Posted by: johnhourihan | June 30, 2012

What’s important – After the heart attack

Well, I learned something when it hit me.
Heart attacks hurt.
Years ago, I went for a stress test: Flunked.
So a few days later, I was having a little angioplasty, something new to me, when my artery collapsed I had a heart attack, and I then spent six hours on the table while the doctor tried to get it open and keep it open.
He did it, so later we had the luxury of him telling me how the ordeal had been just as tense for him as it had been for me.
I didn’t think so.
I thought about the dog running for his dinner and the rabbit running for his life with a twist. But I was OK with letting him believe it. I mean, I was alive.
It had occurred to me in the middle of the whole thing that I might die, especially when I heard him call for the surgical team. Oh, right, I was awake and unsedated throughout.
Strangely enough, death didn’t scare me. I mean, if you die, your worldly problems are pretty much over and the pain stops.
You worry about the family you’d leave behind, but pretty much it is the living through it that poses the real personal problems.
I hear it depresses some people.
I understand why.
At first, it was depressing, but I came to my senses.
The concept of life without cheeseburgers, and Guinness, pizza, KFC, hot dogs, stuffed manicotti, canoli, lasagna is pretty much a bummer.
And it is all replaced by celery sticks, matzoh crackers, and anything else that tastes like wildebeest fodder and at the very best everything is an acquired taste.
These are major problems.
I haven’t played basketball for years. That’s not the problem. The problem is now I know I shouldn’t.
In the first few days after I realized I was going to continue to live, I also realized I was left with the sport of golf and the culinary delicacy of variously colored unsalted veggie – chips and garlic-stoked manila folders. And I’m terrible at golf.
Fried clams and onion rings became a thing of the past, and chocolate frappes, fudge, bacon, eggs and homefries were instantly gone, and all of it in exchange for what?
Breathing and a heart beat?
Big deal.
I have to tell you, in the first day, I had a healthy debate with myself over whether this was a good exchange or not. But then it began to happen.
I hadn’t smoked for two weeks and I could smell the flowers outside. Yes, I would rather have a chocolate cake, but flowers are OK.
I went to my doctor and asked him, “When will I get to eat something that doesn’t taste like buffalo dung?”
“Never,” he said. He’s a realist. “I’m on the same diet. You get used to it,” He said that, but his eyes told me he was lying.
“I’m going to cheat,” I said.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because I can’t explain to myself why I can eat chicken but not eggs.”
Then at home, my wife, who always looks great, looked even better after my two weeks of forced monkitude. This was a good thing.
My daughter called, I heard from brothers and sisters.
I spent a few days watching several hundred episodes of Stargate, and this was all pretty good. And I figured, even if I can’t have a cheeseburger with everything there just is no reason to be depressed about it.
I’m breathing and have a heartbeat, I’m going back to work , so I don’t have to watch any more Stargate episodes, and the rest I can live with.
Of course, I’ll probably cheat. I mean, what could possibly be wrong with an occasional Guinness?



  1. Thank God you got help in time. Congrats on going back to work!

  2. Glad your still here John.
    I’d like to share that Guinness with you sometime.


  3. Nothing wrong with a Guinness except the ” a “

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