April 05, 2007

Emails to the Director of Disability Services

After having one successful semester at engineering school, Lisa has decided to sabatoge herself. She did not like the side effect of Clozaril and Depocote (sp) even though she managed to get strait A's in highly technichal classes. She is desparate to try other meds without success. As a result, she has withdrawn from college. She over estimates her ability to return, even though she is highly emotional, has difficulty reading and concentrating, and she imagines intimate relationships with boys that don't exist. The following is my communication with the school:

March 13, 2007


I am contacting you in regards to Lisa Summerfelt. She is currently in the Psych. Ward at Borgess Hospital (Since last Thursday). She has had a breakdown since not taking her meds for who knows how long. She is currently in a catatonic state is unable at this time to function in school or at the job she has held in the engineering building. We do not know how to proceed from here, and we were wondering if you could help us out. We don't know if she should take an incomplete in her classes or just drop out this semester. She recently got a refund from WMU for $3,382.24. We don't know for what or if it needs to be applied toward anything. We got a message on our answering machine yesterday from the school's admissions office. They wanted to know if there was anything they could do about Lisa's situation. The woman sounded very sympathetic, so I don't know if anyone had alerted them of what was happening. Could you please check into this and advise me where to go from here? Thank you!

Fred Summerfelt
Lisa's father and legal guardian


I just learned that the phone message you received was from the Dean of Student's office. I spoke to them this morning and told them my office would be Lisa's contact point so she wouldn't have to deal with two offices. I spoke to Peter Parker, her advisor and all of Lisa's profs have contacted me with good wishes for her recovery and willingness to work with her to make up work though some of that will depend on how long she is out. When Lisa is ready, she can discuss how she will come back to school. I can help negotiate with profs and other university offices. She has several options. She can withdraw from any or all of her classes and seek cancellation of tuition charges. She can seek an incomplete in classes and work with her profs on deadlines. My concerns about incompletes are at times students think they can work on several incompletes and still register for the next semester classes. They may be more optimistic about how much they can do, become overwhelmed and further behind and discouraged. When Lisa is ready to return, I ask that she meet with me to make sure her supports are in place. I know Lisa is very bright. I want to make sure she is ready to work with her treatment plan.

I learned that the $3382.24 refund was because she had applied for loans. When all of her tuition charges and fees were covered, she was refunded. I don't know if her housing charges are automatically deducted from her student account.

Let me know if there is anything you need. Best wishes.


>>> Fred Summerfelt 3/10/2007 4:47 PM >>>

March 19, 2007

Hi Fred

How is Lisa doing? Is there anything I can do?


March 26, 2007

Hi Fred

I just learned that Lisa was removed from the residence hall again.
Is she back in the hospital? I think you've been through things
like this before with Lisa. I'm concerned. Is there anything I can

Beth denHartigh

>>> Fred Summerfelt 3/26/2007 5:31 PM >>>


Thanks for asking. I am so thankful that people like you are
around. How would disabled people accomplish anything without help?
Lisa was put on a very low dosage of her new meds. Evidently it
was not enough to keep her out of the hospital. She will have to be
in for another 10 days when the higher dosage of medication kicks
in. At this point, I don't know what she should do about school.
Can she stay in the dorm to make up incompletes? If not, I don't
know how she will catch up by the end of April. What would you
recommend? I know she'd still like to return in the Fall. She'd
like to become a permanent resident of Kalamazoo. I'll be waiting
for your reply. Thanks, again!


March 27,2007


Thanks for getting back. It's helpful to me that you are a point
person. I'm trying to run interference between Lisa and other
university entities so she gets a fair chance. A student can
usually live in Spindler during the summer without being enrolled
but must be enrolled in at least one class during fall and spring
semesters. She still has options. Some profs will probably work
with her on incompletes but if the courses activity requires
classroom participation (ex. labs) she may need to drop. I haven't
had further contact with her profs but I think I'll contact Peter
Parker at least. If Lisa wants me to contact other profs, I'm

My concern at this point is that Lisa is very ready before she
moves back to the Spindler. I understand when she left the first
time, her behavior was scary to other residents. I don't want Lisa
to wear out her welcome. The hall staff has to think about the
total living environment. Sorry. That seems so callous, but you
need to know.


March 29, 2007


>>> Fred Summerfelt 3/28/2007 8:19 PM >>>


We just got done visiting Lisa. She was quite spacey. The nurses told us that she was catatonic first thing this morning. If we don't see any improvement by Monday, we may just go ahead and withdraw from classes. Please don't do anything until you hear from us. I am hanging on to my last bit of optimism. She has become a lab rat for every type of med that the doctor thinks is appropriate. She may have to go back on her old meds that got her thinking better and that enabled her to function. As far as I know, she has no means of financing her education next year, but we won't cross that bridge until we come to it. I'll be in touch.


Hi Fred

Happy Birthday Lisa! Please send her my good wishes. I spoke to her yesterday and she asked to be withdrawn from classes, but I'm waiting for a call from Peter Parker to see if she can salvage anything from this semester. There's no real rush to withdraw. I also called Residence Life to see if they would allow you some flexibility about moving her out of Spindler so you could move her out sometime next week and not have to pay April rent.

Doctors seem to have different views about meds and combinations of meds. I'm sure it's frustrating to watch Lisa be subjected to that. Other students have expressed to me their frustration wtih or distrust of their doctors. No wonder!

Let me know what I can do. Best wishes to you. It must be tough.

Beth DenHartigh wrote:

March 28, 2007

>>> Fred Summerfelt 3/28/2007 6:08 AM >>>

Part of my thinking about convincing Lisa to withdraw from her classes at this time (besides thinking that this is right thing to do) is that I have vacation next week and could start moving her without taking time off from work. If I pay for the April rent, we'd have until the end of the month to do this with less stress. Then she could sign up for fall classes, assuming that she will be in much better shape by then.



Lisa can look to see what courses are offered this summer and register for them. She may be able to sit in on a couple of classes as a condition of incomplete and not have to pay the tuition a second time. Any classes she wants to withdraw from, we can appeal for tuition remission.

Are you considering moving Lisa out of Spindler? If so, I can intercede so you won't be charged for April rent.


March 30,2007

From: Fred Summerfelt [mailto:fmsummer@ameritech.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 5:38 PM
To: Drooger, Kristi
Subject: Transferring Lisa back to St. Joseph

Could you please start the paper work to transfer Lisa back to St. Joseph ? She is refusing to take her medication again, and who knows how long this will take. I am going to start moving her things next week. So if you need me to sign anything while I am there, please let me know. Let me also know what I need to do to make this happen. Thanks for all your work. I am not sure Lisa will be returning in the fall, since she does not have any financing arranged. We will probably just start paying her loans when they come due until she can arrange to get into school again. Thanks again!


I sure will Fred. I had called Lakeland yesterday to check on her and they informed me that she was still having trouble. I will make the arrangements and let you know what I need from you.


March 30, 2007

>>> Fred Summerfelt 3/29/2007 5:30 PM >>>

We will go with the withdrawal of classes and I will start moving her out next week. Right now, she is refusing to take her medication, and who knows when that attitude will turn around. I will be glad to pay rent pro-rated until we get her out. Getting help to carry the big stuff is getting more difficult at my age. Thanks for your help!



Just to reinforce your decision, I talked to Pete Parker yesterday, Lisa's advisor, and he recommended withdrawing because she has missed a lot. In one of her Engineering classes, she needed to work on a project with a partner and make a presentation. This kind of work is hard to make up in summer when professors and other students are not around. The Math course too is tough without the benefit of instruction. I'll check on where Lisa is in relation to financial aid.

So sorry. I know Lisa's health is an on-going issue for your family. My thoughts are with you.


April 3, 2007


>>> Fred Summerfelt 4/2/2007 7:25 PM >>>

Now that Lisa is withdrawn from classes, what do we need to do, or what should we expect to hear from WMU? Also, what have you heard about Lisa's April rent? Except for a final cleaning, she is completely moved out. We still need to wrap up loose ends (closing her bank account and find out where she dropped off her taxes, etc.). I'm getting too old for this! Have a nice "Easter" holiday!



The residence hall people see the turning in of keys as the last thing concerning the residence hall. It will probably take awhile before the refund comes through for Lisa's classes. I think that's it. I don't know if she wants to register for fall classes...

Happy Easter to you too!


>>> Fred Summerfelt 4/3/2007 9:50 AM >>>


Two things concern me about Lisa's return in the fall: 1. Whether or not she will be stable enough on this change of medication. I would like to see if she could just take a fun class at the community college. She says she's sharp. But, what I see is that she seems very slow and, she has difficulty with reading. 2. I am not quite sure of how she has arranged financing. I would like to be more encouraging and supportive, but we are always the ones cleaning up when she crashes (U of M, Ferris, not to mention jobs, etc.). I'd like to take a wait and see attitude. Lisa needs to start taking care of business herself when she returns to the hospital. She doesn't seem to realize how much it entails when this happens. It is one thing to be able to finish an education when all the supports have been put into place by those who care for you, but it is another to seek independently what ever support you need to succeed in what it is that a person wants to do. It has been 10 years of this similar pattern and things have to start changing. I feel like I've reached my limit to what I can do. I still want to be there for her in case of an emergency, but I cannot solve all her problems, no matter how hard I try. I am sorry if I sound sort of bitter, but I feel I've been paying more attention to my daughter's needs rather than my own, and things are getting out of balance.

Sincere regards,


I can only imagine what you have been through! I don't think you're bitter at all and I agree that you need to see some stability in Lisa before throwing her into another situation for several reasons. You have a finite amount of energy. You, too get your hopes up that she can be as successful and if she continues to burn bridges (unintentionally, of course) she may use up her opportunities.

Let me know if you need anything.

Take care!!


Lisa has gone through the same pattern for the past 10 years. How can I emotionally separate myself from this so I don't end up in the hopital myself?

Posted by fred at April 5, 2007 01:53 PM



I did am email search to look for Lisa because our high school reunion is coming up this Saturday and I miss her. I was Tracy Gerig in high school. I've sent her cards to your address over the last few years, and I guess I know why she hasn't replied yet.

I want you to know that she will be in my prayers. I was very sad to have lost touch with her about 8 years ago. I ran into her a few times and gave her my phone number. She came to my wedding, but I really hadn't heard from her since.

I'm so sorry to hear that she is struggling. She was a great friend.

Let me know if there is anything that I can do.

Posted by: Tracy Nitz at August 4, 2007 09:53 PM

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