I don’t even know where to start – plenty to say, but where to begin? I suppose I should really start by asking how you all are? From the bottom of my heart, I hope you are all keeping well, staying safe, and managing to look after yourselves during this surreal time. It felt like an appropriate time to come back to blogging following world mental health day last weekend – something that we can all identify with in one way or another. I’ve always said that I find this blog really cathartic, and that I find it really helps to organise the hundreds of thoughts that bounce around my mind each day. This Pandemic has been difficult to process in so many ways and has really taken its toll on people – not just physically, but mentally too. The media coverage is scary, it’s negative, and it’s exhausting. I’ve actually been looking forward to just writing down a few bits and pieces here to try and make sense of the last few months.
COVID-19 has hit us all hard – some harder than others, but no one has escaped this. It puts us all on the same sheet – money means nothing to the virus, your job means nothing to the virus, who you are, and what you have, means nothing to the monstrous strain of coronavirus that appeared from nowhere, and has wreaked absolute havoc on the world. I hope wherever you are in the world you are coping with your situation and finding your feet with a new version of normal. I feel very grateful to be back at work, being able to be back in an environment that is normal for me, surrounded by friendly (albeit masked) familiar faces.
Richard, my Husband, is still working from home, and I know that is the same for many people. Having Richard work from home is brilliant – now I’m a part-timer, it means more time as a family when Freddie and I have our days at home, and it also means the food shop can come during the week (if that’s not a bonus I don’t know what is!). The downside to him working from home, is that lack of socialising with colleagues. Zoom calls are great, Microsoft Teams is great, FaceTime is great. It’s just not the same, and 6 months later, it’s taking its toll and becoming less of a novelty. I know many will feel the same – and I have said to Richard on countless occasions how important it is to get yourself out during your lunchbreak, to find time for you and have natural breaks away from the desk, as you would do in your normal working environment. Mental health is as important as physical health, so you must prioritise yourself and your own wellbeing – especially at a time like this when things can get on top of you so quickly.
Freddie, who is now 16 months old, has thrived throughout lockdown, and really enjoyed having the company of both myself and Richard. I had only just come back from Maternity leave, so for me, it was just a step back into the role I had adopted for 9 months. For Richard, he was able to enjoy a precious time that few Dads are able to experience – furlough definitely had its perks! Freddie learned to walk during lockdown, he is now talking – he is growing and growing, and time just will not slow down to let me appreciate all these new things. I wondered whether the facemasks in shops might frighten him, whether he’d suffer for lack of contact with children his own age while we were unable to see others – but I think at that age, they are significantly more resilient than we give them credit for. He is such a positive light for us during this scary and uncertain time – this little life that knows no fear, has no perception of all the madness in the world – just going about his day and focusing on the things that are important to him. Bubbles, sticks, and Peppa Pig.
Like I said before, I am very grateful to be back at work, and back in the swing of things. Dentistry on the whole has had a tough time during this. We were given quite a hard time by the media, finding fault in our forced closures, honing in on horrendous stories people performing ‘home dentistry’ that made it look like we kept our doors closed by choice. I can assure you, it was not a decision we wanted, nor one we adhered to lightly. But The Briars has come back fighting, and we are pretty much back to full capacity. PPE is hard to obtain, but we have it – our practice manager Beth has worked her socks off to find us what we need to keep our doors well and truly open.
Our reopening policy is extensive to say the least. The partners and Beth have worked hard to create the safest environment possible – working with legislation which changed pretty much daily, acquiring PPE, and quickly obtaining the qualifications needed to correctly fit the mask requirements for each member of staff. It’s not been an easy ride, but we’re so pleased to be offering patients their routine appointments once again.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be writing again – nice to be back at the desk with a blank screen ahead of me and a cup of tea waiting in the wings.
Look after yourselves – stay safe, wear your mask, wash your hands…you know the drill.
Love, Amy x
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