The Samantha Years

Hazardous Material

Sometimes I forget that our life is a little different than others….

We have had 100 vials of Vancomyacin in our downstairs refrigerator next to the pickles. This was medication left over from the summer…from Samantha’s battles with several different infections. The vicious infection cycle kind of went like this….

Samantha would get sick…..

We would go to the hospital…

The hospital would place a PIC line….

We would go home on I.V. meds….home health care would deliver two weeks of I.V. medications which was stored in the downstairs refrigerator, next to the pickles.

Three days later, Samantha would get sick again and we would be back in the hospital.

This resulted in copious quantities of Vancomyacin in our refrigerator….really, 100 vials….no exaggeration

What does one do with 100 vials of Vancomyacin?

I kept it in the frig for a while; hoping I could think of some wonderful charity to donate it to. Unfortunately, many of the vials expired in July.

And no one takes expired meds. You could be in the deepest, darkest Africa, with a raging infection, in need of Vancomyacin….but if it’s October 2009 and the vial expired in July 2009….sorry, no luck….All meds are checked at the border and they are expired, they’re thrown away.

This kind of bugs me. If I had a raging infection in the middle of no where I would take whatever they gave me but that’s a whole different blog.

I digress….

So, last week in the middle of the snowstorm I decided it was time to take back our refrigerator and throw out the 100 vials of expired Vancomyacin sitting next to the pickles.

And I learned something new……

I discovered that 100 vials of Vancomyacin cannot be thrown out with the milk cartons and boxes of Rice Krispies. Antibiotics are considered hazardous material and handled as such.

I found this information kinda funny seeing that the Vanco has been sitting next to the pickles for the last five months.

So I loaded up our three bags of Vanco in the back of the station wagon and headed down to the Larimer County dump. I found the hazardous material office due to the skull and crossbones on the sign.


I pull out the bags and head into the office.

“Whoa! Whoa! What is that?” The hazardous material guy says.

“It’s I.V. antibiotics. It’s expired. I was told to take it here.”

HazMat guy pulls out these big, thick rubber gloves and gently holds a vial of vanco. “Any needles in here?”


“Anymore of this?”

Well I certainly hope not “Not at the moment.” I say

“Why you got this?”

“My daughter was sick. She needed this medication but she doesn’t anymore.”

“Good.” And with that, HazMat guy pulls out a big heavy plastic bag and delicately puts the vials of vanco in the bags using his big, thick, heavy rubber gloves.

It’s not going to explode. I think, it’s been next to the pickles

I make a mental note that perhaps I should throw the pickles away.

2 thoughts on “Hazardous Material”

  1. That sure gave me a chuckle! …..Love your writing!! My son, Matt, has this gift as well. Your styles are quite similar really. Must be the common blood you share as second cousins!!


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