I think I see why many people in their teens and twenties are getting all tattooed up.
It is cool….they can express themselves….they can put a significant meaning to some tattoo.
Honestly….I got my ears pierced when I found out that I had gotten into medical school…..but that’s about it.
But when those piercings and tattoos get infected……it is time to re-think and let go.
I had a 20 something year old who had a back piercing. It was infected. The skin around the piercing was red and tender. There was no doubt that the piercing had to come out. This was not rocket science. If you cannot lean back in a chair because the pain is too much, why would you keep this thing in??? She signed herself out against medical advice because, ‘she had invested too much in this piercing’
She came back a week later. The piercing had gotten hooked up in something and had bled a little and the pain was worse. The piercing came out……life went on.
I also saw a teenager who came in to the hospital with a limp. I immediately thought, that she had fallen and twisted the ankle or knee. Lo and behold, under those jeans, was a nice, big, fat, red infected tattoo that extended the length of her lower leg. She had a fever, she looked dehydrated, she looked like this was her worse day ever. I didn’t understand why she had not first came in as soon as the pain started.
The tattoo was badly infected. The skin was even peeling. We had to rush and start her on high dose IV antibiotics and even get the surgeons involved. The extent of the infection may have been to the bone.
However, her most important question was, ‘SleepyDoc, I hope this won’t affect how my tattoo will look?’
I was thinking, suppose you lose this leg because the infection is too far gone…….where will the tattoo be then?
I really wonder sometimes.