As I alluded to in a previous entry, I woke up on Saturday, May 29, in a Hampton Inn in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, and decided I wanted to get my nose pierced while Ian and I were in Austin visiting Summer and Cole.
I honestly don’t know where this came from; I’ve never really had the desire to have it pierced before. I had my eyebrow and my navel pierced for a while when I was younger, and I have a tattoo, but I’m not really the “let’s get shit pierced!” kind of person. Although this is probably because I work in a professional setting and there are only so many appropriate places I can pierce and still keep my job.
So I don’t know; maybe I was delirious at the thought of having nine full days of vacation ahead of me, maybe it was the freedom and expansiveness I felt on the open road we were traveling in east Texas. Or maybe it is a manifestation of the whole “I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks” point of liberation everyone told me I would arrive at after I turned 30.
Either way, on Memorial Day after hitting Juan in a Million for breakfast, Summer and I found ourselves looking up reviews on Yelp for piercers in Austin. She found only positive reviews for a man named Pineapple at Shaman Modifications, so I called him up and asked if I could come in that day. He said he could see me in 30 minutes, so I batted down some last minute nerves and we took off for the shop.
The shop itself was very clean, even the front room, which was encouraging. Pineapple, a large dude with every visible part of his body either tattooed or embedded with some sort of metal, was awesome. He was soft-spoken, calming and immediately asked if I had any questions. He helped me pick out which piece of jewelry would fit me best, explained that there hadn’t been a significance to what side was pierced since the 80s (HA!), and then led Summer and I to a room in the back where I would get pierced.
The room reminded me a little of a doctor’s office—very sterile and cold, with lots of gloves and containers of stuff like needles, gauze, rubbing alcohol, etc.—except there were pictures of kanjis hanging and a large mirror spanning almost the entirety of one wall.
We made small talk while Pineapple began his preparations, but then he made sure to explain every single step of the sterilization process. He told me to stop him at any time if I had any questions, and I mentioned that I was glad he was so serious about sterilizing the instruments since my husband had requested I didn’t return with Hepatitis C. Pineapple laughed, and said that was an unusual request but a good one.
Every single thing he touched (with freshly gloved hands the entire time—before and after the items were sterilized) that would touch my skin he sterilized, explaining to me what he was doing and how the sterilization would work. He put everything into a tray that then went inside of an autoclave machine, which would take six to seven minutes to complete the sterilization process. We went up front to complete my paperwork while the tools were sterilizing, and he explained the six rules of taking care of my piercing:
- 1. Don’t listen to your friends.
- 2. Don’t touch it.
- 3. Don’t touch it.
- 4. Don’t touch it.
- 5. Don’t touch it.
- 6. Don’t touch it.
He recommended some soap called Dr. Bronner’s for me to use only if the piercing got dirty (no more than once or twice a month), but otherwise instructed me to never get it wet and rinse it with distilled water if it did (like when I get out of the shower). His motto is basically “Your body knows the best way to heal itself, so leave that shit alone and let it do its job.” Got it.
The actual piercing went quickly, which I had anticipated from having two other body parts pierced in the past. Pineapple cleaned my nose, inside and outside, with rubbing alcohol, and had me lay down on the table and begin taking deep breaths in and blowing out. He explained every step he would take (but also assured me he would tell me everything he was doing as he was doing it). I laid down on the table and noticed a sign affixed on the ceiling that said something to the effect of “Just keep breathing, everything will be ok.” I made a mental note to remember that in my every day life.
And then it just… happened. He had me take a couple of deep breaths, and told me to blow out my third breath very slowly and he would push the needle through. It felt like I was being pinched, and then it was over. He instructed me to turn my head to the right and witness him putting the needle in the Sharps container, and then told me I could sit up but not to stand for a few seconds.
A single tear fell out of my right eye, as is expected with anything involving the nose, but I wouldn’t say that it hurt. It stung for maybe a minute and I was aware that there was a titanium rod through my nostril, but I never felt what I would call pain for maybe more than the couple of seconds it took for him to pierce the skin.
And then we were done! Summer and I headed over to Target to pick up some distilled water, gauze pads and a nasal aspirator bulb (for me to squirt the distilled water onto the piercing), and then over to Central Market to find the Dr. Bronner’s soap, and then back to her house.
I do need to point out that I am SO FREAKING GLAD Summer was there with me. I was trying my hardest not to be nervous, and it helped so much to have someone else there to make sure everything was kosher, take pictures and be available to pick my ass up off the floor in case I fainted.
Pineapple warned that depending on my body and how healthy it is, it could take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to heal so I needed to be careful and follow the six rules for that entire time period. It’s really not that hard to take care of—at first I was washing my face outside of the shower, but I’ve gotten used to the piercing’s location now so I just make sure to not wash that area and then rinse it and pat it dry with the gauze when I get out of the shower. I had one day of “holy shit how do I get this caked-up snot off the inside of the piercing??!” but a few Q-tips and a carefully maneuvered toothpick took care of that. TMI? Sorry.
Every once in a while I can feel the piercing (mainly when I wake up in the morning or right after I rinse and dry it), but for the most part it seems to be healing nicely, as far as I can tell.
I’m a little worried that I don’t quite understand how the bar works (he showed me some kind of bendy thing that fits into the titanium bar and holds it together with tension, and then explained that the gem on the end can be changed without having to remove the bar), but I don’t plan on changing it out any time soon. So I guess I’m good as long as I don’t somehow sneeze it out.