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Patience, grasshopper!

Alrighty. My tongue piercing experience. I got it done twice. Let me briefly talk about the first time. I go to school in a somewhat shady city (Waco, anybody? haha) But I'm from Austin, so I decided to go to Austin to get my piercing one weekend. Everything went fine, the guy was real nice and professional. He told me everything before he did it and showed me the autoclave and all that. Pierced it, didn't hurt, had some ice, and went on my way back to school. All the normal stuff like swelling and rinsing and ice for the next 2 days. Then, RANDOMLY at about 10:30 pm on the 3rd day, my tongue just started bleeding uncontrollably. A puddle would fill up and surround the top ball and as soon as I spat it out, it would puddle up again. This went on for several hours. It was too late to go to the Waco piercing parlor, and I didn't wanna go to the hospital because I knew they'd make me take it out. So I decided to wait until the morning and go to the piercer in town. The bleeding finally stopped at like 3 in the morning. It was real scary, you can imagine.
When I went they told me I should take it out because the guy may have hit a blood vessel (but there's no way, because if he had, it would have started bleeding right when he pierced it) Anyway, they said my tongue might be filling up with blood, so I figured "Well, better safe then sorry". So I took it out =( sad day.

That was in April and I waited until October to do it again. This time, I actually went to the shop in my school town. (Which was a lot cheaper, Austin costed me $65 and Waco costed $20!). The girl was real nice (although the experience seemed a little less professional) This time, if there was an autoclave, she didn't make me aware of it. And she pierced from the top to bottom. And she put in an externally threaded barbell. Nonetheless, it all turned out well in the end. Even though some of the following seems like a negative story, it all turns out well!! I wanted to share what happened to me in case someone else is going through or goes through it in the future.

The first week was hell. I was so tempted to take it out several times, but I just kept reminding myself how bad I wanted it. Plus I knew eventually I'd probably try it again anyway, and I don't ever wanna start over the healing process again. So I pushed through.

The first night I rinsed with my mouthwash (used Biotene) and propped up a few pillows so that I was sleeping practically sitting up. Most of you have probably heard, but I'll note it for those who haven't. It's good to keep your head above your heart when sleeping for the first few nights, because it helps keep blood from rushing to the head, and in turn, out of your tongue.

I woke up to a healthy looking tongue. It bled a little on the bottom, and it left a little gel-like clot of blood surrounding the bottom ball, but that came off on it's own after a little while. Lots of crushed ice all day, not much food. Maybe a smoothie. Biotene rinse. And of course I couldn't help but stare at my tongue in the mirror =)

Day three. I woke up and there was a little blood on top. Nothing to worry about, a normal amount. Rinsed and it started to look like there was some bruising, because my tongue had a little discoloration. But I figured that was probably normal. I was pretty much starving by the end of this day because I'd had such little food. It was hard to move my mouth much at all (esp. for eating), and plus I didn't want anything other than water and mouthwash to touch the piercing, so I was too worried to put very much in my mouth. When I did eat, I'd put it to the back of my throat and just swallowed.

Day four. Again woke up to some light bleeding. But the discoloration was getting kind of gross. It was like a greenish yellow- which isn't really the sign of an infection (if it was oozing green/yellow liquid, it would indicate an infection, or if the area right around the piercing was real red and puffy). But I also wouldn't think that kind of discoloration was the color of bruising, so I was starting to worry. Also, this color coat gave my tongue a weird feeling. I don't know how to describe it. It kind of felt like there was a light layer above the surface. It was strange. By the by, it was still pretty swollen by now. I went to my piercer to see if she knew what was up with the color. She said she thought it was probably because of the Biotene. Sometimes if you wash too much (which I don't think I was, I think my tongue was just a little more sensitive to the mouthwash) then it will turn colors. So she told me to switch to only salt water (1/4 tsp. for every 1 cup of water). I did so starting that day.

By day 5 there may have been a tiny bit more bleeding, but I remember the bleeding definitely stopped before the first week was over. The swelling started to go down quite a bit, as I could tell by the barbell sticking out significantly. The color hadn't gone away much.

Friday, I'd decided I'd go back on Monday to get the barbell changed to the small one. But that night the bottom ball came loose when I was eating. OH. By this day, I was able to start chewing!! I was still unable to bite into things, but I could pretty much eat anything as long as it could be torn into small bites and put to the side of my mouth so that I could chew chew chew. It was wonderful, I had pizza =). Anyway, the ball came off so I screwed it back in and hoped it wouldn't happen again.

Saturday, one week after the piercing, the bottom ball came loose again and it kind of annoyed me that it was doing that so I didn't even screw it in, I just went straight to my piercer and gave her a "why the hell doesn't this bitch stay on??" look. haha. We talked for a little bit about the color and she said she still thinks it's gonna get better. And she said it would be alright to go ahead and change the barbell to a smaller one. So we did.

By Tuesday the color wasn't gone and it was also causing a gross taste in my mouth, so I was really worried. I'd done lots of research online trying to find out what it could be, but I decided it'd be best to go to my doctor. She was pretty confused too, but diagnosed me with thrush, even though I knew that wasn't what it was. (She even said herself, "I don't think you have thrush, but I'm gonna treat you as if you do") and she gave me some thrush medicine to take 5 times a day (ugh). So I did, and it actually helped some. The color got a lot lighter. After a couple days I decided I'd start taking some Zinc and Vitamin E as well. (I suggest doing this a lot sooner than I did, because Zinc is GREAT for healing and Vitamin E promotes good skin cells) Almost immediately after I started taking these, the color went away and my tongue looked beautiful and healthy!!!

I think my tongue just needed some time to let that little coat die off, and I'm pretty sure it was caused by the mouthwash. Biotene doesn't have alcohol, but I guess I was just a little more sensitive to it. All I needed was some patience to wait out the bad to get to the wonderful!

Some other notes---
there was a little indentation right after the swelling went down, but that went away a few days after I got the shorter one. Also, I still wake up to a little indention if I drank alcohol the night before. I don't know why alcohol does that, but its no big deal because it goes away within the day.
most of the barbells you see at places like the mall have 6mm balls. I guess that's fine for some people, but my piercer started me off with a 5mm (she didn't tell me, I discovered this on my own later). The 5mm is SO much more comfortable. Once when I put in a 6mm ball, it felt big and looked kind of tacky. But to each his own, I suppose. This is a website where I found you can pick the size of your ball: http://piercingmart.com/categories/tongue-piercing-c170_page2.html after the small barbell was put in, there was that normal excretion of a whitish liquid. Not too often, and I usually noticed it after I ate. It's just plasma... like when you get an ear piercing and that crusty stuff is there.. except since it's in your mouth, it can't crust. Anyway, I'd just scrape it away with the tip of my toothbrush. It stopped probably around week 4 or 5.
until your tongue is fully fully FULLY healed, you shouldn't put in externally threaded jewelry. It tears the new tissue you just spent time building. Internally threaded is the way to go!! It's much harder to find, but I'd say it's better to wait a couple months then to have torn tissue.

It's been about 2 and a half months now and I looove my tongue piercing! I can move it all about, it's no different eating/talking, and it's fun to show off =) My mom still doesn't know (I've been home from school now for about 2 weeks and she hasn't noticed it once!) So I'd say as long as you're conscious about not opening your mouth real big, you can hide it if necessary.

Dang, sorry this thing turned out so long! Hope it helped yall! Feel free to email me if you have questions, I'm more than happy to talk to someone going through this process! I know I looked for support everywhere I could =)

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 24 Jan. 2008
in Tongue Piercing

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Artist: Ruthless
Studio: Art+Ambush
Location: Waco%2C+TX

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