September 21, 2015

Humira disposal odyssey

This post is tangentially related to #RABlog Week.

After taking Humira for 10 months I accumulated quite a few used syringes, which require special disposal.  The specialty pharmacy mailed a sharps container along with my first delivery.  That held about six months' worth.  I requested a second sharps container after the first was filled.  The full fist container I left by my purse and keys, intending to bring it to my next rheumatology appointment for biohazard disposal.  It sat sentinel on the cabinet for some weeks, blending into the background of my home. 

After a couple months I finally brought it to the blood center.  I also have hereditary hemochromatosis, which is much less interesting than its name sounds.  My body absorbs too much iron, iron generally being in short supply in the natural world.  Back when wild beasts were roaming the moors this would have been positive.  For me in the modern western world, not so much.  I had been donating blood, a simple and doubly useful way to solve the problem.  Then my blood became unacceptable, so back to "therapeutic phlebotomy" it was.  It was to one of these appointments that I brought my biohazard box. 

But lo! Biohazard disposal is expensive.  So I left with the used sharps.  Next I brought them to my doctor's office.  But OSHA doesn't allow nurses to touch them, so back home they went.  I restrained myself from stealthing them into the exam room's biohazard container.  It was at this point I started imagining my home slowly filling with full sharps containers. 

In the intervening months I had checked into disposal options.  The city and county offer sharps disposal, targeted to drug users, but none of the locations were particularly convenient.  I had read that the county allows disposal of properly marked used sharps in the garbage.  Not my city, however. 

The final decision was to securely close the sharps container and hand it off to my mom.  She can throw it in her trash, and my problem is solved.  Any fear of being crushed to death under a toppled mountain of biohazard containers is assuaged!


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