It might be stretching it a little to say he's resting comfortably just yet, but educator Gene Clare is on the mend at the John Muir Medical Center after sustaining severe injuries in a Christmas lighting mishap in which he fell from his roof.
Clare's wife, Gretchen, said her husband broke eight ribs and his collarbone, all on the right side, and punctured his right lung when he fell while hanging decorations Saturday.
He's going to be just fine, Gretchen said Wednesday. He's on the road to recovery. It's going to be a slow road, but he's already making progress.
Gene had been able to briefly sit up on Wednesday, she said, and a collapsed lung had re-inflated. A feeding tube had been removed and he was taking clear nourishment.
It's all very good news, Gretchen said, adding that he was also responding to very aggressive treatment for pneumonia, a common side effect of lung injuries.
He's going to make a complete recovery, Gretchen said. The doctors said he'll be able to return to work when the break is over on Jan. 5.
Gene Clare, 56, is Director of Alternative Education for the Liberty Union High School District. A former principal at Liberty High for 10 years, Clare is also known for his 2006 City Council candidacy, as a singer at local events, and for completing the 2008 Boston Marathon just a few years after suffering a heart attack.
The doctors said his athletic conditioning played a huge role in his recovery, said Gretchen, a vice principal at Bristow Middle School. Along with their daughter, Ashley, she has maintained a bedside presence that has prevented the family from getting much else done.
That's fine, because right now it's all about him, she said, adding that she has received a torrent of offers of help from the entire community.
I can't tell you the number of cards, well wishes, phone calls, offers of help we've gotten, she said. It's been absolutely overwhelming. The outreach really warms my heart.
One of those offers has already been accomplished, she said: the Christmas lights outside the Clare home have been taken down, never to be seen again, if you ask Gene.
He said, I'm done with Christmas lights. We'll decorate other ways,' Gretchen said. I told him I'm OK with that.
Clare was expected to be moved from the intensive care unit to a regular room by the end of the week.