Mukurwe-ini MP Anthony Kiai detailed his excruciating experience with COVID-19 saying that were it not for his status as a sitting MP, he would not have lived to tell his story.
Days after he documented his ordeal on various social media platforms, Kiai spoke in an interview with People Daily on Monday saying he was lucky.
“This disease is there and it is here with us; when I was taken to hospital the facilities were full while others did not even have an ICU bed, I am glad that I was able to get a bed just because of who I am,” he said.
“I really struggled on this day, very few hospitals are even equipped to test for Covid-19 which on average costs between Sh5,000 and Sh20,000, I kept on asking myself how many Kenyans can afford this money, this is a very serious issue.”
The lawmaker shared his experience in the ICU after his oxygen level suddenly dropped to 78 against a normal one of 95 and above.
“Seen a dead man walking? I was one then. I stayed in the ICU for five days. Slipped into a coma for some hours…everything around is hazy while incoherent conversation wafts into your partially blocked ears. Meanwhile, they bore holes in my fingers, arms, stomach and all places they could fathom.
“Coloured pipes and cables were attached to my chest and tummy that at a certain point I looked like a half-finished porcupine,” he explained.
“In the ICU, I was subjected to multiple tests. I was put on a ventilator while my blood was analysed every six hours to check for viral load and other manner of ailments. The doctors told me that I had only 30 minutes of living had I not reached the hospital on time. My organs were systematically failing due to carbon dioxide poisoning,” the MP added.
Kiai said he would slip into a coma while in the ICU, only to regain consciousness. After three days, his oxygen level had risen to 88 and on the fourth day, his oxygen was removed as it was beyond 95.
“One night, I slipped into a coma. On another one, my southerly neighbour exited to meet his Maker; while on the third day my next neighbour dramatically ‘lefted” after his duty of call ended. All were victims of Covid-19,” he said.
“Things can go south very fast. One minute you are alive and kicking, the next one, your life hangs on by a straw. One second you are running a marathon, the next one you are a heap of helpless,” said the MP who discovered he was Covid-19 positive days after participating in a marathon with friends.
After 13 days in hospital, he recovered and attributed it to running and the fact that he had no underlying conditions.
“I have to tell you that when one is there, you have to appreciate the fact that this will have a psychological effect on you because you cannot be visited, you have no one to talk to and the only way you can communicate to any person is through the phone, this is always hard for any human being,” he explained.
“It is unfortunate that the government has come out in the open to say that NHIF will no longer pay for Covid-19 patients, this is very unfortunate. I was lucky because my insurance covered my expenses. What about Kenyans who get sick and have no money, what will happen to them, if you get sick it means you will be on your own,” he added.