The 13-year-old Napa boy injured when a chimney collapsed in Sunday's 6.0 earthquake said on Tuesday he feels lucky to be alive.
Nick Dillon spoke with reporters from his hospital bed at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. He is recovering from a nearly 10-hour surgery to repair his fractured pelvis.
"I have, like, three plates and two bolts inside of me right now," Dillon said.
Despite his pain, the 9th-grader is keeping a positive attitude.
"Of course I'm gonna have my moments where I'm gonna be down," Dillon said. "I know it's gonna happen. But I'm not gonna be depressed. I'm not gonna let it get to me."
He remembers everything about the quake. He had a friend over to spend the night. His friend was sleeping on the living room couch. Nick was on a mattress by the fireplace. The quake woke him up. He said he first made sure his friend was okay, then started crawling away from the fireplace.
"And just as I put my right knee on the floor, the chimney collapsed on my back, and I stumbled a little forward on the floor," Dillon recalled. "I thought I was paralyzed. For the first 30 seconds, I couldn't feel my legs. I couldn't feel my back."
He is not sure how many bricks landed on him. But he knows the outcome would be different if he hadn't crawled away from the chimney during the quake.
"I do consider myself lucky to be alive," Dillon said. "If I hadn't moved. I'm telling you, I shouldn't be here right now. I should be dead."
Doctors tell him it's going to be a while before he can walk again.
"They tell me five or six months," he said "But my goal is four months."
Clearly, he is up to the challenge.
"I'm gonna be fine," Dillon said. "The recovery is gonna be a long recovery. But I'm gonna be okay."
He wishes to express his sincere thanks to the paramedics, the staff members at Queen of the Valley and UC Davis Medical Centers, and everyone who has helped and supported him through his ordeal.