Tuesday the Contraption Captain and I are in the local emergency room, soaking up that special emergency room aroma of pain and worry. Although we both rode our bicycles to the hospital (possibly because we are nuts) it was not a bicycle accident that brought us in and for the record, we are both fine, in fact as time passed we became increasingly fine while sitting there, him in the hospital bed and me on one of those hard plastic chairs and the finer I got the more I had time to look around our small curtained area. I got a little bored.
First I sanitized my hands several times with the automatic Purel foam dispensor. Then I sanitized the Contraption Captain's hands. Next I very carefully (no touching) went through the cabinets behind the bed and checked out the various tanks (oxygen or oxygen? We'll take oxygen ...) and computers. There were no sharps in the sharp dispenser and no trash in the trash can. They had one of those test your reflex hammers but I've played around with those things a lot and the thrill has kindof gone. I resisted experimenting with the nifty check-your-ear tool although I was definitely curious. Then I sat in the plastic chair for a few minutes, momentarily non-plussed.
Two beds away and across the room someone, a woman from the voice, was behind a curtain having a time that was less fun. This person had been in an accident of some kind, they had cuts and abrasions some of which were deep enough to require stitches and cleaning. I first thought the person was an old woman who had taken a fall. A man with ridiculously colored hair was pacing around making phone calls. I thought that the injured person was his mother. The person in the bed was not old though, they were more middle-aged and the guy was the person's worried and unhappy husband.
I totally get "not my business" so I returned to playing with the adjustable bed until I distinctly heard someone say that the person had been hurt by a car door. My ears went up. I mouthed "car door" at the Contraption Captain. "Do you think it was a bicycle accident" I whispered. "Well not too many pedestrians get injured by car doors" he returned.
The woman had bicycled to school with her two children, had dropped them off, and had been bicycling back to her house when someone had opened a car door in her face and knocked her down. She had been cut up in the fall, her knee and face and arm all had needed stitches. Her collar bone had been broken in the fall, an injury that the nurse said generally did not require medical attention, they heal on their own, but her collar bone had been broken in such a way as to require surgery and so they were going to ship her over to Stanford for the repair.
As the medical team got ready to move the woman one of the nurses aid "well I hope that the person who hit you will be more careful in the future." The woman's husband said grimly "We know who hit her" and then he added "It's one of her friends. She's going to feel awful when she finds out about this."
So hey yes, if you are driving a car think before you open the door on the street side. The bicyclist you hit might be someone you know. To update an old phrase, "open your car door in haste, repent in leisure."