The Tarantula Who Saved My Life

Disclaimer: The following post contains photographs of a spider, and a possibly distressing photograph of myself in intensive care, at death’s door. I don’t know how to hide them, and so I thought I ought to warn you.

I have talked about this on my previous (and now defunct) blog, but I wanted to talk about it again, for newer friends and readers. Three and a half years ago I was seriously (close to terminally) ill with cirrhosis of the liver, and had been given just six months to live. Yet, here I still am, sinking Death’s battleships left, right and centre (you’ll get that reference if you’ve seen Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey, and possibly even if you haven’t). Death picked on the wrong mortal, in my case, and it’ll be a very long time before I agree to take his hand and cross the Black Sands with him.

However, I digress, which is normal for me, but anyway. Back to the main subject – which is, essentially, how a teeny tiny little baby tarantula saved my life.

Then and now; including curls that I never had before I became sick. That silver-blonde is real, too – and I love it!

My recovery consisted of prescribed energy drinks, a supportive husband, mild curries (because chicken is good) and breaded fish, with episodes of ReBoot thrown in. I bought a memory box, in case I had a whole six months to fill it (and I not only filled it, but overflowed it. By the grace of Gaia, I am still here to keep on filling my new memory box and then buy a new one again).

There was still something missing though: my desire to discard the death sentence I’d been verbally handed, and stick two fingers up at it. I had accepted that I was going to die, and all the ReBoot and curries and hugs in the world couldn’t fix that. I was counting down to what I had been told was the inevitable. I was going to die, and so I chose not to leave my bed, and I chose to simply wait for Death to come and take my hand. I had basically rolled over and given up; not even my tarantulas could entice me down the stairs (that’s once I was able to sit up unaided and had learned to walk again). It hurt me to see them, because I was sure that I was going to have to step into the next life and leave them behind.


On the road to recovery. Yes, I was still terrifyingly thin, but at the time I looked fabulous in comparison to what I’d looked like before ending up in hospital.

I’m not honestly sure what changed. Perhaps it was the dream about my beloved Nan that did it; the recurring dream in which she told me to push on. I only know that I suddenly decided that our boney friend couldn’t have me, and that I had to start living life again. But how? What could possibly get me out of bed and downstairs in the mornings, instead of sleeping the day away? This was back before I contracted CFS/ME, and so there was no reason whatsoever for me to live in my bedroom.

The answer came in the form of a small black, red and white tarantula:


Someone had been looking to sell a juvenile Brachypelma auratum, and I just happened to want one. I fell in love as soon as she strolled out of her packaging, she was so sweet, and even my husband (who had not been at all happy that I’d bought yet another tarantula) was quite thoroughly charmed by her.

There really was only one name I could possibly give her, and it comes from my favourite character from the show (ReBoot) that engaged my interest in doing something other than sleeping and dying.

Hexadecimal. Her name is Hexadecimal. The character in the show saves Mainframe – and this little character has saved me. Her colouring and her character captivated me, and I suddenly found myself looking forward to going downstairs, just to see her.

I still derive great pleasure from feeding and nurturing my large tarantula tribe, and watching them pounce on their prey prior to doing their “happy eating” dance – but Hex will always be special. Without her, things could have been very different indeed.

3 thoughts on “The Tarantula Who Saved My Life

  1. I LOVE your hair!!! Oddly, after a surgery many years ago, my completely straight as an arrow hair went wavy. I like the wave too… and it’s nice to have with gray hair which can be stubborn to curl. Yours is a gorgeous color!
    I am glad you are feeling better and that you haven’t journeyed on to be a real “spacegirl” just yet. I hope you are on planet earth for a long time, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I don’t plan on leaving this planet any time soon – too much to do! I didn’t expect my hair to grow back all curly after my illness, but it’s so pretty – I really love it. I also love how I’ve gone from shades of gold and red to silver birch and yellow. It’s really quite interesting, what illness can do to your hair (and in my case, I love how it’s grown back).


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