In the months following my tragus piercing, I noticed that it was much more widespread (movie stars, highschool students, the waiter at Applebee's) than when I'd originally got the idea in my head 2 or 3 years ago, and sought out something at least somewhat more unique. Quickly my eyes were drawn to the rook piercing and over the following weeks I began reading people's experiences with this area. Most stories fell into 3 categories; minimal to moderate pain; hurts pretty damn bad; and absolutely excruciating with some stating it felt worse than having their nipples done. Furthermore, many of those in the latter category went on to describe several complications; migration, rejection in a couple of instances, phantom pains, intense heat and swelling, and soreness in the area persisting a year or more after the procedure.
With some hesitance I headed down to the tattoo parlor where I'd gotten my last 2 piercings and asked some of the guys standing around about just how bad it felt, to which I got a pretty lackluster "like any cartilage." Somehow the ambivalence actually made me feel a little better about it. So I dropped my cash and my signature and met with the piercer. He was more talkative and after expressing my concerns he said that several people just didn't have suitable rooks to pierce and the client was either insistent or the piercer incompetent. He assured me that mine was fine to pierce and explained how it was going to go and that he was going to do it with a 16g curved barbell. My vision had been of some subtle little ring in the area so I asked if the barbell was a must. He informed me that during the healing process the curvature of a CBR can provide problems for the body and was probably responsible for much of what I'd read about migration, rejection, and persistent soreness. He assured me that the piercing would be much healthier in the long run if I resisted the urge to take out the barbell and let it heal for at least a couple of months before wearing a CBR. He also urged me to come back to the shop after a couple of months time to have the jewelry changed rather than fiddling around with it for hours and irritating it. He marked my ear and handed me a mirror, and told me that even though I wasn't able to see it too well that's where it needed to be.
The pain itself was just under what I felt when having my tragus done. There was a lot of pressure, but still less than the tragus. I felt the burn of the needle quite a bit but just as it was approaching intolerable it was over. What really hurt was when he inserted the jewerly; that felt as bad as anything else I've ever had done to my ears though it was over in a second. Aside from the first 10 minutes, the area wasn't really sore for the rest of the day. Even afterwards the soreness is very localized and I really have to push around in that direct area to feel anything. Sleeping and changing shirts (the two biggest issues I always have with new piercings) don't affect the area at all. It's been a few days now and I have yet to bump it or hurt it accidently. In fact it's nestled so neatly in my ear that I've noticed it less than any other new piercing. Talking on the phone is really the only normal activity that the piercing has affected but it only takes a second to realize that I have to hold the phone off my ear. There's been very little redness or swelling, and so far, very little discharge. Of my 3 cartilage piercings I would rate it more painful than the helix but less painful than the tragus. Healing has so far been a breeze as well; 2 months after my helix and it's still sore and being knocked around whereas the rook is totally tucked away.
The aftercare is a tad more troublesome than most, the salt soaks in particular. A hot compress can't really completely envelope the area, so necessary is the arduous task of preparing the salt water, sticking it in a salad bowl, putting the bowl on the floor, and basically laying in it. Five minutes seems a lot longer spent in this manner. The process of getting soap adequately on the entry and exit holes is also a bit touchy, and rinsing in the shower basically involves letting the water shoot straight into my ear. An ear plug might be a useful investment.
Judging from what I've read, I can't say this piercing is for everyone. Make sure your practitioner is competent, make sure your anatomy is suited for the procedure, and keep the curvature of the jewelry to a minimum while primary healing takes place.
submitted by: Funeral
on: 19 Aug. 2012
in Rook Piercing