My Cowardly Battle With Myocardial Infarction

I have a question.  Who are all these people who battle scary diseases, “with courage until the very end”?  Isn’t there anyone who battles them while throwing a tantrum like a baby?

In those dreadful hours when my own heart attack hit me, I sweated and hyperventilated and finally calmed my panic long enough to manage a single, transcendent thought:  I am going to be a coward about this.

This is my inspirational story.

The chest pains came over me last Halloween,  just after the trick-or-treaters had left.  You’d think God could have just toilet-papered my house or something.  But he had other ideas for me, evidently.

It turns out that the emergency room on Halloween is kind of a happening place.   I was soon stabilized, alert, very much not-yet-dead.   I found myself talking with a rather pleasant doctor – an Asian woman, Dr. Ling.


“You know,” Dr. Ling said, “You’re a nice relief after treating the intoxicated Sexy French Maid, the intoxicated Sexy Fireman and the intoxicated Sexy Nurse.”

“There’s an intoxicated sexy nurse?” I asked, hopefully.  “Will she be treating me?”

“No no, she’s not a real nurse,” Dr. Ling said.

“That’s okay,” I said.  “I trust her.” I was already adjusting my johnny to look my very best.

“Very funny.  But you don’t need any more shocks to your heart.”

Was this where I was headed?  Was I now one of those men who needs to, “Check with your doctor first to see if your heart is healthy enough to look in the general direction of a woman”?

“I think these canned peaches might be a shock to my heart, actually,” I said.

It turned out this was just the beginning of my trials.  I spent the next hours fearing everything from needles to the loss of my manly virility.   Sometime late that night I was still in my little curtained bay in the ER when I heard a nurse call out, loudly and firmly, “MISS!  You can’t walk down the hall like that!  You’re not wearing any clothes!”

Of course, at this critical moment, I was attached to IVs, ports, monitors.  DAMMIT!!!!!  Gotta…Get….Up!!!!!   Must…make my way to the hallway…now!   Should I hit the NURSE button?  Isn’t this an emergency?

ME:                 I REALLY REALLY need to get up!  This is important.
NURSE:            You mustn’t do anythng to excite yourself.  You’ve just had a trauma to your heart.
ME:                 No!!!!  Why, God?  Why????
NURSE:            Actually, it’s good you called for me.  It is time for us to draw some blood.
ME:                 Does it have to be mine?  Can’t you take it from someone else?

Two days later, November 2nd,  I had a stent put in.  It is easy to remember the date because it happened to be my birthday.

In preparation for my surgery, I had my groin shaved by a gigantic man who bore an uncanny resemblance to Hulk Hogan.

“Hi there,” Hulk Hogan said.  “I’m here to shave your groin.”
“To what?”
“To shave your groin.  It’s completely routine.”
I pulled back on my gurney.  “It may be routine for you.  For me, it’s…rather unusual.”
“It’s in case they need to send the camera up through the groin.”

I didn’t particularly like the idea of them sending a camera into my groin. What would they be looking for down there?  Some small bit of remaining virility that needed to be removed?

“The doctor said they would go in through my wrist,” I tried.

“Well, yes,” Hulk Hogan said.  “But the groin is for back-up.   I’m sure your wrist will be fine.  But who knows if the next guy’s will?  So we just shave everyone.”

“I see.  So this is just for practice.  In case the next guy needs it.”

“Sort of.”

He took out the razor.  Flexed his massive biceps.   The blade glistened in the brilliant light.   A frisson of terror passed through me.   What is he going to do?   This is it!   My final punishment.  He’s Going To….!!!!!

“Relax,” the Hulk said.

He was surprisingly gentle, as it turned out.  I slowly relaxed.  He guided the razor carefully.   Nay, almost…soothingly.  Up and back.  Down and across.  At last I received my anesthesia and drifted off.

Dutiful Mrs. Post was waiting for me afterward.  “Happy Birthday.  How did it go?”
My head was still cloudy.  “Mmmm,” I said dreamily.  “It was really, really nice.”
“It was?”
“Best sex I’ve had in sooooo long.”
“Huh??  I was asking about your operation.   What are you talking about?”
“Mmmm.  The Hulk.”
“The what???   Are you okay?”
“Sorry.” I blinked, tried to clear my thoughts.   “I think I’m still a little light-headed.”
“Evidently.”  Mrs. Post talked about the blockage, the stent.   “Oh I forgot to tell you.  Someone toilet-papered our house.”
“Incredible!” I exclaimed.  “So it wasn’t enough that he gave me a heart attack.  He had to toilet paper our house too?”
“Who are you talking about?” she asked.
“I’m talking about God.  Obviously!   Who else would I be talking about?”
“What???  You think God toilet-papered our house?”
“Isn’t it obvious?  Who else would toilet-paper our house?”
“Why would God toilet-paper our house?”
“He’s vengeful!  That’s why.  He’s a vengeful God.”
“First of all, I thought you don’t even believe in God.  And second of all, why would he pick you?”
“Why would he pick me?  I don’t know. Maybe same reason Hulk Hogan would shave my groin!!”
“What on earth are you talking about?”
“Just forget it.  You never understand.”

Please Share This Inspirational Story!  And Tell Us Your Own!  This Is So Important!




  1. This made my day, I’ve just past my 70th birthday and I see some of these encounters in my future. As the biography of Jim Morrison states “Nobody gets out of here alive”. Jim should know, he checked out early.

    • thanks much and thanks for the reblog. it is a lot funnier in retrospect than at the time of course :). although the basics of the story are all true, if not the actual dialogue. as for Jim, that’s still tragic.

  2. Very funny! Very much so! You were given lemons and you made laughing lemonade. One question: are you sure “infarction” is a real word? It sounds to me suspiciously like a word 4th grade boys make up…

  3. I just want to be deadly serious. Well, hmm this might be a dumb choice of words but I want to say something very, very serious: go to and read how folks, ordinary folks all over the world deal with this, usually bypassing most of the regular solutions–then for goodness sake, read Dean Ornish’s books AND MAYBE GET OUT TO HIS CLINIC. You can be 100% good-to-go again, so we will have many years of pleasure from your nuttiness. I am very, very, very, VERY serious!!!

      • Sorry about that.. I was a little vague. You asked in your opening paragraph if there weren’t people who battle disease, whining and crying. You should hear my complaints about MRIs and colonoscopies. I’m surprised you haven’t, even without the help of the media. 😉

        • oooooooh. yes, that was a bit obscure. got it! 🙂 given that this is now my third humor piece on medical treatments, in one way or another, i guess it says something about the way the experiences affect us. or me. thanks for the comment.

  4. Could have been worse. They might have wanted to wax your chest, a la “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” Why, I don’t know, but your post brought back fond memories of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and this scene in particular. 🙂 Glad you’re still here, entertaining us with your snarkiness……..and with visions of your groin being shaved by Hulk Hogan. 😀

  5. Oh dear lord, yes. They are out there. While I’ve seen the sweetest little old lady quietly allow others to go ahead of her in line in triage, while she toughed out her soon to be diagnosed MI (the “I” is for infarction – yup, its a real word), the person with the broken toe is way more likely to yell and demand immediate toddler treatment. “I need some water,” said the guy with a wrist sprain … “Sorry,” as I hurried by, “I’ve got someone having a stroke here, be back when I can” … I NEED A DRINK OF WATER! I heard behind me again as I scurried away …
    One of my favorite examples of “baby” behavior was exhibited by a young fella with 2 or 3 non-life threatening gun shot wounds. Between the entrance and exit wounds, the sizes ranged from the size of a dime to the size of a quarter. He needed a tetanus shot (or as they say in the big city, a “technical” shot). He saw the tetanus needle (which is the smallest gauge needle we’ve got). His eyes widened – “You’re gonna stick me with that?” My eyes widened – Look! In comparison this is itsy bitsy teeny tiny – Like really really small! – He succumbed – and survived all around.

  6. As a red-blooded male I fully believe that any wound, any injury, any minor discomfort entitles me to feel as if my impenetrable armor has unjustifiably failed me and bestows upon me the right to be cradled by a beautiful, loving example of the female gender with my head gently cradled against her ample, heaving breasts while she strokes my hair and coos soothing platitudes into the open valve of my deflated ego.

    I’m pretty sure this is guaranteed to me somewhere on my birth certificate. I’d check, but I don’t where it is right now.

  7. When I had surgery for endometriosis (i.e. “You thought YOUR cramps were bad?!”), I had a bunch of myoclonic twitches as I was coming out of anesthesia. You know when you’re just about to fall asleep and you dream you miss a step on the stairs, making your leg spasm? That, except a hundred times. The nurses kept saying, “Is she ok? Is she having a seizure?” I was like, “NO, ‘m k, iz ok, ith normal.” They eventually believed me, which is a little worrying in that they believed the slurred response of a drugged girl over their professional training, but hey, I’m still alive so whatevs. I made up for it when I had to spend the night because of a really slow heartbeat. A very young, very good-looking doctor came in the next morning with his stethoscope. As he leaned over me and listened to my heart, I said, “You know they kept me in here because of a slow heartbeat?” “Mhmm” he murmured, leaning closer. “It’s faster now that you’re here,” I said, smiling as he leapt back, face beat red and eyes the size of Manhattan.
    Best. Moment. Ever.

  8. This account is scarily similar to mine with a few alterations. I had shortness of breath and more of a stomach ache that gradually migrated upward (I kept waiting for the elephant to sit on my chest, but it never happened.) My wimpy and constant moaning evolved into full throated singing once they hit me with the morphine in the ER. (I’m told I was quite entertaining.)Two female nurses shaved my groin (the only women to touch my willy aside from my wife of 36 years. They were not impressed, either.) My stents were placed within three hours of my initial symptoms and before the catheter was fully withdrawn, I felt 100% normal.

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