The earrings catastrophe (or how I learned of my metal allergy)

The first time I had my ears pierced, I did it because everyone else had their ears pierced. I selected the studs—sterling silver—and in they went! My ears were pieced in a mall1 at Claire’s, and I was excited.

Whilst wearing the studs and following the instructions of keeping my piercings healthy, the first week was fine. However, my ears became swollen. My mom decided we instead try gold earrings, so we did. They were 24kt. and, similarly to the studs, plain and boring.

Fast forward a few weeks [or maybe months?], and my ears became so swollen my mom broke out the scissors. The left stud came off with no harm, but the right stud required more effort. Eventually, we got it, but in the process, my right ear was cut and jabbed a few times. My hearing in my right ear is a little impaired, and if you feel along the edge, you can still feel the ridges. Apparently, whatever part of the body it is called that is between the skin never grows back! #battlescars

Several years later, I wanted to try earrings again. This time, they were pierced at a Walmart. This time, we used nickel-free, hypoallergenic studs.

These didn’t work, either. My ears became red and puffy, and they bled against the studs, which became more and more difficult to turn. My mom and I decided it was best to just go ahead and remove them; earrings simply wouldn’t work for me.

Circa 2005 or 2006, I realised I could “pierce” my own ears with a former stud; the holes were still intact to a particular point—the outside layer of skin was all that had grown over. I did, but my ears itched constantly thereafter and I stopped.

Now, I am prone to ear infections and have a history of “passed” hearing tests, if only because I faked most of them…like those ridiculous reflex tests doctors do to your knees, which are allegedly supposed to force your knee up itself, but the last several times I have had to do them, I had to force my knee up myself. Doctors aren’t super nice to autistics, and they also want to cure the Deaf/hearing impaired most of the time.

My ears still look slightly pierced, my right ear more so than my left.

  1. Town East Mall is what I feel like it was.

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TinyMay’s gravatar

I’ve had a reaction to low quality metal earrings before when I was younger, but as soon as I started using real gold jewelry again, all of that went away. I remember it affecting my right ear more than my left. It itched like hell!

As for that reflex test of the knee… It’s actually not “ridiculous” as you think it is… Deep tendon reflex testing is an important part of any neurological examination because it actually says a lot about the nervous system. I perform deep tendon reflex testing on my patients when I first see them especially when my patients have a neurological condition. There are probably many reasons as to why you have to force your knee up yourself, but if you were more relaxed during the examination, your knee should come up on it’s own with every tap of the reflex hammer. Next time you are at a doctor’s office and they try to do a deep reflex test, make sure you try the Jendrassik maneuver where you form fingers into a hook and try to interlock those sets of fingers together while the doctor tests your reflex.