I am not a morning person, nor have I ever been, and my tiredness and thirst were easily mistakable as just tiredness and thirst, up until the point at which I had finished breakfast and emerged from the cookhouse. Dizziness setting in, I wandered back over to the 30-man room which I was staying in, bashing my face against the door frame as I entered, and sat down by my bunk cracking open a bottle of fizzy orange.
After this, I am only aware that I felt ill for quite a while. Later, I was told I sat there zoned out for a little, and that at one point I lay down and hit my forehead on the metal bunk bed frame (for not the last time that day) as I sat back up again.
I have a vague memory of "the pressup song", Bring sally up playing.
"Proper push-ups don't damage your ovaries, that's bullshit invented by someone that wanted an excuse to do girly ones." I stood up as I said that, before dropping, unconscious, like a stone.
My head smashed into the bunk as I went down, leaving a lump but not spilling any blood. The two girls left in the billet were over me as I opened my eyes. Water had appeared from no-where, and I drank it, informing them that I was fine and not to bother getting help. They still should have done, but the two stripes I had on them must have convinced them not to.
The world spinning around me, I gathered up my things and headed outside. A sensible person would have at least stayed sat down re-hydrating for a while, and would most definitely have realized they shouldn't be handling firearms in their current state, however I am not that person. I checked a rifle out of the armory, even illiciting a comment from the armorer that I looked terrible.
I sat down momentarily on the concrete outside. Moments however turned into minutes, and eventually I drew the attention of my shooting coach and sergeant, and was officially declared "ill".
So the day went on. I drank ridiculous quantities of water, took the mini bus around camp, and was relegated to the shade. My world slowly stopped spinning, my eyesight went back to 90% of normal, and I even shot in the third detail. I don't know what went wrong in my "recovery"; I would have said I felt almost perfect at around lunchtime, but something must have, as by 7:00 that evening I was slumped semi-conscious against a building, sunglasses hiding my closed eyes.
I was cold, but boiling at the same time, the floor moved around as if it was water, and numbness had crept over my skull. It's most likely my own sense of melodrama that make me think this, but part of me thought I was dying. I needed a hospital, I thought. I had to get someones attention somehow.
I put all my energy into that one word as the guy walked past. He looked around, but didn't see me. I couldn't summon up the energy to say something along the lines of 'down here, you fat bastard', and he walked off. I closed my eyes and put my head back against the wall.
I vaguely heard his voice asking if I was alright. I don't know how much time had past since I had tried to get his attention, but when I opened my eyes, he wasn't the only one staring at me.
I shook my head slowly.
There was some discussion, my input being mono-syllabic, and I was taken off to be thrown in a mostly cold shower and to get some water down my neck. It can be said that for the rest of the evening I felt like shit, and even do slightly now, but at least melodramatic-me got it wrong, and I lived.
I didn't start writing this as a warning of the dangers of dehydration, more because I was bored and doing something non-computer based still seems like too much of a challenge. Still, if it serves to remind you to bloody drink when it's a little on the warm side, then I guess that can only be a good thing.