Still Alive & Well

phil Margarita

There is nothing more powerful than dying to make you appreciate living again. That’s how I’m feeling only a couple of months after my nine-minute lapse in time when I keeled over and clocked out in a crowded Alamo Car Rental office in Honolulu late-February 2016.  I’m still here and rocking out to the strains of “Still Alive & Well” by Johnny Winter whenever it plays on the Apple iTunes jukebox.

Sunrise May 20

The view from my balcony every morning–just a different one in rotation


I’m relishing every day of life, every sunrise, sunset and the dark starry nights. I’m one of the lucky 2% that survive a massive cardiac arrest with all faculties intact where two of three people die instantly and the rest suffer profound brain damage. The story of my death is here but it’s my new life that is the real tale.


I may sound like a decrepit old fart going to bed with my parrot by 7pm but that’s his diurnal bedtime now having been fed by dusk—5:30. However I wake up before him at about 4:30 and do an hour fast walking at the foreshore or if it’s too chilly or rainy, take that hour riding the computerised exercise bike in the big window overlooking the ocean and sunrise from dark to first light to Ol’ Sol cracking the horizon.


Then it’s a healthy fruit, grain and vege breakfast for him (passionfruit, chillies, carrots, coriander seed, peas and pumpkin this morning—all grown here) with some hemp seed and pomegranate sprinkled over it. As for me, it’s usually a lettuce, tomato and pickle sandwich on Cape Seed loaf and the requisite four shot latte tall glass, usually with Hawaiian Kona coffee—Jesse Colin Young’s Morning roast beans as a favourite—with cream and whole milk.

KONA Coffee

It’s barely been 75 days since life was snuffed out and the flame relit but I’m already burning to get back to Hawaii one last time before my annual travel insurance policy extinguishes in early September. Not being one to give up, I decided to press the issue with my travel insurance underwriter Chubb, who had already lost a half million on me this year, and through the efforts of my broker, Michael Klompas, we forced their hand and got the waiver to take the trip fully covered within the normal terms—no exemptions.

tiki god

So then it was great luck to get a A$3000 Business Class return on Hawaiian Airlines to the islands from my SXSW travel guru Brad Thomas of Travel Partners and the interisland flights to Maui and the Big Island on points. I’ve already booked my dream resorts like Mama’s Fish House in Paia and Napili Kai on the other end of the island as well as Sheraton Keahou and Turtle Bay.


So here I am in Coffs Harbour waiting for the day soon when I’ll be taking off again for Alohaland. It’s funny that some people still approach me with THAT LOOK as if I’m perhaps crippled and might fall in front of them. The other reaction I get a lot of is people who know I’ve had an arrest talking SLOW and LOUD to me as if my brain is addled or I’m deaf. And of course, I get the dire warnings of diet, exercise and ‘taking it easy’ which has nothing to do with my electrical failure of the heart, not the plumbing.

Lor Howe 2

But that is not going to stop me from travelling after Hawaii. I am already booked into Lord Howe Island for a couple of weeks starting in September and am looking at a boat from Broome to Darwin next year. A few driving dashes with the parrot will probably happen too.


Having just harvested a bounty of several varieties of red chillies and making hot sauces, combining some newly extracted Jerusalem Artichokes with Kipfler potatoes in a mash as well as the bounty of lemons, limes, kaffirs and oranges squirting from the trees out front and the still producing passionfruit and papayas, I’m living the life as hard as I can.  Surrounded by the people I adore, remembering the ones who have passed and watching joyfully the young un’s to come

party on

Hope you are too.


house fog

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