Nate Schatz continues to recover from accident

Nate Schatz, formerly from New England, was alone in his pickup truck driving east of Devils Lake the evening of Oct. 29 when the highway patrol believe he fell asleep at the wheel and drifted into the median, then awoke and overcorrected.

Mike, Nate and Patti Schatz and Max share their joy as Nate recovers at home.
Mike, Nate and Patti Schatz and Max share their joy as Nate recovers at home.

Kevin Schaefer

The Herald

Posted March 21, 2014

He was on Hwy. 2 and rolled his truck more than once in the ditch. There were no other vehicles or people involved. He was ejected from the truck.

Nate was returning from Stanley where he had a landscaping business and was going to Grand Forks to go ‘Trick or Treating’ with his 9 year-old son Gavin.

He had multiple cuts on the back of his head, serious left hip fracture and was unresponsive. He was taken to Devils Lake Emergency Room and then airlifted to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks. He was intubated (tube in his throat to help him breathe.) Once in Grand Forks he had left hip surgery which lasted five hours and placed in the surgical critical care unit where he remained for a full two weeks.

Surrounded by family and close friends and through the thoughts and prayers coming from all over the U.S., Nate took many, many baby steps in his road to recovery. The doctor had told Nate’s parents, Patti and Mike, that the recovery process is similar to the 24-hour flu and that Nate is only minutes into the flu.

He gained full consciousness Dec. 6th after bouts of paranoia, delusions and a variety of therapies.

Patti journaled on ‘Caring Bridge’:What a great day!!!!! Nathan “woke up” today!! He is so aware and alert–it is thrilling and definitely an answered prayer! We know there are still memory issues, and there may be times when he struggles a bit, but this has made us giddy!

Nate even had to learn how to swallow again. His severe loss of weight (50 lbs.) was also a concern of his caretakers. He had occupational, physical, speech and respiratory therapy and also had to do mind work to regain his cognitive, reasoning and learning to think again. Some memories are totally gone and may never return, but sometimes that is a good thing.

Nate was finally released from the hospital and was able to go home (New England) five days before Christmas.

There was a huge benefit held for Nate in Grand Forks in the middle of January where Schatz was fortunate to reunite with a multitude of friends, classmates and teammates. There has been and still are donation jars around New England that continue to increase in value for Nate. The Honor Society at New England Public School held a ‘Nickels for Nate’ fundraiser and this Saturday, March 22nd there is an ‘Ironman’ fundraiser for him. The event features bowling, darts, pool and karokee competition, a silent auction and a pot luck supper. To add to the fun is a dress up contest with prizes awarded. The theme is 80s Rock/Big Hair Band.

Another major draw to this spectacular will be the appearance of KXMB TV celebrities Nate’s sister Amber Schatz, Lauren Kalberer and ‘Too Tall Tom’ Szymanski.

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