This is going to be a little off brand for me, so please bear with me on this one. It may get a little heavy at times, but I will try to meme it up where I can.
Well… this sure has been a week around these parts. I have been holed up in my dark, dank COVID hole for a while now as I sort out what this “new normal” means to me. Now that the majority of the personal fires have been put out, I wanted to pop my head back out and address something that we always have talked about but really deserves the spotlight right now.
No… not the recent ban of the fan favourite Shriek, but instead… you. The Dice Masters Community.
I’m going to share what my last week was like. I am doing this for two reasons: 1. I feel I need to for my own mental health, and 2. I just feel that it will tie into where I am going with this. If you want to skip the pity party, please feel free to do so. Fair warning, there may be some salty language from here on out.
As you may or may not know, I work in the healthcare field. Dentistry to be specific. Life was pretty normal up until around Saturday, March 14. I had been working as normal, taking the same Universal Precautions we do with everyone. Myself and my staff were not too worried about COVID-19 to be honest. We were doing what we were trained to do. We had finished work for the week and were enjoying the weekend (for what it was).
It was at this time the concern over school closures in Alberta were hitting. As parents we assumed this was coming but there had been no word yet. That changed the next day. The Alberta Government announced that effective immediately, all K-12 schools were closed and alternative teaching options were to be explored. It was also at this time that news was starting to circulate in the dental community with regards to the true risks associated with COVID-19 in our field. This virus loves spreading in aerosols. If you have ever been to a dental office, we love spraying shit. That puts us near the top of the list for both catching and transmitting COVID-19. You know that knot you feel when you know something is not right… well… I now had it.
Sunday night, I had made the decision that my office would be reducing this risk as much as possible. Perform procedures that create aerosols, only if needed. This meant that the routine care would be put on hold. I contacted some of my staff to come in on Monday and we cancelled all hygiene appointments for the week. We chose to keep other things in place as we had not yet received any guidance from our governing body. That night, I went home feeling a little better that I was setting things up to increase the safety to both my Team and the public. However, the knot in my stomach had other ideas. I don’t think I slept at all that night as I tried to figure out what to do in this unprecedented situation.
Tuesday morning came, and I sent a text message to my entire staff to come in early as we needed to talk. At this point in time, my profession had still not received any recommendations from our Association but worldwide other dentists were recommended to consider shutting down. That morning, I made the decision that we were closing up shop for everything, with the exception of true emergencies, for a few weeks. We spent the day getting the practice ready to shut down. Wiping down everything. Trashing the schedule for the next 3 weeks. Contacting suppliers to hold shipments. Anything and everything that was needed. Then came the hard part.
As a small business, I don’t have the means to continue to pay my employees when I am not open. This is normally not a big deal when it is planned. This situation was not. Without income coming in, I would not be able to pay people to not be there. I had no intention of putting my work family at more financial risk than necessary. In order to protect them, I had to lay off everyone in order to get them onto EI (unemployment benefits here in Canada). I felt sick to my stomach doing this, but everyone knew it was the right thing to do… and should be temporary. Their helpfulness and attitude during this was really the only thing that kept the tears back on this day.
Fast forward to the end of the week. I’ve seen my handful of patients that I needed to, taking additional precautions as we have now received minimal guidance on what to do. However, we are continuing to find out that the precautions that we do have may not be sufficient. The masks required are not routinely used in dentistry and are unavailable to order as the front line health care workers require them (and rightfully so).
So I sit here today, really no better off than I was a week ago. Unsure what to do. My wife is stressed due to my professional risks. I have essentially turned off all income for 3 weeks, but my gut is telling me that it will be longer. The rumors circulating in the hallways of the dental Facebook Groups feel that unless your facility is equipped with specialized equipment, there may be a full and complete shutdown. I have to balance the oath I took as a healthcare provider with my personal needs and safety. Let’s just say it is all the way shitty.
[/end pity party]
For those that read that… thank you. For those that didn’t… I don’t blame you. There is enough shit going on in the world right now.
So… how does all of this pertain to Dice Masters? Well, obviously with the world spiraling out of control our weekly in store game was cancelled. Our group made the choice to do that before the public gathering bans started to hit. However, one of our members brought up a really good point with regards to our meetups and some of the ramifications of not having them. I am speaking of the mental health aspect of it.
The isolation that many of us are in right now can be tough. Humans are social creatures by nature… Yes, even the most introverted of us. Not having that regular fun social interaction can have some unfortunate side effects. The risks of depression is real in this situation and the need to find outlets for social interaction cannot be overstated.
This is where point the finger at you… The Dice Masters Community. We have always been one of the greatest groups of people that I have ever met. Both online and in person. The bad apples are few and far between.
This is the time where we all need to step up and be there for each other. Online gameplay will likely be our only source of “face to face” interaction for the foreseeable future. If you have not jumped in on this yet, please reach out and give it a try. As I write this, CR Gameroom is running an online event. The Weekly Dice Arena and Dice Fight happen every Tuesday and Thursday respectively. Our TOTM is still planned to fire (see below). I am sure the True Mister Six is lurking about looking to flex his bag control muscle. Just getting in touch with people in your local area is great. Whatever it takes, I encourage you to take the steps to try it out. It is vitally important to try and maintain whatever sense of normalcy you can in these strange times.
To the current members of the online Community… keep doing what you do. You are the best. For the people thinking of joining in… please reach out and let us help you become a part of one of the best groups in all of the internets. Those few hours away from the “real world” each week are probably well worth it right now.
Now… on the topic of our TOTM. It was originally scheduled to be held on Saturday, March 28 at 7:00 PM MST. Since my schedule has all of a sudden opened up, I wanted to see if there was interest in running it almost any other day or time to give people the opportunity to play some fun games.
I am open to almost anything. Want another day? Let me know. Is there a better time that will open it up better for the other side of the world? Let me know. I am not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
I am happy to change whatever is needed to give people an outlet for rolling some dice. Please get in touch with us here, on Facebook, or on Discord.
We are also talking about taking our regular Dice Masters Night online and creating a true Dice Masters Night in Canada. The details are still being worked out on this, but we thought about trying to bring our Canadian Communities together and get some games in.
Currently, we are looking at Wednesday nights for this. It would be open to anyone who wants to participate (not limited to the Canucks). As soon as we have some information on this, we will let you know.
As always, I thank you for reading. If you have anything you want to comment on, feel free to leave something in the comments below.