Hello! Today’s post won’t be about desserts or books (boo). I want to express some upcoming changes in how I do things on this blog as a result of various situational changes, not least of which is the COVID-19 pandemic. I will continue to update this blog periodically, and as the times change, there may be some changes in Dessert and a Novel’s content, but we’ll just have to see where life takes us.
A Word About the Virus
At the outset of this, I want to simultaneously stress how serious the COVID-19 pandemic is and emphasize how vital keeping a well-balanced perspective is to all of our physical and mental health. Staying balanced can include a number of things: being creative, staying active, being productive, getting more organized, etc. However, I think one of the most important yet overlooked elements of mental health is having fun and allowing yourself time to rest. Putting extra pressure on yourself to completely “take advantage” of this time at home is going to fix nothing if all it does is make you feel guilty and stressed. We all need to follow the prescribed safety guidelines (as as a reminder, these should come from reputable health organizations, doctors, and scientists…NOT politicians) as best we can and do our best to let go of the rest. We need to remain informed but not panicked. This is a scary time, but the silver lining is that we can all do something that will have a direct impact on changing things for the better.
I recognize that I say this all from a place of privilege. I explored establishing a work from home system prior to the outbreak and shelter in place orders, and I have a husband whose place of employment is allowing employees to work from home. We are able to pay for the things that we need, and we are able to focus the increase in our time together on preparing our home and our life for Charlotte’s arrival in June/July. It’s important to recognize how we are lucky, and it’s even more important to realize that not everyone lives in the same circumstances. That’s why we take all precautions possible. We have to protect each other as well as ourselves.
That being said, we had our own scare, and I want to share our experience here because sharing our experiences is the best way for us to learn from each other.
Last Week, Ben Got Sick
Last Monday, Ben woke up with a fever. He also was experiencing full-body tiredness and pain in his legs. Immediately, we were on alert because I’m pregnant and nearing the third trimester. I recognize that much of the data concerning COVID-19 and pregnancy is reassuring when it comes to the health of the baby, but we did not want to find for ourselves. Ben called a local hospital immediately, and he was able to get in touch with a clinic that (thankfully) told him to go in that same morning.
He did, and when he got there, he was able to drive up and receive his assessment curbside. He was running a fever of almost 102F, and they tested him for the flu. When that was negative, they (also thankfully) tested him for COVID-19. We felt lucky to get the test because this was at a time where testing was scarce. We were told that we would get the results on Thursday or Friday. Not ideal, but my first priority was taking care of Ben while maintaining a quarantine to protect myself and our baby, so we had our hands full during that time.
When Ben got home, he immediately was quarantined to the room we use as a home office. There’s a couch in there, so he was able to rest, and he exclusively used the guest bathroom. I left his meals out by the room for him and put changes of clothes in the bathroom each night before he showered. I gave him a bottle of Lysol and a roll of paper towels so that he could sanitize the things that he touched periodically. We kept our pup, Bambi away from Ben, and honestly, I think she took the separation the hardest.
Ben ran fever all of Monday, and he barely ate. A few hours after he came home from the doctor, they called him to go back because the COVID-19 test was done improperly. This time when he returned, he told me they said his temperature was 103(!!!). However, after taking it again an hour later it was back to 101.7, so we decided that if it went back up and/or he started feeling worse, he’d go back in.
Obviously, I was worried sick the whole day, and I checked on him, peeping through the door, at least four times throughout the night. If you know me, you know that I’m prone to stress and have diagnosed anxiety. Since getting pregnant, I’ve felt my normal anxiety levels mellow out quite a bit, but when you’re faced with the possibility of having a barely-understood, potentially deadly virus infecting the person you love and father of your unborn child under your roof, things can start to get stressful.
The next day (Tuesday), he improved a little in the morning, though he was still running a fever just under 102. His attitude was back to his normal self, so we took this as a good sign. By evening, his fever went down to around 99 and stayed there. On Wednesday, he woke up without a fever, and remained fever-free the whole day without any medication. Relief wasn’t the word! He started working remotely, but he remained confined to the office. We knew we weren’t out of the woods yet because COVID-19 can present itself in a number of ways, so Ben remained in quarantine.
Waiting for Results
Thursday was more of the same. Ben felt normal, no fever, but remained in quarantine for safety. I should mention that throughout this week, I was washing clothes daily and disinfecting constantly, though I no longer felt the panic that I did at the beginning of the week at this point. Panic is natural, but it can be really harmful if it persists. We were as cautious as possible and worked to control what we could. Friday also passed this way without any test results. Ben called the clinic to ask about his results, but they told us they wouldn’t have them until Monday–a full week after he was tested–because they were sent to a facility in Atlanta (We live in southern Louisiana).
Saturday morning, a friend of mine who works for the hospital let me know that they were trying to contact us but couldn’t reach our phones for some reason. They had Ben’s test results early! We immediately called the hospital, and they gave Ben the good news. He was negative! We were so incredibly relieved, and he could now venture out from the one room he stayed in for almost a week straight.
We are extremely LUCKY to have had this experience turn out the way it did. We are continuing to keep safe and are remaining at home. We have a lot of food and necessaries still, so we don’t plan on venturing out to the store any time soon in the interests of protecting ourselves and Charlotte. Of course, when done correctly, grocery shopping doesn’t have to pose an undue risk, but we won’t cross that bridge until we need to just out of an abundance of caution. With this policy comes a few slight changes to how Dessert and a Novel will operate going forward.
Dessert and a Novel Changes
For the time being, since our grocery store trips will be limited, HP Saturdays will be put on hold for now. I have a post ready to go for April, but after that, there won’t be any more until things have become safer. Also, when they do come back, I will be completing them only on the first Saturday of every month. Charlotte is coming awfully soon, so I’m preparing for a sharp decrease in the time I have available to read and bake. But fear not! I’m not going anywhere. 🙂
Also, in an effort to conserve pantry supplies, I will do a book and novel pairing every other week. However, I will try to post once a week in between these times with other bookish or culinary content. One idea I have bobbing around in my head is making sourdough with a natural starter (natural yeast). The process in doing this is super cool and time consuming, so I think it’ll make for an interesting read!
My most grateful thanks to everyone who takes the time to read this blog. It’s so much fun to have a place to express my passions, and I can’t wait to continue to move forward! I would love to hear about any of your experiences during these times, and share your quarantine reading lists! Everyone please keep safe, stay home, and wash your hands. <3