I don’t know what to make of this thought, so here goes:
I was supposed to be dead or severely disabled by now, at the best guess of the doctor in the hospital where I was admitted and diagnosed. He was talking to my Dad. I wasn’t supposed to hear, but since I was pretending to be asleep, I did. “Oh he’ll be okay for a while, but they all have bad complications in 20 years or so, and after 30 years, welllll, you know”. That was 1977.
I guess I owe my life to big pharma, Eli Lilly made regular and NPH insulin commercially available, and it kept me alive. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I work for health care in general, thinking that I am somehow connected and any little progress or improvement I make can propagate further than company profits… maybe it’ll make it all the way out to the patients. A lofty goal perhaps but since I am not smart enough to be a doctor and help people directly, the best I can do is an indirect angle.
One of my better accomplishments was to work for one of the major US insulin syringe companies, and since I actually used their products, I felt very close to my core belief that I might just be able to help someone. I now work for a gosh darn big pharma/bio tech. So lately I have worked on some pretty good projects, for a company that, like many big pharma, does not in any way deserve my help but they do pay me…and dangle the “it’s not for us, but for the patients” carrot for which I do drive myself and respond, almost embarrassingly so.
The nice thing is: I got a chance to work on the engineering for an insulin producing factory, both fermentation and purification, which for me will be a direct positive impact on people’s lives and the closest I’ve ever been to making that connection to helping people in general and diabetics in particular. The second big project was for this new cancer drug and for this one, the fight was deeply personal. Like a lot of people, I have lost loved ones to cancer. I didn’t do anything big-brained, I just worked on the systems necessary for the stability of the drug, since it needs to stay way frozen once purified, and exotic refrigeration is one of my specialties. For me, even to have the smallest role in launching or protection of a new therapy is like giving me my own personal swing to punch cancer in the nads. Hell yes I am in, and this one I would do for free (but for the love of God don’t tell that to my boss).
Anyway, I was supposed to be dead by now. I’d like to think that the ones like us that were supposed to be dead, but pushed on anyway and managed to help in any way large or small, would help others who might also then live past when they were supposed to be dead and help in turn. It’s kind of like a zombie “pay it forward”. Which makes me laugh because of my love for zombie movies, but which also gives me hope that if we stop fighting one another and put it in our hearts to do something good, or just one good thing outside ourselves, that we could accomplish anything.
Thanks for reading, Love, Joe