'It won't hit me until I see Joanne Cantwell in my chair' says Michael Lyster
RTE stalwart Michael Lyster plans to make the most of his retirement after a series of health scares have left him feeling lucky to be alive.
The 64-year-old - who recently bowed out of The Sunday Game after 35 years - suffered heart failure in 2012, a mini stoke in 2013 and a potentially fatal cardiac arrest in 2015.
"People are asking me, 'What are your plans?'," Lyster told Newstalk show Bobby's Late Breakfast yesterday.
"I just want time out now - for a while. I know I will get bored. I know I will say, 'right, enough of that'."
He does not believe retirement will hit him until The Sunday Game returns next year.
"I'll be looking at Joanne Cantwell in the presenter's chair and I'll be thinking, 'hey, what's going on here?'."
He said he still feels like he has won the lottery after surviving his cardiac arrest.
The veteran presenter, who has been raising awareness of cardiac arrests with the Irish Heart Foundation, said: "My heart just stopped. I didn't have any pains in my chest, I didn't have any forewarning."
He told how a string of chance happenings saved his life when he was dropped off at his Cabinteely home by his friend, Vincent Hogan, following a day of golf.
After Hogan left, Lyster phoned him to tell him he had left his phone in his car.
Hogan said he would return with the phone. When he arrived, Lyster was lying in the hallway, and Hogan raised the alarm.
"Because it was a cardiac arrest, you are dealing with minutes. You have less than eight minutes," said Lyster.
His wife Ann played a critical role in keeping him alive until the ambulance arrived.
"Ann had no CPR training... but she performed what she knew and kept me alive until the ambulance arrived," he added.