In Aug. 1 IssueBy Derek AaronRussell County News Editor
Russell County Judge Executive Mickey Garner was back at work for several days this past week, a little more than a week after he was hospitalized with a severe spider bite on his leg.
“It was the most pain I had ever experienced in my life,” he said.
Garner was bit approximately two weeks ago, possibly by a brown recluse, he said.
He said that over the weekend he had been out on Lake Cumberland and also down to the river, as well as working in hay, but he didn’t know when the bite had occurred.
“The next Monday morning I woke up with an itching quarter-sized red spot on my thigh,” he said.
As the day wore on, the spot continued to grow to the size of a half dollar and larger and the center of the bite became black and blistered.
“That was the day we had our fiscal court meeting during the day and after the meeting I went to the restroom to check it and it had gotten larger,” he said of the spot.
Garner said his leg had a throbbing pain, similar to a toothache, and by the time he could get in to see Dr. Rick Miles that afternoon the spot had two blisters and had unnerving pain.
For the next week, Dr. Miles treated Garner with shots but the infection continued to spread and another spot had shown up just south of the first bite.
He said once Dr. Miles saw the infection spreading he referred him to Dr. Shelton, a surgeon, in Somerset.
Upon inspection of the bite, Dr. Shelton performed surgery on the spot that evening, prompting a five day stay at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital.
Garner said during the surgery the bite was basically cut out of his thigh. He was then treated with strong pain medications through and IV as well as numerous antibiotics.
“They removed the dead tissue and some of the infection had even gotten into my (leg) muscle,” he said.
“It is an open wound and will have to heal from the inside out.”
The wound was around four inches wide and the surgeon had to clean out nearly to the bone in his thigh, he said. The spot was filled in with gauze and cleaned numerous times each day during the healing process.
On Tuesday he is going back to Somerset to have outpatient surgery on the spot for a final cleaning of the dead tissue in the wound.
He said the doctors hoped to perform a procedure that will help the open wound heal more quickly.
“I never thought anything about spiders before,” he said.
“You know you see them all the time but I will see them differently now.”
He advised everyone to have their homes sprayed and treated for spiders.
“Whether you realize it or not, they’re there,” he said of the menacing arachnids.
He said he currently had no pain from the bite itself and is looking forward to getting back to work on county business back on a full scale.
While he was away Garner credited his secretaries and staff that helped to keep the flow going at his courthouse office.
“Anything that came up we handled it over the phone,” he said.
Magistrate Ronald Johnson also attended a DOG meeting in Frankfort in Garner’s place while he was hospitalized.
It will understandably take a while but Garner said he expects to make a full recovery.