Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Retired Portland teacher 'exhausted' by diabetes

Published:Monday | April 10, 2017 | 12:00 AMGareth Davis Sr
Rohan Vassel with diabetic patient and former teacher and caregiver Anita Amazon during a visit to her home at Woodstock in Buff Bay.

Forced into retirement from a job that was her passion, 59-year-old diabetic Anita Amazon - former teacher and caregiver at Windsor All Age School in Portland - is unable to pay for her monthly medication.

Left penniless as a result of frequent visits to the doctor and the high cost for treating her illness, Amazon, who is wheelchair-bound, sported a look of concern when The Gleaner visited her at home yesterday, as her prescription for last month has yet to be filled and she is without insulin to manage her diabetic condition.

"It's getting more and more frustrating," said the retired teacher, whose voice is somewhat feeble.

She added: "I live alone with my son, but he is unemployed. Whatever savings I had is long exhausted. I have lost most of the feeling in both legs and, as such, I am now confined to a wheelchair. I keep praying and hoping that things will change for the better, as I simply have no money for food, much less for medication. It is only the kindness shown to me by a neighbour, Rohan Vassell, who goes beyond the call of duty to assist me."

 

HEALTH AT RISK

 

Amazon, who gave more than 25 years of service to education and who was forced to stop working in 2012, said her life now hangs in the balance as, without medication, she could fall into a coma and, at worst, suffer a stroke.

She noted that no form of assistance has been forthcoming from the Ministry of Education and she has been unable to collect well-needed funds from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), where she was a contributor.

Amazon continued: "As a matter of fact, no one from the ministry has contacted me since my illness. Not even to find out whether or not I am coping. At first I lost all the sensation in both feet; however, I am now able to move my toes. I kept waking up and hoping that it is all a bad dream, as at times the pain is unbearable."

Said Vassell, who was present during The Gleaner's visit, "This is a woman who has served the education fraternity with distinction, but has suffered a chronic illness. Her monthly medication is anywhere between $15,000 and $23,000 to fill the prescription totally. I am appealing to anyone out there, who might be able to help, to do so as this is a crisis situation."