I was driving through Texas last week when I got bit by a spider. It happened while I was pumping gas, and it turned out to be a brown recluse spider. My leg got all swollen up badly with infection, and I had no choice but to go to a hospital.
I got very lonely there, as I always do in hospitals. I was in a city where I didn't know anyone, so there was no chance that a living soul would come to visit me. I started to feel pretty down in the dumps by my fourth day, and then the door to my private room opened. A young pre-teen boy stepped inside, wearing a hospital gown just like I was.
"Hello," I said to him.
He held up a hand to greet me and said, "Hi."
"Are you looking for someone?"
"Nope, just really bored."
I smiled. "I can certainly understand that feeling. My name is Bill."
"I'm Nate, glad to meet you."
"Pleased to meet you too, Nate."
"What are you in here for?"
"I got bit by a brown recluse spider. I guess I'm allergic."
Nate's face lit up and he looked very excited. "Maybe you'll turn into Spider Man now!"
I shook my head. "I very seriously doubt it."
He was determined in his conviction. "You never know. Anything's possible, it could happen."
"Okay, you're right. I need to look at the glass more as half full."
Nate furrowed his brow. "What? Half full? I don't understand."
I shrugged. "I'm just saying you are correct. Maybe I will turn into Spider Man."
He smiled again and nodded enthusiastically. "Hey, I wrote a poem, you want to hear it?"
"Sure buddy, I'd love to."
He reached behind his back and pulled out a folded sheet of paper. Since there are no pockets in the hospital gowns, I briefly wondered where he had been storing the poem. Then I decided it was best to just focus on the poetry and not the location it came from. "Ready?" he asked.
"Yes, go for it."
Nate cleared his throat then began to read. "I knew a girl named Lola, she liked to drink Coca Cola, she liked to hear rock and roll-a, she played it on her Victrola, she said she came from Nola, and now I have Ebola, deep down in my soul-a."
I stared at the boy slack-jawed. I didn't know what to say. "Uh..."
He was beaming with pride. "Pretty good for a 12 year old, isn't it?"
"Well, you sure do know how to rhyme. But I have to ask-- do you really have the Ebola virus?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. I keep hearing about it on TV and used it for my poem."
Suddenly, two nurses dressed in Hazmat suits came in and quickly scooped up Nate. "What's going on?" I asked fearfully.
"Can I come and visit you again sometime?" asked Nate as they whisked him out of the room. Then a third nurse in a Hazmat suit came in.
"Are you feeling alright?" she asked me.
"So far so good. But did that kid have Ebola?"
"What? Goodness no, why would you think that?"
"Because of a poem he wrote."
I was feeling frustrated. "Yes, but also two people came in and rushed him out of here. All of you are wearing those bio protection suits."
"That's not for him, that's for you."
"It is. But why?"
"We've determined that you may have MRSA."
"It's a really bad infection, and we are all going to have to wear these suits when we come into your room. Until you are completely better or we can determine you don't have MRSA."
"Oh. I guess that's comforting."
It took them 24 hours to finally decide definitively that I did not have MRSA. And I am very thankful about that, dealing with the spider bite was enough. I never saw Nate again, but his visit was very memorable. It's always nice to have visitors when you spend time in the hospital.