Fifty-one fifty

Here’s what happened.  My son is a good kid, kindly and gentle.  He has a mental illness, though, and the kindly, gentle part doesn’t always show up. 

I was at the kitchen sink a few weeks ago when he came up behind me shouting something I didn’t catch.  As I turned around he began swinging at me.  He’s a decent athlete but fortunately a lousy boxer, and I fended him off.

“Joe, what’s the matter! Why are you doing this?  What are you afraid of?”

It was only a few seconds, also fortunate because I have no stamina and he’s twenty.  He changed his mind, or maybe his mind changed him, and he went back to his room and slammed the door.

For the first time I called the cops to deal with another human on my behalf, and it was my youngest son.  I hoped that he’d be taken to Enloe Hospital and then to the Butte County Psychiatric Facility, the Puff.  That’s what had happened four or five other times.  I talked to someone at Enloe, but she would tell me only that he was there and calm.

I hoped being back at the Puff would persuade him to go back on his prescribed drug, although its usefulness leveled out last year.  I’m not pro-drug, but if it would keep him calm, it might be his best bet.

Fifty-one-fifty is the number of the law that allows for the restraint of someone deemed to be a danger to himself or others.  The police apply for a 5150, and a physician okays it.  That’s my understanding, and that seems to be the way things have gone before in this situation, so I was expecting him to end up at the Puff in a matter of hours, maybe the next morning.  Butte County should have been notified—he’d been in this fix several times before—and would presumably arrange for his transfer to the Puff.  No, just go back home.

My son is also delinquent in paying off the fines imposed by Butte County for his having been convicted of violating a restraining order, and he is presumably subject to arrest.  Most recently, the Disability Determination Service Division of the Department of Social Services of the California Health and Human Services Agency scheduled a psychological examination for him with MSLA-Chico, another subcontractor at the public trough.  He wouldn’t even read the confirmation form or show up for an exam he feels is unnecessary and probably offensive, so he’s likely not to get a disability income because he thinks he’s alright.  If he could deal with the system he wouldn’t need it.  Somehow, we voted for this.

Recently he got a letter from Butte County Behavioral Health threatening to wash their hands of the whole schmeer, since he won’t take their drug or talk to anybody.  They started to conserve him last year and now they’re done with him.  Just after that letter, he got a notice from the Butte County Superior Court to report for jury service.  That’s coordination, that is.
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  1. Thom Smith says:

    Dear Anthony,

    Think of a tree on a mountain, a symbol of gradual progress.


  2. gardenia says:

    hi anthony,
    two months ago i went to jury pool in oroville for the first time in my 68 years of life on earth. i was on the jury for one second during jury selection. the verdict was not guility, not guilty, and not guilty. there should never have been a trial. and that trial involved so much disturbance of so many lives and so much money.

    after that experience i studied jury pool alot on the internet.

    when one has the summons to jury pool with the number there is a website where one can request to be excused. they do not tell us that. i wish i had know about that online excuse request process.

    it might be of some use.



    chico, ca

  3. From what you wrote it seemed that he didn’t go to the PHF, that he went to jail… but it wasn’t clear to me. My friend went through a stage of being in jail, not having the right med(s)….months, maybe a couple of years of instability and everything being wrong about how it was going with him but now, in his early 30s he is completely his self… not well socialized but a really good guy, taking his meds, having a life that seems comfortable. His dad suffered terribly along with his son but now it seems like the stressful part is behind them. I hope you both stay safe until a similar day comes.

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