Taking Back Control – Krista Arnold

Spring has always been a busy time for me working as a locum small animal vet. With the changes in how veterinary practices worked following the lockdown, I was lucky that I still maintained some clinical work.

In 2004 I moved to a new country, a new life. Friends, family, home and work, a comforting normality, were not easily accessible anymore. I experienced those life changes 16 years ago when I moved to the UK from Vienna. Despite my future husband providing a financial safety net, the new normal, living and working in a different language, took a long time to get used to, as did building up a social circle and establishing new friendships as I regained control of my daily life.

With the arrival of Covid-19 I, like so many others, felt the sudden changes in life as I knew it and the loss of comforting normality hit me yet again. The old homeland, yesterday a short flight away, today impossible to reach; our friends here living just up the road in the next village, now met only on line; BSAVA Congress, a highlight of my year – cancelled.

As a vet I am used to taking control of situations, grasping the initiative, making decisions and assuming responsibility; now it feels uncomfortable for me not to have this possibility in my own life with Covid-19 around. It took a while for the new reality to sink in and to accept that it is pointless HighclereCastleakaDo...to worry about things I cannot control and rather focus on things I can influence. There is enough time now available to catch up with CPD and the stack of veterinary journals, which usually gets bigger by the week but is now slowly reaching a manageable amount on my desk.

Video chatting with friends has become a new normal, and it is admittedly quite enjoyable that no one has to drive home after a couple of glasses of wine.

But normality, as we knew it, is a long distance away and might never totally return. As with previous changes, we will hopefully adapt to the new lifestyle, as I did 16 years ago to my own voluntary change. But if I look further back in history, as we are now asked to do, I recognise the daily uncertainties, worries and problems with which our forebears on both sides struggled during and after the Second World War. With that in mind, I cannot but feel that our current situation, as disruptive as it is, is still quite manageable. I wonder if I look back in 16 years from now if I will recognise when I regained control once more.

Photo – Picture from one of Krista’s daily walks – Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey)