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My Painful Cartilage Experience

It was Christmas day, and I had decided long ago that I was going to get a piercing on boxing day. I was going to get my lip done and my friend Ash was going to get her nose pierced, we had figured everything out except for one thing, I hadn't asked my parents yet. I had assumed they would be cool with it, but just to make sure I wouldn't be killed if I came home with a pierced lip, I asked mum, because I knew that there was more chance of her saying yes than Dad, and as I had predicted that was her answer. Sadly however Dad found out and he had another thing in mind, saying that I wouldn't ever be able to get a decent job if I had a piece of metal sticking out of my face. So I was not going to get my lip pierced, but I wasn't going to cancel on Ash, so I had to decide quickly on what piercing I was going to get.

Seeing as the whole family was over I decided to ask people what they thought would look good, and my Uncle suggested that I get a cartilage piercing because he knew a few guys who had that done and he thought that it looked pretty good, and the whole family generally agreed. So it looked like I was going to get my cartilage pierced.

On the morning of boxing day the excitement of Christmas had been replaced with the nervousness of getting my very first piercing. I met up with Ash and we made our way down to Knox shopping centre. I was really nervous and stalled a bit by looking in other shops and just putting off the piercing until the end of the trip.

After a while I plucked up the courage to finally go to New Image and get it done. When we arrived there we were greeted by a pretty cool looking chick who had multiple face piercings and she asked what we wanted done. After telling her what we both wanted she went and got the standard piercing forms about what we had consumed in the past 24 hours and all of that stuff.

At this point my hands were shaking, and I took a very long time to fill out a sheet that really should have been finished quite quickly. After that she asked us what jewelry we would want, and seeing as I really had no piercing knowledge or experience before, I just went for what I thought would be the coolest thing there, and I picked a thick spiked horseshoe, that was a BIG mistake. Ash picked a small diamond nose stud and we were told to come back in 15 minutes so they could sterilize the jewelry. The following 15 minutes were pretty horrible.

We left New Image and went to the food court where I sat down and pretended to act cool but it really wasn't working. I really don't recall what happened in that 15 minutes apart from sitting down being really scared.

Eventually it was time to head on back to the studio and get a needle shoved through my ear. We were greeted by the same chick and she lead me and Ash behind all the ladies getting their hair done into the waiting area and asked who wanted to go first. I really didn't want to go first but I knew that if Ash went first I would be even more scared because I know she's a total wuss and she would make the piercing seem way worse than it actually was, so I said that I would go first and she told me to follow her into the piercing room. It was strange because it was so clean and quiet and it just made the tension build even further.

She ran through what was going to happen and how she was going to do it and to everything I just answered 'ok' or 'yeah' being too nervous to say anything substantial. Then she marked out the point on my ear and asked if I thought it was alright. I turned around and looked in the mirror and it looked pretty good, but knowing that within minutes I was going to be pierced wasn't exactly a calming thing.

She got a needle out of a drawer and the cool but stupidly thick horseshoe I had chosen out of a container and put them on a steel bench thingy. She picked up the needle and walked around and got all of my hair off my ear and lined up the needle to my ear, at this point my heart started racing even faster, which I didn't think was possible. She asked 'are you ready' and I replied with a soft 'yeah', and she started counting down. 3, 2, 1, and then I felt the needle being pressed through my ear, and to be honest it was pretty painful.

She grabbed the jewelry and removed the needle from my ear, this was almost as painful as when it went through. She attempted to put the horseshoe through my ear for a short while but failed, then she said 'I'll have to take off the other spike' which meant another few seconds of fiddling then placing the spike on the steel bench next to the other one, and then she finally pushed the horseshoe through, and this again hurt a lot. She screwed on the spikes, and I turned around and admired my painful yet extremely cool new piercing.

I walked out of the room and Ash went in, and I just sat on the bench trying to keep my breathing under control. After a few minutes Ash came out with a sick as nose stud, we walked to the counter, paid, and went to leave the shopping centre as I felt I had experienced enough emotion for one day.

As we were leaving Ash told me she felt a bit light headed, and it was lucky that we sat down when we did because she almost passed out shortly after. After she recovered we headed on home and my family really didn't care about my new piercing except for my brother who said it looked 'awesome as'.

The next few days were very uncomfortable, painful days. I was spraying twice a day and being quite clean with it, but it still managed to get itself infected. I could consciously feel the horseshoe for about a week, and was uncomfortable in the shower and trying to get to sleep for several weeks after that.

I waited the recommended 3 months before doing anything, but stupidly enough I waited about 8 months of pain and infection before I actually did anything about it! After that I bought a standard curved eyebrow barbell to put in so that it wouldn't get caught on anything and to minimize the chance of another infection. I am happy to say that after changing it, the whole area cleared up and became like a 'normal' piercing in about 3 days.

Overall, I am happy that I toughed it out and kept the piercing because I really like it, but regardless of that it was a horrible first experience for piercings, and every piercing I have got after that I have heavily researched to find out what the suitable gauge thickness would be and just to gather general knowledge about the piercing.

Rob L


submitted by: Rob Lewis
on: 21 Dec. 2008
in Ear Piercing

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