A 63-year-old man from the province of Hubei in China got a little too drunk and, in a story that might sound familiar when vodka shots are involved, had to throw up. Except this dude’s night of wild drinking went from shit-faced to “oh shit” real quick when he saw that his pool of puke included what he later came to know was a tumour. But fearing that he had mistakenly thrown up a body part, the man swallowed it back just to be safe.
According to reports, this unnamed man from Hunchun County had been feeling discomfort in his throat for a while, but since it did not affect his breathing or swallowing, he didn’t bother to get it checked. That is, until his gag reflex led to a sharp pain and all of a sudden he was coughing out a "meatball".
While the man initially gulped down what he described as a “long, forked tongue” with a glass of water, he had the good sense to get some medical assistance soon after the incident. It was after the doctors at Wuchan Hospital heard his story and conducted an endoscopic exam that they uncovered a 15-cm long tumour growing at the top of his oesophagus (the food pipe connecting the mouth to the stomach).
The tumour has been identified as a fibroma, the kind that grows on organs and is generally benign but can mess you up from time to time, based on the placement of the organ. And while the doctors managed to successfully surgically remove it, this particular tumour could have potentially blocked the man’s trachea and caused suffocation had it gone undetected.
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This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.