The Needle Bucket

On Friday, I had blood drawn to get some lab work done. After the nurse finished, she tossed the used hypodermic needle into a plastic bin with all the others.

I looked in. The bin was nearly full, nothing but used needles.

Then the nurse said the strangest thing. “If there was a million dollars at the bottom of that bucket, would you put your hand in and grab it?”

Shudder. No. No I would not. I told her so.

“Really? Not even for a million dollars?”

Bear in mind, I’m a needlephobe, so I’m pretty impressed with myself already for having my blood drawn and not passing out. But all I said was, “It’s probably contaminated, isn’t it?”

“Oh, come on,” she said. “What are the odds you’re going to hit that one needle that’s contaminated?”

I confess, I had not heard this sentiment voiced by a nurse before.

“Would you do it?” I asked.

“Sure!” she said. “I’m fifty years old, I’m going to die soon anyway.”

I expressed my belief that the typical fifty-year-old is not likely to die soon. She just laughed.

I sometimes think these brief moments of strangeness and humor are part of the reason we’re alive.

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7 responses to “The Needle Bucket

  1. I am a lawyer: my immediate thought was that the stated conditions do not rule out using accessible tools (forceps, &c.) to clear away the needles before I reach for the money.

  2. ā€œIā€™m fifty years old, Iā€™m going to die soon anyway.ā€

    Well there’s an optimist if I ever heard one!

  3. I know I’m a bit late to this comment but I know of instances that people go through those boxes to find syringes with just a little bit of narcotic left and inject themselves. Also people pull out used medicated patches and lick/chew them to absorb the remaining narcotic.

    So, maybe not for a million dollars, but people do it more frequently than you think.

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