Sheer Bloody Terror

Very little scares me, violent drunks, dark alleys, terrorist bombs, careening around corners at silly speeds – none of these things bother me.
But I do have one completely irrational fear.

And today, I faced that fear.

Terror is often depicted as happening at night, in the middle of a thunderstorm – but for me terror happened on a sunny Monday morning…

The first job of the day was nice and simple, a little old lady with a leg infection who needs some antibiotics that can only be given at hospital.

Just don't ask me why this was a high priority call, and therefore needed a rapid response unit.

I spent some time chatting with the patient and her relative, nice enough folks just feeling let down by their GP. Little did I know the trauma that would soon be inflicted on me…

The ambulance crew turned up, and put the carry chair next to the patient. The patient was having severe pain on standing, so one of the crew and the patient's daughter grabbed an arm each and gave her some help standing.

During this I'm standing in the kitchen door, and the other crew is standing in the hallway door.

Then I see it.

I have big hands, and the spider that ran up the back of the patient was just a shade smaller. I was standing some way away and even with my poor eyesight, I could see it's huge fangs, it's hairy legs, and an evil glint in it's eyes.

I froze.

I'm not f**king wrestling with that monster, was the first thing that sprang to mind.

Sprinting onto the patient's head it sat there for a moment, no doubt deciding which of us would make the tastiest meal.

The daughter screamed, the (female) crew helping the patient screamed, the (male) crew standing in the doorway swore, screamed, and ran out into the hallway to hide.

“Get it off! Get it off”, the daughter screamed.

The spider decided to sit on the face of the patient, it's legs gripping the patient's ears like a facehugger from the Alien films.

“Eeek!” screamed the patient.

The daughter then smacked her mother right in the face, and the spider went flying across the room. I had visions of it smashing into a vase, bringing it crashing to the floor.

(Did I mention that this spider was fairly large?)

I'm standing there like a lemon – my long dormant arachnophobia flaring into action, I was petrified.

I don't like killing things animals, I even fish out the silverfish from my bath before washing my hair – but if this thing came near me it would be a fight to the death.

The patient sat alone in the room in the carry chair, breathing heavily from her daughter's assault.

Neither of the crew wanted to go near the patient in case the spider was merely lurking…biding its time until it could attack. My bags were taken off me and I was told in no uncertain terms that it would be me who would approach the corner in order to actually collect the patient.

A deep breath, a muttered Litany against fear, and I scooted across the room and, keeping my eyes on the many dark corners, swiftly bundled the patient up and got her out of the house.

“Don't worry”, said the daughter as we left the house, “Mum's dog will soon eat it”.

Depends how big the dog is, I thought…

36 thoughts on “Sheer Bloody Terror”

  1. I am terrified by spiders (much to the enjoyment of my stepfather). I was babysitting two girls – 6 and 8, and there was a HUGE one on the stairs – THEY had to deal with it as I was a quivering wreck at the bottom of the stairs! Although my worst Spider Incident, as my friend calls them, was when I woke up in the middle of the night, got up to go to the loo and for some reason turned back to my pillow after Id turned on the light. There, right where my head had been was the biggest house spider I had ever seen. Needless to say I screamed the house down. Waking my stepfather, who didnt find it so funny thenat 3am!I feel for you.

  2. By god, I hate spiders. *shudder*Reynolds, I totally sympathise with you. There is nothing as irrational as the abject terror and intense flight response that I get from large hairy arachnids. There is a size limit when the serious terror kicks in – about 50p sized (including legs).

    I can't even bear to watch large spiders on TV… and as for Shelob in Lord of the Rings? ARGH

    The worst irony is that outwardly similar (and flying!) daddy-long-legs (cranefly) do not bother me in the slightest.

    Oh, and I'm 6'2″ and 15 stone. A spider is what, a hundredth of my longest dimension? and a millionth of my weight?

    Can you put a *ARACHNOPHOBE WARNING* on the next story like that please?


  3. Where did the spider actually come from? I mean, following your discription I would expect such a thing somewhere in Africa not necessarily in East London and to be honest I thought you were actually telling the nightmare from last night or something like that.I have to confess I have got a really real problem with spiders and anything else that looks like it. They don't need to be that big though. When I was a kid I was even terrified when I saw an ant I was just freaking out:-)

  4. Well….yes really.But if you read the post again you will see that I was the one who went back into the room of spidery terror to fetch the patient.

  5. Tom. Often these typesof phobias are quite simple to cure – or at least relieve massively. In my practice, I've been using EFT for some while – with great success. It can be done over the phone. I'm happy to give you a session for free.Best,


  6. “don't worry, mum's dog will eat it.” That sort of carries a tone that this sort of spider is a regular occurence to the daughter… I think she may have wanted to see what the big emergency services men did.Not that that's the sort of thing I'd do. Nonononono. Um.

  7. Isn't it ironic that a fully grown man can be afraid of something both my cats and my dog consider to be toys/food (in that order).

  8. This says it all to me. No way could I deal with the pus and sick and piss and shit and the abuse and the dying and the rest of it that Tom puts up with, but I can deal with spiders.If there was indeed someone handing out attributes in heaven before we were all born, they were remarkably crap at it, weren't they.

  9. I don't like spiders, I dislike them a lot. Only the real big'uns scare me. I've had to kill them for my girlfriend before when they've appeared in the bath, she's realllllyyy scared of them!

  10. I can feel the pain, mate.A friend of mine had their house infested (and I really mean it) with roaches. I will try to spare you the details, but believe me, they were everywhere (that includes, freezers, frying pans, in the radio tuner (!), etc).

    Needless to say, I swore to myself that I will never step in that house. Nowadays, a local pest control company has solved their problem, thankgod.

  11. Just a little trick I learned (I'm not frightened of spiders at all – strangely I like them!) regarding spders in the bath. Put an old towel over the side of the bathsuch that it goes to were the bath starts to curve in to the bottom. Then the little so-and-so's can climb out using the towel as a ladder. The problem is that the side of a bath is too slippery for them to climb and so when they climb in for a drink, they get trapped and you find them the following morning. So give tem a way ack out and ou will see far fewer of them!Further admiration to Tom though. First he picks himself up and dusts himself off after “A Bad Job” – effectively saying 'Just doing my job'. Then he faces his fears and rescues a patient (now with multiple injuries!) from something that he finds scary.

  12. This was also my little sister's technique for dealing with spiders – get the boyfriend to do it. I'm not sure if it makes her someone who is “effective at persuading others” (as put on job applications) or if it makes her a manipulative little so-and-so…

  13. I'm the same way about spiders, so the next is a stupid question, since you probably weren't studying the thing, but … what the hell was it? Big house spider? Somebody's pet tarantula? There aren't any spiders that big in England. Are there??(Checks under chair.)

  14. Now we know where it went! Calire at work saw that one the other day i our office and ran screaming across the room – we've not seen it since and it's obviously headed down the M40 to London over the weekend.I'm only scared of 'em when they move /scuttle – odd that….

  15. Ok, maybe just a medium sized Jessie then.Spiders are your friend; they eat all the nasty bugs, and knit you pretty webs to decorate your ceiling with.

  16. I'm going to have to check under the bed now before I get in it! You can get big house spiders in England. They normally come out when it's warm – usually from the rafters or under the floorboards. They can be quite aggressive – I tried to kill one once as a teenager as we had a bit of a big spider problem. I sort of missed due to a feeble attempt at trying to kill it and the spider actually reared up and went for my toes. At which point I let out my infamous 'spider scream' reserved only for those sort of moments. I've often thought of moving to Australia and in five years there I saw 5-6 spiders – I still don't think I could risk it permanently though for that very reason.

  17. Turning on the water full blast and drowning the little bastards right out is extremely effective as well.Tom, I'd mock you thoroughly, since you're usually such a manly man…but that'd be too hypocritical, even for me. I'm still shuddering, and I can only thank god that you didn't include a picture. I just can't believe you turned your back on it.

    I recognize that spiders are an important part of our ecosystem blah blah blah so I no longer kill them when I come across them “in the wild”, but once they cross that domicile threshold, all bets are off and it's a battle to the death.

    Has it occurred to anyone that The Beast could be responsible for the lady's infection…?

  18. >>The daughter screamed, the (female) crew helping the patient screamed, the (male) crew standing in the doorway swore, screamed, and ran out into the hallway to hide .He is lying, I was actually going to answer the front door.

  19. My 9 year old daughter is terrified of spiders. I keep trying to tell her that they arevery good at keeping the evil west nile virus carrying mosquitos away (we live in

    California it is the new disease of the year here), but that doesn't seem to help

    calm her down. I don't mind spiders (except black widows – something to do with

    older siblings locking me in a shed full of them at a young age…), but her father (a

    firefighter) has a pathological fear of anything with more than 4 legs. I blame him

    everytime she loses it when a little spider comes into view. My three year old boy thinks

    they are great toys meant to amuse him by scaring his sister until she is reduced to a

    quivering ball of terror. It doesn't help that she is almost as big as I am and tries to get

    me to pick her up when she is scared…..

  20. Tom,My commiserations. I have had a (irrational) fear of spiders since I was young. Nothing is more guaranteed to set my heart racing that the thought of facing a hairy legged arachnid (and they have some bloody big housespiders in the UK). I know they (shouldn't) don't hurt me and they do a very good job at keeping the insect population under control, hence it is an irrational fear, but doesn't stop me from doing a runner when I spot a large variety. I don't believe in killing them, so they get free reign in the garden shed(s) but I try to explain nicely that they can't have the house as well and most of the times it seems to work but the odd occasions where we meet on my territory, I am the one leaving until they disappear; embarassing at times to admit you slept on the couch because the spider has occupied the bedroom.

    Nice to know I am not alone.


  21. You're not the only one. There has been many a time when I've had to kip on the sofa because I've tried to get a spider and it's got away from me. I don't like killing them, but if they're in MY bedroom then sorry, they have to be dealt with. ANY other part of the house is fine, just NOT in MY ROOM!!Jen

  22. Talk about foreshadowing. I was half-way through reading this post, (I have my own irrational fear of spiders) decided to use the bathroom, and when I walked in there was a HUGE spider in the middle of my bathroom floor.I blame you.

    It's now locked in my bathroom that is now out-of-order until I find someone to come get rid of it for me.

    pete (

  23. Reynolds,I hate those 8 legged spidery things too, so I was almost cr*pping my pant in Harry Potter 2, however – you should see the size of the Rats down inmy station

    Tube Dude

    PS nice to see a funny posting after the last few weeks, wonderful, thanks.

  24. Reynolds,I hate those 8 legged spidery things too, so I was almost cr*pping my pants in Harry Potter 2, however – you should see the size of the Rats down inmy station

    Tube Dude

    PS nice to see a funny posting after the last few weeks, wonderful, thanks.

  25. “The daughter then smacked her mother right in the face”.I know it shouldn't, but that one phrase had me crying with laughing! I'll be chuckling at that for the rest of the day now.

    Why can't comedy like that happen on the jobs that I go to??

  26. Even though I loathe and detest spiders and I used to think killing them was the only way forward – as I've got older I feel rather guilty for killing them. If I can't get anyone to remove it then I do actually have to have a go at killing it as I just can't stand to not know where they are. In the last few years I have found myself apologising to them afterwards just in case fate takes a turn for the worse and I come back – as a SPIDER!!!

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