ITV's Kate Garraway undergoes second trip to Mexico for new medical trial in desperate bid to save husband Derek Draper | The Sun
KATE Garraway's husband Derek Draper has flown to Mexico again for a “potentially life-saving” trial.
The Good Morning Britain star told The Sun the gruelling trip required "extraordinary effort" and said she hopes he will return for another round of treatment.
Kate explained: “At the beginning of last year, we flew him back to Mexico again for part of the treatment he is undertaking.
“The effort required to get him there is extraordinary, and obviously we are relying on the grace of these specialists to help him.
“I can’t thank all those involved in getting him to Mexico enough because without them he wouldn’t have the chance of this potentially life changing treatment."
She added: “The plan is to go back for another round of treatment and continue the trial in a way that is financially viable.”
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While the NHS has been invaluable in keeping Derek alive, it is the caring aspect outside the hospital walls that have shocked Kate.
Kate, 55, said: “There are some days where he literally cannot do anything and it’s like the computer is switched off.
“He cannot move, and he’s in so much pain as we are manipulating him, trying to get him more mobile so that he doesn’t regress. I always ask him if he wants to stop, and he grunts ‘no. no’.
“It is unbearable, and it makes me emotional even talking about it.
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“But it also makes me fall in love with him all over again because of that spirit, that determination to keep going."
Kate also spoke about life with Derek, also 55, saying: “Every day is a roller coaster."
She added: “Derek’s spirit fluctuates. Sometimes he lies there, unable to move, with tears rolling down his face and it is heart-breaking.
"But if it’s hard for us, I cannot imagine how hard it must be for him.
“Perhaps there is the assumption that because I’m on the telly, and because people have heard so much of Derek’s story — and he has touched so many hearts — that we’ve had special treatment from the NHS or bypassed waiting lists.
“We haven’t jumped any queues, which is just as it should be. There are only so many resources, and we are still waiting on referrals from almost three years ago.
“Of course it’s been tough financially. As anyone with a loved one who is seriously ill knows, the costs go through the roof in so many ways. You have to make changes to your home and it affects your ability to work.
“I had to take long periods off when Derek was first sick, and of course if affects the overall income for the family as he can no longer work.
“We had to wind up the business we had together, and also I’ve had to take on assistants so that I can focus on Derek when not on air.
“Derek was always so incredibly supportive of my work, but I didn’t realise just how much he did do in that area until he couldn’t anymore.
“But we will never give up trying and I know I’m in an incredibly lucky position compared to so many, which is why I want to speak up now on behalf of everyone else.”
Derek – whose days are largely filled with “appointments, hospital trips, and sleeping” – has been the subject of two critically acclaimed documentaries fronted by Kate.
A third is in the pipeline — this time a hard-hitting expose on the broken care system.
The popular presenter is also issuing a call to arms for Sun readers, those who have experienced first-hand the overworked care and health system.
She said: “We are all going to end up either caring for someone we love, or needing to be cared for.
“It is something no-one really understands until they’re in it. The extraordinary nature of carers, they are the absolute bedrock of our health service.
"But the challenges of the system we have now need addressing. Everyone I speak to says the system is broken, it doesn’t work. Simply, we are in a mess."
Kate added: “I’ve got to the stage now where they tell me to blow the whistle on it all, and shout about it.
“There are huge backlogs, there’s mass underfunding and there is also an under-appreciation of the skill of the carer.
“But I don’t just want to be angry about it, I want to affect change. Until now, I wasn’t ready. My focus had to be on Derek and the children.
“But now I am ready to do another documentary with ITV. I want to make it about other people’s stories, not only ours.
"I’d love your readers to get in touch with their experiences. If they want to be a part of it, they can. I’ve had thousands of emails from people. They want me to speak out on their behalf.
“I also hope the people in positions of authority who have told me that they will speak out will be brave enough to do so. If we stop blaming and start working together we can fix a problem that desperately needs fixing.”
While Derek’s long-term chance of recovery is still not known, the “utter devastation” to his body is undeniable.
One brain scan last year showed bright patches of white, something more usually seen in patients with vascular dementia.
But Kate said: “The pattern was very different so he still doesn’t have a clear diagnosis.”
He recently underwent a series of lung tests, but is awaiting more, and currently has challenges with breathing.
Kate is also surviving on around four hours sleep, often getting up every two hours at night to help the carer move him. She washes and changes his bed linen at least seven times a day.
Derek spent the majority of last year in hospital, but the first months of this year being cared for at home.
Last summer, he was rushed to hospital after being diagnosed with sepsis that nearly killed him.
Kate explained: “His sepsis was gut-wrenching for all of us because it had gone undiagnosed until the point where it was about to take his life away again.
“At one point Derek said to me, ‘This is it, this time. I am gone.’ It was just terrifying.
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“Poor Derek’s condition currently covers about 11 specialisms of medical care, so getting all the different departments to coordinate and keeping records sometimes feels like a full time job in itself.
“Fortunately though, Derek is extraordinary and his spirit is extraordinary, and it keeps all of us going. Every day is emotional — but Derek is with us, and still fighting.”
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