Matt Hoitsma

I have been a terrible communicator in sharing Matt's recent health "event" in bits and spurts (or for some of you, ramblings). 

Matt had been experiencing shortness of breath and shoulder pain off and on for months. His breathing issue was becoming a daily occurrence, despite his regular walking schedule. After he had to cut short a leisurely Sunday walk, he called his primary care doctor for an appointment on Monday, March 5th. They were able to get him in that day, perform an EKG and send him to the ER. The ER ran tests, quickly got him to the cath lab and determined he had 3, maybe 4 blockages. Because that facility did not have bypass backup, the doctor inserted a balloon pump to help relieve the stress on Matt's heart, and transported him to Emory St. Joseph's Hospital. The St. Joe's surgeon rearranged his schedule to get Matt in on Tuesday and performed quadruple bypass surgery. Matt came home on Saturday, March 10th and is recovering at a slow, but appropriate pace. 

What we do know:
The cardiac unit at St. Joseph's is amazing and we were treated with loving and competent care throughout the process by every employee. 
Matt had a heart attack sometime.
He's generally in good health and is not overweight. His cholesterol was over 200 but not so high or for so long that drugs were prescribed 
His coronary artery disease was inherited, and his veins and arteries are "small". His dad had a fatal heart attack at age 77 and had heart disease in his family.
Stents were not a great option for Matt because of the location and number of blockages.    
The surgeon used veins and arteries from his right leg, left wrist and chest.  
He has a long scar down his chest and rest of body looks like he's been hit with shrapnel.
He can't drive for a month or return to work until he sees cardiologist (early April) and passes stress test.
He was very close to having a second heart attack had he not gone to the doctor that morning. 
The surgeons first words to Matt were "you are a very lucky man" and the "thought of you jogging later this week with your main artery hanging by a thread is concerning". 

What we don't know:
Exactly when he had the heart attack, although Matt has a suspicion 
How long his arteries have taken to deteriorate (but quite some time)
How long he's going to have to take these gazillion medications
What exactly prompted Matt to call the doctor that Monday, and how he ended up getting the right doctors every step of the way. We have a suspicion on this one .

We have received an outpouring of support....whether you've prepared a meal, sat at the hospital, stayed away from the hospital because of a cold, said a prayer, mailed a card, offered a meal, made us treats, sent a text or flowers or books, driven my kids somewhere, taken care of our dog, done the laundry or left a have sustained us through these past days with your love and compassion.  We are blessed to have such loving and supportive friends.  

Matt and I will try to update his recovery as it progresses. His breathing is still shallow so he is not up for visitors at this time. Feel free to text or email either of us (you're never bugging us!) and if we don't get right back to you, know we still appreciated you reaching out.

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