Even though I am a lapsed, non-practicing Catholic, there are certain ways that this belief system has shaped the way I think. I associate my grandfather with Catholicism, and how his fierce beliefs in justice often brought him pretty close to liberation theology. The whole flipping tables and whipping people thing that Jesus did? Tots okay in my grandpa’s book. If there was an injustice, he called it out, and it was a way to articulate his catholic identity to him. I also went to a catholic girls school, where I not only learned to think very analytically and argue a point (very often a point against the church, but that’s another matter), but also to openly articulate my opinion, as a female. When I started teaching at this catholic university here in Portland, a lot of it was like coming home- it was a culture I knew, I got how these people think. At least that’s what I thought.
Why this long winded preliminary remark? It may explain my hurt and anger a bit more. Last week was rough. I was bloated, couldn’t go to the bathroom, and was in agony. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday was spent eating fiber, drinking water eating more seeds blah blah. By Wednesday night, I couldn’t even eat anything anymore, because I’d throw it up. Of course, I didn’t take painkillers, because they are opiod based and stuff you up even more. On Thursday morning, I went into my doctor’s for my Remicade infusion. 7.30 am. Yay, I guess. At that time, I thought it was stricture time, and begged the nurse to tell my GI that I had to have some sort of imaging done. It happened and I went back home, waiting for my results. First call: My doctor’s office, they had a bedbug infestation, most likely from one of the other two patients, so please take precautions. So, of course, I threw all blankets and clothes in the wash, because you never know. My sister, who is visiting vacuumed my car. In the meantime, I am drinking my first dose of Miralax, followed by fennel tea. I showered. The next call: My doctor, good news, it’s not a stricture, but yes, pretty bad constipation. Really?! ok. Two hours later, I am moving on to another dose of Miralax. Oy veyh. Next call, I look at the display and it is my tenured colleague from the university. “She never calls, oh, I hope she’s ok,” was my thought, as I am picking up. She sounds stuffed and has the summer flu, and I am thinking, oh, dear, maybe I should teach her class for her next week, poor thing? (the semester begins on the 29th). It turned out that after her class was under enrolled (a glitch in the computer system), it was decided that she’d take over the two courses that I was slated to take over.
So, five days before the semester started, I was jobless. Yes, before you ask, they can do that. As an adjunct you practically have no rights whatsoever, especially at a private school. I had planned classes already. I had also read up on their newly developed pedagogical concepts for their program, so that I’d teach with their goals in mind. Aside from the financial loss (which I will somehow bridge), I am so morally disappointed. They have weekly prayers for the year of mercy on campus, but apparently this is not a concept that includes me. Pope Francis has spoken out on the exploitation of workers on numerous occasions, but somehow this catholic university seems to not mind running its programs on adjunct labor. This university also doesn’t mind sending out thank you’s for faculty recognition dinners (to which they didn’t invite any adjuncts), and congratulation emails on faculty awards (that I am not even eligible to apply for), and then debate the use of inclusive pronouns in foreign language instruction. With my background, this struck me at the core. But even if I wanted, I couldn’t have flipped a table, because I was so bloated that I could barely walk.
We were to go camping to mount hood that weekend, and I thought that I’d find some strength in nature. Except for that the shape I was in, there was no camping on the horizon anywhere. Also, vault toilets are not what you want to do, when you think that you’re opening the seventh seal of the apocalypse soon. Also, it was 100 degrees outside, so sleeping in a hot tent and hiking didn’t sound grand anyways. No camping, no job, but another two doses of Miralax and half a bottle of Sauerkraut juice later, the poop Armageddon finally happened on Friday evening and Sat morning.
Saturday, I finally felt like half a human again, and we went to Hagg Lake, outside of Hillsboro. A cute lake, and we were all relaxing under a tree in the shade, when all of a sudden the dog got sick. Then I was squeamish again (I mean, half a bottle of sauerkraut juice? What was I thinking? But I was desperate). We went home and rested.
Finally Sunday and Monday, I was better. We went to the Japanese Gardens and the Rose gardens and finally I found some solace in nature.
Yes, my insomnia is back, I am still hurt and disappointed, and I am tired, but it’s looking up. I am not alone. I have my family, I have my sister and her boyfriend visiting and being just sweet, and the pets are fine. And really, it wasn’t a flare, it just was a particularly nasty case of constipation. Can only get better, no?