Mahabier was counting on a few more years in the workforce to save up for a secure retirement. He dreamed of fixing up his house, doing plenty of fishing, and seeing all the national parks. “I tried to plan ahead,” Mahabier said. “I tried and worked hard to make a future for myself.”
Things changed overnight when he was stricken with a gastrointestinal perforation that nearly killed him.“I was throwing up so much, I called my doctor friend. He asked if I had been out drinking, but I told him I don’t drink. He said call 911,” Mahabier said.
At the hospital, Mahabier fell into a coma which lasted several months. Even after he woke up, he spent nearly a year in the hospital. He came home with permanent medical problems that make it impossible to work.
Services from ECS Home Care for Medicaid participants help him keep up his home and personal care. Mahabier had problems getting the services he needed with a previous agency and reports a much better experience with ECS. That’s likely due to the fact that the ECS Home Care Medicaid Division can devote charitable dollars beyond public reimbursement to going the extra mile for the most vulnerable. When his aide reported that he was unable to afford cleaning products, ECS staff used gift cards collected by ECS volunteers to restock his supplies. ECS nurses regularly check in on clients to make sure they are getting the healthcare they need and case management helps connect clients to additional programs and benefits as needed.
Mahabier emigrated here from Guyana in 1988, eventually becoming a naturalized citizen of the US. Although he came here with his wife and five children in search of a better life, he divorced soon after emigrating and has not seen his children in years.
“I haven’t got a social life. I’m mostly home,” Mahabier added. “That’s all I can do. I don’t have friends; I mostly just hide away. My friends are my aides that come here, and then they go home.” It’s hard for Mahabier to be homebound. “Sometimes I try to do stuff, but my breath gets the better part of me. Once it gets me, I have to sit down,” he said.
“I was always a hard working guy,” Mahabier said. He has held all sorts of jobs, both in Guyana and the US, including cooking, farming and driving. Before becoming disabled, he was an avid hunter and deep sea fisherman in his spare time.
Although things haven’t worked out as he planned, Mahabier is content with what he has. “I would like to go on a vacation, but I have a different kind of sickness,” he said. “Sometimes you just have to go from plan A, to plan B, to plan C.”