By Laura Harman
Kate Garraway’s new ITV documentary, Kate Garraway: Finding Derek has revealed some the awful truths about living with the effects of Long Covid.
In March 2020, Good Morning Britain Presenter Kate Garraway’s husband Derek was admitted to hospital as he was diagnosed with Covid-19. A year later, Derek is still in hospital and has had a series of serious illnesses following this devastating virus.
The documentary was lead by Kate Garraway and it primarily looked at how Kate and her children’s life had changed since Derek had been hospitalised. However, a large portion of the documentary also focused on the long-term effects of Covid-19.
In the documentary, Kate spoke to Orly Summers, a nurse who cared for patients during the first wave of the Pandemic and caught Covid-19 herself. Orly revealed that she stopped being able to talk while she was caring for a patient and was then diagnosed with COVID-19. She revealed that she has been struggling since her initial diagnosis and the virus has affected her “completely” despite only being diagnosed with a “mild” case of the virus.
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“I’ve lost a lot of short-term memory,” said the nurse about her long-term symptoms. “I can’t cook because I’ll forget that I’ve put something on. I used to run a 40-bed unit, an acute medical unit, and now I can’t boil a pan of water because I’ll put it on and then be somewhere else and I smell smoke. My joined-up thinking is gone.”
She went on to reveal that it isn’t just her brain that has been affected. “I have cardiac issues, I have a monitor on now, I have anomalies in my bloodwork that don’t make sense at all. Nothing fits a picture,” she said. When Kate asked, “and none of this was there before?” Orly replied, “God no.”
The nurse revealed that the pandemic is still so new and doctors are struggling to know how to help. “We’re fighting for our lives in an unknown world in uncharted waters with doctors that can only look on in horror because nothing we know is working. I don’t know what the answer is, but there is a limit to what one can endure,” she said.
Orly revealed, “I mourn the bits of me that I don’t recognise.” She also went on to say that she still doesn’t know if she will recover fully or get worse again.“I don’t know if I’m out of the woods,” she said.
Kate also spoke to a woman in a similar situation to herself. Julie’s husband Steve also contracted COVID-19 in March 2020, like Derek. Steve and his twin brother Bobby contracted the virus at the same time and were both on ventilators. Bobby left the hospital after a week but Steve has been in for nearly a year.
Kate asked Steve’s wife Julie, “Do you feel like he knows you?” Julie replied, “ I think so, but I know sometimes you doubt yourself.” Kate related to this and the two spoke about how challenging it is to see the person you love suffer and not be able to help.
Kate also spoke to Dr Debbie Ford, a clinical psychologist who works in intensive care. Kate asked the Doctor what life might look like for those who have been hospitalised with Covid, when they are finally allowed to go home.
The Doctor said, “We know from a psychological perspective Around about a quarter of patients will experience some trauma, post-traumatic stress, low mood, anxiety feelings. As you can imagine many patients come out of it with cognitive deficits, memory, attention, concentration, all of these things can lead to adjustment difficulties.”
Dr Ford then gave a glimmer of hope to Kate and the viewers as she said, “But people do move, we see amazing recoveries.”
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