By Nick Alexander
Authors note- This piece is about a young Afghan soldier struck in the chest plate of his body armour by a directional IED in late 2013. We crossed paths in a US Forward Surgical Team facility about one week prior to the end of my deployment.
kisses his wife,
dresses then prays.
He walks the short distance to his mates to get a lift to work.
I know him, but I don’t know his name.
He is greeted by friends;
complain about their kids.
Then they dress in uniform and step out into the beige streets.
I know them, but I don’t know their names.
He rounds the corner;
He’s on the ground intact, conscious but dizzy and finding it difficult to breathe. I know this, but I don’t know its name.
He arrives in our hospital;
To the eye he is lucky, inside he is drowning, slowly his lungs inflame. I see him, but I don’t check his name.
He’s not for us;
transfer to host nation facility.
Its tearing at me as their skills are insufficient, he needs critical care. He’s listening, but I don’t fight for his name.
He’s visited me again, at home, beside my wife, down the hall from my kids. He knows me, but I don’t even know his name.
Nick Alexander is a current serving member of the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps. He deployed with a small Australian health element to Afghanistan in 2013.