Pic of the day – Story of the Poisoned Pyx

Today I had an unfortunate experience with one of the low gluten hosts at our Catholic church. The low gluten hosts allow people with celiac disease to participate fully in the Mass by receiving communion. Putting the host in a Pyx keeps it from being contaminated with gluten in the bowl of other hosts being blessed for communion. When the person with celiac goes up for communion, the priests usually know them and know to hand them a Pyx. If the priest doesn’t reach for a Pyx, then you can gesture at a Pyx as a clue. The Pyx all look pretty much the same, and there is no way to ensure you receive the same one you put in.

Today, I received someone else’s Pyx. That has happened before several times in the almost two years I’ve been doing this. It has never been a problem, until today. When I opened the Pyx to put the host in my mouth, I smelled a cloud of perfume. I didn’t realize until it was in my mouth that it was from the host and not from a person moving around. The host tasted bitter and soapy.

I have chemical sensitivities as well as celiac. This is a problem. I am having a reaction to the perfumed poisoned host. Where the host first touched my tongue there is a burning circle of pain. My tongue is fissuring there. My throat is also burning. I have lost my voice and can’t talk to friends so they can understand what I’m saying. My eyes are watering.

This all started within minutes, and now has been going on for over an hour so far, spreading through my head. It took 30 minutes to lose my voice. 45 to get an earache. Luckily, there is no visible swelling or tissue damage. I am not having trouble breathing. This means my life is not in danger, I am just in pain. Well, discomfort. I took a Benedryl, and am pushing fluids to try to wash the poison out. I also washed out the Pyx with rubbing alcohol, and hope that us good enough to make it safe for next week.

Here is what I think happened. It has been really cold this week. That means dry air. I think someone put on heavily perfumed hand lotion right before handling their host to put it in the Pyx. I suspect this is someone new to the whole idea of gluten free, and who isn’t aware that many hand lotions contain gluten. That means double whammy. There is the poison from the perfume in the lotion, and also the risk of additional wheat contamination.

I feel miserable. And I have no idea how to prevent this from happening again. Other than to not take communion?