiotics didn’t work he would die they told me,” another person added. “Luckly the last one worked thank heavens.”
“My son got bite on the butt an the Drs said it was a brown recluse,” a parent said. “They did surgery an made a hole 1 1/2 inches wide an 4 inches deep to get all the stuff out. It worked I guess he hasn’t had any more trouble. But took a long time healing. I’m so sorry this has happened to you. I wish you the best.”
Have you ever been bitten by a spider?