May 5, 2008

How Will I Type With One Arm?

There is a very real possibility that my left arm will fall off by the end of the week. Thank god I'm right-handed.

Last Thursday I noticed that my whole arm hurt. Hurt as in somewhat uncomfortable but I don't need to drink a fifth of vodka or bite down on an arrow to control the endless stream of pain. I decided to check it out. Turns out I've got one fairly dramatic bite on my forearm and one circular batch of bites on my left shoulder. The cluster of bites are the most concerning - or were - because they hurt like the aftermath of a flu shot. I grew curious. I turned to the internet.

Bad idea.

Now I'm fairly convinced that my shoulder has been chewed on by something dangerous and tropical with a 99.99% appendage mortality rate and it now seems completely reasonable that the forearm bite was the gift of a kind passing brown recluse spider. Like I said, I'm pretty sure my left arm will be gone - either forcibly removed or through rapid deterioration - by Friday.

While it could be argued (and I would agree) that the internet's primary purpose, as designed by Al Gore, is a that of a first-rate porn delivery mechanism, I'd argue that the second best use of the information superhighway is to freak yourself the fuck out. Judging by the hits I got on my searches I could have lyme disease, lupus, ringworm (which, interestingly doesn't involve a worm and isn't parasitic), athlete's foot (probably not it since my shoulder is not actually my foot), Paget's disease of the nipple (again, shoulder not nipple), the bite of powerful spiders (the pictures, oh, the pictures...must get them out of my head) and adult circumcision. I'm pretty sure I can rule out that last one too.

The lesson here is simple. While the internet is handy for blogging, meeting and trading ideas with nice people such as yourselves not to mention acquiring good quality porn, it is not a helpful diagnostic tool for medical conditions. Quite the opposite - using it for a diagnosis should be avoided at all costs. Of course I could be wrong. I'll get back to you by the end of the week. If my arm's fallen off, the joke's on me.

So what did you do this weekend? And, uh, you think my arm's gonna fall off?

Posted by Chris at May 5, 2008 6:17 AM

I don't think your arm will fall off, but if it started hurting/aching Thursday and it still hurts today, you might consider getting it checked out. I doubt it's any of those horrid things you listed, but spider bites aren't outside the realm of possibility.

Let's see...weekend...I did, um, nothing. And it rocked.

Posted by: Alissa at May 5, 2008 7:47 AM

I completely agree that the internet is not a resource to turn to with any bodily issue at all...I call it a symptom generator because without fail after reading about your fatal or limb seizing illness other symptoms will appear within 20 minutes of reading about them. I bet the arm stays least through the's not like you live in the Amazon - then you'd have trouble.

Posted by: Cass at May 5, 2008 7:48 AM

Think of all the sympathy sex you'll get if you only have one arm.

Posted by: Shelly at May 5, 2008 8:17 AM

You'll only get half the sympathy sex from yourself, though.

Posted by: (slightly) less cynical at May 5, 2008 8:21 AM

Dude, when I was pregnant with my first (and only) child, the internet provided eight months of unending horror. I was convinced my child was going to be born with every birth defect known to man... that's if she even survived long enough to be born.

Now, I stick to blogging and facebook. No more WebMD for me.

Posted by: Erica at May 5, 2008 8:35 AM

I work with a girl who googles every symptom she has. Every week she has a new inoperable terminal disease. Gotta love the internet. As for your shoulder, it could be herpes.

Posted by: Naughty at May 5, 2008 8:45 AM

I vote for pictures!!!

Posted by: jennifer at May 5, 2008 8:50 AM


Posted by: steff at May 5, 2008 8:50 AM

We went to DC! Unfortently, I forgot to map the directions to the restaraunts you gave me >.> but it gave our friends some places to try at their week long stay. Biggest mistake ever to not check what "day" it is at the aerospace museum... some sort of space day, with so many little kids roaming around. Our poor friend almost stepped on a few of them because he's 6'8". Ugh.

As for your arm... I think your best bet would to be to chew it off. Only option. Gota get rid of it NOW before it spreads to other parts of your body! You don't want to risk that, now do yuo? ;)

Posted by: secha at May 5, 2008 8:59 AM

Ohh... a photo would be helpful. Sounds like a spider bite to me but I just recruit doctors, I am not a real one ;)

I spent the weekend alone with my temperamental 3 year old while my husband went to see his sister graduate from vet school after 15 billion years, 5 degrees and no job later ! My son just got over a stomach virus, nothing like a little one on one time with a kid who wants nothing to do with leaving the house or listening to the rules... SIGH. It was beautiful weather wise and we did get out in the yard to enjoy some that - we even had a picnic on the front patio! There were great moments so I do not want to totally sound negative here!

Posted by: Christina at May 5, 2008 9:00 AM

I saw this whole "arm falling off bit" going differently, which means I need to remove myself from the gutter. I don't think your arm is going to fall off but if it turns green or black, you might want to see a doctor ;)

Speaking of searching the internets for things, did you see that episode of South Park a few weeks ago? Where the internet died? It was *hilarious* and so true.

I did sparse cleaning over the weekend. And that was it. Me, FTW!

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at May 5, 2008 9:02 AM

ah yes, Dr. Google...I have spent many hours innocently looking for some guidance only to be panicked and crying from what Dr. Google thinks I have. So anyway, probably won't fall off... but go to the doctor!

Posted by: diane at May 5, 2008 9:20 AM

I've stopped looking at the Internet for answers to my medical woes. Go have the bloody thing looked at, will ya?

Let's see. This weekend was my Hubby's birthday and I spoiled him, took him to dinner, wined him, dined him, and did other unmentionable things. It was wonderful!

Posted by: Maribeth at May 5, 2008 9:27 AM

I think that your arm will fall off. But, you can sell it on Ebay, yet another use of the internet, and pay for the kids education. I think it's a far better use of your arm.

Posted by: Heather at May 5, 2008 9:35 AM

I find this WebMD symptom checker thingy fairly handy on occasion.

As for my weekend. The hubby worked, so I held down the fort all weekend and sneezed a lot. Friggen allergies. It may be a race to see whether your arm or my nose is the first to fall off! :P

Posted by: Suzy at May 5, 2008 9:43 AM

What a coincidence. I got Lyme disease too! Or maybe not, since I don't seem to be actually tick bitten or anything. But that's definitely what Dr. Google suggests. I'm thinking I should ask Dr. IRL.

Posted by: ktjrdn at May 5, 2008 9:51 AM

Long before the net, there were the medical shows such as Marcus Welby and whatever that was with Vince Edwards.

My DIL watched them religiously (so did I) and she invariably developed symptoms of each programs "disease of the week".

There is nothing new under the sun.

Seriously though, I'd get it checked out just to be sure. I don't think your area is host to the recluse but bites that don't go away quickly are nothing to fool with.

Posted by: Ann Adams at May 5, 2008 10:03 AM

Oh, yeah. It will totally fall off. Be sure it falls of int he bathrooms stall, though, so someonw ELSE will have a freakish potty 'sperience. How cool would THAT be? Some poor sot is sitting down for administrative business, and the next thing you know "flump!" falls an arm onto the floor in the next stall.

That would be so freaking cool!!!

Pull on it lots so that it comes off soon. I want to hear all about it.

Posted by: Julia at May 5, 2008 10:04 AM

It will totally fall off! Just be sure to have it fall off in the bathroom stall so someone ELSE can have a freakish bathroom experience. How cool would that be???? Some poor sot is sitting down for administrative business and "Flump!" off falls an arm to the floor in the next stall. Be sure to laugh maniacally when it does. And take picutres, dude. I wanna see em.


Posted by: Julia at May 5, 2008 10:06 AM

I think you need a doctor. I hope you've already gone. I've seen those spider bite pictures too.

We've already started the every-weekend-is-insanely-packed run this year, so this one was full. Played Mario Kart on the Wii, mowed and cleaned, went to see Dave Ramsey Live, went to a party with very cold beer, walked in the March of Dimes walk, grocery shopped, and played hockey. Whew.

Posted by: Brad at May 5, 2008 10:13 AM

It'll probably fall off, but at least you'll still have Beth and the kids. Unless they decide to flee from the one-armed freak. Hmmm. Well, let's not think about that.

I successfully defended the thesis on Friday, drove up to my alma mater here in the lovely Shenandoah Valley where I can stay for the low low price of nothing, left for Philadelphia Saturday to meet and drink with a bunch of bloggers (95 is the devil's highway...God, I hate it so), Drove back Sunday stopping in Old Town for breakfast (Misha's on the corner of Prince and King has amazing coffee, if you're ever interested in having amazing coffee) then back to VA for this morning's leisurely reading of your arm's immanent amputation. The best weekend I've had since last year sometime.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at May 5, 2008 10:17 AM

I'd go with some sort of spider/bug bite thing. A week or so ago my husband was convinced that this microscopic brown dot on his side was a deer tick and he would get Lyme disease. Turns out he was scratching at a wee freckle/mole thing about as big as the periods in this paragraph. :)

Posted by: Sue R at May 5, 2008 10:23 AM

Sounds like some vengeful spider bit ya and you're allergic to it. Or something. Then again, you could've just slept on your arm wrong after the spider bit you too.

I was worried that my hands are numb and tingly this morning. Then I realized SoCal is in the 60s again. I'm just experiencing mild wuzzy hypothermia after a super warm week.

Weekend? 2 things. Renaissance Faire and Iron Man. Hazzah!

Posted by: oakley at May 5, 2008 10:45 AM

I have to tell myself to step away from Web MD. I suggest you do the same and go visit the doctor. Hopefully it is only poison ivy/oak.

I did absolutely nothing this weekend. It was great.

Posted by: Maria at May 5, 2008 10:46 AM

Oy, you would think I would know by now not to drink & read Cactus!! My sinuses just got a mt dew enema!

As for your arm, I'm w/ sparkle - totally was thinking something else!! *hee hee* And yes, I do believe it will fall off, adult circumcision is a tricky thing after all ;)

Weekend - terribly unexciting. missed a soccer game, did some grocery shopping, pretended to work, that's about it. oh yeah & attempted to study medical terminology at 11 o'clock last night - not a good idea....

Posted by: Kris at May 5, 2008 10:49 AM

I'm fairly certain your arm won't fall off. This is based on personal experience of the exact same nature, only I was bitten in both hands on one occasion and on my face another time. If the pain is still there, getting looked at is a positive idea.
I spent my weekend being sick and trying to clean around my testically amputated dog and my weekends-are-for-lounging boyfriend. Woo.hoo.

Posted by: Kate at May 5, 2008 11:06 AM

Oh, my friend. Normally I would jump on the "your arm is gonna fall off" bandwagon, specifically championing your self-diagnosis of "brown recluse bite." You know my fear (and irrational conviction that they live in Maryland) of the brown recluse. But in this particular scenario, I will be both Rational and Comforting.

It's not a brown recluse bite, my spider-phobic blogger buddy. I know this because my own research told me that brown reclii (plural form of "recluses") don't live here in the mid-atlantic. It's also not ringworm because you'd have a righteous ring mark on your body. I'm going to venture a guess and say it's not adult circumcision or lupus, either.

My diagnosis? Beth is poisoning you in your sleep. From here on out, you better start sleeping with one eye open. For reals.

Posted by: GreenCanary at May 5, 2008 11:07 AM

I think you will keep your arm, but you should probably see a Dr. (y'know, in your spare time, b/c you have sooooo much of it).

Weekend? Soccer and Summer's birthday party. Oh, and putting together an effin princess car. So fun. Could hardly contain myself.

Posted by: Mymilabean at May 5, 2008 11:21 AM

Sorry about your arm. I agre with the others, it can't hurt to have it looked at.

The weekend weather was great here in Idaho so we played outside. My older son participated in a black belt ceremony at his dojo and my other son tormented my husband. So it was a win-win situation.

Posted by: kali at May 5, 2008 11:32 AM

Go to the doctor.

The last time I goggled something medical regarding my son, I was on the phone making an appointment before the page could fully load. Scared the shit out of me. The nurse laughed and was like, "we get this all the time."

Yours does sound worthy of a visit to a medical professional though.

Posted by: DebbieDoesLife at May 5, 2008 11:42 AM

Go to the doctor.

The last time I goggled something medical regarding my son, I was on the phone making an appointment before the page could fully load. Scared the shit out of me. The nurse laughed and was like, "we get this all the time."

Yours does sound worthy of a visit to a medical professional though.

Posted by: DebbieDoesLife at May 5, 2008 11:42 AM

Hubby and I celebrated our 10th anniversary on Friday with a whopping celebration of Chinese food for just us after the kids went to bed. Oh, and I got a beautiful bouquet of tulips too.

Hope the arm's feeling better...

Posted by: Susan at May 5, 2008 11:52 AM

Did you guys want photos of his arm? Or photos of him having sympathy sex? Just thinking about what the internet is good for...

Posted by: dadshouse at May 5, 2008 12:14 PM

Have Hotty Pediatrician take a look at it.

Posted by: Mr Lady at May 5, 2008 12:37 PM

I don't want to scare you but I once had a spider bite on my leg that got all weird and gross and big and nasty. I went to my doctor after about 2 weeks and he sent me to the ER which then had me quarantined for fear of some infectious disease. I swear I am totally not making that up. After at least 15 different med students came in to gawk at and take notes about my leg while wearin gas masks the area was "treated" and I got to go home with some uber drugs.

So the long and the short of it is that no, you will not lose your arm by Friday. Next week Tuesday maybe.

Posted by: SassyPants at May 5, 2008 1:03 PM

i think you should go to a dr. ringworm is very contagious.

and, no, your arm will not fall off. it will grow to twice it's size, turn green and have SUPER STRENGTH. You will have HULK ARM!!!

Posted by: Jodi at May 5, 2008 1:17 PM

Well, I can tell you ringworm doesn't hurt, or the variety (is there more than one) I had as a child growing up. Brown recluse, you need to get that checked ASAP!!

Personally, I'd get it checked.

LMFAO...what do you think I did with 14 cats? The never ending saga of cleaning litter boxes.....and next pee. Oh, it's been cleaned, but I can still smell it(but then I can smell things most people can't, you don't really want to know, do ya???!!), someone peed on the concrete floor, with it being pourous and all.....guess I'll be pouring gallons of the cleaner onto the floor.

Posted by: been there, done that at May 5, 2008 1:38 PM

Dude. Go to the doctor. It's worth the copay. As a future health care professional, I'm supposed to know when to refer people to the doctor instead of letting them treat themselves... the amount of pain you're feeling says to me "Protect license, send to doctor". (I know that sounds selfish - what with me coming first - but come on, let's be real.) GO. At the very least they can tell you if the amount of pain is normal. (= peace of mind)

Oh, and I studied and played with the kids.

Good luck.

Posted by: sunshine at May 5, 2008 2:45 PM

I work for a Plastic Surgeon and we get a new journal every single month of all the disgusting skin diseases you could ever get. Sometimes I get that queasy feeling just looking at the pictures. Blech. There's some nasty shit out there.

And usually it's not arms falling off, it's other important appendages. Yep. It's like that.

Posted by: k8 at May 5, 2008 3:05 PM

Have you been to Panama lately? If so, it might be botfly larvea ... ... just doing my best to help increase your paranoia, since that's what the internet is for.

Posted by: TisDone at May 5, 2008 3:46 PM

I vote with get it checked, too man. And maybe get somebody out to check out the house for infestation. Of course, I once bought a big fancy pest cotnrol contract because the guy convinced me that spiders in our hall closet hunted in packs . . . though in all honesty, I'd get it looked at.

This weekend I worked our station's booth at our local city festival. Foods on sticks and people watching. Yee haw!

Posted by: OS at May 5, 2008 4:10 PM

Yep. Been there. The internet is by far the worst way to diagnose yourself.

I spent my weekend hiking up an 8 mile mountain. At this point, I feel like every part of my body is about to fall off.

Posted by: Lani at May 5, 2008 5:01 PM

I've been lurking for a bit, but I might have some real info on this brown recluse topic.My friend got bit by one and she didn't realize it, but soon she felt like she had arthritis in all of her joints on her arm. She went to the doctor and it turns out that the recluse had laid an egg sac in her arm and she had to have minor surgery to get it removed. She was on Vicodin and all of that, so you should probably get it checked!

Posted by: Jennifer at May 5, 2008 5:44 PM

Dude, get it checked pronto! If it IS something spider-ish, best to know early. At the very least, they can monitor it so that you don't develop cellulitis (or necrosis). You need your arm!

Posted by: coolchick at May 5, 2008 5:46 PM

My right shoulder and arm were in danger last Friday, it was painful to shift my car, I deducted that is was in fact the result of my insane idea to take up boxing class therefore did not feel the need to check the WWW. As far as the weekend went, I went to a very, very, exclusive party at the local build a bear for a four year old and dined on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches shaped like butterflies and hearts.

Posted by: Shannon at May 5, 2008 6:55 PM

So I went to the Maker Faire on Saturday (way fun!) and both had lunch with my best friend as well as went to my knitting group on Sunday.

I would call your doctor and get a professional's opinion on it rather than go on the opinion of either Dr Google or a CPA in California that is avoiding her work.

Posted by: Teenuh at May 5, 2008 7:07 PM

I'm with the group on this one-- get thee to a physician! I had a spider bite on my eyelid one time, no fun at all!

I volunteered on Saturday, painting at a local elementary school. I spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the brief respite from the rain-- getting some yardwork done, and took advantage of the good light to do some new bead pics for one of my sites.

Posted by: Rachel at May 5, 2008 7:10 PM

I haven't seen the arm but I am pretty sure it's leprosy.

Posted by: Nat at May 5, 2008 8:50 PM

Well, it definitely sounds doctor-visit-worthy, but the internet is an evil, evil beast. I have thought I had every life-threatening illness ever. Hope you're feeling better by now.

Posted by: laura at May 5, 2008 10:18 PM

No falling off of the arm.

Watched our son's high school baseball team (varsity) advance to the district playoffs. Put the youngest son on an airplane with classmates for a science fieldtrip. Talked to the oldest kid at college as he prepares for finals.

Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen at May 5, 2008 11:32 PM