Kate Garraway's husband Derek Draper has left hospital and returned home, more than a year since he was first admitted with COVID-19.
Draper was hospitalised with the disease in March last year. He fought off the infection, but was put in an induced coma after many of his organs failed and he developed bacterial pneumonia. Up until recently he was in intensive care.
He was driven to the couple's London home in an ambulance on Wednesday, according to The Sun, where he will receive 24-hour care. But he is no longer reliant on breathing apparatus or machines, the newspaper reports.
Garraway has just confirmed the news, telling her Good Morning Britain co-presenters (and good friends) Ben Shepherd and Ranvir Singh about the moment Draper was reunited with their two children.
"When we came in the door, as we pulled up as I was able to come home with him and go into hospital to help bring him home, I just saw two little faces, Darcey and Billy, looking out the window," she explained on the show.
"Then I could literally see them saying, 'He's here' and they ran out and ran forward to open the door and he [Derek] immediately burst into tears. There was a lot of hugging and we got him inside and he absolutely knew he was home."
Garraway gave an update on Draper's condition, saying he can't speak yet but is "absolutely responding and aware of where he is".
"I don't know. It just feels like a start of a huge chapter but a really big and important one," she said.
Shepherd fought back tears as he said: "I think it’s really important that as Kate said, she can’t share with us exactly where he is and he has a long, long way to go but this is a monumental step. I remember sitting with her about a year ago and her telling me he had gone in to hospital and what that felt like and just thinking at the time "he’s going to be fine, he’s going to be fine" and it hasn’t been."
He added: "It’s been anything but fine and not just for Kate, but everyone up and down the country who have been through this and lived this as well."
Up until now, the TV star and her two children haven't been able to see him since December, due to the pandemic restrictions.
In an interview with The Sunday Times last month, the Good Morning Britain presenter said the family have lived through "months and months of horror, of live-or-die phone calls".
She explained: "The very worst moment was when they said he could be locked in for ever. And I just thought, this is a horror story. I don’t know if he’ll ever have any kind of life again. We just don’t know."
Garraway added: "I feel like he is in an ocean of unconsciousness and sometimes he comes up to the surface. In the run-up to Christmas there were moments of consciousness where I felt like we were really communicating." She explained that since the third lockdown began her husband's condition has "dramatically" deteriorated.
The TV and radio star also recounted being told by hospital staff that Draper "may have died, somebody will call you back" last summer. After a harrowing 24-hour wait, "it turned out that somebody had died who had a similar name to his", she said.
Garraway spoke to the newspaper ahead of her ITV documentary Kate Garraway: Finding Derek, airing last month. It documented her experiences of readjusting to life without her husband over the last 12 months, and featured stories from other survivors of the virus.
In an interview with Good Housekeeping earlier this year, Garraway said she had found solace and support in those around her. Especially while solo parenting.
"I’m lucky that I’m being supported by lots of friends, and [her GMB colleague] Ranvir [Singh] has been really helpful because she’s been operating as a single mum since her son, Tushaan, was very little. I asked her, 'How do you do it?' and she said, 'You just have to accept that you can’t do everything'."
She added that the kindness of strangers has given her and her children a lift when they've needed it most: "That’s been one of the positives of this horrible time, and I’ve found it [kindness] in the most unexpected place.
"There’s a lovely lady who lives over the road from me and I didn’t know her before all this, but every week she makes a cake for me and the kids. Somehow she always knows when we most need a lift! We’ve really got to know each other because of it, too, and that’s been lovely."
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