Joy for Joykie after spider bite


Leoni Kruger
LEPHALALE — Joykie Modise (42) gets tears in her eyes as she begins to speak about the suffering she has endured over the last few months. And out of gratitude to various people, but she wants to exclude two “sisters”, Lydia Strauss and Mariette Korb, who cared for her selflessly.
In about October Joykie’s finger began to swell, followed by a beating pain and then it turned blue black. Mariette took her to Ellisras District hospital where the wound was opened and drained. After this she was in hospital for 12 days during which time almost nothing was done to her finger. She was sent to Polokwane for x-rays of the finger which confirmed that it was only tissue damage with no damage to the bone. Lydia says when Joykie returned to work they could not let her work in the kitchen as her finger was completely septic. They then took her to a local doctor who suggested that she went to Witpoort hospital so that the finger could be cleaned under anaesthetic. There was already dead tissue in the wound. According to Joykie the doctors at Witpoort said they would not clean the finger in theatre and sent her home. By this time she was beyond hope. She went home to her house in Shongoane and her son helped her to clean the finger every day in warm salt water. They kept at it until all the dead tissue was removed from the wound.
Mariette and Lydia returned to the doctor who prescribed antibiotics for her and recommended that they see a “wound specialist” to clean the wound daily. Meanwhile Esther Fourie, physiotherapist, offered to give her free laser treatment on the wound which would also serve as a trial for future cases.
At the time of Mogol Post’s visit, Joykie’s finger was still bandaged up, the skin very thin, but she has kept her finger and looks back today with gratitude toward so many people who helped her without any expectation of exchange. That is charity.
On inquiry the possibility that Joykie was bitten by a violin spider was not ruled out.
 Violin spiders are found all over South Africa. They are normally brownish with dark markings on their bodies, as well as a characteristic violin-shape on the front part. Bites are rare, and usually happen at night when the victim is sleeping.
 They have cytotoxic venom, which means it destroys tissue. Bites are small and painless, but after a few hours the site swells up and becomes discoloured, which is followed by blistering and peeling of the skin, leaving an open wound.
 Untreated bites can lead to infections, septicaemia and necrosis – and surgery may be needed to remove the dead tissue. No antivenin is available for violin spider bites, and treatment is to prevent infection and promote healing. Source:
Symptoms and signs of violin spider bites:
 The superficial bite is painless and initially goes unnoticed. About 2 hours after the bite a red swollen lesion, sometimes with a purple centre develops. Over the next day or two bleeding into the site causes a blackened lesion. By day 4 the swelling and inflammation subside, while cutaneous necrosis continues to spread slowly. Necrotic tissue sloughs off leaving a deep ulcerating wound which is slow to heal and leaves a nasty scar.
Treatment should focus on preventing and treating secondary infection using local antiseptics and systemic antibiotics to promote healing. Ulcers are managed conservatively through cleaning and dressing. Timely surgical cleaning may arrest a rapidly spreading lesion.

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