I lived in Carrington a long time ago – years and years, till I worked my way out.
My Mum’s in a rest home now. I had a brother, but he died. I’ve also got an older sister.
I lived in Ward 10 at Carrington Hospital, which was up past the chapel. I liked to go to church on Sunday and used to tape the church service, as I had my own tape recorder. I kept the tapes and would listen to them again.
I could hardly hear anybody talking to me in Carrington – I didn’t have hearing aids then and I was deaf. I got belted up in Carrington Hospital by a patient. She kicked me in the leg till it bled. It took a long time to heal. I also used to get doped up in Carrington Hospital.
I didn’t like living at Carrington. I always got belted up by the other patients because I was small. I slept in a bed in the ward with everybody.
When I left Carrington Hospital I was in a boarding house out at Swanson. I also lived in a block of flats by the ambulance station. From there, I went into a rest home at Te Atatu. I didn’t like that one. I was in a place called Adriatic rest home. I moved from there over to Burnsall.
Burnsall was a home for people who were deaf. I didn’t like Burnsall because the boys were belting me up. One of them was always hitting me and every time I made a cup of coffee, he pulled me backwards and kicked me in the ribs. I didn’t stay there long.
Then I moved to Portage Road and I’m in the fl at out in the community on my own. I like having my own space.
There is a house with five flatmates in front of my fl at and the staff give me rides everywhere when they go out.
Staff make my meals and do the housekeeping, and they pay for all my telephone calls.
I like living in the community because I’m free. I like living in the fl at because it’s nice and quiet. I can watch telly when I want to and I decide what I watch – I control the remote. I like sleeping in my fl at – it’s better than sleeping in a ward.
I was asked what the worst thing was about living in the community and I couldn’t think of anything – I like living in my flat.
My sister lives in Auckland and I see her a lot. She comes to see me on my birthday. I go home at Christmas time and see my sister and have dinner with her. And Mum comes, too.
I like living by myself. I’m much better now I’m out of Carrington.
Excerpt from “Extraordinary Journeys – 12 extraordinary people retrace their journeys from institutional care to supported community living…”
Extraordinary Journeys will be released on 6 August 2010. Stocks will be limited.
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