The one where I send a bill to the pediatric ophthalmologist for about $18,000.


**Here’s your warning if you are squeamish.  If not.  Continue reading.  If so, it’s really not bad.  But, consider yourself warned.**

The tear duct surgery talk.  It’s getting old, right?

Tell me about it.

Especially now that we are starting yet another year with a brand new (high) medical deductible to meet.

Just in case you lost count, or you are new here.  In 2010, #2 had THREE surgeries on her tear ducts to unclog them.  She makes tears just fine, but they pool up in her eyes instead of draining down her nose and into her mouth.

This last surgery, stents were placed in that passage way to keep them open for three months.  The plan was that keeping them in that long would allow her ducts to remain open after the stents were removed.

Here’s how those stents looked.  Can you see that little brownish loop in the corner of her eye?  She had one of those in each eye.  Supposedly, it didn’t bother her at all, and it floated on the surface of her eye. 

This was Sunday. tear duct issues Today, I got a call from her school that her “tubes” had fallen out.

I already knew that they could, in fact, start to come out, and that I could bring her in before the April date, if necessary.  However, I wanted them to stay in as long as possible to increase the chances of success.

I told her school not to freak out and that I was on my way.  (Fortunately, I was actually in my car coming from the bank and got there in about 2 minutes.)

Poor #2 bear.  “Get it out, mama.  Take it out.”  “I scared, mama.”

She was so upset and scared.  The stupid string was actually coming out of her nose and sticking out about 2 inches.

I called the ophthalmologist.  Lunch break.

I called another office in the same practice and pretty much demanded they find the doctor and tell him to call me back immediately.

He called back.

My directions? 

Give it a good, firm yank, and pull it out.  She’ll be pissed, but it shouldn’t hurt.


I yanked.

It stretched.

Once it reached it’s stretching capacity, it started moving and came out.  All 4+ inches of it.

Now?  Her right eye no longer has the stent.  And, true to #2 form, the tears are already pooling back in her eye.

tear duct surgery So, I’m sending the doctor a bill for my stent removal services.  I figure $18,000 should about cover it (you know, the cost of just ONE of the surgeries).  Especially because I’m the mom and I was under duress.  And, I’m not supposed to have to perform this procedure on my daughter.

Anybody want to help out with the first draft?

In all seriousness, I’m really ticked off.  I know that it’s not the doctor’s fault.  He told us going into every surgery that it might not work.  However, at the start of the most recent one, he said the next option involved a referral to yet another doctor for some reconstructive surgery of her tear duct.  Quite frankly, it scares the shit out of me.  And, now, I’m just waiting for that other stent to come lose and me to have to pull it out.  Then, I guess we’ll start thinking about that referral.  Because at this point, they aren’t going to open up and unclog on their own.

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  1. poor girl 🙁 & poor mama for having to do that by yourself!

  2. Oh goodness. Who knew such a little thing could be such a pain in the tushie. And yes, I’d love to see YOU bill the doctor!!!

  3. Eee! Brave lady!

    Here’ s hoping the other holds till April!

    1. I would put money on it coming out this month…I just don’t see it lasting.

  4. That gave me the heeby jeebies! I have had eye surgery and had to fish out stitches floating in my eye and it about made me throw up! Poor girl! Hopefully it is something she won’t remember as she grows up though it will be in your memory a long time! I agree on billing the doctor! He should at least give you a partial refund (unlikely yes but definitely deserved!!).

    1. I can’t even imagine the stitches in your eye. I would have pulled them out, too.

      I pulled out all of my stitches from my wisdom teeth coming out.

  5. My aunt sent a doctor a bill once. It wasn’t for $18,000, but they did pay it. It is worth a shot! Maybe you should bill the doc $9,000 since only one stint came out?

    1. Seriously? Did she say she was copying an attorney? I’m really thinking about doing it.

  6. This is terrible that you have to go through this. I hope that you figure out a solution soon.

    1. The solution? The reconstructive surgery. No joke. Not happy at all.

  7. Oh my goodness I am so sorry.. you are right send them the bill!

  8. Yikes, scarey for both of you. Poor N and poor you. I thought pulling out splinters was bad. I can’t imagine having to do that to my baby.

  9. I am sorry it is so frustrating. I can’t imagine having to do that. Hope that it can be resolved soon! My prayers are with you guys!

  10. Oh no!!!! That poor baby.
    I think the medical profession is just about the only profession where they can do procedures that don’t work AT ALL and then still charge you thousands of dollars for it. Ca-razy!!!!!
    I am so sorry. Poor little dear.
    Prayers for you!

    1. It is crazy, isn’t it? If I bought a broken car, or had repairs done and they didn’t work, you bet I would bring it in and not pay a penny more.

  11. Oh that sucks 🙁
    I cant beleieve they told you to pull it out. Poor you and poor Nat!
    Praying that everything works out and she doesnt have to go through any more surgeries.

    1. I wish that was the case. I’m pretty sure it didn’t work on this eye. We’ll know on the other one after the stent comes out.

  12. Ugh. Poor you and poor Nat. My heart is pounding and hurting just thinking of having to do that to one of my children. I hate that she is going through all this and I TOTALLY think that the $18,000 bill is reasonable!

  13. I’d be ticked too, and there is NO WAY that I’d be able to remove that myself. I just couldn’t. I would be driving to the doctor’s office to have them do it. Poor baby girl!

  14. Jessica @atl mom guide says:

    aww I am so sorry : (

    poor thing!!!

  15. i still can not wrap my head around the fact that you actually pulled the thing out. like i retold the story to joe last night and i was just in awe of your mommy skillz.

    seriously i would have called someone else.

    maybe you??

    so sorry mama. so sorry for both of you 🙁

  16. Oh honey…so sorry! The poor little boo & poor Mama!!!

  17. Ashley Taylor says:

    I know this is really late, but I thought I could ask you since I stumbled upon your blog. My daughter had 1 stent put in back in April. they are removing it tomorrow. They said her eye should have cleared by now, and it hasnt. Its just as bad as day one, if not worse. Anyways there is talk of the permanent tube being put it, they want to wait till she is older though and see if her face grows. I guess my question is if your daughter had to get that done? I want to go ahead and do it, only cause its been two years having to deal with cleaning it, and now she picks and rubs it. Anyways again I know this is late, but I dont know many people I can ask. Thanks

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