The family of the window washer who fell 11 stories from the top of a San Francisco building last month says the 58-year-old father is improving, and they're grateful he will be out of the hospital for the holidays.
"As a wife, it is very meaningful for me to have my husband for Christmas festivities," Marciela Perez said in Spanish about her husband, Pedro Perez. "He is my support."
Perez, and her 19-year-old daughter, Monica, spoke publicly for the first time Monday, since Perez fell from the top of the Sterling Bank and Trust in San Francisco's financial district on Nov. 21. Many considered it a miracle that Perez even survived the 130-foot fall in the 400 block of Montgomery Street. He landed on a green Toyota Camry, which broke his fall.
Still, he suffered many surgeries and will need months of recovery in a rehabilitation center in Pleasanton, his family said.
Perez suffered "extensive brain trauma," fractured his pelvis, broke his arm and ruptured an artery in his right arm. Perez cannot walk, and it's unclear if he'll ever be able to. Still, Perez's memory is coming back, his wife said, and he started calling his family members by name recently. "He has improved a lot," she said.
Alfredo Fletes, a spokesman for the Services Employees International Union-United Service Workers West, added that Perez is "recovering quickly," faster than doctors first thought.
Fletes said that Perez hopes to move from San Francisco General Hospital "today or tomorrow" to go to a rehab center for "three or four months." He said that Perez, who lives in San Leandro, has been very emotional lately, and keeps telling his family that "he wants to get back to work."
Cal-OSHA spokesman Peter Melton said Perez and his co-worker were helping other workers on a window washing scaffold by moving power cords on the roof. He fell, Melton said, while handling the power cords near the edge of the roof.
On Monday, Melton said the "investigation is ongoing" and no fines have been issued at this point.
Not only has the fall been emotionally trying for the family, but it's been financially taxing as well.
Perez's family is seeking donations to help cover whatever costs insurance doesn't pay for and to supplement the lost income while Perez is on disability. Perez is employed by Century Window Cleaning in Concord. A representative from the company confirmed on Monday that Perez is still employed there, but she declined to say any more.
Perez has been the main bread winner of the family, his family said, and it's been very difficult since he hasn't been able to return to work. His wife works a low-paying job at a plastics manufacturing factory in San Leandro, Fletes said.
Monica Perez quit her college studies to become a home care worker to help support the family, Fletes said, and the couple's other daughters, ages 16 and 11, are still in school.