Comment

Planet Rachael: the pain of getting a tattoo

Wendy Johnson's daughter Rachael got her first tattoo following years of talk and no action. Here, she discusses who was in more pain – Rachael or herself. 

Last week Rachael got a tattoo. I recognise that for you this may not seem like a seismic event but in our family, it is up there with the day uncle Jack became aunt Jackie and started wearing pantyhose in public. Big news.

You see Rachael has been talking about getting a tattoo since the millennium. She subscribes to a tattoo magazine and has made weekly proclamations of intent that no one ever thought would bear fruit.

Problem is Rachael is needle phobic and since she has had capacity to choose has never agreed to jabs of any kind. Her ears are not pierced because of this despite multiple attempts.

I was therefore caught off guard when trailing reluctantly behind Rachael at a tattoo

...

Last week Rachael got a tattoo. I recognise that for you this may not seem like a seismic event but in our family, it is up there with the day uncle Jack became aunt Jackie and started wearing pantyhose in public. Big news.


Needle phobic Rachael got her first tattoo, and went to great lengths to get through the pain
Picture: iStock

You see Rachael has been talking about getting a tattoo since the millennium. She subscribes to a tattoo magazine and has made weekly proclamations of intent that no one ever thought would bear fruit.

Problem is Rachael is needle phobic and since she has had capacity to choose has never agreed to jabs of any kind. Her ears are not pierced because of this – despite multiple attempts.

I was therefore caught off guard when trailing reluctantly behind Rachael at a tattoo convention she suddenly announced that today was tattoo day. ‘I have prepared mum’, she said, and from her bag produced a tattoo product bought for a king’s ransom from the internet with the words ‘When it all gets too much’ on the bottle. Surprisingly, it was not alcohol, but something designed to be inhaled to magic away the pain. I am not sure who needed it more at this point.

On the upside

On a positive note, the full sleeves depicting epic scenes of gothic fairies that she had for so long coveted became a symbol the size of a 50 pence piece on Rachael’s wrist – something from Harry Potter that included reference to a cloak of invisibility.

Not so positive was Rachael’s actions while having the tattoo when she acted like a silent film star just about to be thrown under a train – with sound effects to match. The poor tattooist could only sit and watch dejectedly as the queue behind Rachael, which had promised a lucrative afternoon, trickled away to nothingness. Pain comes in many forms. Smelling salts anyone?


About the author

Wendy Johnson is a matron in a general hospital and writes about life with her daughter Rachael, who has autism

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to learningdisabilitypractice.com
  • Bi-monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs