getting better | 

Irish Beatles fanclub founder reveals how he spent three-months in a coma after catching Covid

Pete Brennan says his motivation to recover was his desire to meet his first grandchild.

Pete Brennan says his family kept him going through his illness

Pete Brennan with Gay Byrne and the late Paddy Murray

Pete Brennan credits medical staff for looking after him so well

Pete says he looks up to how Bob Geldof has carried on

Pete with some of the hospital staff

Eddie Rowley

BEATLES fanatic Pete Brennan reveals how Covid took him to death's door - and his burning desire to meet his first grandchild was a driving force in his recovery.

Pete (62), who founded the Beatles Ireland fan club, caught Covid at Christmas 2020. Prior to that he had been cocooning all year as he was a high risk due to suffering from a rare and severe form of asthma.

A separated dad of four adult children in their twenties, Pete tells the Sunday World: "When Covid came in initially we knew very little about it, except that we had to cocoon.

"So for that year it was an awful time for me because I'm very much a family man.

"My daughter, Shauna, was pregnant and I couldn't see her. I was also alone because my partner, Niamh, lives on the other side of the city and she couldn't come over to me.

"It was very isolating. They call me 'Positive Pete' because I look on the bright side, but it was a horrible, tough time that year.

Pete Brennan with Gay Byrne and the late Paddy Murray

"Then that Christmas, when things opened up, I got Covid."

Pete ended up in ICU at Tallaght Hospital. "It was traumatic," he says. "Even though I'd been in it nine times previously due to my asthma, this was something totally different.

"I was put into a coma and I was in a coma for three months. When I tried to move in my bed, after gaining consciousness, I had no power in my body. I couldn't speak or move my hands or my legs, nothing, and that was frightening.

"I had lost three stone. During that time my family had been told, 'We've done all we can, it's up to him now.' You can imagine that experience for my family. Everyone was worried sick.

"But the doctors and nurses in Tallaght were like family to me. They were all so good to me and they got me through it."

The next stage of Pete's recovery was at Peamount Hospital. "I knew that I was on a journey to recovery then because I'd been in Peamount nine times previously recovering from asthma and I always came out a fully recovered man," he says.#

Pete Brennan credits medical staff for looking after him so well

"The staff hardly recognised me because I'd lost the three stone since the last time I was there. I couldn't physically do anything. It's very degrading as a human being that everything has to be done for you. Dignity went out the window.

"But the senior physiotherapist, Kudos Anyakudo, and respiratory teams all made plans to help me recover. I was just wasted in the bed when Kudos first came into me. He said, 'Pete, it's going to be a long journey, but you'll be walking out of here.'

"I had faith and hope, and I had a major goal. I wanted to be well enough to be with my grandson, Nathan, on his first birthday.

"I didn't see my daughter throughout her pregnancy because they couldn't come near the house. Like so many others, I also missed out on the early part of him being a baby.

"I've always admired Bob Geldof and how he got through some really tough times in his life. Bob always said that his family was the reason he soldiered on.

Pete says he looks up to how Bob Geldof has carried on

"It was the same with me. I kept the focus on my wonderful partner, Niamh, and my family that I hold so dear to my heart. I wanted to meet and hold my grandson. That kept me going.

"Every day Kudos got me moving in the bed, then sitting out on a chair. The first day he got me standing I was overwhelmed. I got the nurse to take a photo because that day I was getting close to my ultimate goal.

"In the months that followed I would say every day, 'I'm getting close.' I couldn't wait to be on a Zimmer frame starting to walk, and that day came. Everything was a baby step, but a momentous baby step for me. And then the day came when I was lucky enough to be able to stand and hold my grandson Nathan, and it was just wonderful."

Pete says he got an emotional send off from Peamount Hospital the day he left.

"The staff and everybody gave me a massive round of applause as I walked out. They lined up just to say, 'Well done, Pete, you've made it!'"

Pete with some of the hospital staff

Today, Pete, who was involved in the erection of a plaque in Dublin's Abbey Street to mark the Beatles concerts at the Adelphi Cinema in 1963, can joke about his experience.

"I'm walking now, but as The Beatles song goes, I'm not half the man I used to be.

"It's been a long and winding road, but I get by with a little help from my friends."

Today's Headlines

More Health & Fitness

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos