Understanding why you should never be numbed...
Ok, so now I'm in my mid-20s, I've had time to reflect on my many piercings over the years... many of which are now retired (I'm a bit more of a tattoo girl, really). But I want to perhaps offer something useful to people I wish I had bloody well known when I was 18...
Ok. So I had my lobes, tragus, navel, and labret by the time I was 18, almost 19, and I decided that I wanted to push my limits a little more with a nipple piercing. Although I was in London for University (Where there are plenty of decent piercers) I decided to go to my home town of Clacton in Essex for this... mainly because I had convinced myself it might go wrong (perhaps an omen?) - all the same, I psyched myself up for three weeks up to the appointment, then on a painfully hot day of 2003 off I trundled...
Upon arriving at the piercers, I was impressed with the cleanliness of the place. They were also very thorough with ID/allergy checks and the like. I'd already decided to be pierced with a ring, although in hindsight I perhaps should have gone for a bar...
Anyway. I lay down on the reclining chair, and was glad to note the piercer changing her gloves several times throughout the whole thing. After cleaning, and positioning the dots so I was happy, she produced a spray. I asked what it was, and she said it was to numb it. I said that I would prefer to go without (on account of listening to my own body's needs) but she insisted that it was totally required for a numbing spray. I conceded, and allowed her to numb it. (THIS, boys and girls, was the undoing of my piercing).
The spray was cold. It made my poor nipple feel sore and it went painfully stiff. I didn't feel the needle at all, just a slight pressure. Same again with the ring going through. At this point, I would usually get an adrenaline rush, but the numbing spray completely stunted this, so I just felt a bit disappointed, and slightly sick. (I insist on watching my piercings).
Aftercare seemed very simple, and I vowed to baby it... and off I went. Now, the trouble began almost instantly. I drove home, but each time I pulled the steering wheel right (was the right nipple) it pinched, stung, and generally caused a problem. I got home, realised that it had bled A LOT through the pad. Jumped in the shower to wash this off, and christ, the pain was so bad I almost passed out, twice. And I have a frighteningly high pain threshold. After 30mins of tentatively splashing warm water at it, I gave up, and spent the next hour trying to submerge it in a shot glass with salt water. I was so determined to make it heal.
About a month down the line? I was doing the same damn thing everyday. Cleaning away blood crusties, and salt soaks for as long as possible. The piercing calmed down enough to give it a proper clean (removing ball and going in with cotton buds) at almost two months. As soon as I did this, it lymphed. A lot. As in I could physically see it running out. I trotted back off to my piercer, who said it was normal, and I could expect that for another six months. Fair enough... I'd prepared myself for this.
Six months later. I'd persisted. It healed enough to try incorporating it into sex. No. No bloody way. It hurt to touch, to the point it would bring tears to my eyes. (it's worth noting I had changed to a bar at this point which was generally more comfy all round). It lymphed, and lymphed. Every day. And this continued until 2 years after I first had the piercing. The last straw came when I fell over (whilst drunk) knocked my breast with my own arm, and it proceeded to bleed for about an hour. I left it the hell alone, went off to my doctors, and pointed forlornly at my nipple.
Now - I don't remember a great deal of what happened at the doctor. He removed the piercing, and the agony was of such magnitude I kept drifting in and out of consciousness. Yeah, ouch. Turns out, the wonderful piercer that insisted on using numbing spray had pierced at an angle meaning that the ring was pressing against a nerve (or something to that effect). Thing is, if I hadn't had it numbed, I would have felt instantly that it was wrong, but having an insanely painful piercing.
So. This was 5 years ago. And guess what? I retired the piercing 2 years ago now, and it still lymphs, every day in the shower. It's permanent, which is nice to hear. All I have to show for it is a nipple that is now bigger than the other. For good. Thanks, useless woman.
Moral? Do NOT be numbed. Trust your body to produce the adrenaline to get you through it (if you want to be pierced that much, a tiny amount of pain wont bother you) - because if there is something wrong? It's best your body able to tell you sooner rather than later.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 31 Jan. 2008
in Nipple Piercing