Hmm, to my nursing knowledge, and having both out here in S. California, the bite from the Brown Recluse can be as bad as that of the Black Widow spider, from different actions. You are much more likely to lose a limb from a Brown Recluse bite, you're more likely to suffer neurological sequelae from a Black Widow bite. You're also much more likely to be bit by a Black Widow, versus a Brown Recluse, due to the different natures of both spiders, one being rather aggressive (Black Widow), the other being, well, reclusive. The venoms from both spiders are very different. Black Widow venom is a neurotoxin. Brown Recluse venom (more poisonous than rattlesnake venom gram for gram, fortunately, they cannot inject much with the bite), is a necro-toxin. Both of course you want to avoid, but don't think one is "less harmful" than the other. Sort of like comparing a gun versus a knife
I've included a link at the end of my post, but if you have a queasy stomach, you might not want to view these slides. It will give you an idea of what can happen to an adult with a Brown Recluse bite. One of my horseback riding friends many years ago sustained a Brown Recluse bite on her hand, when she reached in to grab one of her horse's saddle blankets that was hanging on a hook in her tack room. Both spiders like to live up inside the folds of fabric. I won't share how she fared - she survived, but her injuries were horrible and life-changing. Children, the elderly and those who are immuno-compromised will fare the worst from either bite, but fatalities from Black Widow bites (very rare, but they can happen) tend to fall within those three groups of patients. More fatalities with Black Widow bites due to two reasons: Type of venom and # of bites in comparison to Brown Recluse bites:
And Ryan, your story reminds me of a story about my husband: He put his barn shoes on and felt something squishy in the toe. He pulled his foot (with a thick sock on, thank goodness) out of the shoe and out came a smashed Black Widow spider that had apparently crawled into the toe of his boot overnight. Needless to say, he kept his barn shoes inside after that, and would shake them out vigorously prior to putting them on. We still do that, as well as smash our garden gloves flat prior to sticking our hands and fingers in them (Yup, smashed a Black Widow in one of my gloves many years ago). Got that tip from a friend of mine.