A window washer who survived a fall from an 11-story building in downtown San Francisco last month is making a strong recovery.
Pedro Perez suffered extensive internal bleeding, shattered his pelvis, fractured an arm, ruptured an artery and sustained brain trauma. Despite his extensive injuries, one of his daughters, 19-year-old Monica Perez, says he has regained his cognitive abilities and even recovered his sense of humor.
Although the 58-year-old San Leandro man still can't remember anything about his fall or the week he spent in the intensive care unit, he has promised his family he will never go back to window-washing.
"Our family won't be celebrating Christmas at home this year," said Monica Perez at a press conference hosted by the SEIU Monday afternoon in Oakland. "We'll be at Care Meridian, but at least our dad's still alive. This means the world to our family, and we couldn't ask for a better gift this holiday."
Perez described learning of her father's accident from one of his co-workers, who mistakenly believed he had died in the fall. As she and her mother drove to pick up from school her two younger sisters, ages 16 and 11, the hospital called to say Perez was not dead, but in critical condition. "I was just so thankful that he was alive and that we still had him with us," Perez said.
Perez received multiple surgeries that night, and Monica says it was a week before he could even respond to his family's voices.
"The doctors warned us that it was going to be a long recovery and that my father might take two steps forward and five steps back," Monica said. "But the reality was that he took one step backwards, and from then on he's been moving forward. Every day we notice he does new things he didn't do the day before."
Monica was two weeks shy of finishing the semester at Chabot Community College, where she is studying to become an ultrasound technician, when the accident happend. She had to drop out and pick up extra shifts as a caregiver to help her mom support the family while her father can't work.
"My mom has had to pick up extra shifts at work, but our income combined doesn't cover half of what my dad used to make," Perez said, beginning to cry. "We need to pay the rent, our utilities, insurance, clothes, groceries, and we're just barely scraping by. It's not easy for me to stand here and ask for help, and I wouldn't be doing it unless my dad and my family really needed it."
Perez's union, the SEIU, has helped the family set up a GoFundMe campaign, where people can donate to help the Perez family. Workers' compensation is paying for Perez's medical bills and provides some pay to the family, but not enough to meet all the bills.
Monica said soon her father will transfer to Care Meridian in Pleasanton, where he will receive intensive physical therapy in the hopes that he'll regain his ability to walk.
The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.