by Dina Kupfer

TURLOCK (CBS13) — A Turlock man who was in the ICU for 25 days with coronavirus is sharing his story of survival.

April 8, 2020, was a celebratory day for Nader Ammari and his medical team at Kaiser Permanente in Modesto.

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“When I saw all the nurses, doctors saluting me for the day of the discharge, it made me in tears,” Ammari said.

After being in the hospital for four weeks — three in a medically induced coma —  Ammari is now on the road to recovery and in very good spirits.

“From the day I was admitted, I don’t remember anything until the day I was awake,” Ammari said. “And the doctor they told me, it’s better you don’t remember!”

Ammari is originally from Italy but has been living and working in Turlock for three years. He and his family traveled back to Venice in February for a funeral. One week after flying home, he was notified someone on his flight had tested positive for COVID-19. His symptoms including fatigue, high temperature, and difficult breathing, began shortly thereafter.

On March 12, he was admitted to the ICU with oxygen levels that had reached below 40%, a dangerous level for all the organs in the body.

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“They were not expecting me to be alive because of the severity of my condition, but God is great. He wanted me to be alive again,” Ammari said.

Dr. Ted Fong, the chief of pulmonary and critical care of Central Valley Kaiser, and his team treated Ammari.

“We were certainly concerned that he might not make it,” Fong said. “He had a complication that he needed so much oxygen and so much pressures, and his lungs were fragile, that he actually had a partially collapsed lung.”

A tube was inserted through the side of Ammari’s torso to help reexpand the lung. Part of his treatment also included prone positioning, which involved flipping Ammari on his belly for 5-7 days.

“People with COVID seem to do better, much better, when they were on their belly,” Fong said.

“This type of treatment, along with the medicines used for the treatment, really was what saved my life,” Ammari said.

And with a new outlook on life, Ammari is hoping his story inspires others.

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“I’m feeling very energetic, very optimistic, and ready to go back to work,” he said. “So hopefully this experience will give hope to other people that don’t give up.”