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Testing my body's limits.

The events in this experience happened nearly 14 years ago and, as such, aren't exceptionally clear in my mind, I'm not sure if they warrant being called as play piercing in the usual definition but it is the closest representation to what happened. I was young and naive at the time and did not know anything about proper sterilization techniques or the spread of pathogens and thus I do not suggest that anyone do what I did, I am simply writing this so as to document the events.

I am an only child and growing up in the countryside with no other children in the locality, being without any other children to play with, I had only two choices to fill my time – watch TV or read. I chose the latter and had taught myself to read proficiently by the age of 4. I would spend as much time as I possibly could tucked away in different corners of the house reading pretty much anything I could lay my hands on, mostly Reader's Digest and classic novels, which was probably one of the biggest contributing factors to my very introverted, private nature and my lingering unwillingness to let people become too close to me. One of the things that reading so much sparked in me was an interest in the human body; it's mechanics from its triumphs to its flaws and everything in between. I knew by 7 years of age that I wanted to be a doctor and, even more specifically, an oncologist. I know that every child goes through "mommy, I want to be a pilot/vet/doctor...." But over 13 years later, my dream burns stronger than ever. It is this fascination with the human body that spawned my childish effort at play piercing

A few weeks after my 9th birthday, so roughly about the middle of July, I had been outside playing all day. The weather was really hot and my right arm started to feel hot and itchy. My mother brought me inside as she assumed that it was sunburn and rubbed lotion on it. Not long after large masses of blisters started to appear along my inner, right fore-arm. Clearly this wasn't sunburn as no other part of me was affected, the irritation was localized. My mother was getting very worried as the blisters were large and tightly clustered together, though I don't remember actually being in a lot of pain from them aside from the deep itching. I was quickly whisked off to see the doctor who had to cross-check with a textbook just to double check but knew pretty much straight away that I had received a chemical burn from the giant hogweed plant. The plant's milky sap contains the chemical furanocoumarin which causes photo-sensitivity and deep burns. There had been a lot of controversy about the plant at the time with the government putting out radio warnings to alert people as to the symptoms as the plant was becoming so widespread. Notification had also been sent to doctors of the symptoms. Unfortunately, there is little other treatment than keeping the affected areas out of the sun. The doctor wanted to drain the blisters and wrap the area in sterile bandaging to speed up healing, I however, refused, not because I was afraid of having the blisters burst but because I would much rather burst them myself with my fingernails, not that I said that out loud! I'm a compulsive picker and love pulling off scabs and digging my nails into rashes so blisters were par for the course. Rather frustrated, the doctor gave my mother a sterile hypodermic need le and said that if possible to burst them then do so and we left with the "why didn't you do what the doctor said" lecture. Within a few days I had happily popped the blisters open and the skin healed over with no lasting ill-effects and the whole event forgotten.

Until a few weeks later that is. While poking about through one of the drawers in the dressing table the needle slid out from behind a pile of papers and being fascinated by the thought of using it, I took it. I also grabbed a camera film container to hide it in and retreated to behind the garden shed. I remember quite vividly scraping the bevel of the needle against my left inner arm pressing a little harder as the scratch became longer until, eventually a small bubble of blood oozed up. I stared at it for a second, before dipping my right index finger into it and tasting it, the metallic bitterness sharp on my tongue. After that I'm not sure as to what I did, I remember at one point jabbing the needle into my thigh and watching the muscles quiver, at another I slipped it through the skin of my inner elbow and snaked it along under the skin until it popped out the other side, in the same fashion as a normal play pierce would. At some point I decided that enough had happened for the day and carefully sneaked into the bathroom. Being a child, I knew nothing of proper sterilization techniques but I knew enough to realize that leaving blood festering on the needle wasn't a good idea. I wiped it down with toilet tissue soaked in bleach and rinsed it under the hot tap before blotting dry with tissue, recapping and tucking it away in the film container for safe keeping. I had already chosen my hiding spot, in with a box of random junk I owned in the back of my bookcase, it was the last place anyone would go looking through. How my mother never noticed the absence of the needle I don't know, but I'm thankful that she didn't!

Over the next few weeks I played with that needle several times, scratching different areas of skin or inserting it into the skin on different parts of my body. I don't know what gauge the needle was, at the time it seemed huge to me but, on reflection, it was probably no more than 22ga, if not smaller. The little marks it left on my skin were barely even noticeable after an hour or two, I don't remember anyone ever spotting them and if they did then the marks merely looked like insect bites. I don't know why exactly, but eventually I lost interest, I guess it could come down to the fear of being caught or maybe I had exhausted all of my ideas, I don't remember, but one day I simply threw the film container with it's contents into the bin and so ended my exploration of my body's limits with needles. At least so it ended until I began working at my local hospital and had ample opportunity to sneak home a single hypodermic needle every now and then. Of course at 18 years old I was a lot smarter and each occasional needle was used once and thrown in the sharps bin ASAP. 3 years ago I stopped working there and so ended my play piercing for another while, until a few days ago, when I received my order of 100 25ga by 1" hypodermic needles. Already I have had two sessions, my fore-arms and my hands but this time, I doubt I will lose interest in testing mind over matter.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 12 Dec. 2005
in Ritual

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Location: Ireland

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