Why I Had a Heart Attack Party

dancingWho doesn’t love a good heart attack party?  A little before the one-year anniversary of my cardiac event, my family and I started joking that my 1st birthday was approaching.  After all, one of the many benefits of coming back from the dead is you get two birthdays.

My original birthday means another year older.   My new birthday means the gift of another year with family and friends.  We realized how lucky we were to have this amazing gift, a second chance at life, so we decided a party was in order.

We started out calling the event a “second chance party” but somehow “heart attack party” stuck.  As for the name “heart attack party”, I posted earlier about my tendency to describe my cardiac arrest and heart attack singularly as a “heart attack”.  Whatever we called the party, the purpose was celebrate and show gratitude for a second chance at life.  If you know my story, you know that I have a lot to be grateful for:

  • Having survived a cardiac arrest and heart attack.  Less than 10% survive such an event.  I needed a reminder of just how lucky I was.

  • Having successful bypass surgery – My arteries were cleaned out!  A fresh start and a defibrillator implanted “just in case”.

  • Having an awesome wife – This is a big one.  She found me in cardiac arrest and saved my life.  As a bonus, a few month into my recovery, she gave birth to our son.

  • Having two beautiful young children – Kids love parties.  Especially parties with moon bounces.

  • Having a great family – When I went down, my family went into action.  They put their lives on hold and  stayed by our sides throughout my recovery process.

  • Having great friends – Friends and neighbors rallied as well.  Meals and babysitting were much appreciated!

  • Having a great job – My boss and company made sure my family had the support we needed during my extended vacation.

With the gift that I was given, my list should be much longer, but this was a good start for the heart attack party.  If you are truly feeling Zen and want to read more on the benefits of feeling grateful, take a look at this post by Leo Babauta.

Although I haven’t been to any other heart attack parties for comparison, I think our’s was a great success.  We had a pool and moon bounce for the kids and plenty of food and drink for the adults.  Keeping with my long history of passive aggressive behavior, I served BBQ and grilled Italian sausages at the heart attack party.  Keeping with her tradition of being a rock, my wife gave a very touching public thank you to our family and friends.

Although we don’t have the party annually anymore, we are not done being grateful.  Our plan is to have another one at my ten year anniversary/birthday.  Let me know if you are coming.

Photo credit: Duke Yearlook / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


  1. Stephen Maher says:

    Paul I will be at the 10 year! Loved reading “6 things…” and “Why I Lied…” as well. Your heart may be a mess, but your sense of humor is great. BTW, I have you all beat, 52 and still no heart attack or cardiac arrest, knock on wood.

Speak Your Mind