Kate Garraway on Derek's emotional return home from hospital
Kate Garraway has described the moment her husband, Derek Draper, returned home after over a year in hospital.
Derek, 53, fell ill in March 2020 after contracting coronavirus and has required a long recovery in intensive care, during which he was placed in a coma.
But now he is well enough to return to his North London home after being returned by ambulance this week.
Kate and Derek share two children, Darcey, 15, and Billy, 11 who are said to be “thrilled” that their dad has been allowed to return home.
Draper has been taken off all machines and breathing apparatus but will receive 24-hour care at the property, which Garraway has adapted in his absence to make it more accessible.
The Good Morning Britain presenter has warned that her husband faces a “long and gruelling” road back to full health.
Kate appeared on GMB on Friday morning via video link, to discuss the moment her husband returned home to hosts Ben Shephard and Ranvir Singh.
Kate appeared on GMB on Friday morning via video link. (ITV)
Garraway described how their two children ran downstairs for an emotional reunion with their dad.
She said: "As we pulled up, I could see two little faces of Darcey and Billy looking out the window and I could see Billy literally say 'he's here!' and they sort of ran out and ran forward.
"He immediately burst into tears and there was lots of hugging."
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.
It detailed their experiences during Draper’s illness and featured Good Morning Britain host Garraway, also 53, speaking to people suffering long Covid, NHS staff and other experts.
Giving an update on Derek, Kate said: “He is responding all the time. What he’s not able to do is talk and say, like you might imagine Derek might say on coming home, ‘Why the hell is the place such a mess?’.
It’s not like that. But he’s absolutely responding and aware where he is. There’s just been so many lovely little moments.
“I’ve been saying to him all the time in the coma, ‘When you get home you can have one of my casseroles’, which he loves by the way, that’s not a threat, because he can swallow a bit now.
“So I said let’s see if we can get you round a table somehow with the four of us, so we sort of managed to do that.
“As I was laying out the plates I realised I was laying out the plates for four… makes me cry now. And it’s just, and Darcey was saying, ‘You’re going to put four spoons down’. I don’t know, it feels like the start of a huge chapter but a really, really big and important one.”
She added: “It’s such a silly little thing [the four plates and spoons]... and then Billy was like, ‘Have we got enough mash?’ And I said ‘Yes, I don’t think Dad’s going to be eating so much’, he was suddenly remembering Dad’s old portions.”
Kate Garraway’s husband Derek Draper (Tim Ireland/PA)
As Derek continues his recovery at home Kate admitted there will be a “lot of adjustment”.
She said: “It’s going to take a lot of adjustment. But on top of the care side, there’s the very specialised therapeutic intervention, which will have to come in to make sure that this isn’t just about getting him with us for us, it’s hoping that actually this will prompt… some recovery.
“He’s definitely sort of plateaued at this level. Obviously we’re very grateful for this level but want to see if we can move forward, if we can get him speaking more, able to move more and see what we can draw out.
“It’s going to be very slow and a bit of wait and see.”
Speaking about the kids, Kate added: “They’ve been amazing actually. One of the things if we’ve now got some big glass doors, so they were outside in the garden.
"I was trying to position him so he could see them, I’m not sure how good his eyesight is, he seemed to be responding and they were running back up to the door going, ‘Dad, dad, watch this’ and then running back out again.
“They’ve both just not stopped cuddling him and actually it was a very late night… all lying in a bed, I came back downstairs to sleep in the same room as Derek.
"Bill said, and Darcey agreed, they both just said, ‘Mum, he is home, let’s just take that in, he’s home’ and I said, ‘Yes, he is, that’s great’.
"They’re just delighted he’s home. I’m trying to balance the emotions of the next stage.
“We’ve got to stay positive and have hope. We’ll get there. He’s here!”
Watch Good Morning Britain weekdays on ITV from 6am and catch up on ITV Hub.
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