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More than 3300 people are suffering just like Abe. What's the Governor's office going to do about the ever expanding waiting list for home and community based services for the physically disabled?' Click here to see their response.
Abe Jahansouz is on the Physical Disability Waiver Waiting List. He has been waiting since September 2009. Abe attended Labette County Community College in the early 70’s. He received a Biological and Agricultural Engineering Degree from K-State in 1978 went on to continue his education at Pittsburg State University where he got his Master’s in Engineering Technology Degree and later his E.D.S. in 1990. Abe was a professor in four Junior Colleges in Southeast Kansas and taught at the Pitt State university as well for several years.
A back injury in 1989 and multiple surgeries later and now Abe is trying to survive on $962.00 a month. He draws a $500 cash advance on his credit card each month to cover rent, medical bills and prescription cost. A radical change from the dream home he built, and lived in for thirteen years. His wife divorced him after over thirty years of marriage and a daughter lives in Tennessee. The daughter is the Assistant Dean at a college.
Abe remarked about his family and wife, “She couldn’t take it no longer. Family breaks; I hope it never happens to anybody.”
Abe is thankful for being number 153 on the section 8 housing list. He was 455 on the list 3 years ago when he submitted his request.
Abe is forced to spend most of his time in bed as a result of being disabled with a deteriorating spine. He is now partially paralyzed and has almost constant back spasms. It is a terminal disease.
He has learned some survival skills such as microwave cooking one time for a whole week. A bowl of cereal in the morning, no lunch and some of what he has prepared for supper. Abe stated, “Not really worried about eating. What worries me is my future.”
One of the spasms had Abe’s leg raised for eighteen hours. He was afraid to call 911 because he could not afford to have the door repaired after the emergency personnel would have had to break it down. He would not have been able to get up off the floor to open the door.
The twitching is worse than the spasm right now. “It is like a tornado in your spin, something turning in your spine. And pops.”
When asked about his thoughts on going to a nursing home Abe replied, “No way in the world. I would die early in a nursing home. I don’t care how awful it is. If the school system calls and tells me to come substitute; I’ll go.”
On any day that weather allows, Abe manages to get outside on his front porch. “No matter how hard it is I’m going to get outside. I want to have my freedom. I’m 62 years old I’m hoping to get better. I only want someone come here to clean bath tub, mop the floors and doing vacuuming. I can was my own clothes. " His doctor has ordered him not to do some actions around the house. A little help two or three times a week would be a significant help.
Accessibility in the apartment would be improved greatly with a decent wheelchair and a shower chair for the bathroom. He has already purchased the grab bar in the bathroom.
Abe realizes there are limits to what he can lift and maneuver. He lives in Louisburg and is so close to many, many services, however has access to nothing. He has a car, but cannot drive anymore. He has an electric chair but no lift for the car. Each month he goes deeper and deeper into debt on his credit card. Being forced to live without services has cost Abe a great deal. He is a very educated man and has taught many students, this is one lesson he would be glad none of them experience.
Abe has worked all of his life and now he says, "I pray every day to get a job. and go to work."