Kate Garraway’s husband has returned home after more than a year in hospital being treated for Covid-19.
Former political adviser Derek Draper, 53, was admitted in March last year with coronavirus symptoms, before having to be put into a coma.
ITV presenter Garraway said on Friday that he “absolutely knew he was home” but had not yet regained his speech and will require round-the-clock care.
She and her young family all “burst into tears” when he arrived home.
“As we pulled up, I could see two little faces, Darcey and Billy [their children] looking out the window, and I could literally see them go, ‘He’s here,'” she told her Good Morning Britain colleagues.
“And they sort of ran out and ran forward, opened the door, and he immediately burst into tears.
“There was a lot of hugging and we got him inside. He absolutely knew he was home, he is responding all the time – what he’s not able to do is to talk…”
Mr Draper has been been taken off all support machines and breathing apparatus but will receive 24-hour care at their newly adapted north London home.
His recovery from his “unique” condition will involve working with physiotherapists and speech therapists. “It does feel a little bit like the hospital has come home with me at the moment,” Garraway said, referring to the new team of healthcare professionals now in her house.
“He can’t really move,” she said. “We do need a lot of help. And it’s not just help with looking after him, because it is 24-hour care, and I haven’t really slept as you can probably tell.
“I will ease off, I’m just very aware at the moment and it’s a whole new team. So he’s probably got a little bit used to the people in hospital and so it’s a new team now that are working with him and helping him to come through.
“It’s going to take a lot of adjustment.”
She added that even though the news was “amazing”, she was also “trying to balance the emotions of the next stage”.
‘He can show emotion’
Last month ITV broadcast Finding Derek, a documentary exploring Draper’s illness and its effect on their two children – daughter Darcey, 15, and 11-year-old son Billy.
One scene saw her recall being told by her husband’s doctors that he was the most seriously ill person they had seen who remained alive.
The Telegraph’s Michael Hogan called the hour-long film “powerful, poignant and admirably candid”.
The broadcaster and journalist noted how “there have been improvements” in the former Labour Party political advisor’s condition since the documentary was filmed.
She said the family had “constructed a version” of their dinner table, so he could re-join them.
“He’s using more words, and there are more things that he can do now,” she explained.
“He’s got some more movement in his hands, he can show emotion. But it felt as though everything had stalled medically and if anything was going slightly back.
“Obviously within the very necessary Covid restrictions that are in place, I couldn’t visit, family couldn’t visit, even some of the therapeutic things we would want to do to help him move forward couldn’t happen, so taking all that into account, they said, ‘Right let’s give this a go, let’s get him home safely’.“
‘We’ve got to stay positive!’@kategarraway emotionally shares the news that her husband Derek is now at home ❤️
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) April 9, 2021
Garraway is also publishing a book, entitled The Power Of Hope, detailing “the raw and emotional story” of her husband’s illness.
“I think anybody whose husband or loved one has been in hospital for a long time, what you want is for them to be home – that’s what you’re absolutely campaigning [for] and wanting to happen,” she added.
“But it’s been a lot discussions, even before Christmas, about what is the best way to go because it’s kind of balancing… it’s a very unique situation, Derek’s situation.
“While the doctors made it very clear they wouldn’t have allowed him home if there was any risk to his health, I said: “I’m not pushing you to something that’s not right [am I]?’ And [the doctor] said, ‘Kate, you can’t push me’.”