We will come through these uncharted waters

Not that long ago I remember saying to one of my friends “I have been working non-stop. I seriously need some time off.” They say to be careful of what you wish for. I didn’t mean this.

As many of you know, and probably many more suspect, I am a Type A, with all of the things, good and bad that come with it. Even though that is how I am wired, I do believe that life experiences can temper some of that. Looking back, I think that I used to be more quick to anger and jump at things. Even the smallest things would sometimes really bother me. Then 2015 happened. As many of you know, there were many tragedies in that year for me. One byproduct, however, is that it now takes more to anger me and I do not sweat the small stuff as much. I seem more able to step back and take in the larger view.

By no means am I suggesting that all of you need tragedies in your lives. Quite the contrary, I hope that none of you ever go through that. What I am suggesting, however, is that sometimes things happen that we have absolutely no control over. Initially we fret and stew and work ourselves up into a froth, only to realize that there is not much that we can do. With this pandemic, our profession, and our lives, really, are on hold, suspended for lack of a better word. We each, individually, want to do something to make this go away. We want our lives and our livelihoods back, and we want it now! I think that most of us have come to the conclusion that we are not going to get our wish any time soon. Whether that is good or bad remains to be seen. I have heard most of the debates about whether or not social distancing is the correct thing to do, as well as all of the arguments and statistics. Still, after all of that, I am not sure what to believe. I am worried about my business and my staff. I wish that I knew more about epidemiology. How do I balance the health and well-being of my family, friends and community in general against the health and well-being of my business? Am I being selfish? Are we all having this internal debate? Later today, I will be talking to my therapist by FaceTime. I will probably address those questions, since they bother me. My guess is, that there will be plenty of time for me to work through these things before we get back to work.

One thing that I have learned the hard way is that I can work hard to regain money or “things” that I have lost. I cannot get back the people that I have lost. That is forever. I hear about herd immunity and while I understand the concept and realize that it will probably be our reality, I worry about those lost. These concepts sound like a good thing unless your loved ones are the ones lost. So, I will continue to self-isolate unless I see an emergency in my office, in which case I will use the same universal precautions that I have always used, since that is all that I have. I signed up to be a dentist and I will continue to make sure that my patients are not in pain.

While I am home I will try to step back and see the big picture. I will appreciate the little things more. I will make do with less and try to help those less fortunate than I am. (Here comes the tough one) I will clean out my basement and garage. Ugh. I will get my yard in shape and do the things I have put off. I also will admit to myself that I alone cannot make a huge difference in the world. For that, it takes a group with the same goal in mind. The longer I have been active in organized dentistry, the more I realize that they do things for us that we never even hear about. I will be writing more about this in the next month or two. But for now, please know that even though we are at home, we have been working tirelessly for you and your practices. These are uncharted waters, but we will come through this. At some point there will be a vaccine and this will all be a thing of the past. So, take a deep breath, try to look at the big picture and I will see you all on the other side of this.