'The fact that he is still here, I am so grateful' - Kate Garraway gives an update on husband Derek Draper
Kate Garraway has appeared on Good Morning Britain to give an update on her husband Derek Draper who has been fighting for his life against coronavirus for nearly 10 weeks.
In her first interview, the much loved colleague and presenter told Ben Shephard: "He’s still with us, he has fought the most extraordinary battle and I hate the idea of fighting a battle because it is a battle, but the fact he’s still holding on, I hate the idea that other people haven’t fought hard enough. I’m just so grateful he’s still here. But he’s very, very sick…it’s affected him from the top of his head to the tip of his toes."
On how she’s coping, Kate said: "Very early on, I spoke to Piers [Morgan] and he said, 'Right, come on Garraway, you’re a journalist this is the story of your life. You’re focused on Derek, you’ve got to get all the information you can.' And that actually really helped because I thought 'I’ve got a job'. Because we’re in free-fall. I’ve got a job - to fight for Derek, keep life safe for Darcey and Billy and that forced me into that 'Breaking news mode’. When something awful happens and you’re on air, you need to not think about the emotion of it, you have to think about doing your job. I rode that for weeks and weeks and weeks."
"Then two weeks ago, I crashed, because you can’t stay like that forever. I have huge hope and massive positivity and I’ll never give up on that, because Derek’s the core of my life and our lives. But at the same time, I have absolute uncertainty… and the doctors don’t know. One doctor said to me that he’s the worst affected person he’s had to treat that’s lived. Thank God he’s lived so far and I’m so grateful for that. They’re looking at damage to his body… but they don’t know what this is. It’s an evil virus," she added.
"The damage he’s sustained, we don’t know what effect that will have on him, is incredibly rare. Some of what he’s got, the doctors have said there’s only five people they’ve seen it in, although there may be more....This is a war which Derek is fighting."
She went on to explain that Derek is now Covid-19 free. However, it has had a big impact on his body.
"He is now Covid-free, so he’s testing negative for the Covid virus, so the fight with the virus has been won and he’s still here, but it’s wreaked extraordinary damage on his body and we don’t know if he can recover from that."
During the emotional interview, Kate recalled how Derek began to feel ill towards the end of March which led to him being taken to the hospital when he started to struggle with breathing.
Once in the hospital, Kate revealed what she and Derek said to each other before he was put in an induced coma.
"[He] went into hospital and initially went straight to intensive care and in that first week, it looked like he was rallying. The doctors were very positive…He couldn't really speak to me because of the mask but he was begging me saying, ‘I feel like I’m suffocating, please let them put me in a coma.’ I said, ‘No, the doctors say you can wait because your lungs can work.’ Then on the Sunday morning, they rang me up and the doctor said ‘We’re going to put him in a coma’. He told me, ‘I love you, I’m sorry I have to leave you.’ And I said, ‘It’s only for three or four days, it’s good, it’s what you wanted.’ He said, ‘You’ve saved my life.' I think he thought I’d persuaded the doctors to put him in a coma, and he said ‘I think you’ve saved my life, I don’t mean just now, I mean being married to you and the children and everything.' He said to me 'you have saved my life, I don't just mean now I mean marrying me and the children,' and I said I love you I love you and then he was gone and that was it," Kate recalled.
Talking about her children, Darcey and Billy, keeping her on her feet, Kate said: "They’ve been absolutely amazing. I’m very aware I’ve been sad and anxious and focused on Derek and I think I need to make them safe. They’ve lost, for the time being, their Dad and he’s their world so they need to see their Mum is ok. They’ve been amazing. They’ve been doing so many things. Just before lockdown, the last weekend Derek was well, Darcey said ‘Shall we go to the garden centre and get vegetables? The supermarkets are going to run out of food.’
"Without even telling me, one day in the first couple of weeks Derek was sick, she dug up an area [in the garden] which I hadn't planned to be dug up and planted loads and loads of vegetables and it's so fantastic we have actually started to eat them. She grew radishes and said ‘I don't even like radishes, I grew them for Dad’ and he still isn't better. And I said I know, but we can plant more and he will be glad that we have done it. They do loads of things. She [Darcey] knew I was talking to you this morning so she said we need to cut your hair and she cut my hair. She is so practical."
Kate went on to explain that while the doctors don't know if Derek can recover, there is always a possibility.
"With Derek we don’t know if he can recover. The Doctors talk in double negatives. You have to take comfort from the double negatives. They say ‘We can’t say he can’t recover, we don't know if he can recover and we don’t know how long it will take.’ So from that you take terrible uncertainty and have to find good in it. You say to yourself, ‘There is hope and possibility.’ They don’t know how long and they say we are talking weeks and months. One doctor said it could be up to a year which feels unthinkable, but we are praying there will be progress before then," she said.
Thanking everyone for their support, Kate said: "I’ve been overwhelmed by how lovely everybody has been - everybody watching the show, thank you so much. I know I haven’t got back to you all and even really close friends of Derek and mine I haven’t responded to yet but I’m going to and people have just been amazing and it just makes a massive difference… You see a lot of really good in people in the midst of all this."
Watch the interview on the ITV Hub.