A Question about Carol's "go back to work" comment to Carter

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I was rewatching "match made in heaven" tonight and i have a question about carols comment to carter. do you think maybe this triggered his drug abuse? in this episode and in the previous ones where carter has returned to work after the stabbing, he doesn't seem to be showing the signs yet. he is clearly agitated but not suffering mood swings. i don't think his descent has yet begun. then, he talks to carol. He does not come right out and say he is having trouble dealing with things, and he asks for help in his own way with the line "well what are you gonna do?" Carols response was go back to work. perhaps he thought he would seem to weak if he did anything else, and it maybe was clear to him, in his altered state, that no one wanted to help him. because he was in pain and not sleeping and now the only solution was to go back to work, perhaps this drove him to start abusing his medication. any thoughts on this?

-- Erin (earthgirl24@yahoo.com), July 03, 2000


I think Carol tried to help but it didn't work. I mean he got stabbed at work which Carol has forgotten otherwise I think she would have made another comment.

-- Andie (no@no.com), July 03, 2000.

The first time I saw Match and saw the scene when he was talking to Carol, I couldn't help thinking that while it was a nice gesture on her part to talk and comfort him, it was the most meaningless advice one could be given after a traumatic experience. For some people, yes, work helps to alleviate the emotional pain caused by such an experience, but it was clear that Carter needed a lot more than that, and that simply working would not help him. I think Carter may have looked up to Carol, and so thought that going back to work was the "correct", strong way to deal with what ever he was going through. I don't think that Carol directly influenced him to over- medicate, I think it was a combination of his actions as well, but I think definately that it led up to his addiction.

-- samira (matb_west@chickmail.com), July 03, 2000.

I am absolutely amazed. What WILL people blame on Carol next. ::shakes head in disbelief:: Unbelievable.

-- JLS (ewwhatevr@aol.com), July 03, 2000.

I wasn't blaming her, I was just saying that she made it sound like all you have to do is go back to work and everything will be okay when in fact it wouldn't since he got stabbed at work.

-- Cammie (rmaelhorn@home.com), July 03, 2000.

Apparently my first message never got through. Sorry about that.

-- Cammie (rmaelhorn@home.com), July 03, 2000.

Are we sure that Carter's drug abuse began after "Match Made in Heaven"? I think it sounds more likely that it started after "Under Control". I don't know, that was just my thinking. Maybe you're right, though.

-- Adorra (er_chick24@hotmail.com), July 03, 2000.

I started thinking drugs in Loose Ends where you see Carter working out, eating alot, sleeping like a baby. I thought, how could he go from slowing recovering to this. I do think however that he started unraveling in Match Made in Heaven so the drugs probably started somewhere between Match and Loose ends.

-- Renee (slinne32@aol.com), July 03, 2000.

I thought in "Match Made in Heaven" he was still relying on milk to help him sleep - remember the housekeeper finding him in the kitchen at 2:15 am?

It was one or two episodes later that people first noticed prescription bottles on the table in the kitchen where Carter had been sleeping. I thought that was the start of it - when he startedhaving serious flashbacks.

-- Beth (BSmith@internet-95.com), July 03, 2000.

Carter's flashback were the result of him having POst Traumatic Stress Disorder not him starting to become addicted to his prescribed painkillers for the hematoma on his spine. Carter's insomnia and irritibability is a symptome of PTSD. Agitation which can cause mood swings is a symptom of PTSD. Most of Carter's behavior we witnessed since he was knifed was a result of PTSD/survivor's guilt and chronic pain. Carter was on prescribed pain killer since his attack. I don't think he started taking too many until after Match Made in heaven though I don't blame Carol for that. Carter's pain and worsening PTSD/survivors guilt took a severe toll on Carter until he could no longer control the pain and the amount of pain killers he took. Carter was under horendes stress , turmoil, and pain. He was waging the battle alone to contol this and after awhile the emotional and physical toll all this had made it impossible for Carter with no support to be able to fightit any longer. HE did not plan on using more pain killers than prescribed. It simply happened and he got dependent before he realized it. Luckily , he got help only after abusing them for a few weeks.

-- brenda (jckwfan@aol.com), July 03, 2000.

but was it just the hematoma around his spine? i don't think that it would remain for that long...the blood is eventually reabsorbed. when you break a limb or even bump yourself, the bruise does not remain for months. i think the pain was also from the muscles that were probably sliced and had to be repaired as well as from injured nerves. i didn't think that the hematoma was the cause for all the pain. does anyone with more medical knowledge have an insight?

-- Erin (earthgirl24@yahoo.com), July 03, 2000.

When I heard it, I really felt Carol was explaining how *she* was dealing with her life. To me, this was confirmed when in SSS, the man lamented how he'd kept working. Without her work, Carol would have really gone downhill faster.

-- Phyl (erfan@flash.net), July 03, 2000.

I think at the time the episode aired someone on another board I belong to who was a dr.mentioned that hematoma's on the spine can take months and months to heal if ever. The hematoma causes scar tissue to form on or around the nerves which is very painful. Yes, It was very realistic that Carter was in a lot of pain diue to the hematoma on the spinal cord. I have a slipped disk in my back and trust me it is very painful when the disk applies pressure on my nerves.

-- Brenda (jckwfan@aol.com), July 03, 2000.

So Brenda, Carter SHOULD still be in a lot of pain, right? A lot of people were wondering after May Day whether he was addicted because he was still in a lot of pain or just taking the drugs for emotional stability now. (he did tell Mark..."Lucy's dead...I haven't slept in months, I had to take more pills just to function") He seemed to get rid of the pain for a few episodes there, and then we saw it again in May Day. I also believe it was being hinted at after his "I'm drinking milk at 2 am" and then after the flashbacks episode, he seems WAY too okay in Loose Ends.

Carol's talk to Carter sure is popular on this board! It always seems to come up still. When I read Erin's title, I thought maybe it would be about the irony that "going back to work" really DIDN'T work for Carol this time...by Loose Ends, she realized it wasn't the answer, she admitted it to Kerry, and she eventually left her beloved work to be where she thought she belonged. I did enjoy Carol and Carter's interaction; I enjoyed her telling him to wait a second, I enjoyed how he sat on the gurney, sensing she was going to keep talking with him, I even enjoyed how she brought up a mutual friend...Doug, in their conversation. Mentioning Doug brought it to a more friendly level. I even liked her "there's always going to be something Carter" about Lucy...but I didn't like how she left it. I guess all I was looking for was a "If you need to talk..." type of thing, but I guess that's used too much on ER, esp. w/ Carol.

-- Elaine (mrsclooney78@hotmail.com), July 04, 2000.

Brenda- I wasn't suggesting that the flashbacks were caused by anything but PTSD - I was just observing that Carter didn't seem to start overmedicating until he started having serious problems with his flashbacks. My impression was that, if anything, he was initially undermedicating for pain ("Under Control"), and trying more conventional things to help his insomnia (like milk at 2:00 am - can you get any more wholesome than that?). Eventually, around the time of Match Made In Heaven the survivor's guilt and the flashbacks from his PTSD seemed to overwhelm him and he resorted to overmedicating to get through it. Maybe it was Lucy's matching letter that pushed him over the edge....

-- Beth (BSmith@internet-95.com), July 04, 2000.

Carter was still having problems with chronic pain when May Day aired. He has many other problems as well. Whether or not , his pain problem will be corrected when season seven starts, I have no idea. I suffer from chronic pain in my legs and back. However, I'm not always in noticable pain. I have moments where I am relativly pain free or that it is minor to me so that know one notices. The severeness of my pain fluctuates day to day, moment to moment. Some days I deal better with the pain than other day. Thank goodness, I've never had to deal with the same type of thing Carter was going through or I might have had major problems coping with pain. When Carter started taking too many pain killers , it did mask his pain, but it not make the pain problem go away. Only time and luck will make Carter's physical pain completly go away.

-- Brenda (jckwfan@aol.com), July 04, 2000.

i really didn't mean to imply it was carols fault that carter became addicted. i just thought it was one more thing that made him doubt his abilities. for carol it was what worked and she was trying to help carter. i did enjoy their interaction, mainly because not many other people tried to help him or talk to him. they saw him in pain and noticed his attitude changing but did not try to act on it. carol did. unfortunately, i think she may have underestimated the depths of carters problem, how everything was weighing down on him and work was part of the problem, not a solution. i also agree with elaine, that it is ironic that carols advice to carter didn't work for herself. i think it would have been interesting what she would have said to carter if doug was still in her life, maybe even working at the hospital still.

-- Erin (earthgirl24@yahoo.com), July 04, 2000.

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