Derek Draper, a former political advisor on the Labour right, caught coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic. He became very seriously ill in March 2020, and as a result spent over thirteen months in hospital. At one stage, he was placed in a medically induced coma for a month.
New ITV documentary Caring for Derek offers an account of Draper’s return home in April 2021, and demonstrates his need for round the clock care after sustaining serious damage to his internal organs.
Draper continues to struggle with speech, and often sleeps for up to 20 hours a day. He’s also suffered a massive loss of appetite, which Garraway has highlighted as a particular strange thing to adjust to - describing it as feeling like “living with a stranger”.
Garraway told The Sun that she often feels “really lonely” while caring for her husband.
“It’s like there’s both grief and hope in the same moment,” she said.
“There are flashes of the old Derek and then he disappears again, and you’re left just feeling really lonely.”
“Derek dreams about the ‘before’, and every morning it’s just so, so awful seeing him wake up, and the realisation of where he is. There’s a kind of heartbreak in his eyes, every single morning. You can just see it.”
The pair, both 54, got married in London in 2005. They have two children together, a son and a daughter.
Garraway was recently made an MBE for services to journalism. Prior to contracting covid, Draper had been working as a psychotherapist; before that, he was heavily involved in the right wing of the UK Labour party, and was a co-founder of internal lobbying group Progress.
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