Friday, January 18, 2008

2008. Post Apartheid Town Hill, 1994, Oooompa! Oooompa! Oooompapa!

While Fraser languished at Town Hill madhouse, I continued deafly teaching biology, history and English at Selborne College, East London, as well as coaching cricket and third and fourth hockey teams. My young sons were at local schools and my wife looked after us all.

We waited for news about our NZ residence application.

I got no response from Town Hill superintendent Dr. Ross, so I 14.08.94 drummed:

"I visited Fraser at Town Hill yesterday (13.08.94) observing that Fraser had been moved to O Ward, which is surrounded by an approximately 3 metre high wire fence, access-controlled by staff by means of locked gates. Fraser was better groomed, and his attire was a lot more respectable than had been in the past (except for shoes). Thanks.

Fraser's restless and slurring his words. His tongue appears to be too relaxed when he speaks. He also sucks his lower lip into his mouth a lot. Neither of these behaviours have been evident to me on my previous visits to Fraser [I feared tardive dyskinesia, a neuroleptic side-effect].

My visit raised further questions, and I would appreciate if if you would answer them in addition to questions I raised in my 27.07.94 letter. Additional questions are:

1. How long has Fraser been in O Ward?

2. When will he be allowed to leave O Ward, to return to a less restricted ward?

3. How does keeping Fraser in O Ward, with its obvious restrictions, prepare Fraser for acceptance by a halfway house controlled by Durban Mental Health Society?

4. What's causing Fraser to slur his words?

5. Why's Fraser sucking his lower lip into his mouth?

6. If his speech is deteriorating, does Town Hill have a speech therapist to rectify matters?

Trusting that the above questions and my 27.07.94 letter questions will be swiftly answered."

07.09.94. Another drumming to Dr. Ross: "Town Hill is forcing its decisions about Fraser's future upon our family, without providing us with the information we need to make informed decisions. We would have to live with your decisions, long after Fraser leaves Town Hill.

On 05.09.94 my wife received a phone call from a Town Hill social worker, telling us that she and Fraser had visited Durban Mental Health places - one of which Fraser had liked. She said Fraser would be unable to go to some of those Mental Health places, as his finances were too much. He'd be accepted if he was poor. [Social workers sniffing out Fraser's finances stank!]

Fraser's finances are limited, carefully invested by his curator. Should Fraser be expected to support himself, his finances wouldn't last long.

My concern is Fraser's long-term future, not a short-sighted bundling him off to Durban Mental Health, during which time his finances become depleted. He runs the risk of failure in Durban Mental Health. Then what? You have already said that Durban Mental Health may not want him.

I feel Town Hill may do the same thing to Fraser. Once he has left, Town Hill will be unable to accommodate him, should he fail at Durban Mental Health.

Town Hill is paternalistically forcing its decision about Fraser's accommodation upon our family, without providing us with the information we need.

I don't want Fraser sent away without your answering, in writing, all questions which I asked in my previous letters (see copies)."

16.09.94. Another drumming to Dr. Ross: "Today the social worker telephonically discussed Fraser with my wife.

I've already informed Town Hill that my family and I plan to emigrate to NZ. Our residence visa is being processed and we expect a response in a few weeks.

In early 1989, Durban Addington Hospital suggested sending Fraser to Kimberley, near to Koffiefontein where we lived. Addington suggested sending him to a no longer existing Kimberley mental home near Danie Theron Combat School.

Addington certified Fraser to Town Hill.

Shortly after Fraser's arrival at Town Hill, Dr. Kaf suggested sending Fraser to Komani Queenstown. I demurred.

Fraser's curator recently suggested that Fraser go to a Durban Mental Health place, concurred by Town Hill. I've sent copies of our recent correspondence to the curator, so he knows our feelings. [Town Hill was contemptuously trying to blind-side me, by manipulating the curator bonis I'd chosen for Fraser. There was no legal reason why Fraser's curator bonis should be compelled by madhouse keepers to seek placement for Fraser. The curator's legal responsibility was to manage Fraser's finances].

Today, the social worker said Town Hill had recently planned to send Fraser to Fort England, Grahamstown. Before that, Town Hill suggested sending Fraser to Komani, Queenstown. Grahamstown and Queenstown are bleak, freezing and miserable places in winter.

Fraser lived all his life in Durban, prior to certification to Town Hill, Pietermaritzburg. Fraser's life revolves around Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Natal.

It would be a mistake sending Fraser out of Natal.

My family has moved around a lot over the last decade. Sending Fraser to a centre near us would destroy Fraser, especially as we are emigrating.

Fraser must stay in Natal! Fraser must not be sent out of Natal!

My family wants the best for Fraser. We want him to be happy and fulfilled.

I STILL NEED MY RECENT QUESTIONS ANSWERED. I register-posted them to you. We would then be able to make a decision about Fraser."

So far, Town Hill's placement suggestions for Fraser were crazy. Town Hill madhouse keepers seemed hell-bent on expelling Fraser anywhere a.s.a.p. My family suggestions and questions were ignored.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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