And so the journey to a new normality has commenced.
My first day treating patient since lockdown was Tuesday 9th June 2020.
I’ve been very excited and relieved to get back to a job that is the culmination of 24 years of full-time education and nearly 2000 hours of post graduate education since qualifying as a dentist. It’s no exaggeration to state that it has been torture, taking calls from patients in pain that I am unable to offer what I would consider to be a reasonable standard of care.
We’ve put many measures in place to ensure the safety of the staff and patients and I’m not convinced that many of them are necessary. I am certain we will reflect with ridicule the utter futility of some of the procedures we have implemented, though perhaps we will also discover some areas where we haven’t been doing enough.
Like most people, I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster throughout lockdown, which culminated in a real dip in my mental health at around five weeks. The conclusion of which was that I’d tried to take on too much additional work that had seriously stressed me out on top of the tumultuous feelings regarding the virus.
Looking back now, I can see just how much I achieved in this time, including setting up a website and starting this blog, despite often feeling like I couldn’t do much due to spending a considerable amount of time being Dad. Near full-time parenting has been both the best and the hardest part of lockdown for me.
Now I’m back on clinic, I am sad to be leaving behind the wonderful time I’ve been able to spend with my family. It struck me on Monday evening how much less time I’ll be getting with them all.
This melancholy was drowned swiftly by a wave of gratitude at the time I have had with them in these last 11 weeks. I couldn’t have chosen a better time in my life to have an extended period of time “off”, than with both our kids being so young, with no school work to bog them down. Their irrepressible imagination and energy (which I have learnt is pretty much limitless) has been a joy to be around (mostly).
It’s rare that a working parent will get an opportunity like this and I must say I feel like I’ve spent this time well and feel immensely fortunate and grateful to be blessed with such a wonderful family, and the time to be with them.
For sure, I will miss the time with my family during lockdown, but I am filled with gratitude for the time I’ve had and not sadness for what I have lost.