A thought passed through my mind this past week: it never occurred to me that I had taken for granted that our team members, most of whom have been trained on the job, have never been taught the proper technique for putting on and taking off a mask. I honestly never thought it mattered. You just put on the mask, and when you are finished with the patient, you remove it. Maybe it is that simple. But maybe, after treating the patient with a hidden, silent infection, we carelessly remove the mask, touching the fabric where countless pathogens are chillin’.
Then, without even considering or realizing it, we rub our eyes. Does it matter then? I don’t know. But I do know that whatever the CDC, OSHA, the ADA and any other governing board has in store for us when it comes to new protocol, I, for one, will embrace the change. I will be upset, and I will be frustrated knowing that it is going to be costly, both in terms of money and time. I will be at times outraged at what I will consider ‘an over-reaction’ and inconsistency by the powers-that-be. But in the end, I will remain grateful to be part of the greatest profession around, and look forward to protecting those who have put their trust in me, to provide the safest work environment that I can. Many of us, myself included, are worried at some level about what the future holds for us personally, and for the field of dentistry. Know that you are not alone if you are harboring some fears.
But, we will prevail as we did in the 1980s and before. We will be a better version of ourselves, not because we necessarily wanted to, but because the world said that it needs us to be. I leave you with this stanza from Dylan:
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’