“I was terrified. I knew exactly what it was but I didn’t want to admit it.”

By Char Adams
July 10, 2018

Angela Wright and her fiancée, Victoria Owen, had been living in their Brentwood, Tennessee, apartment for about two months when the home became overrun by venomous brown recluse spiders.

In April, the couple began finding the bugs around their apartment and notified the management company, who sprayed the home to get rid of the spiders. But their efforts didn’t seem to help and, on June 21, Wright, 25, woke to find her arms and chest covered in small spider bites.

“My arm was very sore. I went to work and when I got off of work I found a bump on my chest,” Wright tells PEOPLE. She was admitted to a local ER where doctors confirmed that she had been bitten by the spiders.

“I was terrified. I knew exactly what it was but I didn’t want to admit it,” she tells PEOPLE, noting that she remained in the hospital throughout the weekend. “I didn’t want to recognize that I was in danger. I lost hope; I felt like I lost a battle. I’d been trying to keep the spiders away.”

Bites from brown recluse spiders can cause severe, skin-destroying lesions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The spiders’ venom contains a neurotoxic component, according to the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. This can cause fever, bloody urine, jaundice, rash, convulsions and, in rare cases, death.

“I wasn’t able to walk, I wasn’t able to take in deep breaths,” Wright says. “I almost had a stroke and I didn’t even know it.”

Wright says that, due to the bites, she’ll have to take blood thinners for the rest of her life to prevent blood clots.

“[Doctors] said I shouldn’t have kids, because I could form another clot,” she tells PEOPLE.

Owen, 20, tells PEOPLE that she and Wright found “countless” brown recluse spiders in their apartment.

“We first kept finding handfuls of them on our ceiling and then a few in our bed,” Owen says. “Now we’re still finding even more around or baseboards. We’ve also found them in our clothes, shoes, iron, and even our towels.”

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After the bite, the couple moved from the apartment into Owen’s father’s home.

She says the management company has required a 60-day move-out notice from them, and told the couple they have to pay at least $2,200 to terminate their lease. Owen says the ordeal has left the couple stressed and overwhelmed.

But the hardest part of the ordeal for Owen, she says, has been to see Wright “lay in a hospital bed in horrible pain and not knowing what’s going to happen next.”

Wright says she regrets living in the infested home for so long.

“I put me and Victoria in danger by continuing to stay there.”

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