Oksana Balynskaya, one of four Ukrainian nurses who served Gaddafi, returned to Kiev in February on a defense military aircraft with 185 other evacuees, including Galyna Kolotnytska, described by a U.S. diplomat as Gaddafi`s "voluptuous blonde" confidante.
"Despite his age, Gaddafi can run circles around anybody," Balynskaya told Russia`s Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid. "He looks after himself and undergoes medical checks every year."
Balynskaya, who spent two years in Libya, dismissed Kolotnytska`s "close confidante" tag, saying Gaddafi`s "main nurse" was a Serbian called Draga. A leaked U.S. embassy cable said Gaddafi could not travel without Kolotnytska, as she alone "knows his routine."
She also denied reports that one of Gaddafi`s seven sons, Khamis, had died of burn wounds last month. "He`s alive and well," she said.
Balynskaya recounted a story that on an unspecified trip to New York, Gaddafi - to whom she referred to simply as "Papa" - personally ordered that all the nurses were given cash so that they could "go on a shopping spree."
When asked if she enjoyed any "special status," Balynskaya replied that "you can only tell somebody who works for Papa by their watch."
"On September 1 every year, the date when Gaddafi [assumed power], we were given Italian gold watches with his picture on them. People who have been working for him for 6 or 8 years, why they`ve got an entire collection already."
She said she did not get the chance to say good-bye to Papa. "He was busy with other things," she said.
Gaddafi is clinging to power and the Libyan government said on Tuesday it was ready to discuss political reform, while heavy fighting has continued between rebels and government forces.