Beliefnet
Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicMy immune system is, once again, in overdrive and making new and serious antibodies, among them to my retinas. I’ve had to begin a more aggressive form of treatment, and it will make me more susceptible to infection. As a lupus patient, I am usually much more conscious of avoiding infections than, perhaps, more healthy people are. But this new medication poses more potential problems, which are requiring creative thinking and adapting.

Of course, being out in crowds, especially during flu season, is something I don’t do much of. Movie-going? Hmm…popcorn at home. Shopping? Off- off-hours. Church? Ooh, this one can be difficult, but I’m finding a way…

It would be part true but also part irresponsible to say that you can never get sick from others at church. True, God blesses us abundantly when we worship as a community, and the outpouring of support and positive love from our fellow believers is powerful spiritual and emotional medicine! But whether at church or the grocery store, one person’s hacking, germ-laden cough is a lupus patient’s nightmare!

With my new course of medication, I’ve alerted everyone I’m close to at church about how I must stay away from close contact. I’ve explained that, if someone close to me is ill, I have to remove myself. I’ve also asked for an accommodation so that I can receive Holy Communion more safely (even if Eucharistic ministers use hand sanitizer before distributing Holy Communion, someone along the line of Communion-goers could always pass along one of those dreaded bugs) . My pastor provided me with a pyx and a supply of unconsecrated hosts. Before mass, I put one of the hosts in the pyx, which looks much like a round pill box, and give it to the celebrant. The host inside the pyx is consecrated with the rest of the hosts and then handed to me, unopened, at communion. I use a sanitizing wipe on the pyx, open it, and take the host from it myself.

Sometimes, we don’t think about asking for accommodation at our churches. But our brothers and sisters in faith are only too willing to help us cope with whatever health challenges we face – if we only ask!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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