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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Michael Lyster: 'Leaving my phone in pal's car saved my life after heart attack'

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

Sunday Game anchor Michael Lyster has revealed how he cheated death because he left his mobile phone in a friend’s car after a game of golf.

The popular RTE presenter was rushed to hospital three weeks ago after suffering a heart attack following a day out playing golf in Portumna.

And speaking on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio 1 this afternoon, Lyster revealed how circumstances worked in his favour to save his life.

 “I had been playing golf down in Portumna and after the golf I got a lift back with my mate Vincent Hogan of the Irish Independent.

“He dropped me home and it turns out I left my mobile phone in his car which for some reason I just realised when he was gone. So I rang him from the house phone and said ‘Hogey I have left my phone in the car, would you mind just swinging back’ and he said ‘yeah, grand, I will be there in a minute or two’.

“Between him getting back to the house I opened the door but I had collapsed in the hallway. So he was greeted with the sight of me lying on the floor.

“He shouted to my wife who was in bed, it was about midnight at this stage. He shouted for Anne and she started CPR immediately and Vincent called for an ambulance.”

Lyster, who has had problems with his heart before, said that he had felt fine during his round of golf and there were no symptoms whatsoever that something was wrong.

“I felt ok, I have no recollection of anybody saying ‘God you look terrible’ or anything. I felt fine.

“The first indication was when I woke up in the hospital three days later and was told what happened.

“Anne came down and immediately started CPR and Vincent called for an ambulance. The ambulance took about 10 minutes to arrive in which time Anne was basically keeping me alive.

“Even when the ambulance arrived, they were on the phone to Vincent saying to him ‘we are outside but tell her not to stop, keep going until we are actually beside him’.

“It just goes to show you. The fact that she knew what to do kept me alive because I would have died and 10 minutes would have been too long.”

While his wife’s quick thinking and knowledge of CPR saved his life, Lyster is also grateful for the circumstances which led Vincent to return with his phone and find him collapsed on the floor.

“For a few minutes it wasn’t looking too good. Had I not called Vincent back, or had I not left my phone in the car, I was a goner. I collapsed downstairs and one of my daughters said she heard a noise but not enough for anybody to think there was a problem so I would have been found dead in the hallway the next day.”

Lyster also revealed he has received an abundance of get-well messages and cards – and a few orders from Sunday Independent columnist Joe Brolly.

“A lot of people have offered a lot of prayers and sent cards and I want to send a huge, huge thank you.

“Brolly sent me several (texts), in fact he sent me one again the other night which was an order actually, saying ‘you mind yourself’. That’s a recurring text with Joe.”

While Lyster is still recovering from the heart attack, he says tragedies like Tunisia and Berkeley make you realise how lucky you really are.

“You realise how lucky you are. I was just lucky that, in this particular case, a set of circumstances went in my favour when something went wrong.

“The last night fortnight while I have been  in my recovery mode, you see things like what happened in Tunisia and how it affected Irish families, you see things like what  happened in Berkeley and how it affected Irish families.

“In actual fact I was driving past the church in Foxrock and one of the funerals was going on there and it actually strikes you to the core how some families are just hit with this devastation and tragedy. You think, ‘you just had a tumble, you got up from it’.

Lyster added that he is hoping to be back on the Sunday Game in a “couple of weeks’ time”.

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