Last hospitalized marathon victim heads home
Jul. 24, 2013
BOSTON (AP) — The last hospitalized Boston Marathon bombing victim hobbled gingerly on crutches and stopped to hug nurses, therapists and two rescuers before he got into a waiting car that took him home Wednesday, exactly 100 days after the attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260.
Marc Fucarile lost his right leg above the knee, broke his spine, as well as bones in his left leg and foot, ruptured both eardrums and suffered severe burns and shrapnel wounds when the second of two bombs exploded near him and a group of friends who were at the finish line to watch another friend complete the run. Two other people in his group also lost right legs.
Fucarile's relatives, doctors and therapists joined two of his rescuers at the lobby of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to say farewell as he headed home for the first time since the April 15 bombings. He has made 16 trips to the operating room for a total of 49 surgical procedures.
"Today marks the 100th day of me in the hospital, not being able to spend the night with my boy or fiancee. You know, it's been tough," he said as his 5-year-old son, Gavin, stood next to him and giggled happily.
Fucarile, a 34-year-old roofer who wore a "Boston Wicked Strong" T-shirt, said going home does not mean the end of an arduous and painful medical journey.
"I, like many other survivors, still have more surgeries and other procedures to go through," he said. "I'll be needing prosthesis and adaptation for the rest of my life, like many others from that day."
His fiancee, Jennifer Regan, joked that the family got a front-load washer and dryer so he can do laundry from his wheelchair.
"No, it means the world, just the simple things that . you sort of brush aside, maybe, in your everyday life — like family dinners, you know what I mean," she said. "Gavin hasn't had his dad home for dinner in 100 days ... yeah, I'm excited, it's really good."
Fucarile was unable to bathe, dress himself, walk or even transfer himself to a wheelchair when he arrived at the rehabilitation hospital eight weeks ago. He is now able to do that, including walking on crutches.
He said messages of support, gifts, donations, well wishes from all over the country and patient encouragement from therapists inspired him to fight though relentless pain and other setbacks to make progress in therapy sessions during the past 100 days.
"Having a bad day after not sleeping all night because of the pain, you just wanna lie in bed, you don't wanna get up," he said. But thoughts of his son and fiancee as well as pictures on his wall, cards and messages from well-wishers, he said, encouraged him to hit the therapy mat and stretch through pain.
"You know, it's tough when you are lying there from a blanket or a quilt that someone knitted for you — it's hard to stay in bed," he said.
Fucarile said he was looking forward to eating hot, home-cooked meals, sleeping with his son and cuddling with his fiancee on his first day home.
"What's the first thing I wanna do when I get home? Just sit down because my foot's hurting," he said while laughing out loud before a serious look came over his face. "Uhm, just be with my boy. You know, I wanna be with all my friends, all my family."
"I know I have the rest of my life, thank you to the people that were there to help me and save me. I was really lucky to make it," Fucarile said as Boston police officer Shanna Cottone and firefighter Mike Materia, two of the emergency workers who helped him immediately after the bombing, looked on.