TV presenter Kate Garraway has said it is “a miracle” her husband is still alive after his “extraordinary battle” with the “evil” coronavirus.
Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Garraway confirmed her partner Derek Draper was put into an induced coma with the virus, nearly 10 weeks ago.
The broadcaster said it had felt more like 10 years, but that she was “grateful that he’s still here”.
She confirmed he is now free of the virus but in a critical condition.
“The fight with the virus has been won, but it’s wreaked extraordinary damage to his body and we don’t know if he can recover from that,” she said.
“It’s affected him from the top of his head to the tip of his toes.”
Garraway is the co-anchor of ITV’s Good Morning Britain, as well as a presenter on Smooth Radio, while Draper is an author and former Labour political aide.
She told the ITV programme she was putting on a brave face for the sake of their two young children, Darcey and Billy, and still enjoyed “moments of joy” and silliness with them, as her husband would have wanted.
But she suffered a big emotional crash two weeks ago, as “you can’t stay like that forever”.
“I just have to think, I need to make them feel safe, they’ve lost for the time being – let’s pray – their dad and he’s their world, so they need to see that their mum is OK,” said Garraway.
“The problem is I have huge hope and massive positivity and will never give up on that because Derek is the core of our lives, but at the same time I have absolute uncertainty,” she added.
The TV personality, who has appeared on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Strictly Come Dancing, added: “And it’s not just me by the way, it’s his mum and dad and his sisters and everybody who loves him – all his friends, we’re all going through that.”
“And the doctors don’t know because they’ve never seen this before. One doctor said to me that he’s the worst-affected person that he’s had to treat, who’s lived.
“They talk about an evil virus, and it is.”
Garraway stressed she “didn’t want to scare people”, as the damage her husband has sustained is “incredibly rare”.
However, she noted how doctors and nurses – who she described as being “extraordinary “- were now starting to see “completely unforeseen circumstances” and consequences connected to the virus.
“This is a war Derek is fighting and tens of thousands of others”, she went on. “It’s an absolute miracle that he’s here.
“I keep saying I know I’ve had a miracle but if I could just have one more, and he could just make that next step – I know I’m pushing my luck.”
Back at the end of March, she said she and Draper thought he might be suffering with sinusitis, not coronavirus, because he had no persistent cough or temperature – two of the main official symptoms of the disease. He has no underlying health conditions.
He soon developed a splitting headache and numbness in his right hand and began struggling to breathe. After consulting ITV’s Dr Hilary Jones, Garraway decided to phone for an ambulance.
‘You’ve saved my life’
Once in hospital he was eventually placed in a coma, at his own request, to give his lungs a rest, as he felt he was suffocating.
Garraway said before he went under, her husband said: “‘You’ve saved my life’. I think he thought I persuaded the doctors to put him in the coma. But obviously I hadn’t.
“He said, ‘you’ve saved my life, and I don’t just mean now, I mean everything. Being married to you and the children’.
“Then I said, ‘I love you, I love you,’ and the doctors said, ‘he’s gone, he’s under,’ and that was it – that was the last time I spoke to him.”
He was only supposed to be in the coma for three to five days, but remains in one 10 weeks later. At one stage the doctors described him as being “off the scale with infection”, she said.
“It’s incredible what they’ve done with a disease that nobody knows how to cure,” added Garraway.
While the doctors are still unable to say whether Draper will recover or not – or how soon – the presenter is certain that her family’s life must now begin to return to normality.
Billy will return to Year 6 of school next week while Darcey will have some intensive home-schooling with her mother as teacher.
“It’s about really trying to carry on with life when you don’t know life is certain,” Garraway said.
“And I know that’s what a lot of people are going through.”