Friday, August 22, 2008

Hazards of Mid-Life Crises

Well, wouldn't you know it? About two days before I hit the 30 day mark on my piercing, I get the beginning of what would soon become a nasty little infection. Very few piercings result in infection. Unfortunately, belly piercings are more likely than most (although obviously there are piercings in more ... um... hard to clean areas that get infected a lot too). And double-unfortunately, mine has become one of them.

Over the weekend, I started getting some twinges of pain that told me something was wrong, but the piercing has been a little angry ever since I got it, so I figured it was just that. A little redness... no biggie.

By Tuesday, the ooze had begun. This is totally just as gross as it sounds. When I first got pierced, I was told that there would be some oozing initially and to just keep cleaning it. I was pleased to find that I had no oozing at all. I took this as a good sign! Apparently, I was wrong.

So anyway, on Tuesday, I called the piercing place and told them my plight. I described the situation, and they asked me to come in. Needed to see it first hand before making any sort of judgement.

I went in, and they agreed that it was not (yet) an infection, but had potential. Oh yeah, my overachieving white blood cells... gotta love 'em! Anyway, they changed out my nice sparkly jewelry for a plain, longer barbell to accomodate the swelling, gave me instructions for a salt soak (three times a day for ten minutes a pop) and sent me on my way.

I began my soaks, and found the easiest way to do them was in a nice tub of warm water. Wednesday night, when I finished my soak and pulled the drain on the tub, I stood up only to hear a distinct *ting* on the tub floor. I looked down, and there was the barbell, with no closure. The other ball on the bar had apparently immediately gone down the drain. Dammit.

This early into the piercing (up to three months), they suggest that you come in to have them change out the jewelry, so even if I had wanted to do it myself, I really needed to have them do it. Just looking down at the oozy hole was enough to convince me there was no WAY I was going to do it, and so I got dressed, jumped in the car, and headed into town.

When I got there, someone was getting her nipple ring changed out. It was not someone I really wanted to see get a nipple ring changed, but it was interesting nonetheless. Then it was my turn. He cleaned the wound, replaced the barbell with a new ball and sent me on my way. And oh, there was pain and discomfort, my friends.

They told me to come back today so they could look at it and be sure it wasn't becoming an infection. I headed in thinking that I was feeling much better actually, and the salt soaks really seem to be working. This demonstrates how unrealistic I am. He looked at it, took the barbell out, did some squeezing, and declared my piercing officially infected. JOY!

Because he is holistic, he recommended continuing the salt soaks for another 24 hours before resorting to evil antibiotics. I did actually consider this. But that would mean that if the salt soaks did NOT work, I would be going to Urgent Care on a Sunday morning before I had to be at work. Not cool. So I sort of flipped a coin.

I left a message for my doctor's nurse with details of my situation and requested that she call in a prescription for me. If she needed me to come in first, well... I couldn't do that as I was in meetings the rest of the day. I'd opt for Urgent Care on Sunday and go forth with my hippie salt soaks. She called me back quickly and said, "No worries... I'll call it in."

So now I have a Z-Pac. And I'm looking forward to being infection-free within 72 hours. Sure, I feel bad that I cheated a bit. I know antibiotics aren't great for me in the long run. But seriously. Did I mention the ooze? This totally needs to go away. Now.


jdonnenf said...

Hey Elizabeth,
Please bear in mind that I'm 55 years old when reading this (i.e., I'm totally uncool). OK, so would you mind explaining why you want a belly button piercing. I can't wrap my mind around it. I get pierced ears (great way to hang beautiful earrings that everyone, except the wearer, can see). I sort of get other piercings that others can see (difference of opinion about whether it looks good). But, what is the purpose of the belly button pierce? Is it X-rated? Hope you don't mind the question. I'm just really curious and you're the only person I know who has one. Judy

eaf said...

hmmmm... good question. Especially here in the midst of an infection (which has cleared pretty nicely, btw.)

It's hard to explain, but perhaps the best comparison is why people get tattoos that other people can't see. I know it's there, but I don't necessarily want other people to know. Of course, I blog about it... but my readers are all friends.

Some of it is empowerment... which also doesn't make sense until you do it. And there are certainly many who think it's sexy. But I've been asked by friends if this means I will now start wearing "belly shirts" (that expose my belly button) or bikinis and I have to say that I still am thinking a 37 y.o. woman need not do something like that. I may wear a two-piece bathing suit again if the Quest for Hotness works, but we'll see.

Bottom line for me, it's a subtle change that I made to my own body for my own pleasure (not the x-rated kind). It's for me. It's pretty. I like it. And... in some way... it makes me feel a bit younger and scandalous! :-) Remember, I do admit that I'm in the midst of a mid-life crisis. A piercing is WAY cheaper than a sports car!

Bern said...

Both times I had my ears pierced, they got infected badly. First was when I was a child and the second time when I was in high school. I swore I would never have any of my body parts pierced again.
So I better start saving up for my sports car now. I don't have many years left.