Humor is a good thing. HUMOR HEALS. Being disabled after a severe illness or injury for a dentist is no fun. Looking at your situation with an toward the future can help you survive. It will be hard to smile, but look at the alternatives. In the middle of your date with disaster you will find yourself scattered all over the place. Realize that this is OK, and it will pass with time. You need to establish what is your personal philosophy on disability. It’s not funny, but laughing in the face of adversity is helpful; believe it or not.
No matter what you will do, you will live with the events surrounding your illness/accident. What truly matters is you ability to adapt to your new situation. The human ability to adapt is our greatest asset. Darwin once said that it wasn’t always the most intelligent or strongest individuals that survived, it was those creatures that were able to adapt to their new environment that survived in the long run.
Adversity is just change that we haven’t adapted to yet. It has been said that hope is a dangerous thing. Truly, hope is the spark that ignites change. You will need to understand the unlimited potential of your own power to control and shape the events that are occurring around you. You may or may not get back to normal. What is normal? Only you can decide and look at all the realistic options that are still open to you. Adapt, transition, and survive.
Use the knowledge you have gained to get a fresh perspective on your situation. Look at it this way. NOTHING HAPPENS TO YOU, IT HAPPENS FOR YOU. Check for the opportunities that your illness or accident has presented to you. The only true disability is a destroyed spirit. Use the resources at your disposal to adapt to your disability and take advantages of the opportunities that occur.
Being able to contribute in any capacity is critical to your perception of self-worth and success. Transitioning will not be easy, but fully within your capability with the proper support.
EXAMPLES OF ADAPTATION FOR A CLINICAL DENTIST
Limited hours or part-time work for a practitioner
Becoming an employee dentist vs. an owner
Becoming a member of a group practice vs. a solo-practitioner
Working at a non-profit as a volunteer dentist
Practicing as a volunteer dentist overseas on mission
Transitioning into medicine as a Physicians assistant or Nurse Practitioner
Retraining as an Oral Pathologist or Oral radiologists
Becoming a Dental Assistant or Dental Hygiene Instructor
Transferring into Academics within a Dental school program
Expanding your current practice with newfound energy and motivation
Seeking appointment to governmental or military agencies for dental positions
Becoming a Forensic Odontologist with the required training and Certification
We have seen numerous dentists adapt to their disability by transitioning into the above noted fields. Of course other opportunities not directly related to patient care such as consulting, sales, marketing, and insurance positions are available. The list is essentially endless with fields completely unrelated to healthcare that are both rewarding and valuable to you and society as a whole. Whether you decide to become a teacher or plumber, you still have self-worth and are a valuable asset to your family and the rest of the human race. See our posting on the ten steps to survive disability for ideas.TEN STEPS TO SURVIVE DISABILITY
Please contact us if you have questions on practice transition or coping with your disability. We are here to help and really understand what challenges you are facing. As disabled dentist ourselves, we know the steps you need to take and understand exactly what is happening to you. SMILE, YOU ARE ALIVE AND USE THE GIFT OF LIFE.
WE ARE DENTISTS HELPING OTHER SICK AND INJURED DENTISTS, WE CARE