State housing Minister Jitendra Awhad said he had lived to see another day because of the doctors who had treated him and the nursing staff who motivated and gave him hope. He said his condition was critical and doctors had given him a slim chance of survival.
“Had it not been for the doctors at the hospital, who gave me pre-emptive treatment, and the nurses, who gave me motherly care and infused me with hope, I don’t think I would have survived…,” Awhad told The Indian Express on Monday.
The minister, who had tested positive for the coronavirus, was in intensive care for most days between April 22 and May 10. Awhad was in home quarantine since April 13 when he started feeling weak and fatigued. He was first taken to Jupiter Hospital and then admitted to Fortis Hospital on April 22. He spent at least three days on ventilator. The minister’s wife had also tested positive and was hospitalised.
“I was on ventilator for three days. The doctors had called my daughter Natasha and told her that there was only 30 per cent chance of me surviving… They told her that she should pray now…” Awhad said.
He said after April 19, his condition weakened due to overexertion. “I was feeling exhausted, but I did not have symptoms like fever or cough or sore throat. I did not think I had it. It is only in the last few days that they have changed protocol and are saying if anyone has fatigue, they should check with the doctor,” he added.
The minister said when he was taken to the hospital he was unconscious and did not remember what happened after that. “I was completely disoriented. I did not even know I had Covid-19. It was only after a few days when they gave me a meal, I noticed that Covid-19 was scribbled on the plate… that was when I realised I had coronavirus,” he said.
Thanking his doctors and nurses, Ahwad said, “The doctors gave me pre-emptive treatment, which means before my condition escalated, they gave me proper medicine so that I do not reach that stage. They gave me perfect treatment… Dr Rahul Pandit, Dr Shashank Joshi and their team saved my life,” he said.
He said as for the nurses, who were mostly from Kerala, they gave him “motherly care”. “They constantly encouraged and motivated me, and infused me with energy. They took care of me like a mother… They told me not to worry, and that I would get better,” he said.
It was NCP chief Sharad Pawar who took charge of the entire situation when he was in the hospital, he said. “I was in the ICU. My wife was also in hospital. Only my daughter was left to handle the situation. It was the NCP chief who told the doctors that only four people should be updated about my health, which included him, the chief minister, Milind Narvekar and Supriya Sule,” he added.
Awhad said the chief minister, through his personal secretary Milind Narvekar, was constantly updated about his health. “The CM is like my elder brother. The entire government is like my family. All the NCP leaders, like Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil and Rajesh Tope, were monitoring my health,” he said.
Praising his daughter for handling such a tough situation, Awhad said, “This experience has brought my family closer. Otherwise, we were all moving about in different directions. My daughter decides my timetable and my meals. I will have be more disciplined now,” he said.
The minister said there was “unnecessary panic” on social media regarding the viral infection. “I think soon it will be like seasonal flu… we will have to live with it. We should rid people of the fear of coronavirus,” he said.
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