The year was 1992. Tara was Christened. She was special needs. Her parents, John and Trish Loftus didn’t know that that day. The very next day their world began to fall apart, slowly at first, gathering pace and intensity until John, aged 44 at the time, died in Intensive Care!
He told us all about it on The Coffee at Eleven Show on the 22nd of June 2020 (so it obviously didn’t last!)
Ladies and gentlemen, magic happens in live entertainment when all involved walk away dying to tell someone, “We were there when…” This cannot happen every time but it occurs when a sprinkling of something touches performers, crew and audience alike. And it happened several times on The Coffee at Eleven Show.
We Were There When… John Loftus Told Us His Out of Body Experience When He Died Age 44 – He’s Now 73
Enjoy in your preferred way…
Yours Truly: Ladies and gentlemen, you are more than welcome to another episode of The Coffee at Eleven Show brought to you by Wig-Wam.ie SME Peer Support. This is episode 66, can you believe that? Episode 66, so delighted to celebrate episode 66 with my good friend of many years and a man I admire greatly, Mr. John Loftus in the hot seat. John, you’re more than welcome. Please say hello, show us your coffee mug.
John Loftus: That’s my coffee mug. Can you see it?
Yours Truly: We can.
John Loftus: Party animal there, a while ago that happened now, having spent the last 100 days in confinement. My daughter Tara guys, she’s special needs. But I didn’t know that at the time. Was born in 1992, in May of 1992. Oh sorry, April 1992, the 23rd of April. Following month, well she was being christened. And I felt fairly, I could almost say shitty the next day, put it down to having had too much to drink. Two days went on and it was not getting any better. Went to a doctor, he gave me a covering antibiotic for considering I had some temperature.
And then a few days later, all hell broke loose. I won’t go into the machinations of it. I woke up at about seven o’clock in the evening after my wife had insisted, I stay in bed for a few days, on fire. Took my temperature. I was just short of 104 degrees, which kills a normal person. Kills them very dead. It’s okay with a kid, but with an adult, I was 44 at the time. So I spent a weekend in the, I was brought to the regional hospital. I spent a week there where I was under a specialist who seemed to know as much about what was going on with me as a pig would have bought snipe shooting.
He just didn’t know. I would have been better off under a car mechanic. Eventually he brought a guy called Con Cronin and who did save my life. Con had done his training in Beaumont and was an expert in the nephrology department. And he had me moved to Beaumont to following day. Now, the difference between the reception in Beaumont and what was going on in Limerick, which was nothing going on, so a week had transpired. And I had been allowed to get much, much sicker. So in Beaumont I’m given all kinds of treatment. Anyway, to make a long story boring. I am diagnosed with having Goodpasture’s Syndrome.
Goodpasture’s is a rare autoimmune disease. And the upshot of it all was that there was irreparable damage done to my kidneys. I spent in 90, that was the 1992, as I said, I spent from the end of May to the 25th of November, full six months in hospital. During that time I hit the crossbar on a few occasions. They cured the Goodpasture’s, but to cure the Goodpasture’s, they had to take down my immune system. When my immune system was down, I picked up now what they called an opportunistic strain of pneumonia. So this coronavirus has real implications in relation to all that. And now the cure nearly became worse than the disease. I was providing the body. It was antibiotics versus the virus.
I was brought to intensive care, four days on a respirator which absolutely I remember nothing of, simply because, that part of my life disappeared. I had an out of body experience. When I eventually came back, I was a 100% certain I was going to die. I remember the morning I was put on the respirator. There was a guy called Shane O’Neill was their respiratory specialist. And he came in, and his team around him. And he said, we’re going to give your lungs a rest. I was there thrown on the bed like an old dog. And it had really hit me on that Saturday because I was a real fighter up to then. This was Monday morning after Saturday and on the Saturday when it happened, the nurses were making the bed underneath me. I was in a frame or whatever you would call it, and it turned me over, and they asked me to put my hand on the rail while they were making the bed underneath me.
And I remember not being able to get any grip on the bed. And I remember laying back into the very cold, welcoming sheets saying to myself, “who are you fooling? You’re dead. You’re gone.” And I was amazed to be there Sunday. And I was even more amazed to be still alive on Monday morning when this guy Shane O’Neill came in and he said, “Look, we need to put you on the respirator to give you lungs a rest.” I remember being thrown down like this and nodding away as best I could, because the only part of me that was functioning was my brain. And if he had said at that stage, “We’ll put you up there and we’ll shoot you.” I would have nodded away, because I had done all the fighting. I reckoned I have nothing left and that was it. So the next four days, and they come in, they put on the respirator and next four days disappeared out of my life.
And then I pulled the thing out on the following, Thursday Friday morning. And there was, all hell went lose. But I remember at that stage, being aware of the fuss, but being aware of the fuss, looking down on it, seeing the heads of all the guys in white and my body. I’m looking down there and I’m there for a while. It seems to be 10 seconds. It could have been an hour going to be a minute. It could have been nothing. And then I’m aware of coming back down and being back in the bed. And the incredible thing that hit me, because I had seven lines simultaneously into my arms at the time, my right hand was like a club because so many veins had broken down or what have you, but I had seven lines intravenously including one going into my artery so that they could take blood oxygen levels and the pain that was involved was unreal.
But for that few seconds, it could have been a few minutes after I had come back to be me. There was no pain, unbelievable, no pain. Pure peace, no pain.
Yours Truly: Let’s just come in here and honor you here for that. That is some story, my friend. I’ve heard it in part before. I’ve never heard it to this level of detail. And that’s some journey, some journey. And you know, I think we were all there with you. You know, you described the cold sheets earlier, and then you came back into your body and you described the level of pain and this absolute peace that came over you. So quite incredible John, quite incredible. The universe obviously wanted you to hang around for a bit.
John Loftus: Yeah, it couldn’t get rid of me.
Or decided to send you back, ’tis your man, ’tis your man. All right listen, John pleasure. Pleasure, pleasure, pleasure. And we’re going to go to Q and A from the floor. I’m quite sure there’s some people there want to ask you a couple of questions. I hope they’re hard. I hope Liam Carroll has a hard question for you. Anyway, before we do that, have you one tip? What would you say to your nearest and dearest about, we’re now coming through Covid, thank God.
John Loftus: What I’ve gained from Covid, is this, what I’ve seen in Covid. And it always helps if you, no matter how deep in any hole you are, always try to take the positive, no matter what. And what I’ve seen during this period has been incredible humanity. People being human to each other, again. People being ready to help. People being authentic, real, neighborly, all the things that matter. What made Ireland great, what could make the world great. And not rantings by an old man in America about making America great. That’s not great. Bulldozing your way over people, that’s not great. Helping the people up off the ground, that is great. And as far as I’m concerned, if we can hold on to the humanity, we’ve discovered during this period, we’ll have completely…it will all almost have been worthwhile.
Watch the full interview here: https://youtu.be/dtBfPhtDDfs
Connect with John here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnloftus1/
Come back next week for another installment of “We were there when…” from a guest who had Coffee with Colm on The Coffee at Eleven Show, brought to you by WIG-WAM – SME Peer Support