WBOC’s Jimmy Hoppa back at work after surgery

About five weeks after having heart surgery, WBOC-TV’s Jimmy Hoppa will be back on the air Wednesday.

The early-morning news anchor and co-host of DelmarvaLife, the 56-year old Hoppa said he is feeling well and attributed the successful surgery and healing to his able doctors and everybody who prayed for him.

“As far as health, everything went wonderfully, but as anybody who had heart surgery knows, it just takes time,” he told the Salisbury Independent.

He planned to be at the TV station at 4 a.m. the first day back,  as usual, but wasn’t sure he’d stay until  2 or 2:30 p.m., as he normally does.

“I don’t get winded as easily, and I feel better already, but I have to get in shape again,” the father of five and grandfather of four said.

He was last on the air Aug. 28, and at the time, explained, “I had an aneurysm and I’m going to have open heart surgery to take out a piece of my aorta, give me a brand new garden hose, replace a valve and do some other little piddly things while we’re in there.”

He’s had atrial fibrillation, a type of arrhythmia, since he was a child, and it has been regulated by medicine about 20 years.

“The heart chamber doesn’t get a full compression. It kind of flutters. It feels like being punched in the chest over and over again. There can be pain sometimes,” he said before surgery, crediting his doctors, cardiologist Dr. Jeff Etherton and surgeon Dr. James Todd.

While he was off work, Hoppa received many get well messages and cards, gestures that touched him.

The Idaho native said he’s indebted to those whose prayers and thoughts were with him. “There have been more people on their knees with my name on their lips than I could have ever deserved,” Hoppa, a fire department chaplain, said.

Now, he plans to continue improving, exercise and get more involved with fire department operations.

“In the next six months I will exercise so I can pass the physical agility test at the fire department, so I can push and pull hoses. It will take time, but it will be fine,” Hoppa said.

“It will all be fine.”

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