February 13, 2006
Why do hotels hang towel bars in the shower?
Many a hotel room that I have visited have towel bars in the shower. Why? Well, in some of them it's obviously the only location where there is enough room to put a few towels that are still accessible from within the shower/tub. But it seems weird.
Unfortunately, it can also be dangerous.
Don't worry though, it seems that I wasn't hurt that badly and I was able to travel, both to home and on my next business trip.
Last week, I was in Detroit teaching a class and proctoring a certification exam for Red Hat. On Friday, There was no way to make it back to the airport (approximately 37 miles from training center I was working at) in time for the last possible flight from Detroit Metro airport to get me home to Salt Lake that night. So, I missed it. I ended up staying in the Westin Hotel, attached to the airport terminal.
Every Westin I have stayed in has been a great Hotel; comfortable beds in which you always get real rest when you sleep, the rooms do not feel cramped and tiny, but well balanced. Believe me, there are plenty of worse places to go.
In this particular Westin, there is a towel bar in the shower/tub. Of course, it's on the wall opposite from the shower head (well, double shower head, in this case, which is very nice :) ). On Saturday morning, I awoke to my alarm and a wake-up call (always have a backup when you're in a hotel) at 4:15am. I phoned Delta Airlines to see if I could get on the "full" flight at 7:15, direct to SLC, or if I would just have to wait for the next available flight at 5pm, which went through Atlanta in order to get home. It turned out that the flight was just under 1/3 full when it left.
I decided to add another 45 minutes of sleep to the 3-1/2 hours I had just interrupted. The alarm reset and another wake-up call scheduled, I rested as well as one can in only 45 minutes. I got up, did some stretching, had a couple of glasses of water and turned on the shower to warm up the space. After gathering & setting out my fresh clothes I went to climb into the shower.
Of course, not wanting to get water all over the place while climbing in to the already running shower, I pushed the curtain into the space to block the water and went to step in against the wall. I had forgotten about the towel bar and was looking down at my feet, so that I would not slip or stand on the curtain and fall down. That's when I rammed the top-front of my head into the corner of the towel bar.
Mind you, this is not the first time in my entire life that I have hit my head on something. But this time, the corner of the towel bar in the shower at the Westin Hotel at the Detroit Metro International Airport is a square corner; it was sharp. It sliced my scalp open about 4-5 centimeters in length. There was plenty of blood, though I would not say a "lot" of blood, and it hurt. I sat down on the edge of tub immediately and pressed my hand to the wound. A few drops had already dripped onto the floor and the towel laying there.
I increased the pressure until I saw no blood dripping and went out of the bathroom, to the room phone and called the front desk. I told them, "I hit my head on the towel bar trying to get in to the shower and am bleeding. They sent up someone from security. Before he got there, I pulled on some pajamas. He took a look and said that it was bleeding more than I thought, when I pulled my hand away, it was completely covered in blood, but there wasn't much flowing. I resumed the pressure to get it stopped. The security gentleman phoned the airport paramedics and soon I had two fire paramedics, a police officer and the Westin's security man all in my room.
After asking me questions of varying kinds in an interesting order (obviously, to gage how lucid I was and see if I had a concussion) they seemed happy with the results. The paramedics cleaned up most of the blood he said that it wasn't even as bad as he first thought. In fact, he didn't think that I had to have stitches but I would get them if I wanted to. If I did, it would mean a trip to the hospital to have it done and I'd be right back on the 5pm flight. I decided to go home on the morning flight. He told me that would mean that I could not wash my hair for a few days, probably a week or else I could start it bleeding and even create an infection.
I'm OK. But you probably don't want to be around my greasy hair in a few days. I had a bit of throbbing until after I slept for 3-1/2 hours on the plane back to Salt Lake. Since then, I've had a bit of headache, but it has been lessening each day.
The woman running the front desk that morning called me yesterday to see how I was doing. Today, I received an email from Mr. Julius M. Johnson, Director of Security/Valet for the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport. I am expecting a couple more emails and phone calls, at least, from managers and executives at the Westin. I continue to function just fine (except for the greasy hair :( ). This injury is the kind of thing that could leave a permanent bald spot, but only time will tell if that happens. Beyond that, I do not, at this point, believe there will be any permanent damage to my head.
That particular location has only been open for about a year. I would suspect that mine could be the first serious injury involving those towel bars. I am a reasonably safety conscious individual and am a seasoned business traveler. I was being careful to not fall down and, indeed, I did not. But those towel bars are dangerous. I hope no one else has to split their head open before the Westin decides to soften the edges of those towel bars. I have some ideas in my mind of shapes that would both function well and fit in to the decor and style of the space without those dangerous, sharp outside corners.
Posted by lamontp at 1:54 PM