The Downward Spiral
(Page 3 of 4)
It’s during a long Easter afternoon at her mother’s that the fabric of Molly’s coping mechanisms begins to unravel. Caught up in the formality of church services and helping her mother cook and serve the Easter ham, Molly forgets to take her Actiq.
She’s carrying a large bowl of mashed potatoes to the table in her right hand when she gets bumped and the bowl almost slips out of her hand. As she shifts her grip to maintain her hold, a bolt of pain shoots through her that almost brings her to her knees.
The next Monday at work, Molly can no longer hide her wrist weakness and pain. Her supervisor Max refers her to a company claims management specialist who augments her file with this new information. Now, to go along with her claims costs from the work injury, Molly’s company has her on the books for a wrist condition that they believe is work-related.
Under the now more intense supervision of the company claims manager, Molly sees a company-recommended specialist and his diagnosis is bilateral carpel tunnel syndrome. The specialist recommends surgery but Molly tries to delay surgery. In her mind, there’s no way that she can take off work now.
Molly used up her Family Medical Leave Act time when she was pregnant. Randy’s been laid off and the family finances are spiraling downward: Any savings they had have disappeared. Cigarettes, once just a now and again thing for her, are also much more a part of her life. Randy is shocked when he finds a pack of Camel Lights in the Ford. Rather than lose her pregnancy weight when she got back to work, Molly has gained weight. The five-foot-five Molly now weighs 175 pounds.
Molly’s work habits have also deteriorated. Four times in the past month, she’s shipped the wrong item to an online retail customer. She has also started to develop a pattern of absenteeism. She’s missing work on average one day a week now. Under the load of the painkillers, she has a hard time getting up in the morning. Max makes a note of her poor job performance.
Alarmed by Molly’s drug intake, her weight gain and what is now an obvious smoking habit, Molly’s claims manager calls a meeting with Molly and her supervisor. In a gambit to keep her drug flow going, Molly tells them both the pain in her wrist is unending and worsening. She gets teary, acknowledging that her life is unraveling, but there isn’t much she can do now to break her addiction and her wrist pain is still killing her.
A visit to second specialist places Molly’s case securely in the category of a catastrophic claim. This time she is diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, a rare condition that results in a permanent injury claim.
Her family doctor has tried to slow down her consumption of Actiq but Molly is now a full-blown addict and she is stonewalling his attempts to manage her. To keep the peace, he maintains her prescription: But that’s not enough for her now.
Molly hits a new low when, on a visit to her doctor, she makes off with one of his prescription pads. She’s soon doubling her intake by forging his signature on prescriptions she fills in a neighboring town.
What’s worse, she’s started compounding the effects of the Actiq with wine coolers. Molly is buzzed now almost every waking hour. Randy still isn’t back to work and the fights fueled by money worries and Molly’s drug and alcohol abuse are becoming more and more volatile.
Disclaimer: The events depicted in this scenario are fictitious. Any similarity to any corporation or person, living or dead, is merely coincidental.
(The Analysis is presented on page 4)