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The Sensations of a Thumb Web Piercing

The decision to pierce my thumb web was a simple one. I had not been pierced since my suicide suspension two years earlier and I wanted a piercing that would affect my day to day experiences with the world. The hand or rather thumb web, was the perfect spot to place such a potential hindrance.

My piercer of choice was Tom Brazda. He had previously pierced my christina and also advised me on the healing process of other piercings. I knew that he was a fine practitioner, in fact the best in the city, so the decision was quite easy.

After work one summer afternoon, my friend Piotr and I walked to Tom's warehouse where I was to have the procedure done. Upon arrival I was greeted by Badur, who lived in the warehouse, and Tom soon appeared while we were let in. Tom let me know immediately that he had made a custom piece of jewelry for my thumb that afternoon. He also started his usual speech about the risks of having a piercing and the extensive aftercare that would be involved in healing it. He cautioned me that since hands are the parts of our bodies that are used most, it was best to pierce my non-dominant hand, which for me was my left. I was fully aware of all the potential obstacles I would face in having such a piercing, but I knew that I wanted it done and I recognized that I would have to be more conscious of my surroundings because of it.

The procedure was to be done in the backroom, which doubled as a piercing room and recreational area. Tom told me to sit down on the piercing bed and told me to hold out my left hand. First he held the web between his fingers to see where the tendon of my thumb was located. He then tried to locate a spot in the web which was away from the tendon and that would experience the least amount of movement when the thumb was moved back and forth. I was surprised at his decision of placement because it was close to my thumb rather than my forefinger. I became comfortable with the idea of it there when he explained that the folds in my web determined where the least amount of movement would occur and that the jewelry had to sit evenly on both sides of the web.

After the location was determined, he was ready to pierce. At that moment however, I started to ask a lot of questions. The nervousness was starting to kick in. I asked if it was a common piercing – he said no. I asked if he enjoyed piercing that part of the body – he said no, but that we would do it for me because he knew my experiences with piercings. I finally asked if I would have to sit upright during the procedure and he said yes, to ensure the circulation in my hand would not get cut off. He also let me know that he would be piercing me freehandedly because putting a clamp on would potentially cause harm to my thumb if I were to yank my hand away in the middle of the procedure.

Due to the nature of the piercing, I had to hold my thumb and forefinger apart from each other as much as I could and I remembered to breath in order to allow my body to relax. He told me that I could tell him when I was ready, as he held onto my hand, and I looked in the opposite direction. When I said go, he pushed the needle in, but because the skin layers in the hand are tough, it took slightly more time then usual to get the needle through. I knew the piercing process had been complete when I felt a pop upon the entrance of the needle to the other side, during which time I had laughed hysterically because of the slow inducing pain that was going through my hand. I had really enjoyed the sensation and upon completion I was able to look at the piercing. Tom put the 14-ga-titanium barbell into the hole, screwed the ball on with a bit of difficulty, and cleaned my hand. Badur then took some close-up photos and I was done.

It was not until I was ready to leave that I experienced something unusual from my other piercing experiences. As I stood up off the piercing bench, I felt an immediate spell of nausea come over me and I thought I was going to pass out. Tom told me to sit back down and gave me some water to drink. He insisted that it was a common thing that occurred from a sudden adrenaline rush as a result of the piercing. After a few minutes I felt a lot better, and I was able to leave.

The aftercare for the thumb web piercing was pretty standard: sea salt soak everyday, use non-scented soap for hand washing, do not touch anything dirty and just try not to use the hand unless you really had to. The pain factor for my hand was also pretty standard. First the pierced area hurt extremely, but within a few days of healing, the general area pain had gone away, except for when someone squeezed my hand, or I banged it against a wall accidentally. I rather liked having the piercing there and enjoyed the little adjustments I had to make to my daily routine in order to accommodate its healing.

As per usual for most of my piercings, this piercing began to have its own set of complications. It all started when I decided that swimming was a necessity of my summer, and it all went downhill from there. The chlorine from the pool started to dry out the skin around my piercing, and the layers started to flake away. I tried swimming with a latex glove, and although it was a temporary solution to reducing the drag on the jewelry when I paddled, the piercing still continued to deteriorate.

A month before I decided to take it out, and three months after I had had the procedure done, I got Tom to look at it to see if it was ready to be removed. He said that it looked fine and that all I could do was continue with the aftercare procedures. I followed his advice but as I began to lose more skin around the piercing, the jewelry got more exposed and was prone to getting caught on things. I started to worry that the next time it got caught on something, it would result in it being ripped out. I also had to make a decision about the fate of my piercing before I left for a three week to Japan.

Three days before my trip, I decided that it had to come out before I ended up with a split thumb web. The process to take it out was not an easy one. I had my boyfriend try, but that did not work and because I did not have enough time to visit Tom, I had it taken out at New Tribe. It hurt to have it taken out especially because there was crust stuck to the jewelry as it exited the hole but the piercer made sure to squeeze out any excess fluid and cleaned it appropriately afterwards.

The pierced hole healed rather quickly soon after the jewelry removal. The web of my hand however, has been permanently affected in such a way that it feels tighter to stretch my fingers apart. I tried massaging it and pulling the two fingers apart, but inevitably that area will stay that way which I am more fascinated with then concerned. Today, many months later, I am left with a tiny hole-like scar on the palm side of my hand. That little scar will always remind me of a piercing that had a chance everyday, to interact with the world physically, and that would always be a piercing I wish I could keep permanently.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 11 April 2007
in Surface & Unusual Piercing

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Artist: Tom+Brazda
Studio: his+warehouse
Location: Toronto%2C+Canada

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