There are a lot of things to figure out when your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It may take a few days, but after realizing that your child will be receiving five injections every day, one of those questions, eventually, is “What are we supposed to do with all of these used needles?”. I think members of the medical profession actually prefer to call them “syringes” or “sharps”, but you all know exactly what I’m talking about. We can’t just throw them in the trash because, technically, they are considered hazardous medical waste (what a horrible term to associate with your own child). But, there are going to be a lot of them, so what to do with them?
Thankfully, our lovely nurse friend/neighbor M came to our rescue (as she has done countless times, bless her). She works someplace where they deal with “sharps” all the time, and so they have a medical waste disposal service that regularly picks up their medical waste for appropriate incineration. She told us to put all of our used needles into a one-gallon (milk) jug, and when it is full, give it to her and she will dispose of it.
So, one more milestone has been reached by our family. T-Bear was diagnosed 109 days ago, and we have completely filled one one-gallon jug with used syringes. That’s approximately 545 injections.
Brother Bear ran our filled jug over to M with a heart-felt “thank you”, and we’ve started on a new sharps container. I’m not using a one-gallon jug this time. I’m an optimist, and holding out for an insulin pump by the end of this year, so I’ve just got a seltzer water bottle for collecting sharps in. We may fill it up entirely and have to start on a new seltzer bottle before T-Bear is on a pump, but NO WAY I’m going to give in and use a one-gallon jug again. No more one-gallon jugs for sharps. Mama Bear has spoken.
Time for a short commercial break. My eight-year old son has given himself approximately 545 injections in the past 3 ½ months. Please consider helping find a cure for type 1 diabetes by contributing to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation if you can. Commercial break over.
And, one more milestone for our little T-Bear: he has begun testing himself. Four times per day, he stabs himself with a lancet, draws a drop of blood from his finger, and comes up with his BS reading. And, Brother Bear (10 next month) is learning to calculate appropriate insulin doses and draw them for his brother (under my supervision, of course). Kids are capable of doing so much more than we give them credit for.