Nail gun victim hits TV talk show circuit
BRECKENRIDGE – Patrick Lawler’s 15 minutes of fame is turning into weeks.The Breckenridge construction worker became a minor celebrity when the nail gun he was using on a job site in Park County recoiled, sending a nail into his face. But when he spent the next six days walking around with it in his head, he jumped into the international spotlight.Now he’s fielding dozens of calls a day from national talk shows – Late Night with David Letterman, and the Jay Leno, Ellen Degeneres, Montel Williams, Oprah Winfrey and Tony Danza shows. He appeared on the Today Show and Good Morning America last week, Dennis Miller Live, VH1’s Worst Week Ever, several Front Range radio stations, 9News and the BBC in England.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Lawler said from his home on Peak 7 north of Breckenridge. “I live a pretty average life. As far as being a celebrity, I’m not. If I get these (bills) paid off, I’ll go back to work like everyone else.”While the fame has helped him pay medical bills, recovering some of the costs have made his life – believe it or not – more difficult. Lawler said he was working under the table for a friend when the injury occurred, and his lawyers have advised him not to name the friend.”The whole thing is a mental mess,” he said. “Surgery and a nail in the head was easier.”He boasts 150 stitches in his scalp and another 25 to 30 in his mouth. His headaches are relieved with massive doses of caffeine, so he’s been drinking lots of Starbucks coffee and Mountain Dew. Additionally, four times a day, he has to inject about 300 milligrams of antibiotics into a tube that leads from his arm into his heart.
The delicate six-hour surgery has cost $150,000 so far, he said. He doesn’t know how much money people have donated to two funds – one at any Alpine Bank branch in Summit County and the Colorado Business Bank of Littleton.Lawler says he doesn’t plan to return to construction, and his doctors won’t let him ski or skateboard for several months. He will begin work at Lazaroni’s Pizza in Frisco in three weeks and at the Fifty-Fifty Board and Bike Shop.In the meantime, his life revolves around healing and dealing with his unexpected notoriety.
Talk show hosts have asked him the same old questions: How did it happen? How could you not know there was a nail in your head? Lawler said the talk show hosts he’s spoken to so far show a mix of amazement while poking fun at the same time.”Dennis Miller, you’ve got to expect him to be funny,” Lawler said. “But he wasn’t like, rude-funny, he was kind of sympathetic about what happened.”9News, whose parent company is CNBC on which the Dennis Miller Show is featured, filmed Lawler at his home for hours Monday. The show aired that night through a live-feed satellite to Miller’s talk show.Once his doctors give him the OK to fly, he plans to appear on The Late Show with David Letterman and the Ellen Degeneres Show.