Tuesday, January 16, 2007

the boobies

I found a lump in my breast, so I freaked out for 3 days and then I went to a breast specialist at the Seoul National University Hospital. I'm fine, actually I'm great. The radiologist, in perfect English, told me, "You have beautiful breasts." Coming from a woman who looks at them all day, I figure she knows what she's talking about, and so I took it as quite the compliment. After that comment, and finding out everything is okay, I left that office with a bit of a bounce in my step.

Overall the service was good, and it didn't take too long, but it wasn't like a day at the spa or anything. There were two parts of the experience I must comment on.

#1: MAMMOGRAMS ARE NOT FUN. Yes, they are necessary, but it's like getting your boob stuck in the elevator door or something. Who designed these machines? It's like during the design process they forgot that women have heads or arms attached to their bodies, or better yet, they forgot that women have feeling in their breasts. That thing was impossible and kinda painful. These days mammograms are an essential part of women's health, so does it really have to be so uncomfortable?

Here's a great photo. Love the frames lady. What they aren't showing here is that that arm comes down more and makes a pancake out of your breast. And then you have to hold your breath and your other breast until they finish fiddling with the computer across the room. Check this video if you're interested in serious info on mammograms. OR watch this one if you want to see Erin Daniels, Dana of the L Word, somewhat topless:

#2: It cost me 182,000 won. THAT SUCKS! These exams are NOT covered by the Korean national medical insurance. Women over 40 are supposed to get a mammogram annually. Pap smears aren't covered either. Women's health care is a mess over here.

That reminds me to remind you: go to the breast cancer site and help fund free mammograms. Or go donate some money to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, because, as they state, "More than 80 percent of all donations to the National Breast Cancer Foundation benefit free mammograms to needy women, educational programs and cancer research projects." OR buy one of my nipples!

**One last note on doctors in Korea. They always ask me if I'm married. I know, it's a cultural thing... but I just don't get it. When I went for an annual gynecological exam they told me that it's seen as being inappropriate for a medical professional to ask a woman if she is sexually active, so instead they ask you if you're married. I guess they assume that if you say that you're single that it means that you're still a virgin. Ridiculous. When the breast dude asked me if I'm married, I was confused and didn't see how being married or being sexually active had anything to do with my breast so I replied, "Why do you need to know? You wanna marry me? My mother would love that." He thought I was funny, and then said that what he meant by that was, do I have children. And here's where i got a little silly and I had to school the doc and remind him that there still is no correlation between marriage, children, and my left tit or my right butt cheek for that matter. I mean I didn't go to med school, but as far as I know the stork doesn't care whether you have a ring on your finger or not. Stereotypically Koreans are supposed to be very direct, but clearly this is not the case when it comes to a thorough medical exam. Oh Korea... you've come so far, and still some days I can't help to think that you've got such a long way to go.


JonAllen said...

Had to read that to my wife I laughed so much.

Hye Jea said...

Haha, this post is hilarious! I'm Korean myself, but I know what you mean when people dance around the subject of sex. However, you still do need to consider that culturally Koreans do NOT talk about it. Virginity, chastity, blah blah is put on a pedestal for everyone to worship, That is, until you get married.

Basically, so if you're a single mum, I hear it pretty much sucks. Sex Ed is inadequate; I remember from a couple years back (I'm graduating this year from high school! woo hoo!) when we learned about contraceptives, it was summarised into a page, in a home ec. class.

But yeah, mammograms suck. They hurt, a lot. D: