My 16-month old baby boy had to have surgery on his tear duct a few months ago, and it was really difficult to go through.
Since the time my baby boy was born, his left eye has been goopy and weepy. Our pediatrician said that most children outgrow it, and we thought that’s what would happen. But his eye never got better. We finally went to see an eye doctor at Primary Children’s Hospital. At the end of the exam, the eye doctor said surgery was needed and that there was either a membrane clogging the tear duct or the tear duct was too small when he was born. After many prayers, we went ahead and scheduled the surgery.
Once the day of the surgery arrived, I was really nervous. Even though I knew this was a minor surgery and the doctor had done this type of a procedure thousands of times, I was worried about complications during the surgery or how my baby would react to the anesthesia. We arrived at the hospital early on a Thursday morning and checked in. We were taken to a room where a nurse did a health exam, and then we sat in a waiting area until the doctor came out to talk with us for a few minutes followed by the anesthesiologist talking to us.
After the anesthesiologist talked through what would happen, we followed him down a long hall way towards the operating room. He stopped a little ways from the operating room doors and said that he would take our baby boy the rest of the way with him. That was the hardest part for me–to hand my baby over to someone and walk away. I was in tears as we walked to the waiting room.
The surgery only took about 20 minutes, and then the doctor came and talked to us about the procedure. He said everything went smoothly and that he had to balloon out my boy’s tear duct because it was too small and it wasn’t allowing the eye to drain.
After about 10 minutes we were called up to the post-surgery room to be with our baby. It was hard to watch him lay there as he came out of the anesthesia, and the nurse had to give him some medicine because he was in pain. I was amazed that once he woke up, he didn’t scream and cry like the other children around us. He fussed a little, but once I picked him up and held him he was fine.
After he was fully awake and the nurses felt he was ready to go home, they came and took his IV out. Unfortunately, the nurse forgot to clamp it before she pulled it out and blood ran all over my pants and my boy’s blanket. Luckily, that was the only problem we encountered.
The following day, my baby boy was back to being himself. His eye wasn’t puffy, and I didn’t need to give him any more pain medication. I am extremely grateful for the amazing doctors, anesthesiologists and nurses at Primary Children’s Hospital. And I’m so grateful that the outcome of the surgery turned out well.
This was an unexpected expense that came up this year that we didn’t know would happen. We are lucky to have insurance that covered the majority of the surgery, but we still had to pay $1,000 for the procedure and doctor’s bill. So how were we able to pay cash for the surgery? We have an emergency fund and we have savings. We don’t have nearly as much in savings as we used to since we purchased a new-to-us car with cash, so we are continually adding money to our savings account each month for the reason that if something unexpected happens, such as a surgery, doctor’s visit or something like the passing away and funeral of my father, we can pay for it.
I realize that my baby boy’s surgery was a minor surgery and that there are many people who have more complicated surgeries or are in the hospital for days or weeks. When those bills start coming it can be overwhelming, especially if the bills are thousands of dollars and you can’t afford it. So in the near future, I’ll share with you tips on how to pay off medical bills.
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