WELL-known Cork musician Shane Supple was recently discharged from hospital. He was treated for a heart attack.
Shane comes from a prominent musical family. He has won numerous awards and has written many songs. His father is popular showband singer, Art, with whom Shane has toured extensively.
Shane’s world changed dramatically on Sunday, February 7.
It was a typical Sunday evening, with Shane at home in Youghal replying to emails, when he felt pains in his chest. He is glad his wife, Deirdre, was at home when all the drama unfolded.
“I just got this awful pain across the chest,” Shane said. “I knew it wasn’t right. I sat down and I started feeling worse. My wife remarked to me that I didn’t look good. It all happened in the space of five minutes. My left arm started feeling tingly. I figured out I was having a heart attack. We then called the ambulance.
“I was very fortunate I was not home alone and my wife, Deirdre, acted so quickly. I could have been guilty of saying it would pass and it was probably only indigestion. Time is of the essence in these situations. Fortunately, she has a better sense of reality,” Shane said.
Shane, who is 55 and was playing hurling for St Ita’s up to three years ago, said he had no symptoms beforehand. “I had no symptoms and it is not in our genes,” Shane said. “It was totally out of the blue. I am relatively fit. I am tall and strong and eat well. I drink very rarely. I would be active.”
Shane was transported to Cork University Hospital (CUH), after being treated by paramedics. The Cork man is full of praise for the response from the emergency-services personnel.
“The paramedics came and they were exceptional,” Shane said. “They could tell from the activity that I needed to be brought to the hospital. Both the paramedics and all the hospital staff were so well-organised. Their speed and efficiency is extraordinary.
“They are so calming. I was hooked up to a machine instantly upon arrival in the CUH. They were happy enough that I wasn’t having another heart attack. I was still terrified, however. The worst part was when they told me there was an activity in my heart which they weren’t happy with.”
During his medical procedures, a friendly voice from East Cork reassured Shane. “It was the weirdest thing ever,” Shane said. “They took me in for an angiogram and I was up on a table surrounded by people wearing masks, while they were looking inside my heart. I was petrified.
“I then heard a calming voice, saying, ‘Niamh Loughlin here, Shane, how are you doing?’ I instantly thought of her father, Oliver Loughlin, from Gortroe,” Shane said. “Her mother is Ann Loughlin. I know the family fierce well. I played a championship game in Castlemartyr around 15 years ago and I broke my leg. There was no First Aid there and Ann, luckily, was there in a nursing capacity, taking care of me.
“Fast forward 15 years and her daughter is looking after me,” Shane said. “I coached Niamh while she was in primary school. I am looking at my heart on the screen and I am petrified. It was great to hear a familiar sound and, all of a sudden, I was no longer surrounded by strangers. It was a small thing, but it was great to have someone I knew in the room. That bit of reassurance was a huge help. That friendly voice was great to hear,” he added.
Shane was released on Sunday, February 14. He is resting up and relaxing at home and must take it easy for the foreseeable future.
“I am, thankfully, stable,” Shane said.
“The doctor told me my heart was in good condition and the muscle tissue was fine. I didn’t need a stent. They found out it was a couple of other, smaller factors which led to the heart attack.
“I have already met with a dietician, who has made out a plan for me, going forward. I will chill out for the coming weeks. I have a wonderful wife, kids, and grandchildren. I have to learn how to say ‘no’ and relax more.”
Shane, who works as a secretary with Rebel Óg, said he has been very grateful for the kind messages he has received.
“I am the secretary of Rebel Óg, which is full-on,” Shane said. “I love my job. I am on a leave of absence for the next few weeks, which is very hard, as I am constantly active. I have received great support and encouragement. People have been unbelievable and it means a lot.”
While Shane was in Cork University Hospital recuperating, a fellow patient advised him to make a list of all the things of which he is most proud.
As well as his beloved family, Shane cites the recent recording of an album with his father.
“These lists are meant to be positive and showcase something that you have achieved,” Shane said. “I am so proud of our album. Dad and I are getting older and we mightn’t be able to sing as well in the coming years.
“It is a body of work that I can show my grandchildren. We have worked together over the last 30 years, but we have very few songs recorded together,” Shane said. “We decided, over lockdown, that we would record a few duets. Every Wednesday night, we recorded one song. There are 18 songs in total in the album.”
Shane said that his recent medical scare has changed his perspective on life, as he looks forward to a happy and healthy future.
“It was a huge eye-opener. I am looking forward to getting back working again and watching games again, but I will be looking at it with fresh eyes. I will write a few more songs and spend time with my family,” he said.