Letter to the Editor

Letters to the editor

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Missourians want the dignity that comes with labor

Dear editor:

On May 29, l989, I suffered a broken neck as a passenger in a car accident.

I was your typical 20-year-old guy. I was going to college, starting my summer job, and was looking forward to my summer vacation. All of my dreams were suddenly shattered when the car stopped rolling. I lost the ability to run, walk, stand, dress myself, feed myself, scratch my nose and a million other things that I wanted to do.

I was paralyzed from the neck down. I thought life was over.

Gradually, thank God, I rediscovered that life is worth living. Instead of relying on brute force in charging through life, I learned to use my head. I can't walk but I can use my wheelchair. I can't use my arms but I can type with a stick in my mouth. There are ways of doing things. I went back to school in 1990 and got a degree in political science at Missouri University.

I now work for Services for Independent Living where I do peer support at Rusk Rehabilitation Center for other people who have gone through similar circumstances as me.

I see people every day struggle to reconstruct their life and move on. Life is tremendously difficult for them but a miracle of the mind often happens. With determination and the help of family and society people reclaim life.

Governor Blunt is calling for drastic cuts in services for people with disabilities. He wants to eliminate the Non Medicaid Eligible program which provides attendant Care to the most severely disable people. He is calling for the elimination of the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disability program which enables people with disabilities who work to keep their Medicaid by paying a premium to the state. He wants to lower the amount that a person can earn to qualify for Medicaid which will kick some people off and make disabled people pay more for their medical care.

He wants to discontinue paying for "specialty services" such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen etc.. The cuts are truly broad deep and hurtful. The cuts will cause harm to Missourians on many different levels. It will diminish the quality of life for thousands of people.

It will put people in nursing homes. It will cost the tax payers more money when people are forced to be hospitalized instead of receiving adequate preventive care.

It will cause undue hardship on families and loved ones of the disabled. It will cost the state millions in federal reimbursement on Medicaid. It will cost the state tax revenue from disabled workers who are no longer able to work.

Governor Blunt said when he defended the cuts, "Missourians want the dignity that comes from labor."

I submit that I have labored and worked hard to rebuild my life and then contribute to society. These cuts undermine the labor and toil of hard working people with disabilities who are just trying survive. It would be a travesty for the working disabled to be only rewarded by working just to pay for their medical care. I believe one of the roles of government is to provide a helping hand to the most disadvantaged because it is the right thing to do.

In the final analysis, helping the disabled helps yourself because disability can happen to anyone at anytime. I know that all too well.

-- Bob Pund

Columbia, Mo.

The case of Terry Schiavo

Dear editor :


After a very tragic twist of fate

Left the daughter immobilized

He claims in a vegetative state

Rehabilitation her mate denies

This story just breaks my heart

As I listen to her family's cries

A husband decided at the start

That his sickly wife should die

Conveniently a husband states

Although without a living will

She had told to him of her fate

If she were to get extremely ill

But only after he was engaged

While still married to his wife

Soon after the war was waged

A fight to end a daughter's life

Did not allow her to go outside

Have a breeze flow in her hair

For 12 years she must hide

He alone deciding doctor's care

Another court believes his lies

Removing a feeding tube again

With only days before she dies

I believe the decision is insane

I wonder who you would trust

To decide that you should die

This man that for another lusts

Or family you know would cry

After his broken wedding vow

To love for better or for worse

Her right to life is not allowed

Soon she must ride in a hearse

I believe he just seeks revenge

After years his wish went awry

He's still determined to avenge

Yet Heavenly angels do not die

--Thelma Shutters, Schell City