Cautery Conch 2
I want to tell the story of my second cautery conch experience, but I should tell you of the first one, first. Steve Hayworth was doing a guest spot at my friend Bryan's shop (Puncture Body Piercing in Upland, CA) I decided to go and check it out, but I really wasn't planning on getting anything done. He had already been there for a couple of days, so I got to see live examples of his work, as well as his portfolio. I saw a cautery ear reconstruction, some implants, and some cautery brands... but what really caught my eye was this guy who had a hole cauterized out of his upper ear, with a 2 gauge eyelet in it. He had had it done the day before, and no bleeding! I had always wanted a bigger-than-normal hole through the middle of each conch, but I knew that I didn't want to go the pierce-and-stretch route. It was seeming like cautery was a feasible way of accomplishing what I wanted. and I was kind of getting the "fever", being around it happening. I am sure that some of you know what I mean. I was still a little apprehensive (scared) though.
I talked with Steve about what I wanted for about an hour. He seemed very knowledgeable about the procedures he was performing, which put most of my fears to rest. But there was still the pain factor. That fear was still present.
We decided that we were going to do one first, heal it, and do the other one at another time. The shop was well lit, the vibe was good, and I think I was as ready as I was ever going to be. It was just he and I in the piercing room. He prepped the area, drew a circle in the middle of my conch, and donned some kind of vapor mask. It took him 12 seconds( total cautery time), one to three seconds at a time. After the first zap, my ear kind of numbed out. It definitely was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Oh, but the smell. It kind of smelled like getting your teeth drilled on at the dentist. I ended up leaving with a 2 gauge plug in my ear.
Well, six months had passed and I had been through the healing process. There wasn't any bleeding, just lots of oozing plasma. The side that I had done was the opposite side of which I slept on, so I managed to sleep well. My ear went through some painful stages of healing, but it wasn't unbearable. I thought that I was ready for the next one.
It was September, and we went to a tattoo convention in Hollywood, CA. After being there for awhile, I found out that Steve was around and that he was doing work from his hotel room. I thought hey... good a time as any! I sought him out and set up an appointment for later that evening. This time around I was not scared because the first time was not that bad, and I knew what to expect.
I went to his room at about 8:00 p.m. There must have been about thirty people, crammed into this little space. Everyone wanted to watch, of course. I told him that I wanted another hole, same size. The lighting was terrible( a little lamp on the end table, next to the bed), and the vibe was mediocre at best, but I was here and I was going to get it done. I lay on the double bed, with my head as close to the end table as I could. He prepped the area, made his circle, donned his mask, and went to town. Before he started, I did a little deep breathing regimen, which seemed to help me relax. It took 20 seconds this time and there was smoke (from me) everywhere, and that smell again. In his last 6 second burst, I was using a strong exhale to deal with what was going on, and had totally emptied my lungs of air. When he finished I quickly took in a big breath of air. As I did, a big cloud of "me" smoke passed over my face. Yes... I took a massive hit of my own burning flesh! It made me nauseous. Then I remember a friend ( John Durante ) say " Whoa, that looks a little bigger than 2 gauge". Then Steve said, " Yeah, I guess it is a little bigger!" SHIT!
Well, to say the least, the healing of this ear was the worst six months ever. It was on the side that I slept on so I didn't sleep well for awhile. I went through this crazy stage of healing where I had blisters all over the front and back of my ear. Then, I went through another stage of healing where my ear got so solid that I couldn't bend it at all. I was beginning to think I was kind of screwed, but over time, my ear went back to normal. There is a bigger hole in my left ear, than there is in my right, though.
I have since run in to Steve again, and we have talked about enlarging the hole in the right ear, to match the hole in the left. I haven't done it yet, but if I do, it will definitely be in a well lit. controlled environment!
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 27 Nov. 2005