Any marine knows “Get off the beach and get moving”.  A sedentary dentist is a dead dentist.  We know that a moving target has a chance to survive.  In combat, siting in one place too long invites an attack.  Keep moving and survive. When you are disabled from an injury or illness, it is often too easy to do nothing. You can get away with it for a while, but eventually you will suffer the consequences of inactivity and paralysis.

By moving we mean activity. When you are disabled the initial response is frequently to do nothing. Whether you are paralyzed by fear or just confused, its ok. You will have some time to work with. Use this brief break from work and stress to make good decisions. Rest and recover from your injury or illness. Research your condition and look for the best treatment and rehabilitation options. Actively seek out second medical opinions. Once you get through this initial phase  with the help of your family and friends, it will be time to get moving.

Now is the time to get moving. Whether you are intimately involved in making plans to return to active dental practice or are just going to a movie, get out of the house and get involved. You can call it a distraction, but in reality you are alive.  Hope is a wonderful thing, maybe the best of things.  You decide the depth of involvement and realize the benefits to activity. The more effort you put into being involved and relevant, the less time you will have for self-pity and depression. Eat up that time with new challenges and goals. It’s not that hard, just ask or volunteer.

If you cannot return to dentistry now, consider expanding into a new field. Start networking and pick up the phone. Adapt to your new reality and consider one of the hundreds of opportunities that an educated healthcare professional can become involved in. See our posting on alternative careers.ALTERNATIVE CAREERS IN DENTAL EDUCATION

A new career is just an option. Of course, you may return to  practice after you complete your rehabilitation. In the meantime, you need to fill the majority of each day with constructive efforts. THIS IS A KEY TO SURVIVAL. Failure to be active is a recipe for disaster. Seek out any activity that interests you. You have time now,consider volunteer positions as a start. Check out this TED talk on determination for some inspiration and research  your options.

Winston Churchill had it right. He was a hero not because he was smarter than everyone else, but because he didn’t freeze. He kept moving in the face of adversity.  Use this simple idea to your advantage.  Keep active and involved.  You are only relevant if you are moving in some direction. ANY DIRECTION. Make the conscious decision to survive and continue to be the valuable skilled professional you are. Look again at our ten steps to survival for a plan, it may work for you.FEAR MAKES THE WOLF BIGGER THAN HE IS-TEN STEPS TO SURVIVE DISABILITY