Portsmouth West track team helps coach through surgery

As a teacher and track coach at Portsmouth West High School, Debra Moore is always there to give her students support when they need it the most. When Moore underwent open-heart surgery at Southern Ohio Medical Center, they were there to return the favor.

 In fact, Moore says her students were part of the reason she was so sure everything was going to be okay. Prior to her surgery, and just after a track meet that she was forced to miss, Moore’s team gathered in front of their bus to take a special group photo for their absent coach.

 “They all stood together and made little hearts, and they sent me a message: ‘Good luck tomorrow. We’re with you, we love you,’ that kind of thing,” Moore said. “When I saw that, I knew I was going to be okay.”

 Moore was touched by her track team’s support, but not surprised. She has a close relationship with them that goes back further than her surgery. They were there to offer support during her mother’s hospitalization, and stood by her as she mourned the loss of the woman she describes as not only a parent, but also her best friend.

 When she first went to SOMC, complaining that it felt like someone was “blowing a balloon up” in her chest, she assumed it was just anxiety from her mother’s passing. She soon found out it was more serious than that, but whatever worry she may have felt was lessened by that simple, thoughtful gesture from her track team.

 “God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle,” Moore said. “When I saw that picture, I knew that he was sending me a message: Yes, I was going to go through surgery, but I was going to be okay and I would be back to coach my team.”

 It wasn’t just the support of her team that put Moore at ease, however. She had also researched her doctors at SOMC and was very pleased with what she heard.

 “I made phone calls to check on Dr. Alain Asher, and I had nothing but good reports about him,” Moore said. “I just can’t say enough about Dr. Asher and Dr. Harry Driedger. They’re wonderful, they couldn’t have treated me better.”

 Since her surgery, Moore has visited her team and celebrated her recovery.  She has also taken note of just how fortunate she was to have the right team around her in her moment of need, both on the track and in the hospital.

 “Immediately after I started having chest pains, I went to SOMC. I trusted them to take care of me, and they delivered,” Moore said. “I received excellent care from the entire staff at SOMC. The nurses, lab techs, house keepers – everyone was just wonderful.

 “I’m also grateful for the support from my students and co-workers. People like our boys track coach, Gary Marion, and my assistant, Leah Blevins, helped make a difficult situation a little more manageable.”