DALLAS - A Greenville man beat the odds and is finally going home after 216 days hospitalized for COVID-19. Much of it was spent in a medically induced coma on a ventilator.
There were cheers of joy and relief on Tuesday outside Texas Health Dallas for 56-year-old Bobby Tanner after a long 216 consecutive days in five different hospitals.
Coronavirus took Bobby to death’s door on multiple occasions. But on Tuesday, he went home.
"Feeling great. Feeling good," he said. "Enjoying the weather now. God gave us a clear day."
"We’ve just been waiting on this day for a long time," said Tammy Tanner, Bobby’s wife. "We’ve been doing this since October. We are ready."
A father of three and grandfather to nine, Bobby worked at L3 in Greenville before he and his wife got COVID last fall. He’d been diagnosed with mild Parkinson’s but did not have other pre-existing conditions.
COVID was the first time Bobby had ever been admitted to a hospital, but it soon became clear he may not make it.
"He was on a ventilator three different times," recalled Chad Tanner, Bobby’s brother. "There were so many ups and downs."
Relatives recall being told to prepare for the worst when Bobby became non-responsive. But Tammy’s voice was all it took to prove he had more fight left.
"For the first time he actually responded and he did exactly what she said. The whole room cheered," recalled Michele Tanner, Bobby’s sister-in-law.
Despite more devastating complications, Bobby always battled back. Recently seeing his mom for the first time, he was determined to stand and hug her.
A deacon at his church, Bobby hopes his story reaches others fighting COVID.
"It was a long and hard fight, but you can make it," he said.
As for life at home, Bobby made it pretty clear with his sendoff attire of a Mavs shirt for. He’ll enjoy a big game with family while eating brisket and tamales from the comfort of his own home.
Bobby’s recovery still isn’t over. His family says he’ll be in rehab five days a week for the next three months.