Behind the Surgical Mask: Another COVID-19 Story

I am a general dentist in Dallas, Texas. Because of this current COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Greg Abbott has, by executive order, closed down dental offices across the state for over a month for all but the more emergent of circumstances that result in a patient’s inability to eat or that may cause an emergency room visit if a dentist does not intervene. Many other businesses and workers have been adversely affected as well all across the country.

This is a very surreal position to find ourselves in. This came upon us very suddenly. We had no idea there would be a government shutdown of businesses within the United States of America for reasons of a pandemic. I do feel at a loss at not being able to care for my valued patients. This is the first time since 1986 when I have not been able to care for all patients for a two-week period of time or more. This is what I do, and my governments are preventing me from doing it. This is surreal. I do not feel that I am living freely.

Naturally, I understand why. Our aim nationally is to slow down and then to stop this spread of COVID-19, to prevent the over-burdening of our hospital systems, and to save lives. I fully understand all this. I want the same.

With all this, there is truly a burden for those of us who cannot work and make money. We did not financially plan on not working and not making money for over two months. Yes, the national government has provided for SBA loans; however, the funding of those loans for the majority of us has been slow to non-existent. And time goes on, bills continue to pile up, without being able to work or make money. Yes, some of us had some cash aside “just in case.” Many of us did not consider “just in case” included keeping up with business and personal financial obligations for months without any money coming in, because of all this!

Some of us did obtain insurance for disability, death, fire, theft, and other circumstances, but there is not an insurance for this. This is quite unique. We rely on our cash reserves and perhaps on government loans.

For me personally, I have always been the main financial provider for my family. That role has been removed for over a month now, and will continue at least for another month. This does wear on me. This is my role. This has been an important purpose for my family. I keep us in a home, I pay the bills, and I fund family members when their cash is in short supply. This is all so surreal. I do not feel that I am living freely.

For others in a similar position of being removed from their work by law or as a result of the law, I pray. Many of us live with a good amount of stress and anxiety in our lives. This pandemic thing may be a huge burden for us to carry. This period of time may be particularly difficult to navigate, to endure, and to overcome. With that, medical, financial, psychological, social, and other challenges result. How will we all get through this? There is a personal cost to closing down businesses. It is difficult to quantify, but there is most definitely a personal cost to this closing down of businesses!

I am so grateful I came back to the faith in 2007! Thankfully, my faith is keeping me strong, amid all the problems I find myself in. My faith graces me with kindness, gentleness, peace, patience, understanding, knowledge, wisdom, courage and strength, enhanced faith and trust in my God, love of myself and others, self-control, a better ability to judge and be charitable, and my faith graces me with joy! I realize for some this is difficult to understand. But I am here to tell you, this all is for real. Faith is a real thing! Faith provides me with all I just listed, and more.

Even with all that is going on, I do feel blessed. I know this will pass. This will not at all be as I planned it, as many things in my life have not been as I planned. However, I have learned and I have complete trust in the fact that my God will make good come out of all this. I know this will turn out good in some way, with God’s power and desire. And just like that, I know I will be fine.

I fully hope you and others have a faith to rely on. I cannot imagine not having it. I recall not having it and I recall how difficult my life was. With faith, life is so much easier to endure. It truly is. If you need help, reach out! Find a trusted faithful friend or family member, find a pastor you trust, find assistance! If you notice someone in need, reach out to them in some way. Some are not good at asking for help; they are waiting for someone to help them. Or they may feel their situation is hopeless, and they need us to reach out to them!

This is all so surreal. I do not feel that I am living freely. I understand why we are in all this government-mandated mess. I rely on faith. I know that this will pass. I know good will come from this. And I trust in all this, wholeheartedly!

If you want to read more of my writing on my faith, feel free to view my other blog posts here. May God bless us all!

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