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.