The Henna Tattoo.
HEAL AT UF
For those curious souls who stare at me weirdly because of my tattoo, then you shall finally get to know the truth! So it all started during the summer of 2012, I was going to become a high school senior and the last two summers I had were filled with working for my parents every day. In regards to that, I figured I would ask my parents if I could travel out of the country to Hong Kong for the summer. Luckily my parents agreed and I then spent the whole three months in Hong Kong. Nearing the end of my trip I wanted to give my mom a little scare and get a henna and tell her it was a tattoo. So with four days left in Hong Kong I decided to go to Shen Zhen, which is right across the border from Hong Kong, and look for a tattoo parlor that wasn’t too sketchy and bearable. After a day of searching I had finally found a suitable place and it was also approved by my uncle who used to be a detective in Los Angeles. I obviously trusted him and respected his opinion and when he said it was a legit place then I thought it was okay to get my henna there. My mom hates sleeves, so I decided to get a 5 piece henna on my body, 3 pieces on my right arm, 1 on my left hand, and lastly 1 on the right side of my neck. After picking out the designs I wanted, the tattoo artist mixed up a concoction of black ink and set it on the side. He then moved onto stenciling my arm with the designs and then used a normal pen and tooth pick to apply the design on my arm which soaked up the ink like a sponge. It took roughly around 3 hours and when it was finished I was happy with the end product. Within 24 hours, I started to develop tiny bubbles on the hennas on my arm. I choose to poke the bubbles and it started to pop and leak a fluid which then started to cause a weird prolonged stinging pain. The following day I went to see a local doctor and the doctor said it was a serious problem and needed to be treated in a hospital immediately. I filled my mom in on the information and she decided that I needed to fly back immediately since I couldn’t be hospitalized over in Hong Kong and booked me an emergency flight back. The flight in total took 24 hours and was one of the worse experiences of my life. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even eat properly, and any little motion I made created intense amounts of pain. Right as I got off the plane, I was rushed to the ER for diagnostic and possible treatment. The doctor who took care of me in the ER was shocked at the look of my arm and responded with “I have never seen that before”, which scared the day lights out of me. Amputation was mentioned and the doctor said if the ink had penetrated as far as my blood then they would have no choice but to proceed with amputation. Luckily the ink had not gotten that deep but still had gone through several layers of skin. The next option was skin graft which I almost chose to do, but the amount of pain I would have had to endure while also awake… literally awake, seemed impossible for me to do. The doctor then said there was an alternative method which was hydro therapy. The therapy was intensive and 3 months long, and during those 3 months I underwent the worst amount of pain I have ever had. Every waking day, and every night that followed came along with coursing pain through my body regardless of the pain medication that was given to me which was 750mg of Ibuprofen. I could not sleep, eat, or even sit up straight without suffering a large amount of pain. I was literally scared I wouldn’t be able to make it through the therapy but I tried my best and eventually the 3 months came to an end and it was time for them to start ripping off the scar tissue left from the tattoo. They literally spent 2 hours peeling off the skin from my arm with tweezers and a scalpel, the scariest thing about the process wasn’t that I wasn’t put under, but that I couldn’t feel anything while they were literally ripping off my skin. The doctors had diagnosed my tattoo as a second degree chemical burn, the tattoo artist in China had basically put some kind of acid in their ink and it had burned into several layers of my dermis. I now wake up every day and am reminded of the decision I made that day to mess with my mom and regret every moment of it. The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t play pranks on your parents or try and get those pranks accomplished in China. So if you see me around campus, please know that I don’t find my tattoo “cool” nor do I find it at all attractive because of the amount of pain I had to endure to get it. Do think seriously about if you want a tattoo and don’t get it for the reasons of it looks “cool”. The good thing that came out of my tattoo though is that I have moved on from it and I have become a stronger person because of it. The mistakes I made that day and the journey I had to endure because of it and it has made me realize what I truly appreciate in life. Thanks for reading this far if you were interested! I hoped you liked the story and it’s an interesting fact about me that most people don’t know but I also don’t want to be called the “tattoo guy”!