Like so many parents of children who require lifelong care, the biggest concern is “What happens to my child should I die fir st?”
Eve is not only a school abuse and cancer survivor but daily she battles on so many other health levels. Yet, with all her l imitations she remains cheerful, plucky and chirpy when faced with issues we all would prefer never to have to face. She is the ultimate survivor and that is why she needs to get so me form of a life before it is too late having journeyed on this planet for fifty years, none of which were easy for her.
There was no school, college, graduation or career for Eve. Instead her life has been like that of a pawn moving around on a chess board at the whims of the relevant Authorities and Services which proved to be not worthy of this unique, special person. The disgraceful five-school changes before the age of eleven, which were proposed by the professionals involved, meant that Eve was unable to form relationships or make friends, was always “the new girl” and failed to foster a community to support her and create an environment where she could flourish.
Eve has been lying on her side in a bed looking at four walls for the past four years. Eve has extremely complex physical hea lth problems, special needs and mental health difficulties. At age forty-seven, Eve moved into a Nursing Home for the Elderly as her home was deemed unadaptable for her complex needs by the HSE. Si nce then Eve has only been able to “look at the walls” except for the input of her mother, now seventy-two, whose only income is a reduced State pension, as she stayed at home for thirteen years to raise Eve. Having no job for these years disqualified her from a full state pension.
A snapshot of Eve’s life shows a child with learning and emotional difficulties with little or no choice in where she was placed. Throughout Eve’s life her mother has always taken guidance from the relevant authorities from Child Guidance, Special Schools, Vocational Training, Disability Services and the HSE. During this time Eve’s mother supported her in every possible way by working to provide for Eve. She never sought any financial help but provided for Eve until now, when he r financial and emotional resources have run out.
When Eve was aged 32-years-old and her mother developed a life-threatening condition, helping Eve to spread her wings and fly became seventeen years of absolute torture. During this time her mother had sought residential service so that Eve could make the next step out of home. On her weekends at home her mother had to top up her physical care by her doing her laundry, giving Eve showers, pedicures, manicures and haircuts. Eve was unable to manage to put her socks on by herself and she would come home the following Friday wearing the same socks her mother had put on her when she was returning to her residential house the previous weekend. If Eve managed to take them off she was left wearing no socks and sandals (the only type of footwear she could tolerate) and this was even during the winter months. Her mother provided endless bedding over the seventeen year period, often to find Eve sleeping on a mattress with no sheet.
Eve has never been able to source help for herself and was completely reliant on her mother for support. Eve left school unab le to read, write or count and her mother was her only source of information by endlessly writing, making phone calls and emailing all in support of Eve.
Due to the type of medication Eve required, her consultant knew that her bones would be compromised but he had to make a “quality of life” decision to continue with this medication. In time, Eve’s bone structure was affected very badly to the point of fracturing on movement, condemning her to remain on her bed indefinitely. Eve attended the MISA Clinic in St James’s Hospital and the doctor, who read her scan, remarked that Eve had the bones of an 80-year-old woman – she was 43-years-old at this time. By now Eve was using a wheelchair which was not fit for purpose and crutches for transfer from bed to sitting. Things only got worse when the HSE refused to pass her chair as suitable for fear the wheels would buckle. A six-month waiting list saw William Gorry, CEO of RISN going above and beyond to acquire a power chair for Eve within a month.
This chair was to make the difference between being able to get Eve to her hospital appointments without the cost of 400 euros a round trip for private ambulance to the various hospitals, as now she could use a wheelchair taxi. Regrettably, Eve sustained two fractures shortly after she acquired this chair and was rendered unable to use it, having only sat in it twice.
Eve attends the following hospitals: The Mater, Beaumont, Blanchardstown, St. James’s, St Colmcille’s, Loughlinstown, and requires services of the following departments:
• Bone clinic for severe osteoporosis
• Pain Management
Eve now requires transport on a bariatric stretcher and often this has been unavailable, meaning consultant appointments have to be cancelled and rearranged. In fact, on one occasion a stretcher she was lying on in the ambulance dislodged from the floor clamps and hit the back door of the ambulance requiring her GP to attend to examine her feet as she was already fractured in her leg and hip.
When 80 per cent of Eve’s Disability Allowance goes to pay her portion of The Fair Deal Scheme she is left with approximately 30.38 euros per week. This amount does not cover the over-the-counter personal pharmacy requirements Eve uses daily such as Elave body and hair wash, Sudocrem, Caldesene powder, E45 cream, Canestan, Vaseline and KY Jelly for use with a catheter, all because Eve’s skin is extremely sensitive. The Fair Deal Scheme certainly provides no fairne ss for someone like Eve.
This situation has now been supported by Eve’s mother for over fifty years.
As a survivor of school abuse, it is heart-breaking to see how this survivor’s life has deteriorated to Eve needing this level of care. She has never had a crack at life, ever. Eve’s mother knows she would not even have her daily washing products without her mother’s input as she would be unable to afford t hem. This does not account for clothing and anything else she may require to live.
How has this situation happened? How has the reality of it gone unnoticed for the best part of fifty years Eve’s mother has struggled withou t a break? Eve’s mother is a mother through and through and will go without anything herself to make sure Eve gets what she needs.
Eve is now a 50-year-old woman whose only demand and enjoyment is simply that she gets the RTE Guide and Woman’s Weekly each week. Eve askes her mother regularly the heart-breaking question: “Will I ever dance again, Mam?” Her mother does not have the answer but is desperate to make life a little easier for Eve in whatever way she can. Exhaustion and money limit what could be possible.
Padraig Pearse declared in the Proclamation of Independence that “Ireland would resolve to cherish all its children equ ally” but Eve belongs to the cohort that has been overlooked. This is the daily life of one survivor of school abuse and it remains impossible to move on.
At present Eve is very ill and
Needs a special Bariatric bed and Air Mattress that she will benefit from but unfortunately the state doesn’t help and Eve can’t afford the cost.
PleasePlease help no matter how small save a life and give comfort and let’s give compassion and dignity. Thank you for your support .