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Cured on a sweet note - Fortis Hospital, Mulund

At a time when theatres and auditoriums are shut to contain Covid-19, which is known to spread through loud speech and singing, Mulund’s Fortis hospital has incorporated flute-playing in a patient’s respiratory rehabilitation. After days of struggling to improve a 48-year-old assistant police inspector’s oxygen saturation level, doctors allowed him to play the flute as part of his recovery. Attached to the Mulund police station, Sonyabapu Deshmukh was discharged from the hospital on August 12, after nearly two weeks of treatment.

Deshmukh was admitted to the hospital’s ICU on August 1with extreme breathing difficulties and low oxygen saturation level (SpO2) between 80 and 85 per cent. He was put on high-flow nasal cannula oxygen therapy to get asaturation level of 94 per cent within six days. However, Deshmukh was still finding it difficult to breathe and felt discomfort with every inhalation.

It was time for pulmonary rehabilitation, which essentially constitutes breathing exercises. In Deshmukh’s case, doctors thought of allowing him to practice flute, which helps stretch the diaphragm, a requirement for Covid-19 rehab. “He had told us that he loves and was missing his favourite pastime during treatment. After he recovered, we thought of giving back his instrument to him,” said Dr Rahul Pandit, the director of the hospital’s critical care unit. Dr Pandit said playing flute is a good and makes one’s lungs and core stronger.

Within a few days of recovering, Deshmukh was shifted to the general ward, where he spent a week practising flute. “In the general ward, doctors normally use a spirometer for breathing exercises. But as Deshmukh’s condition was improving dramatically by playing flute, we decided to let him continue,” said Dr S Narayani, Fortis’s zonal director.

Deshmukh said he had started learning how to play the instrument during the lockdown via online channels. “After the lockdown duty every day, I would come home and practise for one hour,” said Deshmukh, whose most favourite Hindi song is ‘Sandese aate hain’ from the film ‘Border’. “I was in the Army for 15 years before joining the police force. When the doctors allowed me to play the flute, I played this song all the time. It made me feel better,” he said.

Deshmukh said encouraging responses from other patients also made him feel good. “The staff nurses always complimented me for my music. When I started it as a hobby, I never thought it would one day help me recover from this disease,” he said.

Source - Mumbai Mirror

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