Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hypodermic Needles and Unanswered Questions

I picked up a hypodermic needle today.

It was lying on the side of our street. I was on my way to the bus stop and there were a zillion kids in the vicinity. I could easily envision one of them investigating. The thought of an 8 year old playing with a used needle makes me shudder.

I looked around because I assumed it had fallen out of someone's trash can. I realized at that moment that trash day was two days ago. How the needle got there suddenly became more dubious.

We live in a quiet residential area, although occasionally our Indian neighbors to the north can be pretty raucous with their Hindi techno music, dancing and presumably delicious food.

I almost showed up at their door on Christmas night, half crazed by the smell of something fabulous. I am certain a chubby blonde would not be out of place at that little get-together at all.

I put the needle in the cup holder of the stroller and proceeded on through my morning routine. I walked Wesley to the bus stop and power-walked for twenty minutes after.

I "destroyed" the needle (i.e. broke the tip) on the inside of the garbage can and tossed it in a pile of shi**y diapers.

"You did WHAT," Chris yelled when I told him what happened. "That was REALLY STUPID. You put it in OUR garbage can? Wahwah wah wah wahhhhhhh," and so on and so forth.

Actually, I can't tell you what he said after "stupid" because I tuned him out. He has actually spoken at length before when suddenly I realized I hadn't heard a thing he had said.

Sometimes I can cover my bad; sometimes I can't. Either scenario is quite awkward.

He suggested that I should have called the city so they could come get it and dispose of it. He suggested that a trash collector could be stuck with the needle. He brought up the landfill issue. All good points, none of which I had thought of.

"Did you want me to leave it lying there with dozens of kids around," I asked. "That's stupid, too."

So, I started thinking. What exactly SHOULD one do if she happens upon a hypodermic needle on the road in the midst of curious children? Needle disposal generally isn't on the minds of most people who aren't diabetic or who have a medical condition that require the thought.

I decided to investigate online and found nothing really, except of course, I wasn't supposed to throw it in the garbage. I am smart enough to know that I shouldn't dig around in the trash can to retrieve the needle; I suppose it is now just a learning experience.

There weren't any disposal options presented on the website, either, so I'm still unclear as to what exactly I should have done.

So, I am wondering: what would you have done? I am curious. Just leave your suggestion in the "comments" area, and don't be too hard on me. I already got enough sh** from my husband.



jodi said...

I would have picked it up too. And I would have probably put it in our trash. But now giving it more thought..maybe place it inside a coffee can? Or other type of can? Wrap it up in paper towels first? Not sure. When mark gave insulin shots..pretty sure they just went in the trash like normal. Right or wrong..that's where they went.

April Dietz said...

In Minnesota (I had some doctoring stuff and had shots at home), we were supposed to either find a place that would take them (very few of those, surprisingly), or you could dispose of them in the trash if you put them in a hard plastic container, like for laundry soap, duck-taped it shut, and labeled it "sharps".
I don't know if all that is needed for just one needle. :-)

April Dietz said...

He, he. The "ads by Google" for your blog post that show up on my screen are: "Cheep Syringes Discounted", "New Touchless Trash Cans", "BD Safety Pin Needle", and "Trash Removal Services".

Cristy said...

You did the right thing in my book. Tell Chris not to talk to you like that and you saved a child from his/her curiosity :)

Kristen said...

That's a tough one... I never touch a "dirty" needle with out gloves... Never! I would have reported it to the police department, because someone's shooting up near a bus stop and that should be investigated. Besides a cop probably has gloves and a sharps container.

Jodi, who ever supplied the insulin supplies, should have supplied a sharps container with info on where to dispose of the needles (i.e. a hospital, or fire department),

As for chubby blond girls inviting themselves over for Indian cuisine... Next time let me know, I'll go with you ;)

Tom and Margit said...

With all of my experience with needles, I actually just throw them away with the cap on. Most doctor offices and hospitals won't let you bring them there in MN, like they used to. Otherwise you can use a milk jug or another hard plastic. I remember with my MS meds, they told me I had to pay extra for the "Sharps" container. As if the $200 or so a month co-pay wasn't enough. And most garbage men don't actually pick up the trash anymore. They have trucks that pick them up and throw them in the back. So I throw them away just like my other trash.