Eye of the Needle

Last week, I got a new tattoo. I love tattoos—I already have five of them, and now that I have Prime TV, I’ve been bingewatching Ink Master, which is a great show with a surprising amount of drama. So I was super-excited to book an appointment with Nathan at New Rise Studio, who’s the son of one of Ken’s former colleagues, and I’ve been following Nathan’s work through her Facebook page for ages. I finally made the appointment with him at the beginning of December for a January date, and just before the glorious day came, we went into lockdown again, postponing everything indefinitely. I finally was able to get the new tattoo done last week and it turned out exactly the way I hoped. And Nathan was very cool and not at all freaky like the last guy I went to, who not only gave me a tattoo but also regaled me about the time he was a Chippendales’ dancer, and told me about his stepson’s sex life.

It might seem weird that I got my own book cover tattooed on my arm, like very narcissistic and whatnot, but I don’t care. I’d originally envisioned something much smaller and less ostentatious but when Nathan showed me what he’d designed, I thought, Why the hell not?

And now my plan is to get ALL my book covers tattooed on me at some point, so I’m literally covered in covers. But that isn’t why I’m telling you this story. No, I’m telling you this as the context for a very misogynistic conversation I had recently, and I couldn’t do anything about it.

This week, I got a call out of the blue to come the next day to a hospital where a surgeon would perform a procedure on my shoulder called ‘barbotage’, which is supposed to break up the calcium deposits in my shoulder and relieve the intense pain I’ve been in for months. You might remember that I had undergone shock wave therapy for the same thing, and I had to explain to several people that it wasn’t electroshock, like they were envisioning me with electrodes attached to my skull a la Frankenstein. The shock wave therapy, despite its hefty price tag (not all of it was covered by our provincial health program) didn’t work, obviously, since the calcium was still there like a rabid little ferret, chewing away on my tendons. I’m assuming that’s what a rabid ferret would do at any rate, as I have no actual experience with either rabies or ferrets. So I went to the hospital and was greeted by the ultrasound technician, who explained that she would use the ultrasound machine to guide the surgeon as he stuck a variety of needles into a variety of places in my shoulder, particularly this long tubular needle that he would use to break up the calcium. “Just to let you know,” she said ominously, “there’s a chance the tendon could tear, or you could get an infection. Also, it will bleed a bit. I’m obligated to tell you that.” It sounded TERRIFYING. But I thought “What would Dave Navarro do?” and I signed the release she gave me.

She left to go get the surgeon and I sat there waiting, almost sick with fear. They came back and after some chit chat (he had a deceptively charming English accent), I didn’t feel any more comforted:


Me: So I heard this procedure has a 90% success rate.
Surgeon: Meh. There haven’t been many clinical studies. It’s probably more like 60%. Fingers crossed.

Then he draped me and began the procedure:

Surgeon: I’m going to inject you with lidocaine. It will feel like a bee sting.
Me: Let me know when.
Surgeon: It’s already done. You’re okay?
Me: Yep.
Surgeon: Okay, now I’m going to inject your bursa with a local anaesthetic. Are you still good?
Me: I got a tattoo last week. This doesn’t hurt as much as that did, and the tattoo didn’t really hurt.
Surgeon: I’m going to insert the barbotage needle now…So you have a tattoo? My wife wants one, but I told her she wasn’t allowed to get one. And I told my kids that if either of THEM got one, they could find a new place to live.
Surgeon: How are you feeling? Just a few more minutes.

Like, what do you even say in response to that? I mean, I had a ton of things I could have said in response to that, but the dude had a giant needle stuck deep inside my shoulder, so I didn’t feel it was an appropriate moment to explain to him that we were living in the 21st century. I mean, could you imagine that kind of conversation at MY house?

Me: I’m going to get a tattoo.
Ken: You’re not allowed.
Me: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! See ya when it’s done, nerd.

The procedure was quickly finished up—it was nowhere near as bad as I’d thought—and he gave me some aftercare tips then vanished. Right before he left…I still didn’t say anything because what if I have to go back for another treatment? But if I do, I’m going to make sure I see Nathan FIRST.

70 thoughts on “Eye of the Needle

  1. I have numerous things to say in response to this blog post:
    1) I love your attitude about the book cover tattoos. It’s your body and your choice. Plus, what a cool design!
    2) Why Dave Navarro? Seriously… I’m curious. Having read his autobiography, I can understand why you wouldn’t think, “What would Anthony Kiedis do?”, but Dave Navarro?!?
    4) In a perfect world, you would give that doctor a piece of your mind. It’s like calling out people who make racist or culturally insensitive remarks. However, you played the logic card there, and I think it was a smart one. I appreciate you sharing your internal dilemma with your readers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave Navarro is the host of Ink Master, so he seemed like the logical choice, and apparently he likes having his skin pierced with needles and hooks! And yes, under normal circumstances I would have said something but he definitely had the upper hand/shoulder!


  2. LOL that is like a conversation I had with a customer this week. He was buying 4 bags of softner salt at 20lbs per bag. I asked if he would like help. He said no he was a man. I said and? I might be a woman and I don’t need help but sometimes it is nice. And he said well you are a woman you should need help. I looked at him and said I don’t need anyone to do any lifting for me I didn’t fall and have an injury that required no heavy lifting.
    The gentleman in question use to work with me in the store 15 years ago and he had to retire due to an injury to his knee from a fall and he is not suppose to lift heavy items. So ha on him.

    As always I love your blog. But woman you are braver than I am as I do not have a tattoo anywhere despite everyone believing I have one covered beneath my clothes.
    Happy Daylight Savings Time Canadian Neighbor! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Scribblans says:

    Allowed!? Hmm… English sounding as well? Let me just check all our toffs and ‘establishment’ people living as if still in the 18th century are still here, sounds like one of them escaped.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. First let me tell you, I’m not a tattoo person but I think the new one you got is the bomb 💣! It totes fabulosity Suzanne!
    As for that surgeon and his macho attitude towards his family, he has some severe issues, let me tell you. What asshole now a days would say that? Oh, on who probably doesn’t have the control he thinks he does at home. What a prick 🤬.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Next tattoo: “YOU CAN’T STOP PEOPLE FROM HAVING TATTOOS & IF YOU TRY YOU’RE A CONTROLLING DICKHEAD!* (*unless they are minors or really drunk, obvs.)”

    We might need to edit that down a bit, thinking about it. How much space do we have to work with? 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  6. When I had a tattoo my eldest daughter was shocked 😳 and said how is that going to look when you’re old and wrinkly 😉 I replied, just like everyone else who is old and wrinkly. I wouldn’t mind but both my daughters have had one themselves 😂🤣🤣 I hope your shoulder is feeling better after all that?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. suze hartline says:

    I was thinking something along the lines of tatting “don’t like tattoos, don’t get one you misogenistic tool”…but George said that would be rude. so then I though (and said out loud) okay what about don’t like my tattoo? I don’t like your f’ing attitude you asshole”..George laughed and said “Suzanne doesn’t need that one. Tell her to get all her book covers instead and tell people to suck off’. so there ya have it.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. “And now my plan is to get ALL my book covers tattooed on me at some point, so I’m literally covered in covers.” Lol. Congrats on the tattoo!

    Ugh. Well, you have some time to think of a clever comment or something to further shock the surgeon. Bring him an real estate listing brochure so he can move out of his cave.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. The doctor already lost me at “Fingers crossed” and clearly he’s got control issues which, unfortunately, is common for doctors, especially surgeons. I’ll bet that if he’d been involved in any of those studies he’d tell you they had a 100% success rate. This also brings up a memory of when I was a teen and a couple of my guy friends dropped by to show me the earrings they’d just gotten. When they left my father, normally an easygoing guy, came to my room, closed the door, and in this scary angry voice told me if I even thought about getting an earring I could find another place to live. I had, and still have, no interest in getting my ear pierced, but I still think about getting a tattoo if I can ever decide on a design. I quite like yours.
    And really I don’t see anything wrong with getting tattoos of your book covers. Not that it’s up to me–they’re your books, it’s your body, and being proud of both makes you a lot healthier than certain doctors.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I think they call it the God complex, but what a ridiculous thing that he’s performing a procedure that he doesn’t even have a lot of confidence in. Earrings and tattoos–so long as you’re a good person, what difference does it make, right? I already have a great idea for The Seventh Devil–can’t wait!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I wonder rather than it being misogynistic, he has the view that people with tattoos are rough. It depends whether his kids are girls or not.

    My Dad was very much like that, he thought tattoos meant you couldn’t get a “proper” job, so my mum went and got 2 😉 she was a nurse. I think I am the only one not to have one, just because I hate needles

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Jeez. Is there another doctor/medical care facility you can go to? Or someone above him that you can report his sexist attitude to? (And I don’t like the time switch either. I hate eating dinner/supper while it’s still light out. LOL)

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I like that! Laughing in his face and then calling him a nerd! I know not everyone like the tats but you know it’s what someone wants. I don’t think I would have a response to what he said either though to be fair.
    Looks good btw 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. You know, Suzanne, some comments are so stupid, they don’t even merit a response. You said — or, er, didn’t say — exactly the right thing.

    That is so awesome you got a Dome tattoo! I always thought that if I ever had a book published, I’d have the cover art blown up to poster size and framed to hang in my office, but you’ve got me reconsidering my ambitions…

    Liked by 2 people

  14. “but I told her she’s not allowed to get one…” BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Funny, but sad that someone actually puts up with that.. I love the idea of tattoos of your book covers! I have no tattoos. I love them but I can’t come up with anything I want on me forever.. Although I was toying with the idea of a zipper tattoo over my hip replacement scar.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Funny, you posted this. I am going to get my first tattoo today. Or at least, I am thinking about it.
    A little infinity (in case your are wondering). Probably not very manly, but i am so attached to that symbol.
    Hope you and yours are well.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Damn! I don’t blame you for not saying anything, given the circumstances, but dude needs to chill. And why would he even say that to someone who has tattoos? That is so obviously offensive.

    And I love the book cover tattoo… and more to come. It’s a great idea. If I ever published a book, I’d consider doing that. But it would probably end up being a picture of a half naked man. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Liked by 1 person

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