Today, following on the advice of one of my readers, I had my first laser hair removal treatment. As per the clinician’s recommendation, I slathered my face up in a topical anasthetic about forty minutes before the treatment began.
“Remember to pile it on thickly,” she had warned.
To give you some idea of what this feels like, I shall describe it as being, essentially, ‘novocaine for the skin.’ Within minutes, the cream had numbed the lower half of my face to all sensation. It was particularly weird on the lips, which suddenly felt like slabs of cold meat wrapped around the edges of my mouth.
Now I will reiterate that I am, of course, autistic; this being the case, I am subject to sensory issues that other people lack. More specifically, I really, really dislike getting inconsistent sensory signals from my body. In practice, this usually means temperature (I cannot sleep if I have even so much as a foot sticking out from under my blankets) or texture (if my shirt lets in more air than my pants, I will start shivering): but as it turned out, absolutely nothing sets it off quite so badly as getting sensory signals from half of my face, and nothing but dead air from the lower half.
By the time I reached the clinic, I felt almost feverish. I could scarcely imagine anything feeling worse than that.
It turns out I wasn’t imagining hard enough. You see, while a combination of the cream and (I flatter myself to think) my own resilience did succeed in numbing most of the pain from having my facial hair burned out with a laser beam, I had badly underestimated just how much of my neck was covered in stubble; as such I got to feel (for a certain portion of my beard, at any rate) the full force of the procedure. I’m not sure how to describe it other than to say that it was a lot like being squirted with a dinky little water pistol–only, instead of being full of tap water, it was full of molten lead.
And yet, somehow, I managed to grin and bare my way through it, getting my whole face done (requiring almost six hundred and fifty zaps) in only about twenty-five minutes. Once it was done, I was told that this feat was almost unheard of for people during their first session, and that most people find the pain so overwhelming (even in the presence of the cream) that they are physically incapable of going on after more than three or four hundred zaps. I can attribute this resilience (which surprises myself more than anyone else) to sheer force of my desire to have my own face again.
Anyway, the moral, as it turns out, is exactly the same as it was yesterday, except intended in a rather more literal sense:
Sometimes the best feeling in the world is no feeling at all.