On April 18th at 4:00am, Nathan was sleeping in his RV when an explosion occurred setting it on fire. Thankfully, his quick reactions and good samaritan neighbors got him away from the RV before a second explosion! After being taken in an ambulance to a local hospital, he was airlifted 200 miles to The Bothin Burn Center at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco.
Nathan suffered Full Thickness (3rd degree) burns on 21% of his body. His burns cover his right shoulder, right arm, right armpit, right upper back/shoulder, full right side of torso, right buttocks, right upper back thigh and left calf. Luckily, he did NOT burn his face, hands, feet and genitalia! He has had two surgeries so far and one coming up on Friday, May 10th. During the first surgery the doctor scraped away all of the necrotic skin and applied pig skin over his burns! Then, after about 5 days he had a second surgery where they removed the pig skin and applied his own skin over the burns. When they use his own skin, they take it from all the areas he's not burned which they call the "donor sites" which then leaves his body with closer to 70% open wounds. As one might guess, this hurts. Very much. As well as immense pain, while there are so many open wounds the body is susceptible to infections and the ENTIRE body works extra hard to heal. Needless to say, it takes a toll on one's body. It's been about 2 weeks since the last surgery and Nathan will be having another one in 2 days to do more skin grafting over his deepest wounds in his armpit and chest. At this point, the doctor will assess if there will be any other surgeries. The doctor says that medically, Nathan's healing is right on track which is great news!
More good news is that Nathan's mother and two brothers zoomed out here right away and been able to spend time here with him everyday!
We are in the process of applying for emergency medical funds from the state and county that he lives in. He's been on many pain medications and not completely coherent so the process is going a bit slow. We're keeping our finger's crossed that he will get some coverage because the doctor and nurses have told us that his bills will be over A MILLION DOLLARS! A MILLION DOLLARS! Yikes!
We are mostly trying to keep a positive attitude but we want you all to know that this will be life changing for Nathan. It has already been life changing! His home has been lost, his body severely altered and his life changed all in a flash! If you've ever been stuck in a hospital bed in severe pain having to realize all of this, it's not comfortable in the least. He will be healing for about 2 years. During the first year he won't be able to do any hard physical labor or work in the sun. Being the young and active man that he is, this will be very limiting for him since he generally makes his living in various construction fields from building to plumbing, electrical to landscaping and everything in between. Also, during this time he will have to wear Compression Garments 24 hours a day, which I've been told are tighter than Spanx! That sounds mildly torturous! He will be having to go to appointments at the hospital every week, then 2 weeks, then month, then every other month. All of these new additions to his life while rebuilding his life at the same time! Can you imagine!?
More good news is his new puppy, Peanut had been in her outdoor doghouse so she got out of the fire unscathed! Also, his truck that was nearby only suffered a melted tail light!
Nathan has received visits from local San Francisco friends during his stay at St. Francis, has more friends coming from out- of-town which includes his sister and cousin, and has had lots of positive support from his dear friends and workmates. His mother and brothers wouldn't have been able to get out here and have a place to sleep if it wasn't for the help from friends and family!
If you know Nathan, he is as much of a wild, fun and outgoing guy as he is a sweet, loving and loyal gent! He is always open to meet new friends and help them in any way that he can! His personality is infectious and irresistible! Children love to play with him, ladies love to flirt with him, and Old Timers love to talk shop with him! He's always the life of the party and yet finds the time to show up in loving ways. He will help you out, cook you dinner, lend you money, build you something, fix your car, put up your blinds or just show you a good time! He has many old friends that he loves dearly and family that he adores!
And now it's time to show up for Nathan! Please help in any way that you can! He will need to find a home, mend his body, pay any medical bills that are not covered, buy clothes, shoes, underwear, food, chairs, everything!! Not to mention that this time away from work has and will continue to cost him greatly. If you can donate anything it will help in wonderful ways! Every little bit will contribute to getting Nathan back on his feet and paying for any debt accrued. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for everything! Keep him in your thoughts about recovery and strength! We will also keep you updated with any local establishments in the Willits area that will have an space to donate clothes and goods!
If you would like to send a card or gift you can send it to:
St. Francis Memorial Hospital
Bothin Burn Center, 5th Floor
Paitient: Nathan Clark
900 Hyde Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
NO FLOWERS PLEASE! They are not allowed in Burn Center!
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