The Good Morning Britain presenter, 53, said her husband’s current state is something from a ‘horror story,’ as she tries to come to terms with the possibility that his health battle could leave him suspended between life and death.
She said to The Times: ‘The very worst moment was when they said he could be locked in forever. And I just thought, this is a horror story. I don’t know if he’ll ever have any kind of life again. We just don’t know.’
Derek, also 53, was admitted to hospital in March after contracting the respiratory illness and was subsequently placed in a medically induced coma before he awoke in July.
The virus caused havoc throughout his entire body, resulting in kidney failure and liver and pancreatic damage.
On more than one occasion his heart stopped beating, he battled bacterial pneumonia and fought multiple infections which punctured holes in his lungs. He is considered to be the longest surviving Covid-19 patient in the country.
Kate – who shares children Darcey, 15, and William, 11, with her husband of fifteen years – admitted it is ‘shocking’ to see his current state, including his dramatic eight stone weight loss.
She revealed that on multiple occasions the hospital told her: ‘Prepare yourself, he’s going to die.’
During one incident, the TV presenter was told ‘he may have died’ and that ‘somebody will call you back,’ as she spent countless hours calling the hospital to get an answer, to no avail.
She eventually got through and discovered someone of a similar name had passed away.
But the worst was yet to come as Kate had to learn to accept the possibility that Derek could be frozen indefinitely between life and death.
‘They said, ‘It’s highly unlikely he will make a good recovery,’ Kate recalled the comment from doctors while they confirmed they couldn’t rule out a ‘reasonable recovery.’
When she asked what that would look like, the mother-of-two was told that being able to lift a hairbrush would be an example of a ‘reasonable recovery’.
Trying to make sense of Derek’s current condition, Kate said it appears he is in an ‘ocean of unconsciousness,’ and only manages to rise to the top for air on rare occasions.
However she did note some tentative progress with her husband during the Christmas period. As she pretended to forget her accountant’s name, Derek was able to fill in the blank and vocalise the name.
He also heartbreakingly mouthed the word ‘pain’ in October.
By the end of last year, he had had reportedly made some small steps towards recovery. He was able to breath naturally throughout the day and was able to swallow his own saliva – despite still being fed by a tube through his stomach.
Derek no longer required kidney dialysis and had managed to increase his movement on one side, allowing him to move his glasses on his nose.
He was even able to recognise some faces and add snippets to conversation before sinking back into the deep waters of his unconscious mind.
She is still not allowed to visit her husband due to coronavirus restrictions.
Kate said she tried to keep his hopes up by promising things would improve, but tragically his only response was: ‘How?’
When Boris Johnson enforced a new lockdown in December, Kate wasn’t able to see Derek at all, as she revealed his health worsened ‘dramatically,’ counteracting the progress they had made.
‘I have tried to sort of wake up from that and think about the future,’ Kate added. ‘But nobody can tell you what the future is.’
Kate is set to host an ITV documentary about her husband’s battle with coronavirus.
Finding Derek will air on 23rd March, and will show Kate giving an ‘unflinching account’ on the past 12 months.
In the special one-off film, Kate will offer an ‘intimate insight’ into coping with the impact of Covid-19 on her family, as well as meeting survivors of the disease.
ITV said in a statement: ‘Kate offers an unflinching account of the profound effects on her family and on others as she opens up on camera for the first time on the reality of the past 12 months.
‘As Kate lays bare in the film, her family, along with many others who have suffered the effects of the virus, is now facing the reality of adjusting to a very different way of life to the one they lived before the pandemic hit.’
While Derek no longer has coronavirus, the disease has left him suffering from multiple health conditions including diabetes and holes in his heart and lungs.
During one of her darkest moments Kate was told her husband may ‘never come out of a coma’ amid his ongoing battle.
Derek has regained minimal consciousness from his medically induced coma and while he has not been speaking, he heartbreakingly mouthed the word ‘pain’ in October last year.
Last week, the Smooth presenter shared her heartache about not being able to visit her husband due to coronavirus restrictions.
She said to her co-host Ben Shephard: ‘Well, I haven’t been able to see him, Ben. I haven’t seen him since Christmas, which of course means he’s back into a situation where he’s looking at strangers in masks…
‘And I think that’s the situation for everybody, they’ve got somebody in the hospital at the moment, it’s not unique. It’s tough…
‘It’s also the same for people in care homes. And when you’re someone like him who is dealing with a consciousness problem and trying to emerge, I can’t help but fear it’s not helpful.’
In September, Derek, passed the grim milestone of becoming the longest patient battling coronavirus in hospital in the UK, with doctors telling Kate that Derek’s infection was the ‘highest they had seen in a patient who had lived’.
Reflecting on her last hospital visit with their children in December, Kate admitted the family reunion was ‘heightened with emotion’ because they saw how Derek had been ravaged by the virus.
‘It was very heightened with emotion, because he’s very changed,’ she told viewers.
‘So all the routines that we’d normally do, it was one of those moments that it was so wonderful but also it amplified how sad everything was.
‘And how different it is. But it was still fantastic, and we’re very grateful to have had that opportunity.’