This is Argentina (TIA)

I died in my dream last night.  Shot in the head.  I watched as my blood slowly pooled around me and the life drained out of my body.

People say you can’t die in your own dreams.  Apparently you can, because I was really dead.  Like, no life dead.  My dream even continued after I died.  I was in a country at war.  We had a school trip to go tour the country; a campaign to slaughter ignorance by seeing how people are really being slaughtered every day around the world in countries like the one we went to.  The leader of our tour promised us that, while things sometimes got dangerous and scary, no one had ever been hurt.  But I knew that I was going to die on this trip.  I went anyways and within 20 minutes of arriving in a small town that had seen more death and fighting than any town should ever see, shots were fired, screams were let loose and mayhem commenced.

People were running in panic trying to hide from men in black with machine guns.  At first I looked to the leader of our group for guidance but our group’s shell was quickly broken and we all slowly oozed out like a raw egg, confused and seeking protection.  I ran into a fabric shop.  All of the workers had taken refuge under the room’s long horizontal tables.  It reminded me of a colorful kindergarten classroom but with sewing machines on the tables.  I chose a table near the back to hide under.  The carpet was blood red.  I lay down anyways.  Everyone had grabbed towels and hidden under them as if it would help them blend in or protect them from a ruthless bullet aimed to kill.  Their towels were red and black but the only towel I could find to offer some salvation was cream.  An off-white eggshell.  I climbed under and pulled it up to my neck, lying on the blood red carpet. Fragile, but not scared.

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A man in black burst the door open and saw all of us huddled under the tables.  His eyes had sorrow in them.  He did not want to shoot us.  But he aimed his gun and fired at my head.  No one made a noise.  It was completely silent as my last breath sighed out.  It didn’t hurt.  It was like falling asleep.  Very peaceful.  The man did not want to shoot anymore.  Anyone.  He left and closed the door silently behind him.

After the fighting was over the workers emerged from under their towels and stared at my body for a while, my cream towel slowly staining as it absorbed the blood draining from my head.  My face was at rest.  They moved me on top of the table, blood dripping a tell-tale path to the real place I’d died.  They didn’t know how to respect me from there or what to do with me.  Some cried, but only because of how close they had been to death and hysteria.  They mostly just awkwardly stared at me.

The teacher and leader of the group panicked when he saw my dead body, immediately thinking of everything he would have to do now that someone had died within the first half hour of his tour.  Papers to sign, people to confess to, a total mess.

When I woke up from the dream, I was happy and energized.

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I honestly can’t remember the last time that I’ve woken up without sleep trying to tug my eyelids back down and cocoon me in warm covers.  I can’t remember the last time I woke up and actually wanted to start my day.  That sounds morbid but it’s true.  I’m constantly tired and always grumpy when I wake up lately.  Today was different.

But then everything seemed to go wrong, seemed to try and make me swallow my optimism.  I had several things to do today.  I needed to get a new Sube (transit card) AGAIN, after it was stolen AGAIN on Friday; I needed to activate the iPhone Otto is letting me borrow for the next nine weeks till I go back; I needed to buy an iPhone cable to charge said iPhone; I had an eye doctor’s appointment at 4:30; I had to go withdraw money from Xoom because I’m running low on “just-in-case” cash; I needed to go to the pharmacy for eye drops, shampoo, and a wrist guard I need for my dance class; and I needed to do my laundry since all of my socks are quite literally falling apart they’re so overused and dirty.

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^^My absurd amount of laundry right now 😦  And rest assured, all of that has been worn at least twice.

You can already assume that I only got one of those things done, but not for a lack of trying.  I found it strange that I didn’t want to sleep in.  Today I was actually allowed to sleep in since I didn’t have class but I simply couldn’t.  I lie in bed and read my book for a while anyways until my energy got the best of me.  I hopped out of bed, ate breakfast, put on clothes (REAL CLOTHES!) and brushed my hair until it shined more than usual.  I left the house and set off for the post office to get a new Sube.  It was a mean version of cold out.  The weather shouldn’t be allowed to change so suddenly.  Luckily I had brought a scarf to prepare (I know…Autumn wears scarves now?!….yes.)

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When I had finished the 15-block trek to the post office in the arctic cold (like 50 degrees…), I felt like my face was dry as paper and my eyes were half swollen shut.  I waited in line 30 minutes just for them to tell me that there were no cards left.  I walked to the other post office (20 blocks).  No cards either.  Then I gave up and walked back home.  I ordered money online from Xoom and walked over there (10 blocks.)  I waited an hour before it was my turn.  They told me my transaction had yet to be processed and I could wait or just come tomorrow.  Tomorrow it was.  So I came home again, ate, counted my losses, watched 2 episodes of How I Met Your Mother and talked myself out the door again.

I went to three different technology stores before I realized that iPhone cables are harder to find than a vegetarian sandwich at McDonald’s.  To the big fancy Apple store I went.  But the cords there were $240 pesos.  Yeah, I don’t care what the blue dollar is right now, I’m not paying that much.   See why Apple and I aren’t friends?  Well, I was about to be late to my eye doctor’s appointment so I abandoned the pricey cable with a glare and sauntered off.  Luckily, the eye doctor is only four or five blocks from my house, so I made it on time.  I sat in the waiting room reading on my kindle for about 15 minutes before they took me back and reviewed what we had talked about last time.

I am almost blind…and I’ve had this silly eye disease since I was ten.  It’s not so bad.  Everything looks like a watercolor actually.  So when I see my face in the mirror in the morning, I can’t see any imperfections and I tend to go through my days thinking I’m way hotter than I actually am.  With women’s confidence being statistically low, I imagine this evens out with my self-esteem to a perfect equilibrium, but who really knows.  I’m the last person who’d know what I actually look like.

Anyhow, last May, I joined a clinical study in the US for this thing called corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL).  It cost me a buttload of money (or should I say it cost my generous uncle and brother a buttload of money.  I really am grateful, I feel much more relieved now that I know my disease can’t get worse after the surgery) for the three-hour procedure.  Supposedly CXL is supposed to stop me from needing a corneal transplant in the coming years and stop the progression of my disease.  I think it has, but since I moved to Argentina I haven’t really been able to check.

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^^Told you I wasn’t human 😛

I finally got tired of going through my days here not being able to see shit.  I’ve also started to feel nauseous by the end of every day and I know it’s because I can’t see and I get dizzy.  So I asked around and found an expert on my disease here in Buenos Aires.  As luck would have it, Dr. Albertazzi’s office is only like 5 blocks from my house!  I went to see him and he assumed I was trying to get approved for the usual “cure”—Ferrara rings.  Yeah, never heard of those before.  I think I’ve been to so many eye doctor’s appointments in my lifetime (and certainly paid for them…) that I deserve a degree in opthamology by now…but I’ve never heard of these Ferrara rings before.  That’s because, like CXL, these type of ferrari-rarra-ro rings aren’t approved in the USA yet, despite having over 10 years of precedence in Europe, Canada, South America, and everywhere else in the world.

So, after I got home from my first appointment I did a bunch of research and was shocked at what I found.  The first time I researched the options for my disease before I got CXL I never found anything about the rings, but they’re everywhere online.  They’re the most common (and promising) option for people with my disease.  If you’re diagnosed with Keratoconus anywhere except the USA they recommend CXL and these ring things right away…but if you live in the US, you may be doomed to thousands of eye appointments, fitting consultations, contacts, and even an organ transplant (cornea)!  I mean, at first I really didn’t believe it.  My eye doctors in the US wouldn’t have kept me from that.  They wouldn’t.  But they did apparently.  It doesn’t sound real…but I promise I researched it well and was surprised too.  Ten years later…here I am.  So anyways, I read all this optimistic information about the ring thingys and started to imagine what it would be like to see again.

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^^Ferrariara ring-things (It’s actually Ferrara…I just can’t say it, so I purposely say it wrong)

Some people go from seeing like me (terribly) to not even needing glasses to correct their vision.  It’s been eight years since I couldn’t even wear bifocals.  It’s surreal to think that just two years ago my mom and I were sitting down with an optic surgeon talking about corneal transplants and there’s this five-minute out-patient surgery that can practically fix me.  The catch is that it’s $3500 USD.  So I got my eyes dilated today and Dr. Albertazzi shined uncomfortably bright lights in my eyes to look at my retinas before I told him I wouldn’t be going through with the surgery.  He laid out my options and we decided that after I come back to Argentina in December I should sign up with the obra social OSDE.  They will cover all of it.  Hopefully it is as good as it sounds but I am impatient after imagining what it would be like to read street signs again and stop accidentally waving to strangers.

It’s ok though, I’m sure it will be worth the wait. So with that bite of bittersweetness I was off to the mall to get my phone company to put a SIM card in the iPhone.  Better to have a phone than nothing, even if I can’t charge it.  I walked the 15 blocks there, walked up three stories and halfway across the mall to find a huge phone-store-sized sign saying that Claro was under construction in order to “serve me better.” I may or may not have kicked the sign.  It’s very rare that I get angry like that but, it was more of a pat with my foot than a kick.  You couldn’t even tell. 🙂

On top of all that, I was totally blind everywhere I went because of the eye dilation.  Seriously.  If I couldn’t see anything before, this was like…well, worse.  I had to move the font size up on my kindle to the biggest.  It won’t even fit one sentence per page now.  Shame.  I think the day was lost.  I feel like I didn’t do anything!  Sigh.  Tomorrow I will try and tackle the to-do list again, but this time I will be ready for it.  I thought it woulda been easy.  Silly Autumn.  This is Argentina 😛  Things close, cards run out, and Apple is literally a golden apple.  TIA.

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P.S.  Just went to start my laundry and there is no laundry soap.

The world: 1  Autumn: -5000

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About Autumn Standing

I love words; my name is made up of real words, even. I am studying Global Tourism and Spanish with a minor in Business Administration at Colorado State University but this year I chose to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. That's why this blog was born--to keep my beautiful family and friends informed of my whereabouts, thoughts, accomplishments, and mistakes.

Posted on May 16, 2013, in Travel and Study and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Your dream is very similar to a dream I had last summer about dying and shit. I heard that dying in your dreams is symbolic of major change in your future 🙂

  2. Marti Pinkoczi

    That’s a horrible dream! Bless your heart Autumn. Sometimes things just don’t go so easy. It wore me out reading about all the walking and trying to get things done!

    • Haha it was a very strange dream but the weirdest part was waking up and feeling refreshed…after I´d died. Someone told me that dying in your dream signifies a transitional phase in your life or major changes. I don’t really know if I believe in all of that but the past year, and especially now with graduation looming ahead of me I feel like maybe this is accurate.

      I got most of those things done the next day. I still can’t seem to find a new bus card though. I’ve been to THREE different post offices! Haha.

  3. So glad your disease have a cure! i’m still looking for mine 😦

    besos!

    • Awww Owl, Lauti told me about how you couldn’t drive and the surgery that may or may not fix your eye sight. 😦 That’s a really big risk and I’m sorry that you’re faced with that. I had a similar decision to make when we were researching corneal transplants (although the risk is lower and the surgery can be redone if necessary, the recovery process is intimidating and the transplant would only last 25 years or so.) Instead, I chose to wait and I found so many more promising options. Technology is developing every day and it’s only a matter of time before something will be discovered that can help you! I wish you the best!!! I know how much it sucks not being able to see 😦

      Beso Grande! Y suerte con los parciales si todavía tenés–me robaron el celular y ya no estoy en el grupo ese con todos. Me siento q núnca los veo!

  1. Pingback: 101 Things About Argentina: Part IV The Last Part!!!! | Standing In Argentina

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