I went on an adventure this morning! Can you guess what it was? Ha ha! I went on an adventure to the orthodontist with my oldest!! You may think that isn’t very adventurous, but in this day and time, it was! This was the first time that I have driven anywhere in weeks or been anywhere other than to and from the grocery store. When we have gone to the store, my husband has been driving, so getting behind the wheel after weeks of not driving was very strange. Our trips to the grocery store are also super rushed to get in and out as fast as possible and with as little interaction with other people as possible. We try to do the self-check-out if we can to avoid contact with anyone else. The orthodontist was different in that we got to actually look at people and talk to them. I have to say that to get to interact with someone other than my family was very refreshing. Our orthodontist is super cool and so amazing that we have formed a relationship with her. We have seen her every 4-6 weeks for almost 2 years. It was like getting to talk to a friend in person! It was great! This was also the first time that my daughter has gone anywhere in public since this whole thing started. You wouldn’t think she would be excited to go to the orthodontist, but she was because it was somewhere other than the house. It was such a surreal experience for both of us and a sign of what life will be like in the near future. It was evidence of our new normal.
When the orthodontist called me yesterday to reschedule our appointment that was canceled from last month, she informed me of the new procedures for coming into the office. (Side note…It was the actual orthodontist who called me both to cancel the appointment last month and to reschedule this month. She makes the calls and not a receptionist, which also shows how amazing she is.) Anyway, she told me to go online to read about the safety measures they are taking and to fill out a consent form, which basically said that I knew the risks of coming in for a visit. She also told me that when we arrived, we were to call the office from the parking lot, and they would tell us when we could come inside. When I called from my car this morning when we got there, they asked me a bunch of questions about whether anyone in our family was sick, if we had been outside of the state or country, and if we had come into contact with anyone that had tested positive for the coronavirus. Of course, my answer to all of those was no. Once that was done, we were told to come to the door, and someone would meet us there. My daughter and I were both wearing masks as requested. At the door, a technician took our temperature before we were allowed to enter the office. Then I was ushered back to a stool near the chair my daughter would be in while they took her to a sink where she had to rinse her mouth with mouthwash while they timed it for a full minute. Whenever they weren’t doing something with her mouth, my daughter was asked to put her mask back on. Everyone who worked in the office had on a mask that was hooked to buttons sewn into thick, cloth headbands that covered their ears. They each had on protective glasses and a visor with a face shield. They also had gloves that they were changing frequently. I think we were the first patient of the day as I heard the orthodontist tell someone to make sure she wiped all surfaces and unoccupied chairs every 30-45 minutes throughout the day. They were doing a great job of staggering patients and keeping everyone far apart. While it was crazy to see all of the precautions they were taking, it made me feel at ease and not worried about our safety. I so enjoyed chatting with everyone even though it was hard to hear and understand each other a few times from our muffled voices behind our masks.
As I was sitting there while they worked on my daughter’s mouth, I couldn’t help but wonder if this is going to be how we navigate the world from now own. Will it always be like this? Will this level of precaution really become the new norm? Will we ever be allowed to go places without masks on and bathing in hand-sanitizer when we get back to the car? Will we ever go back to the old normal? I honestly hope that we will be able to meet in the middle somewhere. I pray that we won’t have to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart for the rest of our lives. Yes, some level of precaution and handwashing is great, but I just want to be able to go out without the suffocating feeling of a mask. I want to be able to give my friends a hug when I see them. I want to be able to carry on a conversation with someone and be able to see them smile. I want my kids to go back to school. I want us all to be able to go places without fear. Whatever the new normal will be, I hope it isn’t as strict as what I witnessed today. It certainly was an adventure that I had never been on before and not one I want to get used to.
Anchored in Trying to Figure Out the New Normal,