Could the Pandemic be a Blessing in Disguise?
Many of us were fortunate to emerge from the past year intact — physically, mentally, and
financially, giving us so much to be thankful for. We have the opportunity to use this experience to become more thoughtful and intentional and less judgmental and reactive. We could appreciate more and criticize less. We could, for a lack of a better word, be kinder.
If history is any guide, we are at risk of putting this behind us as soon as possible, as we dive back into life with abandon and push boundaries again. We are consumed with “getting back to normal,” but does this mean returning to the ways we did things before 2020? Are our past actions the “normal” we want back?
It is vitally important to not lose sight of the lives cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of May 2nd, 2021 deaths from the novel coronavirus are over 575,000 in the U.S. and 3.2 million worldwide. Countries like India are currently registering over 400,000 new cases in a single day, which will certainly lead to a large spike in loss of life. This pandemic has been an eye-opener on so many fronts, we can’t miss this chance to make beneficial changes in how we treat our fellow man and our home…planet Earth.
Many things have been learned over the past year and so many of us have been made aware of our mortality as we were faced with the uncertainty of how the virus would affect us, our family and our friends. As we are coming to live longer, we have become more focused on what will happen to us way in the future (cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc). The pandemic gave many of us our first real look at what could happen to us today.
Is this to say that we should not look towards the future and focus solely on today since tomorrow is truly an uncertainty? No, I believe it is important to be very careful and respectful of what we do each day and, of course, we need to enjoy each moment, but we cannot become complacent that the future will be OK without our help. The pandemic and the surrounding events need to sound an “alarm bell.” Moving forward we need to look at what we have done in the past, evaluate how it has influenced our today and learn from it. Now is not the time to be naïve and think that what we do today will have no influence on the future.
Our eyes should remain open to the myriad of inequities exposed as a result of this pandemic and make changes in what we do today in order to halt the continuation of these inequalities. Each and every person should have access to a safe and affordable place live, fresh food, quality education and safe passage as we go about our days. The increase in senseless violence against innocent people, the continued increase in mass killings, the continued tension between law enforcement officials and those they are charged to protect needs to stop and we have the power to do this.
So has and/or will the COVID pandemic be a blessing in disguise? In my heart, I believe yes – I hope yes! We are an intelligent, innately caring species so I do believe that we have the power to make changes to what we are doing in the moment to ensure a bright, prosperous and safe future for the next generations.
I want to thank all of you for reading (at least I hope you have read) my articles over the last year as my time as MDDS President is coming to a close. The seven years I have spent on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee at MDDS has been the most rewarding period of time in my professional life. I can’t express the satisfaction of not only identifying issues to address but to actually play a part in developing solutions to these issues with the help of other similarly focused and dedicated individuals. We, the Colorado dental profession, the residents of Colorado, the United States and planet Earth cannot make lasting changes unless we are all committed to the cause, so please find time in your life to enact change in whatever little way you can. In closing, I would like to leave you with a quote I recently came across that you will hopefully carry forward in your daily life.
“Someday we will look back on this moment, and it will forever remind us to never take little things for granted. It will remind us to hug with all of our hearts, to pause to appreciate holding someone’s hand, and to live in the moments that we are surrounded by others.” -Laura Jones
Dr. Kevin Patterson has been practicing oral and maxillofacial surgery in Colorado since 1998 and remains dedicated to the well-being and oral health of all of his patients. He owns Denver Metro OMS in the Cherry Creek neighborhood. In addition to be serving as the 2020/2021 MDDS President, he devotes a significant amount of time providing care for children and adults through organizations such as Kids in Need of Dentistry, Dental Lifeline Network and formerly The Metropolitan Denver Dental Foundation Smile Again Program.