"Let me see your ear." My breath caught in my chest as I heard the words, nearly the same as I'd heard them before, from the woman I'd just handed a receipt to. I turned slowly, half expecting the woman who'd been pleasant in line to have turned into the same scraggly-haired woman who'd tormented me before. But, instead of a sneer, she was smiling, and her blue eyes were lit up in almost-excitement. I let out the breath I'd been holding and turned so that she could get a better look at my left ear, bearing a tragus and an anti tragus and 4ga lobe .
At A Glance IAM gothicphoenixx When It just happened
"Did you have any problems with that?" she asked. I asked for clarification on which one, and she told me "the ones on the inside." I told her that, beyond normal, no, not really. She explained that she was asking because, recently, her daughter had gotten an industrial, though she didn't call it that. Instead, she made hand gestures about where it was, and I supplied the word for her, telling her that I'd had a similar piercing at one point, but had taken it out. "That one," I said, "did cause some problems," and I pointed out the dent that had been left from its positioning.
The woman told me that her daughter had gotten the piercing, and how she'd told her daughter she'd better tell her right away if she had any problems with it. Well, she did have problems with it, but didn't tell her mother. However, the girl's sister knew that she was having trouble with it, and that it was always red and sore, so she told her mother. Together they talked the girl into going and getting help for it. I was about to say "good," when she told me that the girl's doctor had told her to take out the piercing and given her antibiotics, but it had been a couple weeks the piercing had gotten worse, not better.
I sucked in a quick breath when she'd said "doctor" and cringed when she said "taken it out." After finishing the sentence she was on, the woman asked what should have been done. I told her that an infected piercing should be treated first, and then, if desired, taken out, not taken out before because the infection can become trapped inside. She made a face when I told her this, and I told her that what her doctor told her had been what my doctor had told me when I had the start of an infection in the piercing that became my industrial (I was already there for a routine check up, and told her that, despite her advice, I wasn't going to take them out), and that doctors, though intelligent, aren't really the best judges when it comes to what to do to take care of a piercing.
"So, she should have left it in, huh?" she asked, then told me how she thought her daughter had what her husband had called "cauliflower ear", and how now it was all swollen and red and purple. She asked if it might have to be taken off surgically. I repeated that yes, it should have been left in, but not to try to put it back in now. I couldn't tell her what the growth would be precisely, but told her that some people have had to have keloids surgically removed. I mentioned heat packing and salt soaks might help. "But the best thing for her to do," I said, "is go to the piercer. He or she should know better than anyone what's going on with it, and what she needs to do."
The mother clapped her hands and said "I knew it. That's what I told her to do, but she didn't want to." For the life of me, I can't imagine why anyone would go to a doctor with no expertise in piercing over the person who performed the piercing (but then, I'm also leery about doctors in general), but I told her to encourage her daughter to go and see the piercer as soon as possible, and she said that she would. We talked for a couple more minutes until my next guest came up, and she thanked me multiple times for my help. Though I hadn't really done much but offer basic (and mostly common sense) advice, it made me feel good that, in addition to this incident not being a repeat of the previous one, I was able to help someone with more than scanning their groceries. It is people like this woman, who genuinely want to know about something rather than to harass, who make the people with opposite intentions easier to bear. And, this incident further convinces me that mods in the workplace are a benefit, not just to the modified individuals, but to those who know and love them, and perhaps don't know who else to turn to.
Return to Editorial / Article