You might be thinking, what could this have to do with SpouseTales? Well, it’s really about the disruption of wearing a mask or not. Truth is, I grew up without a seatbelt and survived those days as a young person. My sister and I actually laid in an overhead bed of a slide-out camper peering out the window at the Colorado Rockies on summer vacations. We came through the time in history as seatbelts became law. In Texas, it was September of 1985. I don’t remember people reacting so extreme and negative about this because the television commercials of the crash test dummies were undeniable. For the most part, the alternative seemed to be worse than the inconvenience of the seatbelt.
As leaders, we have a responsibility to share what we know and what we do as healthcare providers. Dentistry has been accustomed to this inconvenience for many years. Albeit now everyone on the dental team is affected by this nuisance. As someone who often works in the admin area of a practice, it seems odd not to share a big smile as people enter our dental home. Odd that I’m concerned that my voice is muffled by my mask as I answer a phone call. Nonetheless, it’s part of my responsibility to our patients, our team, my family and the public. Similar to seatbelts at the time, the mask is inconvenient. In dentistry, we recognize the need to comply. We have an opportunity to be of influence in this debated behavior every time we are in public.
Where are the crash test dummies now?
The campaign for seatbelts was strong and indisputable. Today you won’t find a young mother taking her child from the hospital, daycare or school without proper seatbelts. The law won’t allow it and the mother would likely freak out at the thought. So, why do you think it is so easy for many of us to allow others their own “belief” about masks when we walk out of the office? In my humble opinion, we (in dentistry) have been mandated to a very high and mostly measurable degree to a new level of compliance. If the one life that might be saved was someone in your family would it be worth mentioning that we “understand” this new normal protocol?
At the risk of being run out of dentistry, I want to urge those of you reading to please just consider this as an opportunity to share what the test dummies showed. We are the walking talking marketing tools for this most recent fashion statement. We are the people “in the know” who can be about the change in behavior versus talking about the change in behavior. You are influencers in your circles. You don’t have to be on one side or the other but you do need to respect the science and the numbers. I’d like to ask a question; has anyone in your circle lost a life or a loved one to COVID? If you do, you’ll understand there is a generation who will not know or understand the problem with the mask just as there was with the seatbelt.
The young shall lead
This week as we welcomed three young men in our office. Their grandmother (Nanaw) was preparing for back to school with their dental checkups. I have to say, I was in awe at their behavior. The boys 4, 6 and 11 had given me concern with our new protocols for bringing patients from the screening area directly to a treatment room. Will they be rowdy? Who will possibly be in the screening area at the same time they are? In Texas, it is just rude to ask someone to fill out paperwork in a car with 104-degree temperature.
Once they walked in it was a breath of fresh air! Clearly, these boys had been “conditioned” to understand the mask and the protection it provided. Yes, even the 4-year-old. I ask for this photo as a picture of what is possible if we believe in the behavior. (Yes, photo consent was signed.) We can all learn from the 4-year-old. These boys were amazing and if we can just remember what they shared. This policy is to protect and not to punish!
See you on the road,