What’s different is that, while the clicking of cutlery and the chatter of children echo as usual in the room, where her husband, Derek Draper, is expected to be in person, there’s an iPad showing it off. in his hospital bed.
Billy, 11, and Darcey, 15, can chat with their dad between bites of tuna pasta, and Kate can keep her husband involved in their lives.
It may not be perfect, but it is what they can do as he continues to battle the effects of the coronavirus in the hospital.
Kate, 53, said: “I’m going to put the iPad on the kitchen table and we will have our threesome tea and have dad there. I think the sounds of the house, even if they don’t speak directly to him, must be very comforting.
For Derek, who has been in hospital since last March after contracting coronavirus and then suffering from multiple organ failure, the iPad is a lifeline for his wife and children, as well as his mother, father and her sisters.
While Kate often stays up late or wakes up early to give her words of encouragement, the family also takes Derek, 53, to other activities they do in their day-to-day lives, such as playing games. family or school conversations.
Derek is seen in a documentary tomorrow night, watching his kids rehearse dance moves and watch Billy complete a giant Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon.
The kids can’t wait to have their dad home, but seem to be doing incredibly well in a difficult situation.
In the documentary, speaking of his father’s illness, Darcey says, “I haven’t really thought of the worst. I always thought he would get better and come back. It’s not really scary in the way he looks scary, it’s just scary in the way we might lose him.
Billy adds, “I really want him to come back, but I don’t know if he will be better or not. ”
Derek, a psychologist and psychotherapist, is no longer infected with the virus, but still struggles with kidney failure, liver and pancreatic damage, and the heart failure it caused. In Finding Derek, on ITV Tonight, Good Morning Britain presenter Kate says: “I have never loved Derek more nor feared losing him more. And it’s so ironic because he had dedicated his life to good mental health and fighting mental illness, and he has a huge challenge that he couldn’t have foreseen before him. We all have. ”
The next step in this challenge is to find a way for Derek to visit his house, hopefully later this year.
Kate says, “Right now he needs 24 hour intensive care.
“There are a lot of clinical arguments for it to be good for him to be at home, because it is a normal environment and it would be better to stimulate him to regain consciousness.
“But there are also clinical challenges to this. So I learned to take things one day at a time. Hopefully, as the Covid restrictions start to lift, we can explore home visiting options. ”
She has already made changes to their home in North London. The ground floor is wheelchair accessible, with a bathroom fitted with an extra-wide door and a hospital bed ready for him in the living room.
Kate says, “I really want to take care of him at home, but of course I can’t give this to him 24/7 on my own. It would mean that I would never sleep.
“Our goal is to get him home, but I’m going to need a lot of specialist support. Derek will need professional expertise because we don’t want him to regress, we want him to progress and that requires specific skills. It is therefore a question of seeking the best way forward. Last June, they said it could take up to two years for us to know his true future.
“The more he’s done for him now, the more therapy there is to help him improve, the better his chances of really having a life and the less long-term support he will need.
“So that’s my goal once I can see it – to try to find the best way to help him take the next step.
“I know that life will have an impact on the dynamics of our relationship. But it’s something that I gladly do.
Not being able to visit Derek during the lockdown was exceptionally difficult. Kate says, “I tell her, ‘We want to be there and we’re going to be there.’ But you just hope he gets it.
And is she still afraid of losing him?
She said, “Well, it’s hard, isn’t it? You don’t know what might be around the next corner. I go to bed at night thinking, “OK, we’ve gone through another day. Let’s see if we can do better tomorrow ”.”
In the documentary, Kate hears the story of a community nurse, Orli, who after a year is still suffering from life-changing symptoms of Covid. She also talks to a woman named Julie whose husband, Steve, did not regain consciousness after contracting the virus.
Kate says of the program, “I hope it gives people a feeling that they can reach out to me and share their stories because I think it would be lovely and I think it might help.
“I don’t want to scare people because Derek’s situation is extreme, but a lot of others are in pain as well. I realize that because of my job, I have the ability to speak and tell my story in a way that others may not.
“Many people have been affected by Covid, whether it’s with mental health issues or devastated livelihoods, or whatever we’ve all been through together. I guess I’m just speaking for all of these people, really.
Kate knows she has a long fight to go, but says, “What’s the choice? To abandon?
“Leave him just to be lost?” I know he wouldn’t do that to me and of course that’s not an option.
“I just know there are times in life when you just have to crack it. You wouldn’t be living with yourself if you didn’t feel like you had done all you can.
“And, also, I feel that there is certain hope.
“There is something to work towards.
“I’m not just waving. There is hope there. That’s life is not it? It’s life. There are times when you have to fight – and now is not the time to take a nap. ”
No one could blame Kate for it.
* Kate Garraway: Finding Derek is on ITV tomorrow night at 9 p.m.