Monday, March 17, 2008

Do you like puppets? . . .

Well, it happened. I had to call the police on Dustin Saturday night. He has taken to running away from the house. It has happened about five or six times since October. The two worst times were with Robert. The times it has happened with me were minor and he came home after a few threats from me that I would have to call the police if he continued to run. I would love to let him run and not chase him at all, but I'm afraid and fairly certain that he would not choose to come back or run a couple blocks and get lost.

So Saturday night about 11:00 I am standing on the corner of our street in slippers asking, begging Dustin to come back to me. He kept running. If I dared make a move in his direction, he ran farther. I had my cell phone and called 911. The dispatcher was less than helpful. I told him where I was and what was happening and he said, "What do you expect the police to do." I informed him that I had a conversation with 2 different officers since this behavior began and both told me to call 911 and both chastised me for not calling prior times. I also told him that he is a 4 year old in a 13 year old body, so technically he should not be considered a runaway but a lost child and the fact he is mentally ill. He said, "Ma'am if you can see him how is he lost? Again, what do you expect us to do about this?" I answered, "Make sure my child is returned home safely." And he said something to the affect that that is not law enforcements job. I began crying and thanked him for his help and proceeded to hang up when he said, "Ma'am don't over react, take a deep breath, I never said I wouldn't help you". Just then a police officer pulled onto our block. He had notified officers all along. Why then did this dispatcher choose to hassle me?

When Dustin saw the car, he ran back to me immediately. He started crying and saying "Don't take me to kid jail." The officers were nothing but kind. They listened to me and chastised Dustin for running. They reiterated that we cannot keep him safe if he runs from the house. Then they gave him a puppet. Great. I know they were trying, but you just rewarded my son for running away. Sometimes it doesn't pay to play the "he's really a 4 year old" card. I sobbed and thanked the officers. I apologized for having to call. They both said that I did the right thing.

Why then did I feel so badly? We are going to be "that family" I just know it. . .


Eos said...

hang in there...hugs...this might get harder before it gets easier (if) so hang in there really hard and be good to yourself along the process. No real advice (except to use that darn puppet and buy/make another and do some pretend excercises with helps...really...I've done it) except to say that I know what is like to be "that family" - it was a 3 year stint (disrupted adoption plan...not by us...long story...broke my heart) so I was well acquainted w/ cops, school officials and angry family members whose stuff had "walked away"

She (he?) shouldn't have given you a hard time if he was going to help you...not nice.

FAScinated said...

I'm sorry, Sheri. I am just waiting to have to do this, too. It must have been very difficult for you and I wish, once again, that we lived in the same neighborhood so I could have given you a real hug instead of a cyber one. ~Kari

Anonymous said...

Hugs. What a terrible way for them to treat you. I am shocked that they did not handle it better. If you live in the same town as me they are supposed to be trained to help people with mental illness instead of making things more difficult. Possibly you could call a supervisor and discuss what happened.


Fr. Fozy Bear said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fr. Fozy Bear said...


I understand it is heartbreaking my thoughts and prayers are with you and him and your family.

Can I offer you a limerick of hope from the hagiography of Dustin's patron saint, for the next time he starts this routine you might be able to develop a roundhouse "call and answer" routine with him to get him to come back to you as a mutual agreement with him, etc. I hope that made sense, anyway here is the limerick:

"St. Dustin as the story goes,
Once pinched the devil on the nose
With red-hot tongs, which made him roar,
And could be heard ten miles or more."

Every time I read your joys and agonies with Dustin this limerick rings through my heart and I say a prayer. Hopefully now it can help your relationship as he grows and eventually matures into his destiny.

Blessings and Peace,

another concerned parent

Quote From A Great Big Ugly Man Came Up and Tied His Horse to Me by Wallace Tripp

Sheri said...

eos . . . thanks for sympathizing, it's nice to hear from others who have walked through it.

Kari . . .what can I say, you know that you were my lifeline when you found me in the blogworld. Thanks for sharing.

Marla . . . I usually think that I cannot do what you do. It's odd how we deal with our own trauma, and then take a look at others and think "wow". I guess we each have our cross to bear. Thanks for "being there".

Kenneth . . . Amazing! That touched me more than you know! Thanks for thinking of us. Thanks for the prayers, and thanks for the limerick. It will help! I have printed out another quote and it has gone on my esk and on the fridge . . ."as he grows and eventually matures into his destiny." Very touching!

All of you . . . thanks for listening to my whining along this road I am on . . . I'm so certain there will be much more to come!

Angie said...

Thinking of you always. I'm sorry the person on the phone treated you like this. It sure would be nice if everyone working for the same department went to the same training sessions. I used to think this when I was teaching. The inconsistency from school to school or classroom to classroom was astonishing. I think it has to be very confusing for the public to be told different things by different people. I think you should file a complaint. Hey, and if you are "that" family which I don't think you are, we still want to hang out with you.

Jo said...

Oh no! I am so sorry about this. You really are living one of my nightmares. I am just so scared about Little Man turning into a teenager. I can NOT believe the 911 guy. I would have so gotten his name and reported him to his supervisor! grrr!

Sheri said...

Oddly enough his supervisor is the woman that we worked tirelessly for for sheriff just a year or so ago. . . I don't think I'll start anything, but I would love to have him spend just an hour with my boy . . .