I’m Sorry, I Didn’t Catch Your Name

By Alexandra Skinner

As I sit down at the computer late after my shift, it dawns on me that I don’t know your name. Seeing it populate on my list is the first time I’m learning it.

We spent the afternoon drilling through your skull, puncturing the dura, inserting the EVD, and hooking you up to the monitor to learn your intracranial pressure. Your surgeon and I flinched when the procedure was bloodier than usual, and blood shot out from around the drill.
Six. Good. Your ICP is 6.

It is an interesting phenomenon to know the pressure inside someone’s skull, but not even know their name.
Overly intimate.
Like a first date that progresses too quickly.
Like maybe I missed a few steps.
All of your family is outside.
I’ve talked to them; even hugged them, but I don’t know their names either.

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