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Tongue Web from Hell

After trying to decide on my next piercing, I decided on the tongue-web. It was the only thing that I could really think of. My ears are pretty much full of plugs and rings, my tongue has a nice barbell going through it, and my septum has healed fully and wonderfully. I was aching to feel the needle again, but it needed to be something discreet due to work and also what I would be comfortable with. So, the tongue-web was my decision. I had heard that it was relatively painless and healed quickly. But, living in a small town, none of the local piercers have had any experience with this. It would just have to wait.

Three months later, my sister and I go on vacation to Nashville. Perfect! I call a few studios and find 3 that will do it. I went to one (I can't remember the name of it), but decided against that particular studio because the piercer was too involved in reading a book to answer questions. I went to the second one, and ended up not getting it there either because the place was a pigsty! So, off to the third and last studio on my list, which was called Quest.

I asked one of the piercers about the piercing itself and he said that he was "very experienced" with this particular piercing. I said okay and paid him $45. While he was getting things ready in his workstation, I looked through some of the portfolios. What did I see, but pictures of suspensions and an ear diagram printed off of the BME website. Great! I'll get along just fine with this guy. Turns out the owners/employees/whatever of this establishment have a suspension team. I considered it...but after my experience, I wouldn't give them a dime.

He took a look at my web and said "Your frenulum is so big that I'm going to use a 14 gauge on it". Okay, he knows what he's doing, no problem. I lay down on the table, open my mouth as wide as I can, and stick my tongue to the roof of my mouth. "Here we go" he says. Okay, no problem. I felt a prick, then the most horrible wave of pain I have ever felt shot through my mouth. Unlike the pain that was instantly gone that I had experienced before, this was in for the long haul. It took him 20 minutes...no lie, 20 pain saturated minutes. He finally got the barbell in and says "The placement is PERFECT". Then he took the clamps off. What I thought was pain before was nothing compared to this. Then he handed me a cup of full strength Listerine to rinse with. That brought on another rush of never-before-felt-pain.

I was in pain, but relieved. I kept wondering why I felt so much pain though. I mean, I was told that my septum would be my most painful piercing, and it was nothing. This, a pretty simple and less painful piercing, almost killed me. Then, the piercer looks at me and says "Not bad for my second one". WHAT? Second one? What happened to being "very experienced"? My sister and I head back to the motel, where I took a 4 hour long nap. When I woke up, I was in some intense pain and the swelling was horrible. I rode it out that night and the next day. Actually, the next day I was doing better. I was talking better and could swallow ibuprofen and small bits of food (mainly ice cream). I thought the worst was over. How wrong I was!

The next morning—day 2 of the piercing—I woke up feeling pretty good. Talking well, but still very swollen. I took a shower and was fine...until I rinsed my mouth. Within 2 seconds of spitting out the biotene (no exaggeration), I couldn't talk at all and couldn't even swallow water, much less anything else. After we got all of our stuff packed up to go home, I lay back down on my bed for a few minutes because the pain was so much worse. I finally was able to get up and get to the car for the 4 ½ hour ride home.

Not very long into the trip, I broke down in hysterical tears. I was in the worst pain I've ever been in (including the removal of 90% of my colon 3 years ago), I couldn't talk, I couldn't swallow, I couldn't close my mouth, and I was having trouble breathing. Not only that, the swelling now included my throat and neck down to my collarbones and up to my ears. I was running a fever and I was miserable. My sister stopped in Crossville to take me to the hospital...Cumberland Medical Center. They were great.

The doctor got the barbell out and as soon as he pulled it out, I started feeling some better. Until I tasted something horrible. The nurse, immediately after the doctor removed the jewelry, said "Oh my God!" The infection was literally pouring out of both holes. It turns out that when he pierced it, something happened to the saliva glands under my tongue. They were either clogged, or they were completely severed, causing a massive infection that could have killed me had it gone untreated.

The doctor put me on 2000mg of Cephalexin a day (500mg 4 times a day) for 5 days. I'm a little over halfway through the treatment now, and although it does look better, it's still painful and swollen. This experience also caused both of my ears (inner) to become infected. The doctor said that it would take a few weeks to find out whether or not the glands were clogged or severed. If they were severed, then I'm looking at surgery to correct it.

I'm not telling you to not go to Quest in Nashville (on Lebanon Pike), but I know that they will NEVER touch me again. A $45 dollar piercing has already cost me $50 for the E.R. visit...and maybe more if I have to have surgery. Definitely not worth it. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thanks for reading.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 22 June 2002
in Tongue Piercing

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Artist: Shall+remain+nameless
Studio: Quest
Location: Nashville+TN

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