‘Since being in hospital and categorised as disabled I’ve been like a second-class citizen’

By Laura Lyne

A WOMAN who was forced to have her leg amputated last January following a two-year illness has thanked her neighbours and friends in her local community for their support, after she returned home to her house in Whitechurch. The house remains unadapted to suit her needs.

Mary Maher returned home last Thursday following a stay in St Luke’s Hospital in Rathgar, and has lived in her Whitechurch home, which she rents from South Dublin County Council, with her partner Joe McKnight, for the past 29 years.

Mary Maher 35 Whitechurch View 2 

Her partner Joe featured in The Echo earlier this month to highlight the struggles they were facing as they tried to get their three-bedroom home adapted to allow Mary to use the bathroom and move around the house.

Speaking to The Echo, Mary said: “I was in Tallaght hospital since January 6 following an appointment, and I expected to be going back home that day.

“I had to have all kinds of scans, and the doctors really tried everything to save my leg, but by the end of January they said there was no alternative.

“It all really came as a shock, my life changed so dramatically overnight.”

Since Mary and Joe’s story featured in The Echo, the decision was made for Mary to return home permanently to the house, which her partner Joe has said is “very cramped” and now has Mary’s bed, along with a commode and basin for her to use, in the front room.

She said: “Since I’ve been in hospital, and basically been categorised as disabled, I’ve been like a second-class citizen.

“It’s been made very clear to me that you have to fight for everything, and that there’s no encouragement there to help you along the way.

“The thing is, it’s not just me. There are over 60,000 people classed as disabled in Ireland, and we have nobody to really speak for us.

“I’m hardly a spokesperson, but I just really want to highlight the issues that we’re facing. It really gets you so downhearted.

“This has been my home for 29 years, moving from my home and from my community after everything that I’ve been through would be a very traumatic thing. I just couldn’t do it.

“I really do feel better at home, you just have to keep positive about it all. We’ve had to spend money to get ramps, but they only fit in the back door.

“We can’t really afford to get anything else done, and there’s no way we can extend on the house or change the structure due to planning and permission.

“It’s a very slow process, but since I’ve been home I’ve had great support from my neighbours, from members of the community and my friends. It’s really boosted my confidence.

“We hope to try and get funds from somewhere in the future, and I really do feel like I have my community behind me to try to help myself and Joe.

“I may have lost a limb, but I didn’t lose my head and you have to make a positive out of a negative. We just have to keep chipping away.”

 

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