When a dentist faces an unexpected illness or is injured in an accident, the resulting disability is challenging from many standpoints. The first thought is often “my career is over”. This is a common response and not unexpected. The truth is essentially what you make of it. You may be hurt bad or really sick, but concentrate on the problem at hand. Your first goal is to heal and get better. You may never return to the exact condition you were in before the event. This is life and instead of saying you are broken, useless, or, damaged; plan on the next step after your recovery.
For some recovery may mean a wheelchair for life. For others it may mean daily fatigue and diminished capacity. Whatever your final result, you must adapt and survive. Doing nothing is not an option. Make the conscious decision to move on. Starting over is not easy, but is an essential part of survival. Look any your situation as an opportunity. This is the true benefit of being disabled. You now have a chance that others only can dream of. It may not be glamorous or exciting, but the next phase of your life will be something you get to choose. Your options may be limited. This is the hard part and be ready to make compromises. Whether the decision is based on physical limitations, finances, or your age, it is a bridge we all have to cross.
Starting over may mean getting a new dental practice started. It may mean transitioning to a whole new field. It may mean retiring and volunteering your time to worthy endeavors in foreign lands. Whatever you decide, look at the tremendous opportunity that is present. We all are smart and talented, look to the horizon and make good decisions on your future.
As a dentist, you have a tremendous potential; and many fields need competent, caring professionals. Your successful transition is not guaranteed, and real hard work will be required. No harder than the effort that got you started in dentistry to begin with. Dentists can make a difference and use your disability/injury to further your quest to make your life’s efforts count. Remember those things you always wanted to do, but never had the time. Now is the time to act. Take advantage of adversity and you will be happy with these difficult, but exciting decisions on your future.
Discover who you really are. As you fight through rehabilitation and recovery, be ready to think deeply on who you are and who you want to be. You will always be a dentist, but think constructively on how your career and your life are related. They may be two sides of the same coin. Remember whose side you are on. Taking care of yourself is a first priority. Too many of us fail to see that simple fact. Our careers may reflect who we are now, but they aren’t who we will become. Each phase of our life is a shaped by growth in wisdom. Be ready to make that transition.
We have previously discussed the many fields that are open to dentists that want to transition. Many against their will. Look to our prior posting for real ideas and inspiration. Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. We will be behind your efforts 100%. Remember. No one survives these challenging injuries and illnesses alone. Look to your dental peers, family, and friends for real help and support. It’s easy to give up and just because you do, you always can change your mind. Take a look at this TED talk on chasing your dreams.
If ever these was a time to chase your dreams, it is when you are starting over after a disabling injury or illness. Even if you are “fine’, think twice. You may be receiving a message and it’s time to listen carefully. You might want to go back to your former job/position. Maybe not. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your entire life. Put things in true perspective. What are you priorities? Where are you going from this point forward with your life. These are tough question, but need answering. The good news is you don’t have to decide right now. When you are lying in a hospital bed, or recovering at home, the one thing that you may have too much of is time. Time to think. Time to decide. Time to talk with friends and family. This is one time when you don’t have to be in a hurry. This makes you so much more confident in your decisions. It also makes your plan so much more effective and easy to accept.
WE ARE DENTISTS HELPING OTHER SICK AND INJURED DENTISTS, WE CARE.