"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."
-Abraham Lincoln

99 Problems

This whole week has been pretty crazy.  We have been trying to clean up the yard and part of that meant moving a large dog kennel from the middle of the back yard to the fence line along with a lot of mowing, weeding, planting, and trimming.  At some point during that ordeal I pinched a nerve in my neck.  By the end of the night, I could barely move my head.  On top of that I had started to develop a headache and a low grade fever.  That was Saturday evening. 

On Sunday, I woke up in full-blown misery.  My neck still felt terrible.  My headache was awful.  My legs hurt.  My arms hurt.  My lower back hurt and I still had a low grade fever.  I took two extra strength Tylenol and went about trying to get my spring cleaning done.  The Tylenol helped but after a few hours I felt lousy again; achy, tired, queasy, just generally blah.  I figured out I was dealing more with a virus or bacterial infection than just simple muscle strains and took two more Tylenol and took a nap.  When  I got up, I found my husband asleep at the computer and my boys elbow deep in flour that they had taken from my canister and dumped on the floor.  Grr.

I swept that up. Then got the kids to bed and watched a bit of The Voice on TiVo.  I decided to get a little work done on the computer so I sat there for about 30 minutes.  I thought nothing of the occasional dog sneezes I heard coming from the living room area and continued on with my work.  When I finished, this is what greeted me:

She had rooted through the flour in the trash. Managed to spread it all over the floor once again.  Had it all over her nose, in her mouth, even on her back.  She looked as happy as a fly on poop.  I could've killed her.  Instead I wiped her nose and back off with a baby wipe and let her outside to pee. I took two more Tylenol, cleaned up the mess, put her to bed and then went to bed myself.  Ah, Sunday.

The next morning I woke up fully expecting to feel better and I did...for about an hour.  Then my stiff neck came back, my low grade fever came back, my muscle aches came back and I started to develop a rash on the backs of my hands. Two more Tylenol.  It decided to stop being as effective as it was before so my low grade fever stuck around along with the stiff neck, although the other body aches lessened in severity.  I tried to finish my spring cleaning but with the fatigue and general aches and pains I mostly just sat around feeling gross.  That was Monday. 

On Tuesday I woke up feeling as sick as ever, this time the backs of my knees hurt, my chest hurt, my entire back hurt, my ribs hurt and my arms were weak.  The low grade fever was still hanging around.  The rash had developed on my feet as well as my hands, mostly around the ankles.  I was tired of being sick so I made a doctors appointment, got the kids off to Grandma's and went back to bed.  The intake nurse decided to swab my throat for strep even though I really hadn't had a sore throat, barely had a cough, and my fever had always been less than 101 degrees. The doctor said she was pretty sure that my problem was viral but my strep test came back positive.  She thinks I might be a carrier but gave me a script for antibiotics anyways.  If I wasn't feeling better in a few days, I was to take the antibiotics.  If I was then I didn't need them.  Her main instruction: No More Cleaning.  Rest.  Rest. Rest. Rest.   Fine. 

I went home and took a loooong nap.  Then got up to take Middle to his t-ball game at 6pm.  Felt a bit better.   When I got home I found the dogs had gotten sick all over the floor.  Great.  Cleaned that up, got the kids dinner, and settled into my big, comfy chair.  By bedtime I was starting to feel the aches come back, although not as bad, and the fever started to come back.  Two more Tylenol and off to bed. 

By this morning my neck was no longer stiff, my headache was gone, and so were the rest of my muscle aches.  The pain in the back of my knees was still there though and now I had pain in almost all my other major joints: hip, elbow, wrist, ankles.  My rash had also gotten just a bit worse, much more red, a little itchy.  No more Tylenol, just in case it was causing the rash.  I went back to bed.   When I got up my right knee was swollen, my fever was basically gone (so far), both of the backs of my knees still hurt but my other joints weren't in quite as much pain.  Getting better.  But wait...why is there a stinging feeling in the top of my foot?  It felt sort of like stinging nettles.  It itched.  I figured it was the rash.  Until it started to swell.  That's when I found him.  This guy:

The pictures aren't so good but this dude is a yellow sac spider.  Probably C. inclusum.  I found him in my bed, right were my foot had been, dead as a doornail.  The little turd bit me.   These are spiders commonly found in homes and just last night I had seen him/her whichever, dangling just above my head in the hallway.  I gave him an evil glare, my hubbs laughed hysterically, but I left the spider alone.  Dang.  Then this morning I saw him crawling along the hallway floor.  Youngest told me that it was important to "be nice to spiders".  Indoctrination from his father, no doubt.  So I left the spider alone.   And this is how he repays me.  Although, perhaps the giant foot attempting to crush him made him a little anxious, which could be why he bit me.

These spiders are cytotoxic.  Meaning their venom is intended to kill cells and tissue. The bite commonly results in sharp or stinging pain (check), localized redness (check) and localized swelling (check).  Usually the reaction to the bite of one of these guys is fairly mild, comparable to a bee sting, but occasionally it can result in an ulcerated wound similar to that of a brown recluse, only not nearly as severe.  So far, in my case, the bite has been extremely mild.  After a few hours I had no more swelling, no more pain, and only a slight brownish/reddish discoloration (almost like a light bruise although without the discomfort) around the area where he had sunk his tiny little fangs. 

My boys felt sorry for me though since I am still a little sick and now had a spider bite me on top of everything else so while I made the fatal mistake of dosing in my chair, they decided to make me a snack. 

 The first snack came from Middle and included strawberries covered in about 1/4 of sugar along with some fruit punch with added sugar.   I ate as much as I could before my pancreas started to beg for mercy. 

 The next snack was made by Youngest.   It included a lovely mixture of sugar, white flour, cornmeal and cornstarch with lots and lots of water.  Middle was pretty sure it was poisonous.  The bubbling didn't make it any more appetizing.  I pretended to eat that one in my bedroom, while dumping it down the toilet.  He was very proud. 

By this point I realized there could very well be a monumental disaster in my kitchen so I headed off to investigate.  There I found Youngest's third course for me.  Flour, pepper, some kind of brown liquid, more pepper, lots and lots of pepper, and cornstarch.  Oh my.  And as suspected my kitchen was a mess.  Pepper, flour, sugar all over the floor, counters and chairs which Middle had tried to mop up by sloshing water all over the place.  I couldn't be mad though because their heart was definitely in the right place. 

Hopefully the rest of this week will be far less eventful than it started out.