Patrick Swayze said his condition is improving after checking into a Los Angeles hospital last week Friday.

I am alive and plan on continuing to stay that way. Patrick told People in his first interview since checking into the hospital.

In the interview, Swayze appeared to downplay the severity of this latest medical setback.

I don't plan on being in the hospital long, he continued. I am almost in the clear now.

Swayze, 56, was supposed to appear on a panel at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Los Angeles to promote his new A&E show, The Beast. But he discovered his pneumonia after experiencing a nagging cough while traveling from New Mexico to LA.

It (the chough) made me suspect there was a possibility of some kind of infection. I wanted to jump on it before it turned into a problem. As soon as I got home, I called my doctor and then went straight to the hospital and was immediately put on antibiotics.

The medicine apparently did the trick, and the actor is back to fighting form-emphasis on fighting.

Earlier this week, Swayze appeared on 20/20 in an interview with Barbara Walters. It was his first TV appearance since he was diagnosed with cancer last March.

He told Walters that statistically he may have two years left to live. You can bet that I'm going through hell, Swayze told Walters of his treatment. And I've only seen the beginning of it.