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By Maria Weaver

 

According to science, Bobby Moore should no longer be walking among us.

He walked as close to death as a man can but did not cross over.

It all started March 27, when Bobby, son of Travis and Linda Moore, was in a back room at his folks’ house. It was morning.

“Mom heard me, and it sounded like my lungs were gurgling,” he said.

Linda insisted he go to the emergency room at Hamilton General Hospital, where Dr. Charles Johnson took one look at him and sent him to Providence Hospital in Waco.

By the time he arrived there, he was in complete respiratory failure, and by the end of the day his diagnosis included aspiration pneumonia, sepsis, staph infection and partial kidney failure.

“No one could explain how it happened or why it hit so quickly,” Bobby said.

Bobby lapsed into a coma and was placed on life support. No one expected him to survive, and if he did, doctors assured his family he would have brain damage.

Over the next several days, many tried but no one could rouse him from the coma.

“So many people came and held my hand and talked to me,” Bobby said. “I don’t remember any of it yet.”

Then Melissa Pool Talbert, a friend and classmate from their days at Hamilton High School, showed up to give it a try.

“She said I had to wake up to teach babies to swim and take care of my dogs,” Bobby said. “That was the first time I started moving.”

He woke up on April 5, and the nurse asked him if he knew where he was.

“I said yes, the hospital.”

She confirmed that he was in Providence Hospital.

“In Waco.”

She asked him if he knew the date, and he told her April 5. She was amazed and asked how he knew that.

“It’s on that board behind your head,” Bobby told her.

“There’s nothing wrong with your brain,” she replied with a grin.

“I’m so thankful for everyone who visited and prayed for me,” he said.

Since waking up, Bobby has had to learn again how to walk, talk, swallow, eat, hold things, “everything,” he said.

“The first thing that came back was my speech, and the last has been my balance,” he said. “It took me a month to learn how to walk.”

He’s learned a lot more in his convalescence and is on a quest to find his memories of the six weeks prior to his hospitalization.

He said the experience changed him and he has a deeper awareness of the proximity of the spiritual and physical planes and how they are connected.

“I’ve learned the importance of being physically in shape,” he said.

Doctors – 11 total – told him he would not have survived his ordeal has he not been in such good shape.

“Hats off to Camp Gladiator and Kathleen Payne,” he said. “Doctors told me I couldn’t go back for six months, and I made it two. Now I’m back part time when it’s not too hot.”

Lesson 2 was patience, he said. “I’ve learned in my heart to stay in today and not rush God’s plan for me.

“I used to always reach for tomorrow, but now, I get up, and today is all. It’s a lot more peaceful that way.”

He has learned the importance of staying close to God on a daily basis, not just on Sunday, he said. A member of St. John Lutheran Church, he said his church and pastor, Keith Reich, have been “incredible” with support and encouragement through his recovery.

“I’ve learned that life here and life hereafter are not that far apart,” Bobby said. “I came out spiritually changed.

“I was in a coma for eight days. I went somewhere, but I can’t remember yet what it is or what it means, but there isn’t that big of a difference between the physical and spiritual planes. We exist in both but ignore the spiritual because we’re so immersed in the physical.

“I’ve learned not to take the small things – like walking and talking – for granted and to be grateful for every day I can do these things,” he said.

“I’ve learned that for whatever reason God woke me up, to look forward with excitement,” he said.

Plagued with anxiety in his younger days and prior to this experience, Bobby says he still gets physically anxious, but not mentally, and he believes the physical anxiety will dissipate as he continues to recover.

“It gets better as the weeks go by,” he said, “and I want everyone to know, I don’t care how dark it looks, it’s not.

“I’ve learned – most importantly – there is no top to how good it can get,” he said. “There is always another level if you’re determined to climb.

“But you have to do the footwork down here too,” he said. “You can’t just wish and pray and ‘poof’ – that’s not how it works.”

Each day is still a struggle for Bobby. It takes him several hours to “get going” in the mornings, but then he is able to run errands and go to the gym every day. After a nap, he helps with supper, and then he is spent.

His physical therapist told him to listen to his body and it would tell him what to do, and so far, that has worked, although sometimes the “patience” part of his lessons is hard to put into practice.

“I expected to be home for two days and get up and go,” he said. “I tried it and bit the floor.

“I do not ever want to go through this again, but today I can be grateful it happened because I am beginning to see all the impact it is having on me,” he said.

Bobby holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. He is going to work to become a licensed professional counselor, and then he said he will be “done” with school.

“Going forward, I want to allow God to use me to help other people in their struggles,” he said. “Now, where, that is to be revealed.”

Bobby can relate to folks who are struggling.

Not only has he survived this year’s medical mystery, he also has been on the road to recovery from alcoholism since 1997 when he suffered from pancreatitis, during which he says he had an “out of body” experience.

“I remember, the second I woke up, there was not singing and angels,” he said. “It was completely dark, and I was hanging from a bar with my feet dangling.

“I had no senses, but I could think. I knew I had to let go at some point, but I didn’t know where the bottom was or if I would fall forever.

“Then I felt a presence – God – who let me know if I let go I would be OK, because he was gonna catch me, but if I would hang on, He’d give me strength.

“So I decided, I gotta hang on, I was not through.

“And I woke up the next day.”

The doctor told Bobby he would be eight weeks in the hospital, but two days later let him go home because his bloodwork was normal.

“There was no medical explanation,” Bobby said. “So, I came home and drank some more. That’s how strong addiction can be.”

Bobby went through rehab five times before he was able to put it down.

“Whatever high alcohol used to give me can’t compare to the optimism I’m able to feel sober now,” he said.

“There is so much life to enjoy. I don’t want anyone to think it’s a bed of roses – it took years to put my issues in place,” he said, “and every now and then they want to rear their ugly heads.

“I can’t unlearn the old things, but I can learn new things to replace them.”

The once-anxious young man now wants to tell his story to everyone he meets. He is even considering public speaking.

“That used to be my biggest fear, and now it is my biggest passion,” he said. “I’ve got something I need to say.

“If you choose, however dark your fear is, is how bright your joy can be.”

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