Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thirty-five years ago today.....

I began work as a chemist in Detroit. I had spent time after graduation teaching gifted high school students by day and decidedly ungifted adults by night plus I was still finishing up my research job documenting organ of Corti (inner ear)damage due to antibiotics. I was the first woman ever hired (except for secretaries) in that department and they were nervous. As soon as possible, I transferred to Ann Arbor where I was living and preferred to stay.
Over the years, I worked on many projects: cancer, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, female sexual dysfunction, diabetic retinopathy, obesity, manic depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, neuropathic pain, nociceptive pain, and fibromyalgia. Before binding assays were developed requiring only a trace amount of potential drug, we had to produce relatively large quantities of material (at least 3 g) for testing. I probably have produced at least 1500 (if not more..if I had access to my work computer, I'd know this for sure) NCE (new chemical entities..never made by anyone else.)
The highlight of my career? One year, three of my compounds I produced were selected for further development. Corporate wide, only 33 such compounds were selected so 10% of the compounds were due to me even though I represented less than 0.1% of the chemists worldwide. My reward? Lots of stock options. What were these stock options worth? Nada, absolutely nada. But in other years, they would have amounted to a house or two.

On my thirtieth anniversary, my co-workers arranged a surprise party for me along the lines of What's my Line?
They had a narrator read stories written by people from my past and I was to guess who they were talking about. Many showed up and it meant so much to me.

I've been offered a few opportunities to return to work. They know I don't need benefits (although my current health insurance really does suck) and they know me. Steve took up one of these offers.
But somehow, I find myself otherwise occupied.

I got a run in before the deluge begins that may turn into an ice storm by tomorrow morning. Today is my easy day, schedule wise. The rest of the week..busy.

Naomi just received a request for jury duty..have to see if nursing a baby is reason for exemption.

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