MANAGING her dialysis at home has come at a high cost to Corina Abraham.
The machine that helps clean the Whadjuk woman’s blood and keep her alive uses about 150 litres of water each session and churns through electricity.
Although she receives some small allowances and rebates, the disability pensioner’s utility bills are hitting critical levels and last year Homeswest threatened to evict her from her Yangebup home because her debt had ballooned.
“I tried to explain to them that I’ve got this lifesaving machine that I have to run, but they didn’t really listen,” Ms Abraham told the Herald.
“One of the problems is that kidney health is not listed as a chronic disease.”
Adding to the pressure, she suffers from type 2 diabetes which has caused her to lose sight in one eye and affects her body’s temperature regulation; that means she has to have her house brightly lit to avoid falls and well heated or cooled to keep her insulin levels steady.
According to Kidney Health Australia, people who look after their own dialysis save the health system more than $15,000 each year, but while they’re racking up the bills, people who take up a bed and the associated staffing costs of a visit to hospital get off relatively scot-free.
That’s inequitable, says KHA.
But at the moment Ms Abraham has a more pressing problem; “I am on the verge of my leg being amputated because of a diabetic wound,” she said.
“It used to be me good leg.”
While she credits a mix of bush medicine and treatment at Fiona Stanley Hospital to a slight improvement in the wound this week, amputation is being considered on a day-to-day basis by her doctors.
That’s got Ms Abraham’s friends worried, including prominent human rights activist Seamus Doherty, who’s organising a community fundraiser to help Ms Abraham fulfil her biggest wish – she wants to marry her fiancee and full-time carer Hayden Howard.
“All me friends heard about me leg and know we have been engaged for a very long time and wanted to do something before anything terrible happened.
“When all of this happened, a lot of men would have just run, but he’s stuck by me,” she says.
Mr Doherty says Ms Abraham is a hero to the protestors who fought the Perth Freight Link, having taken on the department of Aboriginal affairs in the Supreme Court over its support of the highway’s extension through the Beeliar wetlands.
While she lost, her case helped highlight a department so flawed that earlier this month the McGowan government announced it was to be scrapped and its responsibilities handed to the department of premier and cabinet.
Mr Doherty says while Ms Abraham had given so much to the cause, it had added to her own financial burden so much she’d been forced to pawn her wedding ring before she got the chance to wear it.
That prompted him to organise the fundraiser, which will be held at Clancy’s pub in Fremantle this Thursday, June 1.
Already signed up to perform are WA Music Hall of Fame inductee Dave Pigram, The Rogues and Amanda Joy. Tickets are $20 at the door or call Dave 0419 190 725.
by STEVE GRANT