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In pursuit of symmetry...

"You know, rubbing alcohol doesn't take blood off steel very well..."

It's not often I get particularly nervous about a mod, but I'm slightly ashamed to admit that this one had me a bit apprehensive at first.

Two weeks ago I started up a chest-piece tattoo, but it was healing oddly and I couldn't finish it off until it got its shit together... so what to do? What to do?

It was actually a bit more calculated a reason for getting scalpelled on my part - one of my ears was at 1/2 inch, but the other was stubbornly stalled at 6ga. I looked lopsided and felt kinda dumb. The left ear had always stretched and healed easily - the right one (the little one) had huge amounts of scarring left over from a several-year-long gun piercing infection when I was about 6 - 9 years old.

I figured I could just get the scar tissue cut out, jump up a few sizes, and be symmetrical and stretchable all in one swell foop. :)

It worked out close to that.

Waiting for my tattoo appointment a few weeks previous, I'd joked about getting scalpelled with Jacob, but didn't really pursue it because I didn't know how much the tattoo was going to cost me at that point, and wasn't real keen on signing myself up for things I couldn't pay for afterward.

The tattoo turned out to be far, far less than I expected (yeeha!), so I got a little bolder and when I was out for dinner with Jacob and a buncha other needle freaks to discuss a suspension meet. I started hassling him about the scalpelling again. We compared work schedules and figured that Friday afternoon would probably be one of the few workable times.

I was mildly nervous for a few days, and then trooped downtown on Friday (with a 'small absorbent device' (ie. napkin) in my pocket from a friend to catch any blood drippage on the way home)... got to NEXT! and... no go. Jacob had his nephew with him and didn't want to traumatize the child with blood and gore :)

I was a little disappointed, but he said that Saturday afternoon worked, too, so I just reconciled myself with doing it the next day and headed home. Came through the door to my friend going 'You're not dripping! How come?' and explained the situation. She sorta shuddered and I shut up - it's not wise to over-discuss such subjects with people who have irrational fears of blood.

Saturday afternoon and I give Jacob a call to make sure 5 o'clock still worked for him. It did, and I started getting a teensy bit panicky again. I got down to NEXT! about an hour early. Whoops. I'm bad at judging bus-ing time to downtown.

So, I sat around and watched dozens of girls who all seemed to be dressed exactly the same come in for navels, chicken out of navels, walk out of the room bemoaning sore navels, complain about said navels making them look fat, and... yeah. Lotsa navel piercings.

Jacob's shift ended and he went for a smoke and I meandered back towards the bathroom. Somehow I seem to get less nervous the closer I get to the procedure. I was in a mild panic when I left home, but a few minutes away from being in the chair and I was only a little jittery.

Still feeling like a big old wuss for worrying, though :)

We reconvened and supplies were gathered - I was hoping to get cut to 7/16ths to match the (albeit too-small) tunnel in the other ear. It turned out there were no tapers of that size, so I agreed to 00ga., instead. No biggie, it's not as if I don't plan to stretch later, anyhow. And anything would be more symmetrical than the dinky little earring I was wearing at the time.

So back into the Gold-Coloured Room of Doom (hehe), wherein Jacob had hurt me a few times previously. Nelinda wanted to watch so she came on back, as well.

I sat in the chair and fidgeted while Jacob set up. He noticed (the bastard!) and mocked my nervousness. Heh. I had to admit I was being pretty mockable with 'how much will it hurt?' (insert whine) and 'are you SURE you've done this before?' coming out of my mouth. He told me it would be no big deal and started making the marks. As with any procedure above the waist, with me, my long hair was all over and in the way. This amused me, if only because Aaron was battling against its evil ways a little while previous. I'm guessing tattooing through a clump of hair doesn't work terribly well. Eventually it was subdued, though.

The plan was clamp-cut-taper.

Nelinda gloved up, too, so Jacob could have the fun of going 'Scalpel, please, nurse.' at the appropriate moment.

Clamps went on. I could barely feel them. Scalpel got picked up. I was told to breathe a little lavender and made a half-assed attempt at it between wiseass remarks at Jacob. I gave him the go ahead to hurt me anytime he liked, and he did :)

Didn't really hurt. It stung, which felt odd to me because I was expecting it to feel 'deeper'. Instead it just felt like a bitch of a paper cut for a few seconds. I have to say the 'scritch, scritch, rip' sawing sound of him cutting through my ear was... odd, to say the least. I fought off giggles and tried not to move.

Jacob pulled the scalpel out. It was all pretty and blood-covered. Hehe. He 'summoned' a taper and pulled the clamps off. I was now apprehensive about the stretch, but it turned out to be barely worth mentioning. The tunnel went in and the o-ring tried to go on.

Didn't work. In fact, we have no idea where it ended up :)

The tunnel also, apparently, was now looking too short. So, out to the front for a longer one, and I had a chance to get slightly freaked out about having the old one yanked out and a new one shoved it.

Jacob spent a long time trying to scrub the blood off the taper for its second go-round. Apparently, rubbing alcohol doesn't take blood off steel very well. Who knew?

I'd say the theme of that procedure was 'everything goes better with lube'. Or maybe we were all just dorks who like to make obscene lube jokes, but either way the whole thing went smoothly and actually felt pretty cool, literally. My ear was feeling a bit hot and the lube, taper, etc. were nice and cold. This time the o-ring went on without difficulty and only a few tugs and subsequent winces from me :)

Then came the blood-mopping-up, which wasn't too bad. I bled down my neck and onto my shoulder a fair bit, but it certainly wasn't the deluge I've heard about from other scalpelees.

I asked about aftercare and was told to 'leave it the fuck alone', with a little 'don't fuck with it' on the side. Can do. Heh.

After I was relatively un-bloodied, I headed back out for the bus. I met a customer from work at the stop and asked her if I was bleeding (I thought I could feel something drip). She said 'not really', and headed off in search of a bookstore that sold something other than porn. I got on a bus that wasn't exactly the right one. Whoops. It dropped me off a few miles from my house and I was too lazy to wait and transfer, so I started walking home. This has relevance, trust me. :)

After walking for a bit and realizing I could sorta feel my ear throb along with my pulse, I felt something kinda dripping on my shoulder and running down over my breasts. I thought 'Oh. Raining.'. Some more 'water' hit my hand and my brain belatedly realized that rain isn't red. My hair got all sticky and crunchy with dried/half-congealed blood, and I dripped my way home.

Got home and dunked my ear in a salt-soak. Not sure if that counted under the 'don't fuck with it' clause, but I wanted to get some of the blood off without having to touch it. After about 15 minutes, the cup of water and my ear had switched places on the bloody-o-meter, which is to say that the water was bright red, but I was relatively clean.

After that, I kept my aftercare incredibly simple (soap in the shower, leave it alone) and it healed without complications within a few weeks. That ear is still very stubborn about stretching, though, much to my disappointment.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 04 Dec. 2002
in Ear Piercing

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Artist: Jacob
Studio: NEXT%21+Body+Piercing%2C+Tattoo+and+Aftercare
Location: 1068+Granville+Street%2C+Vancouver+BC%2C+Canada

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