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Harriet The Tear Duct Slug

I have a really disgusting story to share. Common sense tells me to never ever speak of it to anyone. But I decided to share it on the off chance that there might be one other person in the universe who has had a similar experience and is feeling like a lonely freak about it.

Obviously you will want to stop ready now if you have a delicate constitution. Whatever that is.

A few months ago I got a blocked tear duct in my right eye. I pretty much diagnosed myself, thanks to Dr. Google, and in the process I learned a lot about how our tear ducts work and are connected to other stuff in our face.

I always thought our tears came from the tiny holes on the inside corners of our upper and lower eye lids. I’ve thought that for 48 years. I was wrong…for 48 years.

The little holes we see on our eyelids are not where the tears originate, they are the drain holes for our tears. The tears originate from tiny glads that are located under our upper eyelids. I swear it. This video proves it:


So after diagnosing and educating myself, I also researched ways to eliminate blocked tear ducts. They are quite painful and can become infected. Warm compresses and gentle massaging seemed to be the way to go. I tried this for several days and was unable to make it go away so I ended up at the eye doctor. She gave me some antibiotic drops to stave off infection and some steroid drops to shrink the swelling then asked me to come back in a week.

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Shortly after I left the eye doctor’s office, I felt something in the back of my throat and assumed it was a sinus thing or post nasal drip since I’m no stranger to either one. Whatever it was worked its way into my throat and out of my mouth where I spit it into a tissue. Those who suffer with chronic sinus problems can relate to how common this is for us.

But this time it was different. I looked at what I had spit into the tissue and was horrified. It looked exactly like a chewed up stick of Juicy Fruit gum…about an inch long, gray and rubbery. I swear I thought I had coughed up a piece of my brain.

I didn’t ever want to see anything so disturbing again so I threw it away then went back to Dr. Google to find out if it was possible for chunks of grey matter to break loose and slide down your throat.

I learned that it was unlikely that my brain had broken into pieces but I also learned that whatever it was is not something that happens very often because I only found 2 other references to similar experiences on the whole internet. I deduced that the chunk I had spit out was the infection or whatever that was blocking my tear duct. It was the exact same shape as the little sac that runs alongside your nose and carries your tears into your nose and throat. Basically, I coughed up my infection. This was confirmed when I felt around my eye and nose and there was no longer any swelling or pain and I didn’t even need to use the drops the doctor gave me.

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Disgusting, right? On my follow up visit I told my eye doctor what happened and I told her my theory that I had hawked up an infection loogie. She sort of smiled, nodded and patted the top of my head. Figuratively of course.

I wrote that off as one of those inexplicable things that our bodies do sometimes and I only told a couple of people about it because … well … eww.

My right eye started watering excessively about a week ago and I thought it was allergies because evidently I had blocked the traumatic tear duct infection from my mind. Then a couple of days ago the pain and swelling showed up and triggered my memory. I immediately went after it with the warm compresses and gentle massaging. Or screaming hot compresses and rubbing as hard as I could to make it go away so I wouldn’t have to relive the chunky nightmare from last time.

Yesterday was the worst of it and I decided if it wasn’t better by today I would go to the eye doctor. When I woke up this morning I immediately felt the corner of my eye and the side of my nose and discovered there was no longer any swelling or pain. Thank you Jesus! I laid in bed for a while, reading email and Facebook notifications as is my usual routine, then I felt a tickle in the back of my throat. I swallowed and felt something long, thin and solid work its way into my mouth.

I bolted from the bed to spit it out before I puked and sure enough it was a gray rubbery chunk just like the last time.

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I don’t know why my tear ducts get blocked and I don’t know if the blockage is from an infection or a foreign body or just one of those things that happens. But I am certain that the weird thing I’ve coughed up each time is the blockage.

So the moral of this story is…don’t panic if you puke up a chunk of something that looks like your brain and instantly cures a tear duct problem you were having.

When this happened the first time I told Jayson about it but he never saw the evidence. Since I wasn’t nearly as freaked out this time, I felt like I needed to share with him the mystery that is the human body so I texted him a picture of the yucky chunk:

JAYSON: Thank you for sharing your slug with me. Have you named it yet?

ME: Harriet The Tear Duct Slug.

JAYSON: Make sure you use it in a collage, or maybe as an earring.

Not gonna happen but he knows me well.

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