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Kat's Tongue: A Tale of Clamp-Free Piercing

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One chilly day in April 1999, I decided that I wanted my tongue pierced. At first, it was a vague notion in the back of my head, but after a while, it became apparent that I was actually going to go through with it. Like everything, I don't proceed unless I am sure that I know exactly what to expect. I surfed the web, spoke with people that had the guts to get it done before me, and I even called several places that do piercings and gave them the third degree. I even called my dentist to see what he had to say about it! lol I finally decided to go to Piercing Experience in Atlanta, GA because I liked their answers the best.

The day is Friday, and I am planning to go right after work -- I wanted to have the weekend to go through the inital healing stage. I walked in the place, and at first I was rather leery because the floors, walls, etc. were not exactly brand new (I am picky like that). However, I walked up to the counter and started talking to the man that I had previously drilled on the phone. He remembered me too; guess that I had too many questions! smile Anyway, he proceeded to show me the different types of jewelry, and after examining my tongue, he said that I would need a 12 gauge, 5/8 inch barbell. He also showed me what the shorter jewelry would look like after the swelling went down and I got it changed out. Very helpful and informative, he answered every single one of my questions. He then pulled out 2 big photo albums of piercings (in various places) that had been done by the studio. After I signed the release papers, he asked if I would like to see the sterilization equipment. Of course, I said 'yes', so he took me to the back and explained everything to me in detail -- including how to operate the autoclave. I even asked him to show me the needle that would be used. It was a big, looong thing (at least 3 or 4 inches), with a very pointy sharp tip. Satisfied that everything was in order, I went back out to the lobby to sit down and wait for sterilization to be finished.

A few minutes later (which seemed like an eternity to me), he came out and asked me if I was ready. Mind you, I was sitting there with sweaty palms, shaky knees: the whole nine. But I gulped down my fear and said 'sure'. He led me to the piercing room which contained a dentist-type chair, a small table, a sink, and a cabinet. He proceeded to scrub down while I sat there fighting the butterflies. Before he did anything to me, he explained what was going on, and continued to do so throughout the entire ordeal. First, he used some kind of antibacterial solution -- he rubbed it all along the insides of my cheeks, teeth, and of course, tongue. That's right, people. No Listerine, just that gel stuff. He then massaged my tongue to feel for the ideal placement. He marked the spot with a marker (which he then gave to me, I still have it). Next, he asked me to stick my tongue out as far as I could, and he placed some gauze over the tip of my tongue. He then grabbed my tongue with his left hand, and pulled. Right again, people, no clamps. He told me to exhale, I did, and when I saw the needle coming at me I closed my eyes. All I felt was a slight pinch. I kid you not. He then inserted the jewelry, screwed it tight, and that was it. No bleeding at all. Before I left, I took a peek and was pleased. He was exteremly professional, so I tipped him well. (Don't forget to tip, people!)

And now, what you really want to know -- how bad it was afterwards. I must say that my overall experience was excellent. That night, I felt a vague sense of being wounded; much like the way I felt immediately after getting my tatoo. I never had to take any painkillers of any sort the whole time. However, my tongue did get tired if I talked too much. And no one wanted to hear me talk anyway.... I sounded so very strange!! lol The next day, I was scared out of my mind because my tongue swelled to more than TWICE its normail size. My tongue was so big that it could not all fit in my mouth. I even got indentations on my tongue from where it pressed up against my teeth. Eating was a joke -- nothing but liquids for the first 2 days, but by Monday I was back to eating solid foods. I drank lots of water, and quit snacking entirely (it was not worth it to eat a little piece of candy because you just had to go mouthwash afterwards). By the end of the first week, most of the swelling was gone, however I was still talking funny -- I was afraid that I would have a speech impediment forever!! lol

But not everything was perfect -- there are some things that happened to me near the end of week 2 that you should know about. First of all, there was this pus-like discharge that kept seeping out of my piercing and my tongue had this nasty, white coating on it. Something that really helped with that was GlyOxide. Some places will tell you not to use that stuff, but it is a Godsend. Until I got my own bottle, that white stuff on my tongue never went away. I drooled like a baby -- especially at night -- for the first two weeks. And the tip of my tongue had this wierd tingling sensation for the duration of week 2. Pretty scary thing if you do not know to expect it. And then; the unthinkable happened!! It was right at the 1.5 week mark, and I was just talking away, when the little ball on the tip just rolled off!!! Panic Time. Luckily it rolled forward (and not back), so I grabbed a mirror and tried my darnedest to get that little ball back on. Seeing as that was the first time I had tried it, let me tell you it is not an easy task. Finally, the bugger went in. A piece of advice -- tighten your balls EVERYDAY!! It will save you a panic attack.

Exactly three weeks later, and I am back to normal (with the exception of carrying that mouthwash with me everywhere I go! wink). There is a small groove in my tongue behind the top ball where the jewlry rests when my mouth is closed. But it is no biggie. I still have in the original jewelry, because I have heard so many different things about when you should change it for the first time. To be safe, I am waiting for the 4 week mark. However, the jewelry really is too long now that the swelling is gone, and sometimes it gets in the way when I talk or eat. In fact, I accidentally bit down on the little ball yesterday when I was eating -- it scared me to death!! But all is well. I am one of the few people that got my piercing done for purely aesthetic reasons. I love my new piercing, and I have developed a new habit of running the barbell along my lower lip. Contrary to what I had previoulsy heard, the piercing DOES show when you talk. I was under the impression that it could only be seen when the piercee laughed or yawned. Not true. And know that it will not look 100% right until at least 2 weeks have passed. I have gotten mixed reactions -- but most men seem to like it! wink If you want to get it done, make sure that you are doing it for yourself; be informed, and have a ball!

Wanna talk about it? Feel free to email me at kat_eyez1@hotmail.com

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 June 1999
in Tongue Piercing

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