Art Therapy

“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…..Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist” ― Stephen Hawking


“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…..Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist” ― Stephen Hawking

Delay is a Blessing in Disguise

No, this is not the idea of mañana, like in delaying for tomorrow tasks that should be done today.  However, that is what actually happened unintentionally.  We were frantically scurrying to finalize all the tasks left for the last moment before our flight on the next day.  I still had a supervision session in the morning.  After that the microwave technician was scheduled to come with the repaired part and reinstall the microwave over the stove.  We needed to sign some documents in the bank, and finalized packing. 

In the midst of all that my husband went to check the computer to see if the newspaper was canceled, when an Email popped up declaring: “Less than 5 hours to your flight, and you did not check in yet.  Please come immediately to the check in counter”.  Needless to say there was no way we could get to the airport at this point. Even if we picked ourself up and left immediately, since we live about two and a half hours from the airport it could not be done.  What was going on?  Check the tickets again.  Sure enough, we misread the date.  Instead of the departure date we mistakenly read the arrival date as departure.  Quick phone call to Air Canada, only to be told that due to increased demand, the waiting time is between 30 minutes to 3 hours. “Check our website, and leave your name and number and we will call you back”.

Checking our booking on the website gave us a possibility of changing our departure time, and luckily there was an identical flight on the next day. There were available seats, so we could change our booking.  There was just a “small” matter of the difference in price between the cost of the ticket when we purchased it, and the cost today.  We sighed a sigh of relief, and headed for the bank.

As we were at the door, the phone rang, and what do you know, it was Air Canada returning our call after merely 2 hours! The woman was happy to hear that we managed to solve the problem, and when we said we even checked on upgrading to Business Class, but found only one seat, she offered to check. Lo and behold she found 2 seats, and the price of the upgrade was not outrageous. We felt we deserved a break, upgraded, and had a good night sleep in actual beds on the plane. That is what I call “Delay is a Blessing in Ddisguise”. 

Why do I call it a blessing in disguise?  The delay can turn out to be a blessing, but it may affect your finances, tour emotional wellbeing, social and personal relationships or professional standing. Even though the result of a delay may be positive, as you saw it cost us additional funds.

I stopped here for over 2weeks because I was trying to find an example that would actually be universally relevant and more serious.  I found an article on the New York Times that I think will demonstrate the principle 0f delay as a blessing in disguise.  The article, “We Can Cure Disease by Editing a Person’s DNA. Why Aren’t We?” by Dr. Floyd Urnov, a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley appeared on December 9, 2022. The article discusses the process of CRISPR to correct mutations in the DNA that cause conditions leading to deterioration and death. “Famously proposed 50 years ago, such fixes, or ‌gene therapies, began earnest development in 1989. After fits and starts, the first real cures for children born with no functioning immune system arrived in the early 2000s.”  We are aware of other developments in the last 100 years that changed the way our world functions today.  From the use of telephones to computers, and internet, flights and even travel to the moon.  So why not embrace right away the innovation of jean therapies?  After all did we not wait enough? So why delay?

“Several approved gene therapy medicines now exist. All involve taking a virus, replacing its harmful contents with a disease-treating gene, and injecting it into a person (or exposing the person’s cells to that virus in a dish and putting them back). Though effective, these treatments remain cumbersome to build and jaw-droppingly expensive: One recently approved gene therapy for people with an inherited bleeding disorder costs a record-breaking $3.5 million for a single-use vial, making it the most expensive drug in the world.” Here lies the problem.  The cost does not justify creating the drug for a small number of people suffering from a particular disease. And no commercial entity is willing to invest in production of such a cure.  Building on the virus therapy we have now a different approach, gene editing, which relies on a molecular machine called CRISPR, which can be instructed to repair a mutation in a gene in nearly any organism, right where that “typo” occurs. This approach has applications also in basic science, agriculture, climate change. And medicine. It looks like “Scientists have now delivered on a remarkable dream: word-processor-like control over DNA.”  To date, it is reported, the technology has been used to treat congenital blindnesssickle cell diseaseheart diseasenerve diseasecancer and H.I.V.   We are told that early studies show that conditions like heart diseasechronic pain and Alzheimer’s disease could all be treated with CRISPR.   “‌Dr. Jennifer Doudna, a winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for CRISPR gene editing along with Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, aptly described it as a “profound opportunity to change health care for many people.”

This can be a real revolution, and the article goes on to describe the simple 2 months treatment procedure which will eliminate the need for life long medication.  If we have such a powerful ability than why the delay?  The greatest obstacles are not technical but legal, financial and organizational. Dr. Urnove goes on to say “from more than 15 years of experience building such gene-editing medicines and advancing them to clinical trials, I know this process is only the first step in a four-year journey likely to cost at least $8 million to $10 million”.  He argues that we need to invest public funds in CRISPR cures for rare diseases which will help us treat people with uncommon mutations (a global community numbering hundreds of millions of people) but will also provide insights that can be infused into CRISPR clinical innovation for common diseases.

Many of us will not live to see the day in which global health and CRISPR medicine will be a reality rather than utopia.  However, the knowledge that it is indeed were the world is heading to is a blessing in disguise.

— 2022-12-17