Back/Home

Four days after my accident, I’m back home, with a nice sackful of pain meds. Wiser folks than me — especially my brother, a lawyer — advise me that it’s not maybe the smartest thing to blab in public about what might turn into a legal case, but the fact is, being able to write about the incident here, and mostly to hear all of your comments, good wishes, and yes, even well-meaning criticisms, has been a great help to me. Stuck in a hospital miles from home, surrounded by very well meaning and caring strangers, can be a lonely place, even with my good friend morphine. So it’s meant a lot to me to hear from all of you.

And since one of the things I learned years ago was never to leave an audience hanging… here’s the rest of the story:

The initial diagnosis — that there was nothing wrong with me other than severe bruising — was changed;  possibly, I think, because of the intensity and range of my whining. A second look at the CT scans showed that I had fractured parts of the transverse processes of my L1 and L2 vertebrae. Those are the wing-like bits that stick off the side of your spinal column. The good news: it doesn’t affect spinal stability or neurological function, and doesn’t require surgery to repair. The bad news: it hurts, a lot. Thus, the identity of the angry dwarf is revealed.  Interestingly, a single doctor (Dr. Nash, trauma surgeon, he of the gruesome cheering stories) offered two different theories as to how my physical fitness affected the injury: on the one hand, because I’m pretty strong from all the running/biking/swimming, I was protected from further injury at impact. On the other hand, all that muscle back there is what’s cramping and spasming and causing me to whimper like a puppy.  So use me as an example as to whether you want to go work out or lie in the Barcalounger; I’m the WD-40 of role models.

The prognosis is bad pain for a couple of weeks, decreasing until I’m back to normal in about six weeks.This means I’m almost certainly out of the Chicago Triathlon on August 29th, but I’ll still hold out hope for the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 10th. And I can’t think of a reason, other than the car coming back to finish me off, why I won’t be back on the radio at the end of our hiatus in early September.

Anybody who goes through this ends up with a lot of thoughts to process; it’s quite literally a near-death experience (I’m pretty sure that without my helmet I’d either be dead or near it). Right now, though, instead of thinking about What I Should Be Doing With My Life Now That I’ve Got a Second Chance (chances are, I’ll waste it reading blogs, like I do now) I’m just… amazed at the system we have in place to take care of people like me when stuff like this happens. Bystanders called 911; the ambulance and police were there within moments. I was taken right to a hospital with trauma docs at the ready, who alleviated my pain and would have been ready if I had been more badly injured than I was. And of course, I’ve got a tremendous support system in my family and my colleagues and my employers and all of you…

The key phrase, though, is, “people like me.” Meaning, in this case, people with a good job and excellent health insurance. This ain’t the time to go political on anyone, but, man, I’d hate to have been lying there, on that pavement, shaking and in shock, wondering, “How am I going to pay for this?”

My family and I are going to take a planned week away… if I’m going to have sit still, we’ll do it in a prettier place. Thanks, one more time, for all your comments and good wishes and kind thoughts. It’s not quite (thank God) like attending my own funeral, but it’s very, very gratifying and humbling to know how much you guys would miss me. I’ll try to keep earning that once I’m back on the air.

And let me thank Erin, Annie, Sheena, Drs. Nash and Zelby, and everybody else from the EMTs to the ER docs to Jim the orderly — glad you like the show, Jim — to the night nurses  and the med techs whose names I was too stoned to catch at  Adventist LaGrange Hospital for doing your jobs so well and with such care and generosity. And sorry for the whining.

Back with you all next week.

82 Responses to Back/Home

  1. Marilyn Horn August 15, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    I’m so relieved you are still with us! Wait. . .Wait. . .just wouldn’t be the same without you! I actually went on the web to see if I could find out if you really did have a bicycle accident-my local Public Radio station mentioned that you had been in an accident–but it was done in a joking manner!!! Sorry it wasn’t a joke! Get better NOW! We need you back to cheer us up each Saturday (and yes, sometimes on Sunday, too.
    :)Marilyn
    a loyal listener and visitor whenever you come to CT

  2. Karen Lopez August 15, 2010 at 8:27 am #

    So very glad you are on the mend. Can’t wait for your return.

  3. Ben Ezzell August 15, 2010 at 8:28 am #

    Glad you are still in one piece. Enjoy the vacation.

  4. Random Michelle K August 15, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    I’m very glad you’re feeling better, and were not hurt more seriously (though I wish you hadn’t been hurt at all!)

    As for being fit versus being a couch potato, being fit really helps you on the other side of the accident. And if the doc didn’t set you up with one, see a physical therapist about exercises to help you get back to normal.

  5. Sherman Dorn August 15, 2010 at 8:32 am #

    So glad you’re home and have a good prognosis! If you need an extra week or two before returning to the air as the nation’s wag laureate, we’ll dope somehow.

  6. Amy MacKinnon August 15, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    I was in the trauma unit with my father last fall and a 14-year-old boy was brought in, same scenario as you though without a helmet. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am you wore one.

  7. Megan E. August 15, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    Thanks for keeping us updated, Peter! I think for a lot of us you feel like family – so glad you’re on your way to getting better.

  8. Max August 15, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    Once again, I wish you a speedy, drug-filled recovery.

  9. Wendy Kenney August 15, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    Peter,

    Thanks for sharing your story and so glad you are on the mend and that it wasn’t more serious. An experience like yours is very eye opening. Makes one grateful for current healthcare technology, and even our system. In spite of its flaws, America has some of the best healthcare available in the world. Just think, not too long ago, people died from experiences like yours.

    Enjoy your rest, feel better, and when you’re back, continue to do what you do best; make a difference in the world, but with passion renewed!

  10. Weaverbird August 15, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    Mystery pain is rarely a good thing, so I’m very glad they identified the angry dwarf! Sorry you’re looking at two+ weeks of bad pain, tho. Hope the healing progresses faster than that. Enjoy your hiatus! We will miss you and look forward to your return.

  11. Sarah Fischer August 15, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    I am so glad you are okay Peter. When I heard about your accident, I was like, “no way”, but not in disbelief that you got hit by a car, more in shock, and anger at the dumbass who hit you. Hope you have a quick recovery, and enjoy your time away with your family.

  12. Marianne August 15, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    Sending best wishes for a lovely family vacation and a speedy and pain-free recovery.

    Love the show and admire you.

  13. Lisa Kaye August 15, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    Thanks for the update, Peter. Enjoy your vacation but rest as needed and heal quickly and completely. I’ll still be saying a daily blessing for your recovery

  14. Rich F. August 15, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    Great to see you’re mending well, Peter. Enjoy the time off and we look forward to hearing WWDTM when it resumes production.

  15. Delci August 15, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    I’m glad you’re (relatively) okay. I didn’t even connect the dots when someone else was hosting “Wait, Wait….” I hope you heal soon.

  16. Lorrieann August 15, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    Thanks for the update, and so glad to hear you’re home and on the mend. I just listened to the show, your vacation substitute did ok, but it sure wasn’t the same. I’m looking forward to when you get back on the air. But first, some well earned YOU time for you and your family.

  17. Jane August 15, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    Back pain is no fun and this sound very painful. I hope you don’t have any lasting effects. (It’s good that you are generally in good shape.) Enjoy vacation with family even if you’re on pain meds and can’t move.

  18. Amy Hughes August 15, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    I’m quite glad you are “big picture OK,” glad the angry dwarf has been ID’d and can therefore be dealt with properly and that you obviously have your sense of humor intact. I ride in fear of something like this happening. It’s why my bike sat in a corner, sad and collecting dust during my eight years in Los Angeles, where it was blatantly obvious that it was a matter of WHEN a cyclist would be hit by a car, rather than IF.

    I also couldn’t agree more with your sentiments on health care. Keep feeling better and I look forward to hearing you back on the air very soon.

  19. Carrie August 15, 2010 at 9:03 am #

    So sorry to hear about your accident, Peter, and very glad to hear you’ll make a full recovery. Don’t feel bad about the whining. As you’re a man I think it’s pretty much expected of you. :) Can’t wait to hear some new morphine induced jokes coming when you’re back on the air!

  20. Archergal August 15, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    ((((hugs)))))

    Riding a bike in the U.S. can be scary. Hope this is a teachable moment for car drivers too.

    Be well SOON!

  21. laanba August 15, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    Thanks for the update Peter. I hope you have a very restful vacation with your family. Take your time coming back. We’ll be here whenever you are ready.

  22. Rick D. August 15, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    To your speedy recovery, Peter. Thanks for telling us and not wait waiting. So to speak.

  23. Christine August 15, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    Great news that you’re home and recovering. Thank you for sharing the details — rest up and recover well!

  24. Kaye August 15, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    So glad you are still with us! I believe that most strangers wil do the right thing- glad your strangers met my expectations. Enjoy your family time. Chill.

  25. Sara Houck August 15, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    Peter, Your cheerful, silly presence on NPR every week makes everything better, the jogging, the chores, the chillaxin’. I am so sorry this happened to you. Please take care of yourself, or better, let others take care of you for as long as they are willing …or until they mutiny. When you’re able, maybe give yoga a try? There’s magic in those stretches.

  26. Kathy C. August 15, 2010 at 10:42 am #

    Thanks for the update, Peter! I enjoy not just hearing you on Wait… Wait but also reading your quips and tweets and blogs, and I’d miss them so much! I work in the insurance industry, and I hear you about health care worries — even with a good job, I rant and rave about what isn’t covered! Have a grand vacation and feel better! Thanks for all you do!

  27. Max Weaver August 15, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    Glad you’re ok. Stop being introspective and just relax. BTW, When you get back, how will we tell whether you’re still on meds?

  28. Elizabeth August 15, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    So glad to hear that you will be ok!! You bring so much joy to so many – I’m being quite selfish when I say get well and feeling better quickly.

  29. Elizabeth Platt August 15, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    When Stephen King got mown down by a car, something appropriately mysterious and gruesome happened to the perpetrator. It really makes me wonder what Karma has in store for the woman who hit you. Is she destined to become the butt of some ironic intellectual joke?

  30. Robert W. August 15, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    I saw your initial reports that you were just badly bruised. I’m sorry to hear that your injuries were more involved. I hope you have speedy recovery!

    Any pics of you, bike, helmet or accident to share? I’m sure you’ll be advocating more than you already do about bike safety and the benefits of wearing helmets.

  31. kate mckinnon August 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    Peter, so glad you are going to be OK.
    The show was really not the same without you.

    Being light and fit will definitely help you recover, and get back to business sooner. And I’m glad you won’t need a surgery, or a cast. Seems like you got pretty lucky.

    Enjoy your time off.

  32. Drew Alfgren August 15, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    Glad to know you’re out of the hospital, people die in those places. Have a good week wherever you go.
    And you’re right, it’s wonderful to have good insurance and quite terrifying to think what the situation is for those without or with inadequate coverage. Having just finished eight months of interaction with the health care system I’m quite aware of the bills you would have faced sans insurance. Good job wearing the helmet and thanks for keeping us posted.

  33. Scott M August 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

    It’s a good sign you haven’t lost your sense of humor over this. I think the prognosis for recovery is good!

  34. Allison C August 15, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    was hit by a car doing 35mph 5 years ago when I was out running (it was an intentional attack by a strange man— someone who, um, wanted to get to know me “better”) nonetheless burst fracture to the T-12 (and numerous other injuries)…which was not diagnoised until I whimpered for about 10 days like a puppy also. Got the same pep-talk ” ah, you’d probably be dead or paralyzed if you weren’t in such great shape, and those muscles spasms are bad because you have alot of muscle to spasm!!!” Don’t try to be brave, strong, etc and get through the pain without your meds. Take them, suck it up and reflect like you said. When you come this close to checking out of life you see things through a different lense. It is a gift in a way, a chance to really appreciate what wonderful world we really do live in. I was back on the elliptical within 4 weeks, light lifting of weights during physical therapy and back to walking/running, on a track, within 6 weeks. Listen to your body, listen to your doctor and we’ll be glad to listen to you on the radio soon!!! Heal well my friend!

  35. Brigid Slipka August 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    Oi. I’m sorry for your distress and wishing you speedy recovery. Hurray for modern medicine, hurray for helmets, hurray for gratitude.

  36. Adam August 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    Hi Peter – thanks for the update. From my home in Yokohama, Japan, I downloaded the Aug 14th edition of Wait Wait…wondering wondering what would be there or what would be said of your accident. As a competitive cyclist myself and fan of the show, I am concerned and interested in the details of your injury and recovery. Most of all, though, I hope you make a quick recovery and can back to what you enjoy most about this experience of life. Good luck for a complete recovery. I am glad you are still with us!

  37. Frances August 15, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    The role model bit of the story, is how important it is to wear a helmet! Good to hear you didn’t do (or rather have someone else do) any permanent damage!
    I’m sure you’ll be ready for the marathon.

  38. Joannie August 15, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    Hi! Although we’ve never met, your podcast is an important part of my sunday night routine, and I was very sorry to hear about your accident. Heal well and fast! I look forward to hearing you back on air soon on a segment we’ll be calling “wait, wait….don’t run me over”

    Speedy recovery.

  39. MaryBeth Smith August 15, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

    Hi, Peter:
    So glad that you are on the mend. We have in common that bummer “near death experience without the white light” thing that tends to get discounted on the “amazing stories scale.”
    I’ll tell you what helped me, and what might help you. Find a Feldenkrais practitioner. Rather than just dealing with your muscles and bones ( competently dealt with so far, BTW, from the sound of it) — Feldenkrais teachers work with improving the FUNCTION — the HOW you do of WHAT you want to do. They specialize in helping you to play the hand you are dealt — and frequently, the structural stuff improves as well.
    There are many fine practitioners in Chicago. I would recommend Craig Trompeter, of the Feldenkrais Center of Chicago. http://feldenkraischicago.wordpress.com/ You will enjoy the work, it is painless and interesting, and you’ll be on a path of continuous improvement.
    Be well, Peter. Will be listening and laughing from Houston, TX:
    cheers

  40. Stacy K. August 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    So glad you are still with us. I hope you have a very relaxing great vacation.

  41. Frank August 15, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    Sorry to hear your injuries are worse than it first seemed, but glad they’re not worse than they are. Take it easy, and I hope you feel better soon. You’ll be missed, but take the time you need to heal well. Your health is more important than our amusement.

  42. Zanne McCurdy August 15, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    We love you, Peter! We want you back in our earbuds, like, pronto! Until then, we’ll listen to TBTL.

  43. Andi August 15, 2010 at 6:54 pm #

    Take it easy and rest well. I’m glad you wore your helmet.

  44. Jill C August 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    Peter, it’s been a rough year of injuries for you; perhaps this may be an understatement regarding this accident, but it’s heartening to hear that you’re able to maintain some positive perspective through it all. I have no doubt that your level of fitness (coupled with your helmet) helped your overall condition. I wish you the swiftest of recoveries. I so enjoy your stories regarding running and fitness, and how it’s integral to your life. Inspiring. Do take care, and enjoy your family time.

    Jill

  45. Joyce Roberts August 15, 2010 at 7:48 pm #

    I’m so glad you’re feeling better and hope you’re able to make to OKC, in September.

  46. Aunt Sam August 15, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    Yay, bike helmets & friendly by-standers & people with loads of medical training. And maybe universal health coverage mandated health insurance won’t be ALL bad.

    Glad you identified the culprit and you’re on the mend.

  47. Joy Durham August 15, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    Thank goodness you wore your helmet and are doing well. I missed you this weekend on WWDTM. It’s OK to have substitutes now and then, but it’s so much better to have a favorite teacher there instead. Enjoy your vacation.

  48. alice August 15, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    I am glad you are feeling better and heading somewhere to rest.

    Get better soon! We’ll be witing here by our radios (in my case iTunes)

  49. Katje Sabin August 15, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    Wow, just read about this. So very glad you are still with us, but so sorry you are gonna be hurtin’ for certain all those weeks. Take care, have a pleasant week, and stay in touch!

    P.S. I know IL isn’t a green state… but I hear a little grass is an amazing muscle relaxant. Just throwing it out there.

  50. Tarus August 16, 2010 at 7:09 am #

    We prefer to be called “angry little people”.

    (grin)

    Heal soon. Peter Grosz acquitted himself admirably in your stead, and it was fun to listen to him to pretty much the whole show again on the retakes, but he ain’t you.

  51. Alyosha V. August 16, 2010 at 7:34 am #

    Peter: I am very pleased to hear you appear to be properly diagnosed, finally, and that your diagnosis is not too bad, all things considered (no pun intended). My advice, based on personal experience of similar nature, is dont work too hard at speeding up recovery, let it take its course. You dont want to relapse. Do try to ween yourself off the pain drugs. They are bad news.

  52. Momkat of Apple Valley August 16, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    So sorry for the accident and so happy you have morphine. Love you, miss you.

  53. Charles H. Bryan August 16, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    Wait Wait is never the same without Peter Sagal. It can be okay, but it’s never as good.

    It’s good to hear that the prognosis is positive; it’s also good to see that, based on your writing, your sense of humor was not irreparably damaged. Get your rest and enjoy the pain medications.

    But you do have to admit, things like this don’t happen to people if they have the sense to stay in the Baraclounger!

  54. AirHammer Music August 16, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    Man that sounds painful, hope it does not hurt too much.

    Think about the Rocky theme tune and you will feel better ;-)

    AirHammer

  55. Jackie Northam August 16, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    What a shock, Peter, I am so glad to hear you have one hard head. Get well soon. jackie

  56. Baylink August 16, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    Sorry to hear things are worse than you thought; glad to know the prognosis is good.

    I guess I understand now why Peter G billed you merely as being on vacation…

    Oddly, he’s not my favorite guest host, partly because he sounds too much like Charlie Pierce, and partially… because he sounds too much like you. Think: Single White Female; it felt almost like he had old shows on his MP3 player…

  57. pris August 16, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Trauma is horrifying, and we can thank the good docs from Vietnam right up to Afghan and Iraq for their work in improving the care of people who are involved with traumatic injuries. They are the ones who realized we have a ‘golden hour’ to preserve life and limb. To all those people before us who paved the way with their injuries, thanks.

    Glad you are safe and sound and hope pain improves daily.

  58. Jason August 16, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    So sorry about your accident. Ouch! Feel better, heal quickly, and we look forward to your return in September.

  59. Pooja P. August 16, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    I am so glad that you are alright! Its going to be frustrating to be on the mend for a while but I hope you can still do the Chicago Marathon! If not, maybe New York? Get better soon and you’ll be back running/biking in no time!

  60. Kathy Keehan August 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    Hey Peter, glad to see you are on the mend! These things happen in threes – first the Mayor of LA, now you. Who will be next??? Please don’t let Paula get on a bike…

    From all of us bike-riding listeners in San Diego – get well soon!

  61. Kari August 17, 2010 at 1:54 am #

    Absolutely ghastly about the accident, Peter, but glad you’re on the mend now. If anything good can come of it, maybe it will remind a few WWDTM listeners to watch out for cyclists when they’re driving – and wear a helmet when they’re biking! Best wishes for a speedy full recovery. (From a podcast listener in London)

  62. Margaret Graham August 17, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    Adding my voice to the healing wishes chorus. Yay for helmets! Yay for pain meds! Yay for your continued voice out there in the blogosphere!

  63. Jon88 August 17, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    Just in case news of this hasn’t reached you, David Dickerson made you a get-well card: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSaoZA5k-9Y&videos=inR0cOjGE_0

  64. Diane Firstman August 17, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    Peter … sorry to hear/read of your crash/injuries. Get well soon. “Wait Wait” isn’t the same without you.

  65. John N. August 17, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

    Are you sure this isn’t just some elaborate way of getting out of telling us all what finally happened with your donation and the Texas Board of education?!!

    On a serious note, as a fellow biker on the Chicago and suburban streets, I am happy to hear that you’re home and recovering. Don’t let the bastards get you down (whether the drivers in the Chicago area – who seem at time to almost make a sport out of terrorizing us bikers – or the Texas Board of Ed.). Time to suit up again, with reflector tape and flashing lights on your new helmet, mount up, and ride!

  66. Naomi August 17, 2010 at 6:41 pm #

    Geez, Peter — I take a few days off of blog-surfing to host some out-of-town family members, and this happens!! MAN, I’m relieved that you’re safe and on the mend! Here’s wishing you and your family a truly lovely, restorative vacation….and an ever-decreasing need for those shiny meds. No doubt here but that you will back in triathlon/marathon-butt-kicking mode sooner than you think.

    Every good wish to you for the thorough termination of that dwarf!
    Naomi

  67. Chris Watson August 17, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    Wow, broken vertebrae and a lawyer in the family…you just can’t win (except for the whole surviving getting hit by a car thing for which my wife and I and WWDTM fans nationwide are very happy about).

    Enjoy your time with your family, Peter. Something like this just makes it that much more precious. Get well and we look forward to hearing you again on WRNI here in Rhode Island very soon!

  68. Sonari Glinton August 18, 2010 at 6:47 am #

    Peter, get well soon.

  69. John A. August 18, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    Good lord — thank God you’re all right! As I was biking up a never ending hill near my old house in NW DC, I saw a similar scene: bike in the corner, EMT and police around, guy in a stretcher. It was alarming, and I’m not sure if the guy had a helmet on. It really makes you think about how careful you gotta be on two wheels. Hopefully, he wasn’t trying to cross a 4-way during a red light. That’ll cost you.

    Hope you have a speedy recovery, sir!

  70. mary woodbury August 19, 2010 at 5:08 am #

    I’m another fan who’s been worrying. SO glad you are recovering and LOVE your shout out to universal health care – almost as much as the credit you gave your helmet. My favorite of all the responses I read was the guy who said he thought he’d be wearing a helmet now. I’m sure that yours is not the only life that was saved by your wise practice of WEARING A HELMET ! Get well soon – America needs your perspective & humor to survive the epidemic of mean stupidity in our country!

  71. Tom Ryberg August 19, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    The key phrase, though, is, “people like me.” Meaning, in this case, people with a good job and excellent health insurance. This ain’t the time to go political on anyone, but, man, I’d hate to have been lying there, on that pavement, shaking and in shock, wondering, “How am I going to pay for this?”

    Peter, I am so glad you’re doing better, and are generally going to be just fine. I also really appreciate your humbling words about how even in this day and age, health care is still functionally a privilege rather than a basic human right. Thanks for this raw reminder, and I hope you are back up and at ‘em in no time.

  72. Victoria D. August 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    So glad you’re on the mend, and I’m pulling for you to be recouped in time for the Chicago Marathon! Hang in there and enjoy your week away as best you can.

  73. Ian Cooper August 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm #

    Glad you’re on the mend.

    I recently moved to Maryland so since I am a cyclist I’ve been looking into bicycle issues specific to the state. As I was searching I came across a stunning statistic – something like 30% of car vs. bicycle accidents in the US are hit and run. Isn’t that freaky? I hope the driver in your case had the decency to stick around.

    As an expatriate Englishman I never cease to be amazed and frightened by the general culture of outright hatred that seems to exist on the part of other road users for cyclists. I have travelled extensively by bicycle in Europe and I thought I’d seen plenty of bad-natured drivers, but here in the US there’s a level of aggression and anger I’ve never seen before. If I had faced this environment when I first began cycling I’m pretty sure I would have given it up. I must admit that, with fossil fuel reserves running out and the end of cheap oil on the horizon, sometimes I find myself wishing for the oil shocks that must be coming, because it will get some of those angry drivers off the road and leave it safer for me.

    Anyway, let’s hope attitudes change and roads become safer. In the end they must, because the cars, trucks, SUVs, vans and even the buses are, even now, living on borrowed time. We cyclists are the future, while the automobile is a dinosaur – a vehicle wholly reliant on an ephemeral form of energy – a mode of transport that is fated to exist for only a few more decades.

  74. Myra L August 20, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

    As always you write eloquently about what must have been a really scary experience. I’m glad you are on the mend. And Megan E. is right. I feel like I’m part of the family and you are a valued member!

  75. Dan Nelson August 21, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    Glad you’re recovering!
    Are you sure it was and angry dwarf, and not a disgruntled Keebler elf who just wants to share his nooks and crannies and air formula with the world, and has been thwarted?
    Regardless, as someone on the other side of a big expensive accident, best wishes for a speedy recovery!
    Keep ahead of the pain, be as compliant as possible with the docs and their orders, etc.
    Try not to panic when the ambulance bill arrives (the one bill that is generally not covered by insurance, but those guys are worth every penny.)

  76. Chelsea August 22, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    Thank you for surviving that ordeal, Peter, and I mean that with all my heart because I would indeed be lost without your beautiful voice and astonishingly quick wit. I’m reeling at the thought of it. Bad enough knowing you got hurt. Do keep ahead of the pain, as Dan says, and enjoy the stillness, something I bet you don’t get much of. Lots of love to you and your family.

  77. Alexis August 22, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    I’m glad you’re ok!

    I was hit by a car a few years ago, and was in the position you mentioned: lying on the ground, staring up at the sky and desperately wondering how a temp without savings was going to be able to afford this. Fortunately, I had recently moved to Massachusetts, so it turned out that everything but the ambulance bill was covered by the state’s health insurance (They later recovered the money from the settlement.)

  78. Grover August 23, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    While I’m sorry you’re ailing — and you should post photos of your helmet to remind folks to wear them — I must admit that I am secretly heartened that the competition in the 45-50 mens division in this weekend’s Chicago Tri may be just a wee bit lessened by your absence. Wishing you a speedy recovery and a dearth of dwarves…

  79. Donna LaBrasca August 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    Hey, Peter – I was surprised NOT to hear you on “Wait, Wait” recently, and distressed to find out about your accident once I did a little research. Just last month here, a well-known bicycle advocate & bon vivant, man about town was killed when hit by an SUV as he was cycling. (His beloved 5-year-old daughter now has to grow up without her daddy.) I’m in the habit of toodling around town to do weekend errands on my 1971 Raleigh Sprite. Because of your accident, I’m going to relinquish a shred of vanity & buy a helmet, so if you’re looking for anything good to come from your accident, there it is.

  80. Brian August 23, 2010 at 11:21 pm #

    Peter

    So sorry to hear about your accident – glad to hear you’re OK and getting such great care – any
    advice I can give to help with your meds (I’m a pharmacist) – please email – anytime
    PS: Roscoe, Princess, and T-Bone all say Hi

  81. Tom August 24, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Ever see these Peter:

    http://www.armoredairjackets.com/index.php

  82. Sara ElShafie September 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    Dear Peter,

    You’re not allowed to go, not until a ripe and peaceful old age. Glad the fates recognized that. Also glad to know that helmets do their job.

    As to your back, I supposed that is ironic. Maybe I shouldn’t be weight training.

    Salud,
    ~Sara

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