Victim of Bicycle Accident Emerges “Battered But Exultant” Due to Kindness of Fellow Citizens
To the Editor:
I was biking down Cherry Hill Road, on Friday, February 17, at 1:50 p.m., when my bike skidded and I found myself flying over the handlebars and landing face down onto the asphalt. While struggling to disentangle myself, I was aware that a car had stopped opposite me and a lady with a pleasant East European accent was offering her help. “Oh,” I said, “it’s only superficial,” intending to get back on my bicycle and continue the trip downtown. At this moment, a black SUV drove up, and a tall gentleman with an authoritative manner came out, saw me, and told me that I would be taken to the Princeton hospital. I was not pleased by this news, of course, but at the same time was becoming aware of the drip-drip of blood onto my face and clothes. I repeated several times that I would be most grateful if someone could call my wife saying, in a manner of speaking, that I would not be home for supper. At this moment a car with an Emergency Medical Service logo pulled up, apparently by chance, and the driver who was to be most extraordinarily kind and helpful, soon did indeed make the call, telling my wife that I was about to be taken to the ER for a “bloody nose.” When I asked this gentleman what would happen to my bicycle, I was told that, pro forma, it would be taken to the police station, but a moment later, he volunteered to simply put it in my backyard, if I preferred. How kind!
Now it was time for the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad to pull up. I was lifted (for the first time in my life, and I am not young) onto a stretcher — Gor! — and lodged in the ambulance, where a kind helper discussed with me the pitfalls of bicycling with a light, aerodynamically up-to-date bicycle on treacherous roads. I was dimly aware that a young woman helper also in the back was staring at me in a sort of muted horror. Apparently, I was drastically bloodstained in face and clothing and looked, as someone at the hospital was to remark, like Dracula with acid reflux.
At the ER I was treated with customary kindness, alacrity, and skill, where it was now determined that aside from a two-inch gash alongside my nose; a nasal bone fracture; a suspected broken rib; a black eye; and the predictable medley of bruises and contusions, I was fit to be sent home, somewhat the worse for wear, with pending appointments with an ENT physician and — glorious to hear — a plastic surgeon: “It’s the nose, stupid!” (it had never been a thing of beauty). And so, a bit like Hotspur’s oath in King Henry IV, Part One, “Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety,” I emerged battered but exultant. The event has allowed me to appreciate the extraordinary goodness of our fellow citizens — how lucky I am to live here! — and with no mean pleasure, which I share with my family, the prospect of a new and better nose.