a lower back flesh staple
So, about a year ago I had this idea: a ladder of metal bars extending between the peaks of muscle on either side of my spine. (Not everyone has these, find a really thin dancer and ask them to twist to one side.)
Like most people who indulge in body modification, I have this idea of making my outer/ physical self match what I believe my true/ inner self looks like. Although, to a point that would require far more than a few piercings and tattoos here or there, the body art is gorgeous, fun to get and helps me feel a little more like myself with each work.
The idea of smooth, inorganic steel spanning up my back is a very sexy and appealing idea for me. But, having never seen anything like it done, I wasn't exactly sure that it was even possible. I found some pictures of pocketing work and saw that they looked exactly like what I was aiming for; albeit in the wrong place, and so went and found out as much as possible about them. Bottom line was: it looks nice, but it's not going to heal. Another problem I had (because i wasn't going to let the failed endeavor of others deter me from getting what i wanted) was that anyone who had done them with any degree of success was in another country.
Fast forward to about a month ago. While cruising BME I came across this artist with much experience in subdermals and (what i thought at the time was) pocketing. I zipped over to his IAM page and lo-and-behold his studio was right down in china town, super close to me, and one i had heard really good things about through the grapevine. I IMed him the next day and asked him about what I wanted. He said that he was doing a new and much better procedure called "stapling" which is like a cross between a transdermal and a pocket. It was kind of hard for him to explain over IM so he recommended I come downtown for a visit.
When i went down to see him it turns out he had called in sick. The girl working there called him and he said that I could either wait around for him to come in from queens or come back later. I opted for coming back later. During the interim I took it upon myself to find out as much as possible about healing, aftercare etc. especially since these are notoriously hard to heal and i am a notoriously bad healer. I added to my normal list of salt soaks and antibac soap the Bertrang recommended lavender tea and sesame oil. blah, time passed, and knowing that this would be an expensive procedure, i put it off until i had ample money to throw away.
So, a week ago, i left class feeling particularly bored and decided to pop in to visit Brian (the piercer) and maybe get my bridge done. I thought it would be a good idea to get Brian to do something a little less significant on me before letting him perform the minor surgery involved in a staple.
So, i show up and the shop is hopping with regulars and a couple local yokels who are in for their friends first tat. (i could write another entire experienceon the annoyingness of them, but won't.) Brian comes in and I tell him who I am and what I'm in for. I'm still not sure whether or not he remembers me, but he's a really cool guy. I tell him that I want to get my bridge pierced now and set-up an appointment for the back staple, as well as have him explain to me the procedure. He looks at my nose and tells me that i don't really have a bridge, and that he has everything he needs to do the back staple right then. I get excited, but remember that I only brought enough for a normal piercing. (Staples/ transdermals etc. usually run at about 100 a hole.) He tells me he'll do the staple for the price of a regular piercing and i do a double take. "Are you serious?" His friends in the shop tell me not to bother asking him for a more expensive price, that he's just too nice of a guy. I freak out for about two minutes and then say "sure! why not?" He does some measurements and runs of into the back to make the staple.
i use the next hour to get acquainted with everyone in the shop and check out his portfolio, which oddly only has his "eyebrow, tongue, and navel" work in it. There are three other piercers in the shop. One of which works there, and the other two work at different shops, but they're all really cool and interested in what I'm getting so we all chat it up for a bit until Brian is ready. When he is, I go back to where the work will be done and get all readied up.
Cleaning, and marking done, Brian readies the scalpel. Prick, ouch. Prick, ouch. "Wow", i mention, "that was the least painful experience of my life." He then looks at my back, and at the jewelry and decides that, while the length is right, the depth (how far under my skin it will go) is much too deep, being that i have no fat on my back for the piercing to rest into. He goes back and whips up another staple and re-pokes me with a scalpel. Ouch. But still nothing really, and at this point i'm extremely excited. One of his friends tells me these procedure usually take about 15 minutes, which is kind of a long time, but by the same token, not really.
Some pictures are taken and some blood wiped away and WHAM the most excruciating pain ever. did someone forget to mention that skin elevators hurt like a bitch? yes, yes someone did. half and hour later, the first side is done and Brian is cursing me for being too damn skinny. he goes to start the next side, my screaming like i'm in labor and once he finishes he tries to stick the jewelry in, for some reason it's not wide enough. Back in with the elevator. This time with a friend helping and holding me down. Mostly, because I have this annoying habit of jerking when someone stabs me in the back with dull pieces of metal.
After three tries or so, he decides it can't be done. I trust his judgment and if he says it's impossible i won't force him to force it. But, i really want the piece and i'm heartbroken that i can't be done because of my body shape. (it'd be a different story if it weren't my own fault...) One of the main reasons he is afraid to proceed is the extreme amount of pain it's putting me in. It was A LOT of pain. And i didn't really want the pain to continue if it was going to be for something that wasn't going to work anyway. But after we talk about it for a while we both decide to give it another try. This is about an hour and a half into the procedure. One of the other piercers brings me some water and i try and rest for a minute. Brian tries to figure out what exactly is wrong, settling on "the fucking kid has NO FAT!" (which sounded a kind of funny coming form skinny little Brian) But he's right, the fact that i was lacking in the usual layer of fat that the staple sits on wa s causing the procedure to be a lot more difficult than it needed to be.
So, he goes in one more time with the elevators and see something he had missed before, a tiny piece of connective tissue that was keeping the jewelry from sitting straight. He had been trying to force his way through it. Now that he could see what it was, he simply snipped it with the scalpel (totally painless) and viola! we were done. Jewelry in, blood wiped away and some artfully applied tape to make sure it stayed straightly seated, and i was on my way home.
The healing is going as expected, that is, it's in the crusty phase now. i haven't been taking good care of it. well, i have, but i've been drinking. I've since stopped and expect my staple to be with me for a long long while.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 30 April 2003
in Pocketing and Stapling