A woman was bitten ten times by a false widow spider after the venomous eight-legged beast became trapped inside her JEANS that were hung outside to dry.
Sarah Hood, 53, has suffered with “intense burning pain” and endured three hospital stays after she believes she was bitten by a false widow spider in November last year.
Sarah, known as Nikki by friends and family, was bitten whilst dining at the Amwell Tandoori Indian restaurant in Ware, close by to her Hertford home.
She has recalled the terror of realising how the false widow spider had been trapped between her jeans and her bare skins for up to an hour.
Terrifyingly Nikki was bitten after fetching her jeans in off the washing line and getting changed in a hurry to go out for dinner.
Ever since the day she was bitten, NHS doctors have struggled to cure Nikki’s aggressive spider bites once and for all, which have violently flared up twice in a year.
Each time the bites flare up, Nikki finds herself in “agonising” pain and requiring urgent medical care.
She has even been “tuned away” from a tropical disease walk in centre because she was bitten in the UK.
Mum-of-one, Nikki, says the spider, which had a large “bulbous” body, wriggled free from her trousers and crawled onto the table mid-way through her Indian meal.
She flicked the spider off the table with a menu and having felt no pain, had no idea that the spider has feasted on her leg.
Nikki, said: “I saw it crawl on to the table out of the corner of my eye.
“I thought it was weird because it’s not every day you see a spider like that.”
Even for hours after she was bitten, Nikki says she felt no pain and only noticed the ten “prominent puncture marks” on her leg later that night before going to bed.
However over the course of the next two days, the bites became “massively infected” and intensely painful.
Nikki says the gut-wrenching green spider bites feel like she’s being burned by “boiling hot water”.
She says the “intense heat” leaves her unable to sleep at night and needing to take time off work.
Nikki has spent around ten days in hospital over three separate occasions after the bites have flared up with aggressive infections.
In November 2017 Nikki was placed on a course of antibiotics by her GP to treat the initial bites, but Nikki recalls how the bites “burned like a red hot pan”.
Nikki, said: “It feels like a deep tissue burn but only looked like a nettle sting.
“It was excruciating when anything touched it. It got super infected over a matter of days.”
It was five days after she was bitten that Nikki required hospital treatment, on November 12 2017, after finding the pain unbearable.
She attended Lister Hospital’s A&E and was later admitted to a ward.
She spent a Doctors “de-roofed” the bites and drained the infection.
Nikki says the pain had become “hard to take”.
She said: “The pain was intolerable. I couldn’t sleep at night and could only wear loose clothes.
“I was very upset over it. The pain was getting worse and it would wake me up at night.
“The wounds did heal and you couldn’t tell that it ever happened. I thought that would be that.”
But to Nikki’s disbelief the bites would flare up with a violent infection a further two times, first in February this year and again in September.
Each time the infection came back it would be “twice as painful”.
In February Nikki spent four days in Lister Hospital after a “cluster of green mass” flared up where she was bitten.
Her leg became swollen and she developed flu-like symptoms.
Once again, doctors drained the infection and as before, the wound healed and Nikki made a full recovery.
It was on September 2 that Nikki’s bites flared up for a third time.
She went back to Lister Hospital’s A&E and spent another two nights on a ward. Doctors de-roofed the bites for a third time and Nikki needed yet more antibiotics.
But doctors said they could do nothing more and called London’s Hospital for Tropical Diseases in a bid to get Nikki specialist care.
However she says she was “turned away” and denied urgent care because she hadn’t been bitten by the venomous spider in the UK.
The walk-in centre is dedicated to travellers who have returned from the tropics within the last six months, and Nikki is now facing waiting weeks for an appointment.
Nanny, Nikki, who for many years lived on America’s east coast said: “They told me that because I hadn’t been to the tropics that I couldn’t be seen to.
“I was told to go back to my GP as my GP needed to request an urgent appointment.
“I am still waiting for this appointment and I can do nothing but wait.
“It seems no one knows where to send me, as I am being bounced from hospital to GP to hospital.
“I’ve been passed from pillar to post. There just doesn’t seem to be anyone who can help me.
“Every time I’ve been to hospital, they’ve done their best but it won’t go away. I want answers and I want it dealt with.
“I just want it gone. It’s been horrendous for me. I want to be able to lead a normal life again.”
“I’m living on the edge, just waiting for it to come back. Each time it gets worse.
“I’m scared that I’ll lose my leg. It has been horrendous for me. It’s hard for anyone else to imagine the pain. My whole thigh is on fire.
“I absolutely detest spiders. I have nightmares about them now. I don’t to spend time in my garden anymore.”
Nikki is due to fly out to New York in two weeks time and says she is “petrified” that another flare up is just around the corner.
She says she is struggling to sleep at night due to the pain and fears there is “no treatment in sight” for the aggressive bites.
Nikki added: “I just want to live a normal life again. I just want this gone.
“I’ve got scars on my leg and feel like the pain is just waiting to come back.”