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a first stapling experience (for both me and my piercer)

While I love surface piercings, I'm not too fond of the fact that they get snagged easily, causing tearing and scarring. They're also really difficult to heal, or so I've heard. I've been wanting a ladder on the back of my neck, but I know a handful of people around here with them and I wanted something a little different. I'd seen a few pictures of stapling on this site, but never actually seen one in person. So I started asking around, not certain exactly what the procedure involved, and although I have several friends who are piercers not a single one of them has any experience with stapling, pocketing, or any similar modifications. I had just about given up when a friend of mine told me she knew a guy who had done a few pocketings before. He had never done a stapling before, but he was willing to try, and I being the mod freak that I am wanted to be his guinea pig.

Now came the difficulty of deciding where on my body I wanted to get it done. I was debating between my forearm or the nape of my neck. I'd really wanted three on my nape, but after careful consideration I decided to go with the forearm—as this was both my own first staple and the piercer's first, I wanted to be able to see what he was doing and keep a careful eye on it during the healing process. Depending on how this one heals, I'll probably get the three done on my nape.

Day of my experience: I was terribly nervous, and completely not sure what to expect. I've gotten tattoos on my arms but never a piercing, so I wasn't sure of the pain factor. We got to the shop, and I immediately asked the piercer to see his portfolio, which contained pictures of the pocketings he'd done. Everything seemed safe and clean—I checked out the shop for sterility, of course, and examined his tools.

First, he tested both of my arms to determine which arm would be better. He pinched and pulled the skin, trying to decide where would be the best place. Since he was using clamps, there had to be enough skin to grab a hold of. We settled on my left forearm, about three fifths of the way up from my wrist. He already had a piece of 14 gauge wire bent into a staple shape, about 1.5 to 2 inches long and the bent-under ends about ¾ of an inch on one side and ½ an inch on the other side. He then shaped it with pliers to suit the curve of my arm.

He had me sit on a stool next to the piercing table/chair thingit, and place my arm on the seat (which had been covered with one of those sterile paper towel thingits.) Then he rubbed most of my arm down with iodine, and with a toothpick dipped in the purple ink stuff he drew a few lines on my skin. He had me let my arm hang to align it parallel to the ground, and then moved it around quite a bit to make sure the placement would look right based on different arm positions. When he had everything aligned, he had me sit back down and prepared to pierce. He did it in two separate piercings: he clamped the flesh around where the outermost hole was, and then pierced it. The first needle went in from the mark farthest out from my body, and came out about ¾ of an inch in. The pain was bearable—I was so excited to be getting this piercing that I didn't really think about it. I was, however, surprised at the amount of blood, although never having really received a surface piercing be fore, I wasn't sure how much to expect, so it didn't worry me. He left the needle in and proceeded to clamp the other side, and once again pushed it in from the outer hole (closest to the inside of my arm). So I had two needles in my arm, both facing inward. He mopped up some of the blood, and then proceeded with jewelry insertion. He inserted the longer end of the staple first, following the needle through in the outermost hole. The pain was negligible. Then came the tricky part: inserting the other end of the jewelry. He pushed the other needle the rest of the way through, then pinched my skin in the direction of the other piercing, and manipulated the shorter end into the hole. This part was substantially more painful. But it was done! He mopped up the blood and took pictures, then let it air for a few minutes before loosely wrapping and taping a paper towel around it to absorb any more blood and keep it from being snagged.

This was four days ago, and so far it's healing fabulously well. The exit holes from the needles have closed up, and it hasn't bled at all since the second day. I've been washing it with dial soap once a day and doing sea salt soaks, and it seems to be reacting well to that. The holes around the jewelry are slightly red and irritated, but based on what I've seen of other surface piercings this is to be expected. It's slightly sore to the touch, but no worse than any other fresh piercing I've ever had.

Reactions from other people have been as one might expect—many have grimaced, many have asked me what the hell I'd want something like this for. But I think it's beautiful. My only regret is that I only got one done, as it looks rather lonely by itself—but I figured for healing purposes it'd be best to only get one at a time. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to keep it in permanently, but I figured I'd give it at least several months, to determine how my body heals surface piercings before I get staples on my nape. I love my new staple!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 19 Feb. 2003
in Pocketing and Stapling

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Artist: steve
Studio: cape+fear
Location: greenville%2C+NC

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