Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hero of Chemistry

mums are popping up all over

lots of nice sunrises these days
Had a great lunch with a good friend. We were treated with the Amtrak train thundering in the middle of the street next to our seats
later watched Shanna's kids. Here they are mesmerized by the forbidden screen. I didn't realize that this was verboten but I should have known when I asked if mama would approve and all I got was a sly smile. Screens suck us in so much and kids really need constant reminders that they need life away from them

Last week my brother was honored at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston as a Hero of Chemistry for his work in developing a drug that cures, not just treats, hepatitis C. Medicinal chemists can labor their whole careers and not see one drug go to market much less a drug that changes how patients are treated. I was considered 'lucky' in that 5 of the compounds I made (3 in one year) made it into further development ( usually only 1 in 5000 make it that far) but none hit the market and none of them would have been 'game changers'. So his work was exceptional and we are very proud of him.
He started the work in a very small company in Princeton, NJ. Publications of his work attracted the attention of Big Pharma which ended up buying the company to obtain this drug and offered him a good position. It was a good decision as the drug has made them billions, the most money a drug was ever sold for in a year. This has not been without controversy. It cost $84K for a 3 month round of treatment which cures 90% of the patients. It does seem like a lot of money but consider the costs of liver failure: hospitalizations, transplants, antirejection drugs. The latest figure (2002) I could come up with for a liver transplant was $312K. One can safely assume this number has tripled. Many cancer drugs cost well over $100K a year for treatment and virtually none of them are curative.

Last weekend I was feeling so hopeful about the other house: the woman who looked through it was so enthusiastic, I was sure she would make an offer. Instead we had a viewing the next day (hope, hope, hope) but at the end of the day, we received negative feedback (too much work needs to be done!!!!!). But maybe that wasn't her. Tuesday another viewing. Maybe this is her. Hope, hope, hope. But at the end of the day, even more negative feedback. something about what was wrong with us having a bathroom off the master without a shower. Meanwhile a house down the street, not in good condition and costing $35K more had an open house Sunday. Yep it's sold. Maybe to her. So we put so much money into structural repairs (new roof, new windows, new fixtures) but didn't do anything cosmetic except paint (entire house!!) Do we do more? Does the house have a hex on it? So this albatross is sucking all the joy out of our lives excepting in the brief times I can forget about its existence and the money suck it is. People ask am I glad I moved since our new house is so nice but if we hadn't and just fixed the old one  up and stayed, we would not be in this annoying situation. But then I would have been treated with Steve whining how much he hates the house. After we withdrew our offer on the other house, I just wanted to take a break for a year but no, constant viewings of houses I really didn't want to buy. And when I refused to go to some of the open houses, he would get mad at me.

It has been like October the last few days. Nice and cool, perfect for running and biking. Too cool for the cloud of biting flies that trail me on hot days landing in my hair. I kill them before they have a chance to bite but I am left with a head full of dead flies. They occasionally take chunks out of other exposed spots but they usually target my head.

The hummingbirds continue their wars. At any one time, I can see 3 or 4 chasing each other or seeing them perched on the tree outside my window with them watching their perceived domains. Wasps are also their enemy. I've cut down the amount of wasps by applying a thin coat of oil around the ports. Wasps presumably hate oil on their legs. Most of the interesting birds are gone except for the goldfinches. A female oriole did land on my hummingbird feeder yesterday while I sat on the bed a few feet away but she was spooked when she saw me. I've been putting suet cakes out in the hopes of eventually attracting the woodpeckers. Th cardinals love them too but the sparrows are still around and eat it up. The days are shorter and summer is quickly disappearing. I do love fall but as it is a segue to bleak winter, I dread it.

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

Huge congratulations to your brother. Hopefully the prices will come down over time, to make them accessible to all.


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