Caduceus Part II, February, 2001

Let me tell you a little something about my body and pain: I don't remember it well. Immediately after I finished getting Part I of my caduceus tattoo, the pain of the needle on my flesh was quickly and efficiently forgotten. My calf was throbbing and sore, but the actual pain of the tattooing process was gone. No matter how hard I tried to recall the tattoo session, I couldn't. It was as if once the pain had stopped, my brain could not recall with any clarity what that pain felt like.

Keep that in mind...we'll be revisiting the pain topic shortly.

I went back to Rising Dragon to have my caduceus tattoo completed two months after the initial work. You may recall that Darren, my tattoo artist, had mentioned that the design would look much better with a mist behind it; something to bring the main symbol to the front of the eye. We discussed briefly whether or not the mist should be gray or in color. I argued for color; I thought a splash of purple would add interest to the piece. Darren was reluctant, but he finally agreed. He drew a few lines with a marker on my skin, just a general shape of the shading he would be doing, and he got started.

The moment the needle touched my skin, every nerve ending in my calf became viciously alert. My brain suddenly remembered the pain of the last tattoo session, and my body was reacting accordingly. My whole calf was twitching and every movement of the needle was excruciating. I tried to retain my composure, and I was fairly successful. I didn't say a word or make a sound, I just lay there trying in vain to read a magazine and keep my mind off the brutal torture Darren was applying to my leg.

The brain may forget pain, but it sure can react violently when it happens again. Honestly, I didn't remember the first tattoo session being as painful as the second. I do believe my body and my brain were remembering the pain from the previous session, and reacting with twice as much protest.

The good news, however, was that this session was much, much shorter. After about twenty minutes Darren said he was done. I went and took a look in the mirror, and immediately shouted, "More!" and hopped back into position. He complied, and ten minutes later the mist was complete.

This picture was taken while the tattoo was still healing, so there is still some redness and flakey skin. Also, the pictures do not show much of the color variance Darren used. There are a few different shades of purple in the additional work, and they make a marvelous background to the original piece. In the end he agreed that color was the right choice, just as I had agreed that the mist was a brilliant enhancement.

It's a darn good thing I trust my tattoo artist!

I will post some better pictures of the tattoo as soon as I can have some taken. Really, the final piece is gorgeous. I am extremely happy with the final outcome.

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