Kate Garraway’s husband Derek Draper has spoken for the first time in seven months amid his battle with coronavirus.
The former Blair lobbyist, 53, was able to whisper the word ‘pain’ to his wife, who watched on ‘in tears’ over FaceTime.
He was originally admitted to hospital with COVID-19 symptoms on March 30 and remains seriously ill.
First word: Kate Garraway’s husband Derek Draper has spoken for the first time in seven months amid his battle with coronavirus (pictured in 2019)
Recounting the moment to The Sun, the Good Morning Britain star, also 53, said the breakthrough was both ‘amazing’ and ‘heartbreaking’.
Kate said: ‘It happened when the nurses were moving Derek, as part of his treatment, to trigger the sensation of gravity because he’s been horizontal for so long.
‘As they were shifting him, they asked if he could feel anything — not expecting a response as he hadn’t previously. But suddenly he mouthed in a whisper, “Pain”.
‘They called me straight after and I burst into tears. The staff told me later that they were so emotional as well. He’s said it twice now and I was there for the second one, watching him over FaceTime.’
Glimmer of hope: The former Blair lobbyist, 53, was able to whisper the word ‘pain’ to his wife, who watched on ‘in tears’ over FaceTime (pictured in September)
The Good Morning Britain presenter explained that the hospital staff have been constantly trying to engage Derek and get a response from him, but this is the first time.
Kate described it as a breakthrough due to the fact that Derek ‘has been able to connect the feeling in his body to his brain and mouth’.
The development comes after it was reported that Kate is set to front an emotional documentary about husband Derek’s battle with coronavirus.
Kate is said to be determined to ensure people are aware how serious the virus is, after her family ‘had their lives turned upside down.’
Her husband – who has become the longest surviving patient in the UK, after seven months in hospital – was taken into hospital with COVID-19 symptoms on March 30 and remains in intensive care after being in a coma for several months.
Kate will reportedly look at other families who have been impacted by the pandemic as she investigates the effects of the virus on the UK.
Kate said: ‘They called me straight after and I burst into tears. The staff told me later that they were so emotional as well. He’s said it twice now and I was there for the second one, watching him over FaceTime’ (pictured earlier this month on GMB)
It’s claimed that the documentary will be produced by Flicker Productions, who were behind All Women – a recent documentary hosted by Kathy Burke.
A source told The Sun: ‘Kate is keen to spread the message about how serious Covid-19 can be and was happy to talk about it if it meant people would take it seriously, as well as updating the thousands of fans who ask daily about Derek’s progress.
‘Kate and her family have had their lives turned upside down by the virus and want to show the effect it’s had on them, but also on others going through the same thing.’
MailOnline has contacted ITV for comment.
Devastating: The development comes after it was reported that Kate is set to front an emotional documentary about husband Derek’s battle with coronavirus (pictured with their two children Darcey, 14, and son Billy, 11)
Earlier this month, Kate told GMB viewers of her husband’s condition, saying: ‘There are big ups and big downs, not big ups really, small improvements and worrying downs as well.
‘But the last few days have been pretty stable, so keeping everything crossed really.’
Kate added that due to hospital restrictions she’s the only person in her family that’s been able to visit Derek.
Using her journalism skills: Kate will reportedly look at other families who have been impacted by the pandemic as she investigates the effects of the virus on the UK
‘It’s tough, it’s very hard. You completely understand why hospitals have to do it, they have to protect those inside who may be recovering from COVID or maybe dealing with other serious conditions,’ she explained.
‘But to do that, they have to decrease footfall, so Darcy hasn’t been able to see Derek, his mum and dad haven’t been able to see him for a long time now.
‘The fact they live in Lancashire and that might go into tier two will have an effect because it will be very tough for them to argue the case to be able to visit. It is difficult.’
Heartbreaking: The presenter recently revealed that their children haven’t seen their father since he was first admitted to hospital seven months ago (pictured December 2019)
Back in July, Kate told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid during a GMB interview: ‘It is a very desperate situation, it’s very very difficult, of course there’s fantastic hope he’s still alive, the doctors do keep saying it’s a miracle he’s still alive.
‘I was speaking to a doctor yesterday who said he’s sick as anyone I’ve ever seen in 35 years of medicine, and some of those people who were as sick as him aren’t here.
A timeline of Derek’s coronavirus battle
Kate revealed she and Prince Charles had got ‘relatively close’ at the Prince’s Trust Awards on March 11 – Charles was diagnosed with coronavirus in mid-March.
She said: ‘Around the 29/30 March, I came home came in and said [to Derek] ‘god you look ill.’
‘He said he had a headache, numbness in his right hand, and was struggling to breathe,
‘I rang Dr Hilary (Jones) and tried to get through, he talked to Derek. He said put me back on, I think you need to call an ambulance’
Derek, 52, was taken into hospital on March 30 and remained in an unresponsive condition.
Kate and her children isolated at home after she displayed ‘mild symptoms’.
Kate said: ‘Derek remains in intensive care and is still very ill. I’m afraid it remains an excruciatingly worrying time.
‘I’m afraid he is still in a deeply critical condition, but he is still here, which means there is hope.’
Kate said: ‘The journey for me and my family seems to be far from over as every day my heart sinks as I learn new and devastating ways this virus has more battles for Derek to fight.
‘But he is still HERE & so there is still hope.’
That month, Kate and her family took part in the final clap for carers
She said: ‘I’ll never give up on that because Derek’s the love of my life but at the same time I have absolute uncertainty’
On June 5, Kate revealed Derek is now free from coronavirus but continues to fight against the damage inflicted on his body
On July 5, Kate revealed Derek has woken from his coma but he remains in a serious yet critical condition.
On July 8, she announced she would be returning to GMB, after being urged by doctors to ‘get on with life’ during Derek’s recovery.
She added that Derek had ‘opened his eyes’ after waking from his coma, but has been told his recovery could take years.
On July 13, Kate returned to GMB for the first time since Derek was hospitalised.
‘Six times they said he’s not going to make it, and obviously you couldn’t visit. So he’s been very very sick, but it’s a new disease, there’s no data, so what they can say is it’s great he’s here.
‘There’s flickers of hope, his lungs are starting to recover, his kidneys are doing better, his liver, but they don’t know how much better he can get.’
Asked whether there had been any explanation for why Derek had been so badly affected by the virus, Kate admitted doctors are still unsure.
She said: ‘There isn’t, he was a little bit overweight, I’m a bit of a feeder! Zero underlying conditions, he’s young comparatively, he’s 52, so there is no explanation.
‘I think what’s happened is at every stage they’ve been learning. One of the wonderful things is that they’ve changed medical practices, they’ve changed pathways because of Derek. I keep telling him on the Facetime he would be very pleased about that.’
Now that Derek has been declared COVID-free, Kate admitted she fears for the long-term damage the virus may have done, and whether that will affect Derek in his recovery.
‘When he went into hospital, I got some texts saying ”oh I’m definitely not gonna die, tell the children I’m doing great,” but there was a feeling of terror because he had COVID and suddenly it escalated.
‘And then suddenly it became everything, and each stage has been sort of a new terror and just when I thought we were moving forward suddenly it can now affect your body everywhere.
‘There’s a huge post-viral syndrome, damage done in ways we didn’t know. I was sitting with Dr Hilary and he said it’s the lungs, it’s respiratory you’re fearing from COVID.’
Kate also reiterated that doctors had urged her to ‘get on with life’ while Derek continues to recover, insisting she had to be present for their two children Darcey, 14, and Billy, 10.
‘I have had moments, you know when you get abs gripped with fear and everything was going so well, but it’s happened to the world it’s happened to everybody, in this time you’ve seen people, I know people, you know people who have been watching this show who have been diagnosed with terrible illnesses,’ Kate added.
‘The doctors are saying to me now, ”You’ve got to get on, you’ve got to get on with life”. For Darcey and Billy effectively right now, they’ve lost their dad, they haven’t, he’s there.. he’s not a presence as he should be in their lives.’
Kate’s husband has been in hospital since March, and while Kate sparked hope in July by revealing he has awoken from a coma, the star has been told his recovery could take years.
She told Hello! ‘The doctors have been urging me not to put my life on pause. They’ve told me that I need to go back to work and create a routine in our lives again.
‘The children and Derek are all I’ve thought about and they’re the most important people in my life, but I must create structure and normality for the children, to clean the bath, put the plates in the dishwasher and tidy the house.
‘I also need to get back to work so that I can provide for the children and we can do things together, to make them feel that the light hasn’t gone out of their lives, that there’s hope for the future.’
During an appearance on GMB last month, Kate spoke about the start of Derek’s devastating illness, saying: ‘Derek had a painful shoulder for a couple months, and had been taking medication and having scans.
Tough times: Kate sparked hope in July by revealing he has awoken from a coma, the star has been told his recovery could take years
‘He was due to have a steroid injection, he felt unwell and was home tutoring the kids. I got back and said ”you don’t you look right babe, I think it’s the painkillers.”
‘I just had this weird feeling, asked if he had a cough. He didn’t, he said ”I think I’ve got weird sinusitis.” I rang the doctor, I said ”you don’t look great, no real feeling that it’s COVID, he had none of those symptoms.”
‘Around the 29/30 March, I came home, came in and said ”God you look ill”. He said he had a headache, numbness in his right hand, and was struggling to breathe.
‘I rang Dr Hilary (Jones) and tried to get through, he talked to Derek. He said put me back on, I think you need to call an ambulance. I said ”I can’t believe I’m calling an ambulance”, I was very scared.’
Touching: Derek has credited Kate for saving him from depression which started during his career as a political advisor and led to a nervous breakdown (pictured in 2006)
Derek has previously credited Kate for saving him from depression which started during his career as a political advisor and led to a nervous breakdown and a stint in The Priory in the late 1990s.
After moving to Los Angeles for three years and retraining as a therapist, his friend GMTV’s political correspondent, Gloria De Piero, offered to set him up with her friend and colleague Kate.
Kate and Derek have been married since 2005, with the former lobbyist cheering his wife on for the duration of her stint on I’m A Celebrity last year.
Following her stint on I’m A Celebrity, the couple were planning to renew their vows in the coming months after Kate revealed Derek had proposed for a second time.