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The Umpire Strikes Back with Prayer

Williamsburg, VA

As a high school and college referee and umpire, Robert Calloway was very active and rarely got sick.

Then in March 2020 he developed chills and stomach pains so severe, his wife Barbara had to take him to the E.R. Covid-19 had yet to take hold in the U.S. so when doctors couldn’t find anything wrong, they sent them home.

Barbara recalls, “I thought, ‘Well, he's got a virus, you know, he'll get over it, just needs a few days.’”

Then, four days later, Robert was having trouble breathing, so his wife and daughter, Gabby, rushed him to the E.R. again. This time he was admitted to the hospital immediately, suspected of having Covid-19.

Gabby says, “I didn't even get to say anything to him, and it was heart-wrenching after that because I didn't even get to say my last ‘I love you.'”

Barbara recalls, “It was horrible. Sending him back there and not knowing, you know, at that point we're going to see him again...”

Robert was given oxygen and put in isolation. Within days his breathing was so poor he had to be put on a ventilator and into a medically induced coma.

Barbara says, “The same day we actually got the Covid-19 results back to say that he was positive. The doctor called me and said, ‘His breathing has gotten worse and we're going to need to put him on a ventilator.’ It made us very nervous. In the condition he was in. I was very concerned. I came home and cried.”

Gabby thought, “It was just kinda like ‘Why?’ You know, ‘Why him?’ And so that was a little discouraging when he did go on the ventilator.” 

Unable to stay with Robert in the hospital, the family dealt with it the only way they knew how. “We were praying, and friends were praying.”

Gabby recalls, “Friends just kept encouraging me. And I think that increased my hope for the situation.”

Barbara remembers, “The church family would bring us stuff; our neighbors would drop stuff off. And we were just here for each other.”

Then, after one week on the ventilator, Robert took another turn for the worse. His heart rate and fever shot up and his oxygen levels plummeted.

Barbara recalls, “At that point they didn't know for sure why. It was pretty scary. I would just talk to God. And then at one point I did have to say, ‘God, you know, if this is his time then, you know, at least I know he's going to be with you.’ You know, I was confident in that.”

One of Robert’s doctors told Barbara a CAT scan revealed he had blood clots; several in his legs and one in his lungs. They put Robert on blood thinners but made no promises.

Barbara says, “She said, ‘It does not look good.’ She said that ‘There's some things that a bigger hospital could be doing for him, but honestly at the point where he's at, it might be too late.'"

Barbara sent out another urgent request for people to pray. Then over the next two days, Robert’s numbers started returning to normal. Soon, doctors were able to take him off the ventilator and bring him out of the coma.

Gabby recalls, “We knew that he still wasn't out of the woods yet, but it was just very joyful just to have him awake and breathing on his own. So that was awesome.”

Barbara remembers, “They said, ‘It's going to be a long road for recovery, but, you know, we were pretty confident that he's going to recover.’ You know, you could definitely see the prayer for healing was working.”

As the prayers continued, Robert was well enough to be released from the hospital to go to a rehab facility. It had been 41 days since he arrived.

Gabby says, “Just to see all of the hospital support that he had and then the friends and family that came out just to see him, it was awesome, and it was just like a miracle. I could just see the joy on his face to be leaving the hospital.”

Robert remembers, “I was just over-joyed with elation of all these many people of helped save me. It showed the power of prayer and love.”

On May 12, Robert went home. Gabby recalls, “It was great to bring him home. It was really surreal. I didn't even want to leave his side at that point.” Robert remembers, “I wanted to hug and touch everybody.”

Today Robert is back to his active life and enjoying time with his family. The blood clots have disappeared, and he has no lingering issues from Covid-19.

Barbara says, “I know that so many people stood and prayed for him and for our family and it’s definitely given me a different outlook on life. And sometimes you might not see an instant gratification or an instant answer but if you wait and stay in the Bible and in his word then he’s faithful no matter what.”

Robert says, “Have faith. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and you too will beat more than just the Covid. You’ll beat anything else that’s coming.”

Gabby says, “No matter what the circumstance looks like and no matter how bad things get or how bad they look, that it's nothing is too far gone for God to redeem. Nothing is too broken for God to fix. And so, continue to pray, continue to have faith and trust in His plan and in His timing and not in our own.”

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