Oregon City man recovers after near drowning, months in hospital - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon City man recovers after near drowning, months in hospital

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An Oregon City man is at home recovering after months in the hospital. A family trip to the coast ended with an ambulance ride and a life flight helicopter.

It all started as a game in the swimming pool.

Nathan Shank says he’s always been good at holding his breath for long periods of time underwater. So when he tried to break his old record on a vacation to Depot Bay in March, he had no idea he’d end up in the hospital.

“I knew he could hold his breath for four minutes and twenty seconds,” says Ashley Shank, Nathan’s wife.

But as Ashley was timing her husband, she noticed something wasn’t right.

“Everything went black,” Nathan tells us.

“I nudged him and his body just moved under the water and I just knew this is real. I thought ‘oh, my gosh he’s really drowning!’” Ashley recalls.

After several minutes of CPR, Ashley stood by as first responders rushed Nathan to the hospital in Lincoln City. From there he was airlifted to Portland. Every minute, excruciating for Ashley.

“It was very scary to sit there and think, ‘are they going to come in here and tell me that I’m a widow?’” Ashley tells us.

Nathan suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen, and his lungs were full of water. He says as he drifted in and out of consciousness, he recalled a terrifying commentary in the hospital.

“I remember hearing somebody say ‘call a clergy’—I don’t know there’s much we can do for him,” Nathan says.

After four weeks in the hospital—two of which he wasn’t awake for, Nathan’s mind and body slowly bounced back.

Ashley took home video when their two-year-old son, Ethan, saw his dad for the first time in the hospital.

While there’s a long road ahead for both Nathan and Ashley, “There were quite a few times when I would just break down and cry,” Ashley recalls.

“I had to learn to walk and tie my pants. I can’t form sentences or talk quite as well,” Nathan explains.

Nathan says he’s just thankful to be here, and still thinks about the firefighters who helped him to safety from the swimming pool

Moving forward, Nathan says he has to go to several therapy appointments every week as he continues to recover.

The Shank family has a Go-Fund-Me Account set up to help cover their stacks of medical bills. If you’d like to help, click here.

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