I was bitten by what doctors assumed was a brown recluse spider on January 5, 2005. I went to ER at St. Jude Medical Center, Fullerton, Calif., on Jan. 7., and was confined to the hospital for eight days. Treatment basically included megadoses of antibiotics and pain-killer. My leg was swollen twice its size and I developed a multi-colored, festering wound that looked like decaying meat, which even the hospital staff found difficult to look at. On a scale of 1 to 10, the pain measured about a 7 until the pain killer kicked in. Following discharge from the hospital, I was assigned to the St. Jude Wound Care Center for outpatient treatment. On my first visit, I underwent debridement in which the vascular surgeon removed dead skin and tissue. My wife was permitted to observe the procedure and said that the sickening-looking gunk scooped out by hand by the surgeon looked like strawberry Jello. It was not a pleasant sight. The procedure created a gaping cavity in my calf that's more than an inch deep and four to five inches wide. The wound was heavily bandaged and bled profusely until my next visit to the Wound Care Center the following day. I presently am going to the Wound Care Center about three times a week with home care by visiting nurses for dressing changes in between. There is relatively little pain, although I take Vicadin when the level rises. They tell me that healing will take a long time and that the cavity will probably remain after the healing is completed, so the calf will be permanently disfigured. Although the St. Jude Medical Center Staff is excellent in every way, I didn't feel the attending physician was aggressive enough in treating the bite during the first three days of my hospitalization. As a result, the damage to the surrounding tissue became increasingly worse. Since I'm a fatalist, I'm pretty philosophical about things over which I have no control.. However, as far as the spider bite is concerned, I can't help but wonder, "Why me?"