Is "I almost had a heart attack!" or "You almost gave me a heart attack!", insensitive?

Someone on another forum posted a thread with the title: Almost had a heart attack yesterday, because he/she thought one of his/her hard drives was failing. This is on a forum about data hoarding.

I posted that I didn’t find it humorous at all and said that my Dad passed away after a massive heart attack and that I’ve known others in real life and online who have suffered or died from a heart attack.

I give two thumbs up as the OP acknowledged my opinion and that while the phrase is commonly used as a humorous comment, my opinion would be taken into consideration in the future.

I also don’t find “You kill me!” or “You’re killing me!” funny either.

I think the comment you made is a “car crash”. And I’m okay saying that because I’ve been in a car crash.

On a more direct note… I think yours is a completely unreasonable over reaction. The poster in question made a comment not aimed at you. Was in no way thinking about you. Had nothing to do with you. Intended no mailice towards anyone who had actually suffered from a heart attack. For all you know, has family or friend who did suffer that kind of medical event.

But you chose to take personal offense. Why??

I find your comment galling. And I say that as someone who’s had his gall bladder removed.

Everybody has had bad things happen to them. Everybody has to occasionally get painful reminders of those bad things. That is part of being alive. I don’t think it’s reasonable or healthy to expect others to accommodate your personal bad thing.

I have arrived at that conclusion after 20 years learning to heal from PTSD. You have to look at what’s going on in your own mind to get to the root of your suffering.


I just had triple-bypass surgery and almost died of complications. I’m on lots of medication to prevent a heart attack and [another] stroke. Yet I’d use the expression. It’s the part of life we have to make jokes about or be terrified to live through every second.

Interesting. I see that "m highly probably being overly sensitive. I do find the galling comment funny though!

That said, last night I was glad to see a new Jeff Dunham special last night. Filmed before a limited socially distanced audience last year. I watched a few minutes and didn’t find any of the covid jokes funny, and switched channels. Still too soon for me.

FWIW: I did find my diabetic friend’s comment about possibly dying from eating sweets funny. He’d repeat his mother saying, “YOU"RE GOING TO DIE!” whenever he’d eat sweets. I haven’t talked to him in years and he may very well have passed on, but would still hear his voice in my mind and find it funny.

Humor is one of the most beautiful ways we have of coping with tragedy.

I have a friend who was recently rushed to the ER bleeding profusely from a strangulated hemmorhoid. He had to have incredibly painful surgery to have that part of his colon reconstructed. He said it’s the most pain he’s ever experienced. And he was brave enough to tell his friends what he was in for.

Oh my God he’ll never live that one down. I mean our friend group mocked him mercilessly. The running joke is that he got one of his action figures stuck up his butthole. But it also got us talking about our own personal medical issues, me and another friend comparing child birth stories, everyone talking about their own hemmorhoids (one went in for treatment but was diagnosed with colon cancer instead. He complained that they were so focused on the cancer they never did anything about the hemmorhoids!)

Now I have this little mantra for myself when I’m having a hard day, “At least it’s not asshole surgery!”

Sometimes you gotta laugh.

“almost had a heart attack” in response to thinking one’s lost all their computer data is not necessarily an attempt to be humorous, and might not even be an exaggeration depending on the person/context. You did clarify whether the OP meant it as an exaggeration or joke, right? Actually joking about heart attacks or using them in a light-hearted way could have been construed as insensitive.

I had a heart attack at age 39. I’m 63 now. I’m fine with the phrase. I joke about it, especially with other folks who have had or are having heart trouble. Heart problems are so common these days, and we’ll all end up having a cardiac arrest eventually.

People will always consider sudden shocks/fears/trauma to be ‘heart stopping’, since sudden surges of adrenaline do cause arrhythmias, including significant pauses of heartbeat.

In response to my post, the OP stated it was mean to be humorous and lighthearted.

I’m 59 and I had a stroke two years ago, but it doesn’t bother me if someone jokes about having a stroke.

Same thing with 'roids–I had to be admitted to the hospital several years ago due to heavy bleeding. No surgery–but several visits to a butt doctor to have them banded.

See, that’s FUNNY.

I think that it is ridiculous to feel offended about somebody talking flippantly about something that they don’t know has happened to you, especially if they were not adressing you.

Stand up against stuff that is related to who you are, not to what you experienced.

I have a good friend who’s blind, and I never censored myself from using phrases like “Don’t look at me” or “Can you see what I’m saying” or other sight-related phrases. First, she had a good sense of humor, and second, she’d think I was an even bigger dork than I am if I censored myself. My dad died at 59 of a combination of lung cancer, heart failure and emphysema (can you guess that he was a heavy smoker?), and I’m not offended by the heart attack comment. I wouldn’t even think of it in relation to my dad.

I haven’t stopped eating kidney beans since I developed kidney disease. Get over it.

My Aunt was blind - blinded as a young adult due to diabetes - and her husband used to tell her that everything she wore was pink.


My friend was a premie, when they used to put them incubators with pure oxygen. It caused blindness in a lot of cases. They stopped doing it like a month or two after she was born. So, essentially she was blind since birth.

I’m sitting here thinking about the instances where I’d say “Hey, I had ________ happen to me, that’s not something you can laugh about!”

So far, I’ve got almost nothing.

(Maybe the time I was keelhauled by psychotic pirate nuns? Naah, there’s gotta be a joke there…)


But seriously, folks, I want to applaud the people here who’ve overcome conditions that’d knock down many people… and have toughened up enough to laugh about it.

Thanks for being great examples, keep it up!

Jeez, get over yourself. The phrase “I almost had a heart attack when…” is not making fun of heart attacks or trying to say they are humorous or anything like that. It’s the exact opposite. The person is saying that “this thing happened to me that was so unexpected and scary that it felt like my heart stopped beating.” The heart attack mention is to show how serious what happened was (or how serious they thought it was.)
Why the hell would you take that as an attack on people who have had heart attacks.

What about something like “I sure got fucked in the ass on that deal”? Could it be insensitive to rape victims who were sodomized or perhaps gay men (as the implication of it when said by a man would be that such a thing would be horrific).

But otherwise, I agree that it is not insensitive, but that definition changes every couple of years.