Pete who defied all the odds meets his idol Bob Geldof
Pete Brennan meeting Bob Geldof at The Late Late Show

Pete who defied all the odds meets his idol Bob Geldof

FROM battling Covid-19 and spending three months in a coma fighting for his life to meeting his idol Bob Geldof, one man shares his long journey of recovery and how family got him through the hardest of times.

62-year-old Pete Brennan from Tallaght was admitted to Tallaght Hospital on January 15 this year after struggling to breathe due to having brittle asthma and being diagnosed with Covid-19. As his condition deteriorated, Pete was placed into a coma for three months and his family were told to “prepare for the worst”.

Defying all odds, Pete beat the virus and is now getting stronger every day and is sharing his story to encourage people to “keep going” no matter what the circumstances may be.

Speaking about his experience, Pete told The Echo: “Because I am asthmatic, I have been in ICU a few times, and sometimes they have been quite critical but this time it was different.

“After Christmas when I got diagnosed, I didn’t feel too bad but then I went downhill, and I was taken in by ambulance and treated and isolated for a week. I went home and it got worse – I was taken in again and I was losing a lot of oxygen and they were trying to keep me going with the masks.”

Due to his deteriorating health, Pete was placed in a coma in Tallaght Hospital’s ICU department, where he remained for almost three months. During this time, Pete’s four children Shauna, Ciara, Cally and Tiernan and his long-term partner Niamh were only allowed to communicate with the nurses and staff in ICU via video call and WhatsApp to keep up to date with his condition.

Pete with his partner Niamh Flanagan and daughter Shauna in Tallaght University Hospital

Speaking about the moment he woke up from the coma in March, Pete says it was a “frightening” experience.

“I was covered in tubes all over my body and had an oxygen mask on me. I had lost about three stone and I tried to push myself up in the bed and I couldn’t move. I tried to call for the nurses to come over and I had no voice – it was overwhelming,” Pete explained.

“I was absolutely petrified. I had to rattle the side of my bed for the nurses to come over and they comforted me and told me what was going on. These things are still very vivid in my mind now.”

Faced with a long road to recovery, Pete says that he kept focused on his family and found the strength in him to pull through for them.

“I always had it in my mind that I wanted to be around for my family and my grandson Mason, he was going to be one in June, and I just had it in my head that I was going to be around to share these times. It was instilled in me – I said I am not ready to go yet.”

Today, Pete is doing well and is gaining back strength with the help of the staff at Tallaght Sports Complex in Balrothery.

“I was a member of the Sports Complex years ago and when I was in hospital they prayed for me and since July I have been down there with a trainer that they assigned me to get the power back in my body again.”

Pete’s incredible journey came full circle last Friday night when he got the chance to meet one of his idols Bob Geldof at The Late Late Show’s special celebration episode for his 70th birthday.

“I have always been a big fan of Bob since I was a young lad and he was in the Boomtown Rats,” said Pete. “I liked Bob from that stage and as they said on the Late Late show, there has been many stages of Bob.

“There has been Bob as a singer, an activist and a family man, so as time moved on Bob for me was a family man as I had my family and knew how important family was.

“The thing that always stayed with me in my struggles was that when Gay Byrne had asked Bob Geldof about him contemplating not being around and what stopped him and Bob said ‘I got out two pieces of paper and on one I wrote down all of the reasons why I didn’t want to be here and on the other I wrote ‘my family’ and it was case closed’ – that is a mantra for me, everything I do is for my family.”

A life-long Beetles fan, Pete says he has always kept in touch with Ryan Tubridy since he started his career to talk about anything to do with The Beetles. Keeping up contact through the years, Pete said he was “shocked” when he got the call asking him would he be available to come to The Late Late Show and meet Bob with his partner Niamh.

“I have never been as nervous as I was that night to meet Bob,” said Pete.

“He came around to us and said that he would speak to me later and after the show he told me that my story was incredible and asking me about it. He said, ‘I know where you are coming from, and I appreciate everything’.

Touched by Pete’s story, Bob Geldof signed his Live Aid 1985 programme with a written note saying, ‘Your courage is incredible’, which Pete says was “something special”.

Pete added: “I am continuing to get better because of the people that are around me. I do have a bit of post-traumatic stress and I am only coming to terms with some of the things that happened, but I stick by the message that we all need to keep going and to have all the love from my family is just wonderful.”

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