COVID-19 | ‘Was shifted to private hospital for plasma therapy’

My wife called up the Chief Minister to move me out of the govt. hospital for treatment, says Health Minister

Back in office on Monday after recovering from COVID-19, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain talks to The Hindu about the time spent at the hospital, what helped him and why he was shifted to a private hospital after being first admitted to a government hospital.

Since the virus outbreak, did you ever think that you would be infected?

A lot of people used to tell me that the way I was working, I should be careful. If I don’t go visit hospitals, then how will things work? This is a professional hazard. I knew that at some point I would be infected. I used to meet a lot of people on a day-to-day basis.

What do you have to say about the whole process — from infection till recovery?

People are scared of death in case of COVID-19 infection. However, if you have a positive mind frame, then chances of recovery increases. You have to take care of your oxygen levels, hydration and digestive system. Oxygen level is the most important thing. A person is serious when the oxygen level is low and to maintain it, the most useful thing is pranayama.

There was no major improvement in my health after coming back from hospital (on June 26). I had to take oxygen daily even at home. The doctor said to do pranayama and I have been doing it for the past 10-15 days and there has been drastic improvement since then. I did not have to take oxygen in the past four days.

What was the most difficult part?

The most difficult part was to remain in jail (in hospital) and without any work (the Minister said with a laugh). I never felt, even once, that I was serious. Everyone, apart from me, used to feel that it was serious. The doctor used to enquire about my health and I used to say, “I am completely alright”. I never felt.. When people test positive, they feel that it is serious and it may lead to death, but I never felt that there was any such chance. I was positive throughout.

One person who was with you throughout the process?

My wife was the one who was there throughout the process. I used to talk home over phone.

Any advice?

Firstly, keep a positive mind frame. This is the most important thing. Secondly, stay hydrated: drink lemon water, coconut water, shikanji. Eat light and exercise. We do everything, but forget to laugh. We need to laugh a little also. People should watch COVID-19-related news, but not too much. A lot of people are stressed over the past three to four months.

When did you start monitoring Delhi’s situation again?

That I used to do daily. Even in hospital, I used to check updates about Delhi over the phone.

Cases have come down in Delhi. What has changed?

We had expected that after July 31, cases will reduce drastically. Now, too, we feel that cases will decrease further after July 31.

Home isolation is the best option. We have also increased beds in hospitals. Now, no one in Delhi fears that they won’t get a bed in a hospital. Cases have decreased in the Capital, but is increasing in other places of the country. Earlier, many States used to say that they got the virus from Delhi, So, now cases can come from other parts to Delhi.

Why did the Health Minister go to a private hospital for treatment?

I was admitted to Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (a Delhi government hospital). When my condition suddenly worsened, doctors said that plasma should be given. At that point, Rajiv Gandhi Hospital didn’t have the permission for plasma therapy. It was expected to get it in two days, but later, it ended up taking 10 days as permission was needed from the Central government.

My father-in-law had passed away a day before, so my wife was adamant that if the doctors have said that we need to get plasma, then we cannot wait any further. Only because of that I was transferred. I was adamant to stay, but my wife directly called up CM (Arvind Kejriwal) saab and then he also asked to shift.

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