ON Monday, my friend and colleague Kate Garraway returns to work on GMB after almost four months away from our screens.
During that time she has been coping with the unimaginable pain and distress of her husband Derek battling for his life after contracting Covid-19.
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Kate has never once complained or asked: “Why me?”
She has simply soldiered on, reassuring and raising her children, praising the NHS and helping others in the same boat.
At times it has been a lonely, miserable, tough voyage through uncharted waters. But Kate steered a stoic and steady course throughout.
The woman you saw in the TV jungle (and doesn’t that feel like several lifetimes ago?) won the hearts of the nation by being kind, funny and authentic.
This was supposed to have been her time in the sun. Instead, she has been going through hell.
She’s watched the father of her children and the man she loves being attacked and ravaged by this vicious disease.
Her hopes have been raised and dashed but throughout it all, Kate has never given up on Derek.
While he is still breathing, she keeps focused on the day he will be back at home where he belongs.
Every patient who emerges gaunt and frail from a Covid coma to be applauded by NHS staff brings Kate great comfort, and she rejoices in those recoveries.
The fact that Derek is still alive is remarkable and even the most experienced and seasoned doctors declare him to be a miracle patient.
Kate is loath, however, to say that Derek is a fighter, as she doesn’t want others who didn’t survive to be looked upon as failures who lost their own private war. That is so typical of this big-hearted, generous woman.
Kate came in to GMB this week to be interviewed by Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.
And while it was wonderful to see her in person, it was also really poignant because none of us could give her the massive hug she deserves.
Under the watchful eye of Dr Hilary, we all adhere to the rules on social distancing, so even a brief embrace was impossible. I found that very hard.
During the interview, Kate revealed that doctors had told her it was time to go back to work — trying to bring some glimmer of normality into the lives of her children Darcey, 14, and 11-year-old Billy.
As Kate says, they have effectively lost their dad right now and they need to get back to school, see their mum going to work and have a comforting daily routine. Obviously, even when she is back on air, Derek will be at the forefront of Kate’s mind.
She has a unique understanding of the virus and its effect on patients — but also on their family and friends.
Kate has steeped herself in all the research and information available on the virus and wants to arm herself with the knowledge to help Derek in every way she can.
It’s another way to try to cope with something so alien and frightening.
Knowing what Kate has been through — and what she continues to deal with — makes me infuriated with people who flout the lockdown rules.
The ones who don’t wash their hands, who go on drinking binges in parks with their pals, and think it’s OK to have raves and street parties.
They are effectively showing utter contempt for Kate and Derek as well as all of the heroic NHS and care workers toiling in the front line, and those who have died doing their jobs.
We all hope and pray that one day soon Derek will emerge from his coma and join the ranks of those who are cheered when they leave intensive care.
But even if that happens, it will be a long, hard journey back from the brink.
Covid-19 takes a terrible physical and mental toll, and Kate knows it will be a marathon.
I’m just so bloody proud of her, of Darcey and Billy too, and so pleased she will be back with us, where she belongs, on Monday.
WAS I the only one to look at Kim Kardashian’s leather outfit and think, “That will chafe something terrible”?
Even a woman as undeniably beautiful and with that pneumatic body can’t carry off this bizarre modern take on lederhosen, a garment normally worn by plump Bavarian beer drinkers.
Kim could well become America’s First Lady if her husband Kanye West goes ahead with his plan to run for President and the fact that Donald Trump is inhabiting the White House shows anything is possible.
Notwithstanding his giant ego, however, I do think Kanye is currently having a bit of a crisis and may well need help.
He is admirably very open about being bipolar and has had hospital treatment in the past.
But being in the orbit of a mega reality show is not the ideal place for anyone who might be struggling with their mental health. Neither is the Oval Office.
Kanye needs to step off the rollercoaster and concentrate on getting better.
SLOWLY but surely I am recruiting more and more people to the cult of TV show Below Deck.
My latest convert is Tipping Point host Ben Shephard, who is now addicted to this deliciously silly show about the lives of the crews who work on superyachts and have to cater to the whims of their hideously rich charter clients.
I never thought I would find myself enthralled by deck crew whining about setting up a massive water slide for the pampered guests, or the chef having a fit because they deemed his moussaka was too greasy (that’s not a euphemism, but it could well be in this show).
Other highlights include chief steward Kate folding towels into the shape of a penis to leave on the bed of a particularly irritating guest, while somehow managing to organise a foam party in the middle of the ocean.
It is perfect, petty escapism from the stresses and strains of the real world and it’s astonishing the yachts don’t sink under the weight of the egos of all those fat billionaires.
A delicious guilty pleasure.
IT would appear that the cast of Glee – that breezy, cheesy feelgood show about an American school singing club – is under some sort of malevolent curse.
The tragic news that Naya Rivera, who played cheerleader Santana, is presumed drowned in a California lake comes after a series of show-related scandals, as well as the deaths of Glee co-stars Cory Monteith and Mark Salling.
Naya was on a rented boat with her four-year-old son on Lake Piru when, it’s believed, she disappeared over the side and drowned. The little boy was found asleep on board. Both of them had gone for a swim but Naya never made it back on to the boat.
This comes after the death of Cory, who played quarterback Finn, back in 2013 after an accidental drug overdose; and Salling, who played bad-boy Puck, taking his own life in 2017 after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography.
I was an avid Glee viewer who loved the show’s inclusivity and its message of hope and understanding.
Who would ever have thought such a bright and happy show could have such darkness in store for its stars?
FOR the love of God, if the Government can blow BILLIONS of pounds on a track and trace scheme that’s about as much use as a chocolate teapot, surely they can find the cash to abolish car-parking costs re-imposed on our NHS staff?
These fees are an utter disgrace and a real kick in the teeth for men and women working under the toughest of conditions . . . then having to cough up cash every single shift.
Car-parking charges must be axed for all hospital staff forthwith. No ifs, no buts and no maybes.
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