korea, koreanlife, travel

What to Do When Your Boobs Low-Key Try to Kill You in Korea, Part II

In a previous post which you can check out here, I wrote about finding a lump in my breast, getting shoved around to a few different doctors, and ultimately hearing that I needed to have the aforementioned lump removed.


Last Saturday, I had a surgery on my boobs which didn’t even make them bigger or able to shoot lasers.

My friend Kimmy accompanied me to the clinic, as she is a beautiful, flawless individual who is talented enough to speak and be Korean. She helped me check in and answer some last-minute questions the hospital staff had for me before my surgery. The receptionist working there had me sign a few papers , where I promised I wouldn’t sue the clinic if I died in a tragic freak accident.


I was given a cubicle with a bed in it, where I would receive an IV after I finished the surgery. They made me change my top into a hospital gown (which, as it’s a breast clinic, after all, was pink), and put my street clothes in a small locker in the room.


After I had changed, the nurse led Kimmy and me to the same small room where I had previously had my ultrasound and told Kimmy to wait outside. I was told to remove my gown and lie down on a table.

It was then, with a harsh shock, that I realized the surgery was happening now. A nurse ominously brandished a needle large enough to siphon gas, in a pinch. I was as sober as a judge. A Muslim judge. If I had known that I was getting no sedative at all, I probably would poured some codeine into a cup of Sprite and come to the clinic ready to rave.

I was told to put my hands up over my head. I held my own sweaty hand tightly and closed my eyes as the doctor delivered the anesthetic via a shot.

There was a forceful tugging sensation and I could feel liquid dripping down the side of my body, both of which I did my absolute best not to think about.

Less than ten minutes later, it was over. I sat up on the table a little dazed from the suddenness of it all, and the nurse called Kimmy in. She was equally surprised that my surgery had just been completed – at most, she thought they were simply delivering the anesthetic. The doctor delivered instructions in Korean for her to translate – no swimming or getting swole in the gym for me for at least six weeks. The nurses not only put a bandage on the actual wound site, but bound up my entire chest in a way that I wouldn’t have looked too out of place at Cochella.

#swag, I know.

Kimmy then gave me the worst news of the day: for some reason, I had to stay checked in the clinic for at least six hours, while I received my IV and they made sure that a blood vessel didn’t burst, which apparently had the potential to be very bad (or at least, incredibly messy).

The clinic’s WiFi was not strong enough to stream Netflix on our phones, and anyway, neither of us had headphones as we hadn’t expected to be in the hospital longer than twenty minutes.

It was boring.

Kimmy, bless her, deigned to hang out with me and stalk people we went to high school with while a nurse slipped an IV into my arm. Around noon, an orderly brought me lunch, which Kimmy – pure Korean that she is – very enthusiasm force-fed me while orating with religious fanaticism about the healing powers of kimchi.

Porridge and kimchi. Hospital food in Korea is not a great improvement on the US.

Once the last of the IV had dripped into me and the nurse removed the needle (which took around four hours), Kimmy asked if we were allowed to walk around, as we were bored out of our skulls as nobody from high school had done anything interesting enough during the past three years to keep stalking that interesting.

The nurse failed to tell us any geographical limits for our walk. I pulled on my shirt and a jacket and we made a jailbreak for nearby park.

We returned to the clinic brandishing strawberry smoothies when I had about fifteen minutes left in my prison sentence. We guiltily dodged the nurses and checked out of the hospital.

The bandages around my chest stayed there for two full days before being cut off by the doctor. He told me the surgery had gone well and told me to check back in six months or so. For now, I have a minuscule scar – only a couple of millimeters – and a huge bruise from where the lump was, but other than that, I’m doing pretty well. I didn’t even have to take any time off of work.

Fortunately, in Korea necklines tend to be pretty high.

All in all, having surgery in Korea wasn’t a bad experience, and Lord knows – at a bit more than $300 – it was infinitely cheaper than having it back in the States, where I would have had to taken out a second mortgage on my (non-existent) house and sold a kidney to afford it.


Have you had any surgeries done abroad? Let me know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “What to Do When Your Boobs Low-Key Try to Kill You in Korea, Part II”

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