Saturday 27 January 2024

Why Do We Specialise in Writing for the Life Sciences Industry?

In January 2007, I almost died. 

I don't remember which I noticed first, the nausea or the red blotches. Or the heat. It's possible that they all arrived together. I remember feeling extremely lightheaded, and I have a vague recollection of being carried out of the house and bundled into the back of the car by my husband, Ryoma. I remember that my skin puffed up and began to hurt. Then nothing... until I woke up in a bed in the local hospital's Intensive Therapy Unit. For the next few days I was unconscious most of the time. 

I wasn't always sure about where I was. And I hadn't a clue what was wrong with me. Unfortunately, my doctors were equally baffled. Drugs were pumped into me. Tests were run. Bacterial meningitis was considered, then rejected. Septicemia was suggested. An allergic reaction was thought likely, until it wasn't. My heart rate was too fast, my temperature was too high. I couldn't eat, walk, or string enough words together to create a sentence. I may have been out of it most of the time, but I was aware—as was my family—that death wasn't out of the question. Later, when I was back home, Ryoma told me that he'd been informed, when we first arrived at the hospital, that a delay of just a few minutes could have resulted in me not surviving.

The hospital doctors shook their heads and sighed, then decided to throw everything at me; thankfully, eventually something stuck. A week later, the blotches had disappeared, along with the pain I'd been feeling, my heart rate was almost back to normal, and I was eating again. My release was delayed by a stubbornly high temperature, but eventually I was back home. By the time I was released, it was suggested that a virus and subsequent infection had caused the trouble. But the last doctor to speak to me confirmed that she and her colleagues didn't really know what had made me so ill. 'Keep on taking the pills,' she said; 'we don't know which ones worked, so take them all, in case... well, just keep on taking them.'

I was released, but I wasn't what you'd call recovered. Recovery took another eighteen months. When I first returned home, I couldn't walk a few steps without getting out of breath. I slept on and off all day, and I suffered constant headaches. At some point—funnily enough, I can't remember when—it was discovered that I'd lost quite a bit of my memory. 

Eventually, I did get back to 'normal'. Well, that's not strictly true; I never returned to being the me that I had been before my illness. Is it possible to get so up close and personal with Death and remain unchanged? I don't think so. My view of the world, of what matters, and of the direction I wanted to take in life all changed. Once I had recovered sufficiently, Ryoma made the decision to move into working with the Life Sciences Industry; it was his way of giving back.

A lot has happened since then, but one thing has remained the same: I am always grateful for the medicines that saved my life—whichever ones did the trick—and the doctors and nurses who pumped me full of them. We're all just a hop, skip and a jump away from illness or injury, and where would we be without our hospitals, doctors, nurses, researchers, medical device manufacturers,  laboratories, and so on? 

Not so very long ago, we were all oblivious to the future existence of Covid 19, and then... well, you know the rest. Is there a sensible person alive now who isn't more aware of the fragility of human life as a result?

Why the Life Sciences? Well, it's a natural consequence of benefitting from their existence.