MP: My painful Covid-19 experience and treatment

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020 10:00 |
Mukurwe-ini MP Anthony Kiai narrates his story during the interview with People Daily. Photo/COURTESY

Mukurwe-ini MP Anthony Kiai yesterday narrated the ordeal he underwent after contracting Covid-19.

In an interview with People Daily days after he posted his story on various social media platforms, Kiai revealed that were it not for his status as a sitting MP,  he would not have survived to tell his story.

Kiai explained how it was hard to get a hospital to admit him as most facilities were full to capacity while others did not have any Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds.

“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 explained.

“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,” he added.


Kiai who was forced to self-isolate when he first discovered he was positive, also shared his experiences at the ICU and the psychological strain it caused him.

“I have to tell you that when one is there, you have to appreciate the fact that this will have a psychological effect on yourself, 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 said.

“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 for 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.

 Kiai noted that he was lucky to get a ventilator to have his oxygen stabilised, failure to which he could not have survived.

The MP recounted how 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 said as he gave a blow-by-blow account of how he discovered he was Covid-19 positive, days after participating in a run with friends.

Suppressed appetite 

He woke up the following day still fatigued, which led to suppressed appetite and nausea after two days, forcing him to seek medical help at the Karen Hospital.

He was treated and discharged but he was forced to go back to hospital as his condition worsened.

After the pains persisted he made a decision to go for a Covid-19 test, which turned positive and was rushed to Aga Khan Hospital for further treatment as his situation had gotten worse.

 “I was wheeled into triage and straight to ICU. My wife was detained for isolation (having come into contact with a Covid-19 patient). Our lives are very delicate. 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 helplessness,” he said.

“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 hospital on time. My organs were systematically failing due to carbon dioxide poisoning,” he added.

 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.

After 13 days in hospital, he was healed, his recovery attributed to running and the fact he had no underlying conditions.

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