Saturday 17 March 2018

RTE star Michael Lyster tells of how his wife Anne saved his life with CPR after he had cardiac arrest

Michael Lyster with his wife Anne
Michael Lyster with his wife Anne

Nicola Tallant

RTE sporting legend Michael Lyster has told how his wife Anne saved his life after he collapsed from a major cardiac arrest at this home.

The 61-year-old Sunday Game presenter was kept alive by Anne, who gave him CPR, as she waited for the ambulance to arrive.

Last night he spoke about his brush with death as he recovered in St Vincents’ hospital.

“I am not a religious person but I suppose I would be spiritual,” the popular presenter said. 

“When something like this happens you are left with no doubt in your mind that there is a thin line between dying and surviving. And you have to wonder about these things. You have to think ‘it just wasn’t your time’.

“If it wasn’t for a set of circumstances I would not be here today. I would have been gone. I would have kicked the bucket last Friday. Instead, I am alive and I feel entitled now to wonder about things…about a time to die.”

LIFE SAVER: Michael and Anne Lyster with their daugher Rebecca, on the road to full health
LIFE SAVER: Michael and Anne Lyster with their daugher Rebecca, on the road to full health

Michael told how he has suffered from a heart condition for a number of years but had no warning whatsoever before he collapsed at the front door of his Cabinteely home in Dublin.

“I had been down in Portumna playing golf and I was with a good friend of mine Vincent Hogan.

Read more: Host Michael Lyster forced to miss 'Sunday Game' for only second time in 31 years

“We had a bite to eat after the round and Vincent was driving, so he left me off at my house at about 11.30pm,” he told the Sunday World.

“For some reason, when he left me off I realised that I left my mobile phone in his car – I reckoned that I would need it, so I went quickly to the house phone and rang Vincent.

“He wasn’t very far away so he said he would come back and would be with me in two minutes.

“I remember walking towards the front door and opening it and that is all I remember.  I was down on the floor when Vincent arrived and I remember nothing until I started to come to in the hospital.

“Over the past few days I have slowly been able to piece it together. What had happened was that Vincent saw me on the floor and he immediately called up the stairs for my wife Anne while he phoned the ambulance.

“Ann has had first aid training so she started doing CPR on me and was talking to the guys in the ambulance as they made their way to us.

“I came to sometime on Saturday but, to be honest, from the time that Vincent dropped me off until the following day I had no recollection at all of what had happened.

“You are in a hospital bed and people are saying to you ‘do you know what happened?’ but I didn’t. Everything was gone. It was very vague.”

The sporting pundit says it was the quick and calm actions of wife Anne, the mother of his four grown-up children, which saved his life.

“She just went into action. Vincent called the ambulance and the crew talked them through what to do. Anne has had first aid training, as have I,so that was the key to it.

Read more: The Sunday Game anchor Michael Lyster rushed to hospital with sudden illness

“You are in a hospital bed and people are saying to you ‘do you know what happened?’ but I didn’t. Everything was gone. It was very vague.”

“There is no question about it but I was dying. Had I not forgotten the phone in the first place I would have died downstairs with everyone in bed.

“It is so strange because my phone wouldn’t be a thing … but had I not forgotten it, had I not called Vincent, had he not come back that was it. I was gone. I would have died on the kitchen floor.”

Michael revealed he has a long history of cardiac trouble but the latest episode means that he will have a pacemaker fitted this week.

“It’s just something I have – heart difficulties. Some people will have ten heart attacks, I simply had a troubled heart for years. It was being managed on the medication and it was under control from that point of view. But obviously this was a major heart attack without warning,” he said.

“This is just a symptom of my heart problems,  but the first thing that you come to realise is how incredibly lucky you are. Just a couple of circumstances fell into place and that is what saved my life. I was just very, very lucky.”

Two of Lyster’s children, Rebecca and Jack, still live at home while Mark and Ellen live nearby in south Dublin

“I have been showered with love all week by my family and my friends. The number of people who have been texting me is astonishing, even people I only half know and haven’t heard from in years.

“One text was simply FFS. Joe Brolly sent one saying: ‘I hear you are still alive’, that was funny I was going to text him back: ‘No, I died last week’.

“And really that could have been true. I could have died last Friday and there was no guarantee even when they got me to hospital that I was going to make it. It was touch and go.

“What will happen now is that I am going to have a pacemaker fitted on Thursday. The doctors were talking about that a couple of years ago but they didn’t do it at the time because of the medication and other bits. But they are definitely doing it now.”

Sunday World

Online Editors

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