My best friend Grant and I have been friends since we were the tiniest of kids. It seemed only fitting then that he should be present for my latest tattoo, the tenth one. He had been wanting a tattoo for ages, but had a fear of needles and pain in general, so I was quite chuffed when he agreed to get a tattoo at the same time, an identical tri-looped key.
The tattooing went fine on both accounts, and we were both happy with the work that my local, Steve, had done on us. Very quickly mine had turned into a hot, dull ache, but I’ve had so many tattoos that I can’t remember if that’s how they all felt or not. I thought perhaps I was just being a pussy, because Grant’s wasn’t red or hot, and he claimed it was not aching at all. I decided that I was perhaps just losing my threshold or that the skin on my forearm was not as pain resistant, and ignored it. I felt sick during the day, but didn’t make any connection.
The next day, my tattoo was swollen. Again, I couldn’t remember if this was normal. Grant and his friend Sonya commented on how much more red it was, and I agreed, but we didn’t pay much attention. I have sensitive skin, so I played it down to that. While shamelessly watching the Jackass movie on TV, I drew a line around my redness to keep an eye on the spreading.
The morning after that, Monday, I woke up to find my tattoo still red, and blurring over the lines a little. While Sonya was at a job interview, Grant and I decided to go visit my tattoo parlour and suss out what was going on.
Steve’s son, the apprentice, Luke, was there. (Which is lucky, because he’s had blood poisoning before) He seemed slightly concerned. He told me to keep a close eye on it, that it didn’t look happy and might be infected. Worst case scenario, I could lose my tattoo. I was under orders to go to a doctor immediately if it spread any further or if it didn’t change at all within the next 48 hours. That night, slightly freaked out, I texted him saying it was still killer sore, not as red, but I was having mild fevers. He said to see a doctor before the day was out if there was no change. I hightailed it to my local emergency room and they’ve filled me up with antibiotics. If its looking red again in two days time, I have to come back immediately. While I’m sure I caught it in time and that this is indeed the best case scenario (save for having a completely normal tattoo) I can’t help but be a little terrified at the idea of either having my tattoo hacked out due to infection, or losing my entire forearm because of septicemia. It definitely put a more serious label on the entire practice of tattooing for me, and I’ll think long and hard before I get my next one… in a few weeks time. 🙂