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If you’re a spider, don’t go to the dermatologist.

July 8, 2010

It finally changed from January to July here yesterday. In this area of the US we have two seasons — January (also called “is it still raining?”), which lasts from mid-October to early July, and July (ostensibly “summer”), which lasts from early July  to mid-October if we’re very very lucky.  When July finally comes around all the people get warm and go outside, and the spiders get warm and go inside. I grew up in Arizona. We stayed inside when it was warm and went outside to gape in awe when it rained. The Arizona spiders hung out wherever they wanted.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=spider&iid=5262472″ src=”″ width=”234″ height=”352″ /]In Arizona you could count on pretty much everything being potentially poisonous, especially the spiders and snakes. It was rather a treat to move to Washington State (west side of the mountains) and find that even if something bites you, you don’t have to go to the emergency room or ask a passerby to slice your leg open with a rusty knife and suck the poison out. Our snakes eat the slugs, which is the way it should be, and the only nasty spider rumored to live around here is the Brown Recluse, which is described as “rather shy.” I mean, you don’t really want to get bit by one, but you have lots of time before anything like death happens from a bite.

So, as I said, it finally changed to July here yesterday. Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to go outside and gape at that big shiny yellow thing in the sky. Instead, I had appointments with the dentist and the dermatologist. The dentist was just the usual checkup and cleaning, and the dermatologist was to find out if we can to anything about my toenails, which chemo completely trashed (I’ll spare you the gory details and, yes, dermatologists handle problems with nails and hair).

The dentist was first. I’ve been seeing this dentist since 1983. Her hygienist and most of her office staff have been there that long too. So I often spend time  sitting in the dental recliner, catching up with Nancy the hygienist and whoever pops her head in the door to say hello. Nancy and I were carrying on when a little zebra-striped spider dropped down from the ceiling to see what was going on. It hung directly in front of my eyes, so I did what I normally do with spiders. I caught it. To do this, I simply raised my magazine so it had a place to stand and I lowered it down so I could let it go on the floor.

Nancy said, “We should have let it out the window. I’m not sure what it will eat in here.”

I said, “It will probably find something tasty in the walls or ceiling.”

And that was that. No big deal.

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=woman+scared&iid=108290″ src=”″ width=”234″ height=”156″ /]When my teeth were all pearly white, it was off to the dermatologist and yet another recliner chair — this one with feet close to the floor. The dermatologist and I were discussing the sorry state of my poor toenails, so she was squatting down to take a look.  Suddenly this very dignified, highly respected dermatologist with an office in a rather posh part of town, tossed aside every one of the brain cells that earned her an MD and a PhD and started screaming. She waved her hands around, ran in place, and turned bright red. I thought she was going to jump up on my lap or run screaming out of the room. I was beginning to wonder what exactly was wrong with my toenails to get such a response, when I noticed another little spider, enjoying July, scampering across the floor.

“Kill it! Step on it!” she screamed.

“I have bare feet,” I pointed out.

And with that she stomped the thing into oblivion. She gasped a few times and leaned against the wall.

“I have arachnophobia,” she explained.

“Ah,” I acknowledged, and we resumed discussion of my toenails which, in my opinion, are currently far more repulsive than a small spider, but then I’m not a doctor so what do I know?

I’m not sure if there’s much to learn through my two spider-in-the-medical-office experiences other than a lesson in contrasts. And maybe there are a couple of lessons for our local spider population:

1) It’s okay to hang around the dentist’s office.

2) Don’t go the the dermatologist for any reason, even if you have spider veins.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. mom permalink
    July 8, 2010 8:14 pm

    Black Widow spiders in Arizona were put in jars with the lid screwed on. In our house it was because they were generally in a place where brother Mark could get to them when he was two years old. Poor spiders, but it kept him from eating them as he did with cockroaches. He ate everything and still kept thin. Maybe it would be a cancer cure! Think so? Eat them all. Love you, Mom

    • July 9, 2010 8:40 pm

      Well, he has a much better diet these days. And a great garden. =)

  2. Colleen Oates permalink
    July 8, 2010 10:48 pm

    Jill, Ed has a dentist appointment tomorrow and we will let you know if a spider pays Dr. Mina’s office a visit. Maybe you took the spider with you to the dermatologists office. This is a very funny story and it made us laugh. We also hope you get some help for your toe nails. Take care. Colleen

  3. Murray permalink
    July 9, 2010 5:18 am

    Hi Mrs. B,

    Still chuckling here…. although your mom nearly got me sick with the cockroach story. My fear of cockroaches gives me empathy for your arachnophobic dermatologist – my theory is she’s an eldest. Though, I’m convinced these fears can be genetic – couldn’t it just be learned behavior from watching my mom and sister climb onto furniture screaming? The advantage (or disadvantage) of being the youngest in a situation like that is you’re the only one left to actually do anything, and so like you, I scoop them up and throw them out (or stomp on them if they’re especially intimidating). So, for my research, are you the youngest?

    You’re in our prayers…

    • July 9, 2010 5:41 am

      Sort of. I was the youngest of three girls for four years and then two boys came into the family. So I am the middle — the negotiator.

      • Murray permalink
        July 9, 2010 5:53 am

        That explains Justin’s natural connection with you (besides that you’re just a cool person and great teacher!)….

        Take care – Maria

  4. Babs permalink
    July 9, 2010 9:38 am

    As to your weather post:

    I’ll see your rain and raise you 100 deg temps….


  5. E Lis permalink
    July 9, 2010 4:49 pm

    I use to date a ‘big tough guy’ in Eastern WA who was terrified of spiders (he was a hunter and fisher). Needless to say, I got much joy from rescuing him from spiders. When we moved here as a family from WA, my folks drilled in my Sister and I tiredlessly about spiders and snakes that are lethal. I did not end up with archanophobia, but you can see me nicely freak out even around snakes that I “know” are not lethal.

    Good thoughts, prayers and healing white light — Lisa

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