How easy it is for a virus to transfer from one person to another. We go about our individual lives not realizing that there are zero degrees of separation between us and the virus: one friend who is a teacher, teaches several 8th graders who were in contact with infected Korean tourists. Another friend is in self-isolation for 14 days after returning from Italy. It doesn’t mean that they will catch the virus, but they could be incubating it and passing it on before anyone realizes they are sick. All it takes is for someone to cough or sneeze in your general direction.
And so, in an extreme measure to protect Israel’s oldest and most vulnerable citizens, there is a nation-wide ban on visiting geriatric facilities. Mom’s memory care facility is in lock-down.
We’re slightly shocked that we won’t be able to visit Mom for the foreseeable future, but given the world’s preoccupation with this virus, and the idea that the contagion will get worse before it gets better, we understand the rationale behind the restriction.
In Seattle, in the US, there has been an outbreak of the corona virus in three nursing homes leaving twenty dead in the epicenter of the outbreak at the Life Care Center of Kirkland and many more vulnerable to the disease. The combination of age and close living quarters in such facilities creates opportunity for the virus to spread.
In Israel, the first case of unknown origin in a 40-year-old who cannot trace any contact he may have had with other corona victims, is worrying officials. One of the places this man visited before he was tested positive was a care facility for the mentally fragile in Jerusalem.
This mandatory closure is an especially tough situation for my dad. Though it is not his only raison d’être, Daddy’s visits to Mom are an integral part of his daily schedule. How will we know she’s ok? What will we do with the free time that we’ve previously devoted to visiting Mom?
We’ve been invited by the staff to call the office and receive updates on Mom’s status—her moods and behavior, whether she’s eating well and if she’s participating in the home’s activities. We could try to talk to her by phone, but I don’t believe she understands that concept anymore. We’ll have to remind them to walk with her so her legs get stretched, and to put her headphones on so that she can escape to her music.
As to our free time, I am hoping to put my energies into writing poetry; while Daddy has agreed that he, too, can restart his creative talents and enter his studio to paint.
I pray that this is a temporary situation that will resolve itself as the weather reaches summer temperatures and that the country’s measures actually stop the virus’ spread. I miss Mom already.
In trying to make the best of a bad situation, I tend to gravitate to baking desserts. What better way to lift your spirits than to sink your teeth into some sugary sweetness. I made these apple rosettes as an alternative to the traditional Purim hamentashen. They’re not overly sweet, and they’re really easy to make.
These really are as easy and charming to make as all the Facebook feeds would have you believe. The thinly sliced apples cook in no time. If you have any remaining apple slices, throw them into a pot on the stove, add a little water and cook until they become apple sauce.
1 package frozen French pastry dough, defrosted and sliced into strips
4 to 5 apples, cored and sliced
½ cup strawberry jam
For apple slices:
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350° F / 175° C. Thaw pastry dough and unroll, cutting each sheet into approximately six strips. If there is only one sheet of dough, cut this in half width-wise before slicing. Core and quarter each apple and slice with a mandolin slicer or food processor. Mix apples with lemon, sugar and cinnamon. Warm jam in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds. With a spoon, spread some jam on dough strip. Layer sliced apples on dough so that they peek above the edge of the dough strip. Roll dough strip as tight as you can. Don’t worry if apple slices crack or break. Place each rosette on a baking try, or for more contained flowers, in a muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes until top of apples are slightly browned.