by Janet Miller
Two years ago on Kaua’i, I got my second tattoo.
I wanted it to be something that expressed my gratitude to God for His great plan for my life. I thought about what would symbolize that. I looked at thousands of pictures.
And then I found it — the three crosses on the hill at Calvary where Jesus was hung between the two thieves.
Where to put it? A place where it would be visible enough to be worth the investment, but not unrecognizable as my skin continues to stretch and sag with age.
I ruled out my forehead.
I went for small, in that clearing of tender skin behind my right ear, a bony spot next to my hairline, visible when I wear my hair tied back.
The picture I brought to my tattoo artist had three rustic looking crosses of varying height with a delicate pale blue rainbow arch.
Maybe I didn’t communicate it effectively to my artist that the rainbow should be DELICATE. He did the arch in blue-black ink using a thick needle, the kind used to make a skull and crossbones!
I was stunned when I viewed it for the first time.
Groan…too late. I thought, “It will be OK. everyone will see the crosses.”
Huh! Everyone sees the arch. From ANY distance, it looks like a mushroom!
Time has been no healer to this artistry. Because of the thin skin on the bony site, the rainbow arch ink has spread, so the boldness of the line has become even more overwhelming to the whole picture.
Every week there is someone who comments on my tattoo. “Oh — why do you have a picture of a mushroom?”
IT’S NOT A MUSHROOM!
I decided to have the rainbow removed.
The only doctor that I could find in Hawai`i who does laser tattoo removal is on O`ahu. Which is just fine, because it gives me an excuse to visit my daughter who lives there.
The dermatologist examined it to see whether he could remove just the rainbow part. He pushed my hair away from my ear with the back of his pen, and focused intently on it. Then he said, “It looks like a mushroom.
IT’S NOT A MUSHROOM!!
He said five to six laser treatments should do it, but that sometimes, even a laser can’t remove all the ink. He asked if I could start that day. I said yes to the first zap.
Eight needle sticks of anesthesia later and a big yeowwwww! from me, he said he’d return in a few minutes after the anesthesia had taken effect. After 20 minutes of waiting, I started catching up on my texting. Forty minutes into the wait, I was looking around for something entertaining and noticed that he had a MEGA sized box of Kirkland surgical gloves. A bright orange box marked “Sharps disposal container” overflowed with used syringes. Mine was in there somewhere.
Fifty-five minutes into the wait, the doctor walked back in. He positioned my head, zapped away on my tattoo for 10 seconds and told me if I could wait another 30 minutes, he could do a second treatment. I accepted that he probably meant 30 Hawaiian minutes, and told him OK — anything to get rid of this art gone bad.
He returned in 35 minutes and did another round of laser zapping, smeared some antibiotic ointment on it and said, “You’re good to go.”
Here it is.
IT’S NOT A MUSHROOM!