TarantulaPhormictupus cancerides, picture source: Wikipedia

The morning came today at 4:30 a.m. Perhaps it was due to lack of caffeine as felt by an extreme headache or subluxation due to much hard work. Regardless, it was time to get up. I had been in bed recovering from my trip to the Dominican Republic and Haiti since 1 p.m. yesterday. It would be OK to be up and about this early in the morning. It was time to slowly adjust to being back in the States.

I’ve just returned from a chiropractic mission trip. We went with Mission Life International and Chiroprators Dr. Peter Morgan, Dr. Stephen Simonetti and Dr. Gary Deutchman. Two other Sherman students besides myself, as well as students from various chiropractic colleges around the world, were also on the trip. 
They say you never know what you will receive as a “gift” from the trip until it’s over and you’ve had time to contemplate and apply your experience. As for me, I’ve learned to “know what I know.” This was one of the reasons I came to Haiti. Of course I had noble goals as well, that is a given. I came to help the people of Haiti.

The unexpected was a bite from a tarantula. I’m guessing it was Phormictopus cancerides, the Hispaniolan Giant Tarantula. How do I know?  Well….it happened at night while I was sleeping which is exactly when they come out and it was verified by the nurse at another missionary orphanage. The really interesting thing was that I had a premonition about it before I left the States. 

At the time I told myself not to worry, not to be paranoid…nothing would happen to my finger. I thought I was being overly anxious. Not so. The bite happened on the first night in Haiti. Initially, I thought it was a mosquito bite. It itched and I tried to take my anniversary ring off within hours of the bite while it was still dark. But my hand was swelling and it was already too late. 

Eventually I was able to see a nurse who verified that it was a tarantula bite. If it was a poisonous spider they would have had to air-lift me to Santiago for intravenous antibiotics. Most of us in the States consider a tarantula to be a poisonous spider. Just imagine the possibilities. As it was, I was in danger of losing a finger because my hand was swelling and the ring would not come off. I was told to be patient and that antibiotics and an antihistamine would do their job. It was only partially true.

The last night in Haiti it suddenly became apparent that the ring must come off immediately. It could not wait ‘til morning. But, the borders were closed and there was no hospital or equipment to cut the ring off. Nadesh, the woman who took care of the children at the Mission Life International Orphanage saved me. Eddy, our interpreter and fellow Haitian chiropractor, told me to trust Nadesh. While the rest of the team was having a session on the rooftop, Nadesh and Eddy were helping me in the kitchen downstairs with children crowded around. We had tried twice before to get the ring off to no avail. This time it must come off. I trusted and allowed Nadesh to work on the ring.

Miraculously the ring came off with much twisting and pulling. It was not pleasant but because I trusted I did not lose my finger…or the ring. Eddy did not say it at the time but he was worried too.

Now I will not say that I “should” have left the ring at home. I believe the premonition was just that; a premonition that allowed me to be aware of the seriousness of the situation. It allowed me not to dismiss what was occurring before my eyes while others were not aware. Even the local Haitians did not know that it was a tarantula bite. 

So my lesson, my big “gift” from the trip was that indeed I must listen to my inner voice that speaks to me continually. Time to “Trust Up” – on my own knowledge. No one else can allow this to happen but me. It is now time that I own my inner power!

Do I think that you may be bitten by a tarantula if you go on this Mission Trip? No, I believe it was just what I needed to happen in order to know what I needed to know. Your experience will be different. You will find out what you need to know – when it’s your turn to go!