Former KAKE anchor and Wichita broadcasting legend Larry Hatteberg, best known for his “Hatteberg’s People” segments, says he is recovering from a septuple bypass surgery.
That’s seven cardiac bypasses.
Hatteberg, who retired from KAKE in 2014 after 51 years on the air, shared the story of his ordeal on Facebook on Tuesday. His goal, he said, was to encourage others not to ignore the signs of heart trouble.
In his post, Hatteberg said that he had been experiencing light-headedness during a photo shoot and had felt more tired than usual. He called his family doctor, who suggested he have a stress test.
The doctor later called Hatteberg, 73, and told him, “Larry, you are going to have a heart attack,” Hatteberg wrote.
“He had noticed a small ‘blip’ on the electronic printout that something wasn’t right,” he wrote in his post. “Others may have missed it. He didn’t. I owe my life to his experienced eye.”
The next day, Hatteberg said, he was on an operating table. When he woke up, his doctor told him he’d found 80 percent blockage in three of his major arteries.
A few days later, Hatteberg was back in the hospital for a five-hour open heart surgery.
“Waking through fuzzy eyes, I realize I’m still part of the earth,” he wrote. “But everything is blurry and my body has become a rag doll that doesn’t respond to my bidding. And I begin to hurt. Here is the reason why; It wasn’t a triple or quadruple bypass. It was seven arteries that had to be replaced. Seven! It’s not unheard of, but it’s rare.”
Hatteberg is now at home recovering, and his doctors say he will be back to normal in a couple of months.
Hatteberg, who said he’s always been in good health and lived an active lifestyle, said that normally, he doesn’t share personal information on Facebook. But he’s hoping his story can persuade someone else to have themselves checked out.
“I’m doing fine, all is well. Right now, I’m healing and, of course, I plan to wrestle bears in just a few weeks,” he wrote. “But please listen to your body. The signs may be subtle, but they can speak volumes. I could have ignored my symptoms and put off the stress test. If I had, I would be dead.”
“Hatteberg’s People” segments now air weekly on KPTS.