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Dr. Paul Bishop serves the people of North Alabama from his Decatur clinic, Alabama Smile Builders.

The clinic closed its doors to patients on March 17 in the wake of the global pandemic, seeing only three medical-dental emergencies in the weeks since, but Bishop continues to spend four days a week at the office. He states that going to the office helps him maintain a feeling of routine, not to mention his personal sanity. It also helps him keep up with general administrative tasks while preparing for the clinic’s reopen. In the interim, he has remained busy putting in place additional infection control provisions and securing extra personal protective equipment and supplies. He has even painted and redecorated the reception room, changed out the wall decorations in each operatory, and cleaned out the office and attic spaces.

Upon returning home each afternoon, Bishop remains in quarantine with his wife Dana, along with daughter Caroline and granddaughter Addie. The three adults are learning to juggle childcare while Addie, who turns three in May, has a blast playing outside, swimming in her ‘kiddie’ pool, coloring, and racing cars. One of her favorite pastimes is watching Frozen II and Onward countless times with her ‘Papa.’ When not spending time with his family, Bishop fills his afternoons with plenty of Zoom meetings and online continuing education classes, along with a little gardening and yardwork on the side.

When asked what helps keep him grounded during these difficult and uncertain times, Bishop says he limits his news intake to once each day. He opts to venture outdoors to walk or run instead. He maintains his faith and frequent conversations with family and friends have also helped him remain positive and put things in perspective.

“Whatever is on the other side of this pandemic and similar global events, it is your choice to make it what you want it to be – it’s up to you,” he says. “Faith or fear, I'm choosing faith in my God, people, and the common good of humanity. Hope or despair, I'm choosing hope that this event will make us more caring, compassionate, and considerate of others. Love or discord, I'm choosing love for others and the wonderful profession of dentistry.”

While he and his team are excited for patients to see their updated space, Bishop is especially looking forward to seeing his patients, whenever that may be. In the meantime, he vows to continue to remain positive, have faith, and enjoy the extra time with his family.