War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

the dreaded GI


sms’s quarantine tent/Suffield 2009
note: GI marked at top of tent

in Calgary for the rehearsals and to promote the requiem and I’ve been struck down, violently, by the DREADED GI!!! the last time I was this sick I was at Suffield for live-fire exercises in 2009. over a thousand troops went down to the DREADED GI. they were so sick, there were quarantine tents. they were so sick, some of their sleeping bags actually had to be BURNED (I’ll spare you the details)!!! they were so sick, medics stood outside the mess tent and forced everyone to wash their hands in front of everyone else. more soldiers have died from disease in history than in battle, the medics told us.

and at Suffield I washed and washed and washed my hands. but alas, to no avail. 4 a.m. the salmon rations swam upstream. right into my boots. right into my expensive merino socks. right into my sleeping bag and tent. I thought I was dying. I wanted to die, I was so sick.

at sunrise I called out to the 2IC for help. he called the medics. they hauled me out of the field in an amb. to the camp where an eager medic pumped me full of gravol. then I was driven down to the Admin. tent beside which they pitched a pup tent, brought me a heater, water. forgot me for 24 hours. I guess everyone thought someone was looking after me.

but the boys from the RQM’s tent looked after me. visited me (thanks boys) saying, “we already had the GI” and brought me bagel chips and pop. perfect. and invited me in to watch t.v. so a day later, as soon as I could walk, I walked straight over to their tent and made myself at home.

and here I am in a fancy hotel down for the count and I’m wondering what’s with that? maybe because in a way this is the end of the long road to war, my last “army” gig, I just needed something to remember it by. hmmmmm.


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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled the dreaded GI. It was posted here on November 09, 2012.

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