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My Infection From A Tattoo

I never thought I'd say this. I have an infection from a recent tattoo session. Guess you could say that this is a case of a person not practicing what he preaches. For years I have been advising friends, readers and strangers I've had the pleasure of meeting about being careful about their choice of artist and studio. 

I was in Hat Yai, Thailand, a little more than a week ago for work when this 'not so smart' idea popped in my head. That little idea screamed "go get a tattoo Noel". So in between work and a quick meal, I walked into a nearby tattoo studio. Within minutes I chose the design. A simple lotus flower to add on to the words 'Skin Art'. 

My stomach began to churn when the artist prepared his equipment. Maybe that was my body or instinct telling me this was a bad idea. But as you know by now, I went ahead and got the tattoo.

It does look nice right?
The pain started the following day. I flew back to Singapore in discomfort and my flight to Kuala Lumpur the next morning was a nightmare! I couldn't lift or carry anything with my left hand. I recall going through intense pain when the plane took off. The pain kept getting worse and by the next day, my hand was swollen to the extend where it seemed I didn't have knuckles. I thought I was becoming the Marshmallow Man!!!!

My girlfriend took me to the Gleaneagles Hospital which thankfully wasn't far off. Dr. Liang Kong San was awesome. We did a break down of the tattoo session and what could have gone wrong. It could have been caused by reused needles or contaminated water and ink. It could very well have been both factors.

The scumbag that did the tattoo...

We learn each and every day so I hope you learn something from this. Honestly I should have known better! I've never experienced such pain. Even tearing my ACL didn't hurt as much. Unfortunately I had to learn the hard way...


  1. damn, take care noel. hope it gets better soon!

  2. shag bro. take care and recover soon!

  3. ohhh damn it!! :(
    i hope it didn't take you too long to recover!

    the reasons why i'm posting are A. of course to wish you good luck and healing and B. that there is actually one thing about your post that disturbs me a little;

    below one of the pictures you wrote "the scumbag who did the tattoo".
    well, fair enough, he certainly did not do that on purpose, so calling him a scumbag for that "accident" sounds a little harsh imho.

    i think you should contact him in a friendly way, with your complaint of course, but also give him good advice on how to do better in terms of hygiene!
    of course it cannot ease your pain but this would at least help him and all his customers in the future :)!

    on the other hand, in countries like thailand you just have to double-check the artist's equip - and still, in the end you will never know for sure.
    it's unfortunate but true to say that the water in thailand aswell as the hygienic standards are far away from what you are used to in singapore!

    not wanting to lecture you of course, but you should be extra-careful about tattoos in many other asian countries than singapore.

    having that said, i hope that your hand is okay again (i assume so) and i wish that this will never happen to me!!

    the tat looks pretty nice btw! :)


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