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For recovering Mayor Menino, a week like no other

The police scanner crackled. Mayor Thomas M. Menino sat in his black SUV in Watertown and followed the final siege. He listened to voices of officers he knows, praying the nightmare would finally end.

Menino’s broken leg prevented him from climbing into the command center. He remained in the car, joined by his chief of staff, press secretary, and other top aides. After a barrage of gunfire, police had pinned the Boston Marathon bombings suspect in a boat in a backyard. Menino and his aides huddled close to the scanner, listening desperately.

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“I was frustrated,” Menino said. “I wanted to get it done.”

Excitement barked through the scanner. Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis walked to Menino. He leaned inside the car.

“We got him,” Davis announced.

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“My God,” Menino said. “Thank God.”

The mayor grabbed a microphone and added his own voice to the chatter, thanking police over the scanner.

“People of Boston are proud of you,” Menino said. “Especially the mayor of Boston. I’m very proud of what you’ve done.”

An answer came back through the darkness.

“We did it for you, boss,” an officer responded over the scanner.

The moment capped an extraordinary week for Boston and its mayor of almost two decades.

It included a terrorist attack that killed three and injured more than 170, an extraordinary show of resolve by a wounded city, a visit from President Obama, and a massive search for a suspect, which put almost 1 million people in lockdown.

Menino recalled the events in an interview Saturday as he sat with his feet up in his recliner with the Red Sox game on television at the Parkman House, the city-owned mansion where he is recuperating from his most recent ailment. He winced in pain as he adjusted the cast on his foot.

Last Saturday morning, Menino had surgery to repair a broken leg, an operation that required setting his right fibula with a plate and screws. He had twisted his ankle and fallen on his way into a Dorchester school for an art exhibition for Autism Awareness Month.

It had been a disheartening setback for the mayor, who had rebounded after a succession of illnesses that had prompted him not to run for a sixth term.

That left a frustrated Menino at Brigham and Women’s Hospital on Marathon Monday, a uniquely Boston holiday.

“I’ve been there every year as mayor,” Menino said. “This was the first one I missed. I was looking forward to it because this is going to be my last” as mayor.

Menino was resting in his hospital room when a plainclothes police officer on his security team burst through the door. “Mayor, we’ve just had a major explosion at the Marathon,” the officer said. “Not one, but two.”

The first emotion the mayor felt was anger.

“We were violated,” Menino said. “There’s somebody out there who wants to cause mayhem in our city. Why? In the end now, we may never know.”

At the explosion, casualties mounted. Thirty-six people were taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where Menino was a patient. He asked for a pass from the hospital so he could join the response to the attack.

“Doctors said, ‘You shouldn’t be going,’ ” Menino recalled. “I said, ‘I don’t care what you say, doc. I’m going.’ ”

Menino directed aides to set up a resource center for runners and to reach out to businesses on Boylston Street. He huddled with staff and state and federal officials. A few hours later, Menino attended the first press briefing in a wheelchair. He returned to the hospital to spend the night.

The pattern followed for the next few days: Menino signed himself out of the hospital for briefings, staff meetings, and press conferences. He pushed to set up a fund to help the victims, with more than $10 million donated.

On Tuesday, Menino and Senator Elizabeth Warren visited bombing victims in the Brigham.

“A young woman lost a leg and was smiling and chatting,” Menino said. “I said, ‘My God, what would I do? What the hell would I do?’ ”

The attack struck more than Menino’s city. His son, Thomas M. Menino Jr., is a Boston police detective who was near the finish line when the bombs exploded. The mayor said he heard from other people that his son helped after the blast.

“Tommy will never tell me anything thing he does with the Police Department,” Menino said. “He has a story about helping somebody, but he didn’t make that public. He’s a good kid. A good son.”

Later in the week, Menino asked his son for help. The mayor wanted his son to push his wheelchair onto the altar of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross for the nationally televised prayer service with President Obama.

Originally, Menino’s son did not want to step into the spotlight.

“I said, ‘Tommy, I want you to do it,’ ” Menino recalled. “ ‘I’m proud of you. I’m proud of what you did during the Marathon. I’m proud of what you did as a police officer. I’m proud of you as my son.’ ”

Menino looked out at the crowd of 2,000 — “a mosaic of Boston, every color, every race, every economic background.”

When it was his turn to speak, Menino’s son wheeled him to the lectern. The mayor pushed hard and grimaced in pain as he stood up to address the congregation.

“There are people out there with one leg,” Menino said Saturday, referring to the victims. “I only have a fracture.”

He could not keep his thoughts off the manhunt during the prayer service.

“I kept thinking in my mind, where are these son of guns?” Menino recalled. “How do we get them? How do we stop this nonsense? What’s their next target?

“We can’t have a next target.”

Menino had been formally discharged from the Brigham that morning, moving into Parkman House. That’s where he was when Davis, the police commissioner, woke him up with a phone call early Friday morning about the shootings.

During that day, he monitored the search for the surviving suspect in the bombings. There was frustration, and more frustration. He’d left a late afternoon press conference in Watertown to return to Parkman House.

Then, he got a phone call.

Andrew Ryan can be reached at acryan@globe.com Follow him on Twitter @globeandrewryan.
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