Thursday, January 28, 2010

Random Thoughts for Thursday, January 28

Once again, it is "random thoughts" Thursday. I hope you do not mind me rambling on about a couple of topics.

KDA Conference

The Kennedy's Disease Association conference and educational symposium will be held in San Diego this year. The dates for the conference are November 10, 11 and 12. This year's conference should be especially interesting with two potential clinical trials in the wind as well as a potential exercise trial.

The conference offers those living with Kennedy's Disease to interact with each other in both a professional and social environment. It is also a time to renew old friendships as well as make new ones. Fortunately, the doctors and researchers are as interested in attending the conference as we are. Several researchers have commented that this is an excellent forum for them to meet with and learn from those of us with Kennedy's Disease. It is also an excellent opportunity for researchers who are focused on Kennedy's Disease to share their research as well as discuss their concepts with other professionals during the closed session.

Conference planning and the logistics during the meetings are a lot of work. Once again, we are fortunate enough to have several board members and volunteers that are willing to roll up their sleeves and spend the countless hours needed to make the meetings a success.

Feeling Grateful

When something as terrible as the disaster in Haiti occurs, it is always reminder of how fortunate I am. Our safety and health are factors that many of us take for granted until something terrible happens. Then, when something occurs on the magnitude of this recent disaster or something happens to a family member or friend, I once again realize that life is fragile and precious, and at any moment lives can be changed … possibly forever.

My entire adult life I have been aware of the blessings of my being born and raised in the United States. This became especially evident during my Vietnam tours as well as my visits to other Southeastern Asian countries and Mexico. We, meaning many Americans, take so much for granted. If we are sick or injured, we have a good healthcare system in place. When a disaster strikes, we have resources available to support the needs of the individuals involved. I know that some of you might question and argue how good our system works, but I will tell you that in comparison to most countries, it works pretty well.

I am most amazed at how people handle adversity of the magnitude caused by an earthquake or flood. I cannot imagine losing my home, family members, friends, all my possessions, our savings, as well as not having access to items necessary for our survival (clean water, food, medicine, etc.). No one expects that his or her life is going to be changed and challenged to the extent shown to us recently in Haiti. It once again shows how strong (True Grit) most people are inside.

Maslow's Theory of Motivation (Pyramid of Hierarchy of Needs) always seems to come to mind when a disaster happens. Many of us were introduced to the theory in high school and college

"The basis of Maslow's motivation theory is that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower factors need to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied. According to Maslow, there are general types of needs (physiological, survival, safety, love, and esteem) that must be satisfied before a person can act unselfishly. He called these needs "deficiency needs." As long as we are motivated to satisfy these cravings, we are moving towards growth, toward self-actualization. Satisfying needs is healthy, while preventing gratification makes us sick or act evilly."

If survival items such as water, food, and sleep are not available to us, we will do almost anything to satisfy this basic need. Further, we will not think of anything else until these needs are satisfied. I personally tend to lump medical attention and concern for family into this survival mode. After these basic needs are satisfied, people will then focus on safety considerations including having a roof over our heads, medical attention, employment, money, and savings.

"Though Maslow's hierarchy makes sense intuitively, little evidence supports its strict hierarchy. Actually, recent research challenges the order that the needs are imposed by Maslow's pyramid. As an example, in some cultures, social needs are placed more fundamentally than any others. … Additionally, little evidence suggests that people satisfy exclusively one motivating need at a time, other than situations where needs conflict."

The people in Haiti are in the survival mode right now. All I can say is, WOW!

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