About ten months ago I met this woman Molly. We hit it off pretty quickly with dinners, movies dancing, trips to my cabin and so forth. We saw a lot of each other so as a result I gave her a key to my house and she could come and go as she pleased, this was all well and good. What she did not know about me was that I was a recreational bracer, and I just thought that I would leave it at that because we were having so much fun the way things were going, and I did not want to take a chance on screwing it up by telling her that I was into this because I didn’t know how she would react..
Some people look at you like you have a balloon farm on Mars, when you tell them that you enjoy ortho-sports or that you actually have fun wearing a very restrictive set of braces, and hobbling about as if you actually were disabled, and they are about ready to call “those nice young men in their clean white coats” when you describe to them just it how feels to be strapped into and supported by a major league brace system, they are the unfortunate ones, they just don’t understand and never will!
So, one day I was working in the basement, and while doing so was wearing a milwaukee brace for a right curve of 35%, or so that’s what the straps and pads were set for, and having her own key, Molly had let herself into my house, unbeknownst to me. Well I must have made a loud noise and startled her, and she flew down the stairs and when she saw the brace she got this really puzzled and somewhat pleased, look on her face and wanted to know what happened, and being so used to wearing the brace, I just said “to what?”
“To you” she said pointing at the big brace.
“oh this? uh, well, I, er, uh, well ya see”
Then she asked if I was all right and when did I get that thing and why didn’t I ever tell her that I needed a brace and the whole list of obligatory questions. So after she slowed down a bit so that I could get a word in sideways, I told her that I was a recreational brace user, that stopped her right in her tracks and all she could say was “cool.”
”Cool? You mean you aren’t turned off by this?” I asked.
“God no”, she said”, I have always wanted to be braced in some sort of heavy brace too, but was too shy to even ask where I could get them”.
Well about now, I’m thinking, I have finally found the perfect woman, beautiful, smart, loves me, loves braces, wow! What more could a recreational bracer ever hope for. The next day I called my buddy, Tim, the one who built my braces, and told him the whole story and asked him if I could bring her by for a fitting, and he told me that any time after five thirty would be o.k. So I called her on the phone and told her that she needed to be here at four thirty so that I could give her a big surprise.
As usual she was about fifteen minutes early so we had a cocktail and she kept asking me what the surprise was, of course I said nothing of it and at about five o’clock we left for Tim’s lab, it was only three blocks away and so we walked, but before we left I donned my Milwaukee because she asked me if I would . When we got to about a block from Tim’s lab, she started to figure it out and asked if we were headed towards that building and I nodded. ..sort of (nod in a Milwauke? ya right!)
Well when we walked around to the side door she stopped me and asked what was going on. I told her that because of what she said last night I thought that she would like to have her own braces, well she nearly burst at the seams with the excitement of having her own braces. We went in and Tim was all set up for a Milwaukee fitting, and had things staged for her bi-lateral h.k.a.f.o.’s as well. so with that, he started to explain what he was going to do to her and asked if she was good with that, and she told him to go ahead with whatever he had to do.
So Tim had her change out of her street clothes and into a sort of stockinet leotard, then he asked her to climb onto “the rack” as he referred to it. after securing her ankles and arms to the frame, he applied a traction weight of thirty pounds to her neck and seventy on each leg. As he did this, she groaned a bit, but after fifteen minutes or so she said that it actually felt good, and after an hour Tim started to wrap the plaster onto her torso and on up to her neck then after another ten rolls of plaster, he was done and told us that the plaster has to set for a while before he can take it off.
So, here she is, encased in about75 pounds of fresh creamy white plaster, totally immobilized and loving it, as Tim came in with the cast cutter, she asked him if she could just have the cast on for a couple of months, and Tim told her that, he would need to make an entirely different type of cast with padding and so forth and that this cast would not last for more than two days due to the thin nature of an impression cast, Tim went on to tell Molly all about the new brace she was going to get in four days, and she forgot all about having a cast.
After about twenty minutes he started to remove the cast with a small saw with a vacuum attachment to suck up all of the dust and as he cut plaster he would remove the traction weights so she could settle back to normal again. after the cast was cut, he pried it off and told Molly that she could get up and go to the shower to clean up. This woman takes a shower in less time than it takes me to mix a pair of Martinis, well anyway, when she came out of the shower Tim had her slip on, what looked like a body sock made of stockinet and this went up to her shoulders. As she stood there Tim made some marks with an indelible pencil and as he was doing that he was asking what we wanted for leather color and what kind of knee joints and all, and Molly said to just make sure that it matched mine. I asked her how she knew I had hkafo’s and she told me that she saw them
Tuesday while I was at work when she came over to use the computer.
Tim did offer to put her into a fiber cast until her Milwaukee was done though and she accepted, so Tim built her a torso cast with a Milwaukee superstructure to wear for the next four days and he did one just like it for me as well so we could at least go get used to a little publicing together, we did, and Molly thought it was really cool to watch the reactions people would have when we entered a room.
Well after four days, Tim called me at work and told me that Molly’s braces were done and we could come over after work and pick them up. I called Molly and gave her the news and she said that she would meet me at my house in an hour. When we got to my house, she ran up stairs and came back down wearing a tank top and short shorts, so I asked her if that wasn’t a little daring for the first outing in new braces ?, and her reply was “Why wear em if they can’t see em “?
So how do you argue with that? I didn’t say a word after that, at least on that subject, and off we went to Tim’s lab. As we were getting there another couple was just leaving, but they didn’t look very happy, so we asked Tim why they looked so glum, and he told us that they had to wear their braces for two to three years because of a crash last spring, and that not all of his clients enjoy braces, but that Molly probably would enjoy these as they matched mine exactly. So Molly went in to the lab and Tim proceeded to remove the milwaukee cast which must have felt good for Molly inasmuch as it was on the tight side. Her only complaint was of the vibration during removal and that she had to learn how to do things differently, but that it was all ok and her boss didn’t ask any questions, other than “what happened”? and Molly just told him that she had torn some soft tissue and that it was only going to be on for a week, and then she would have to wear a brace until further notice, and he seemed o.k. with that, and that was that!
So now Molly is wearing her brand new h.k.a.f.o.’s and thinking that she was really cool and she did look great in them, but when Tim started to set up the Milwaukee I thought I was going to blow a gasket, seeing her fully in brace and she was digging it as well. So after Tim had her all set he gave her a pair of forearm crutches and told her to walk around the reception room and the rest of the lab to try to get used to the way they felt and how to move and also to see if there were any sore spots or pinches, not finding any Tim said that he had to work quite late tonight and that we should go out and enjoy our selves, and if there were any problems to call right away so he could help straighten them out.
As we were saying “goodnight “to Tim, I stopped cold in my tracks, turned around and went back into the lab and requested that Tim remove my cast, and he laughed and said “With all of this excitement with Molly, I completely forgot about your cast, and he set to work to remove it. so when I got back out side there was Molly sitting on the ground trying not to laugh about her predicament, she had fallen down and didn’t know how to get back up again, so I helped her to her feet and off we went to my house. on the way over we were trying to decide which braces to wear and we finally settled on Milwaukees for both of us. ,so when we got to my house I took some pix of her in her new leg jewelry and had a cocktail or two and and helped her out of her H.K.A.F.O’sthen we fooled around for a while and then I went upstairs and slipped into my Milwaukee and attached the auxiliary ring on the right side and a thoracic pad on the left side, and finished up with the shoulder depressors, and kyphos pads, and then snugged it all up to the point where it was firm and still comfortable I found that I would need to drop the mandibular section about 2 inches so that I could drive, and figured that when we got to where we were going I could always set it back to where it looked proper and appropriate. As we were getting ready to split Molly finally got around to asking me how much we spent with Tim today and how would she ever pay me back for this wonderful treat, I just smiled and told her that she had to stick around for a few years more, then she smiled and agreed that she would stay til I told her to go and we laughed about it for a while and then we decided to head out to do the town. I did mention to Molly that if these braces were for medical use that they would have cost around $25.000 for the hkafos and about another $3500 for the Milwaukee, but in as much as these were only for recreational use they were much less expensive, but that they were by no means a cheap deal. . On the way down to the strip Molly suggested we go to Rock Hills where we wouldn’t know anybody, I said that sounded fine and off we went. Ever try to drive a pickup truck in moderate traffic on the freeway in a Milwaukee–do-able, but not fun, you have to rely upon the mirrors totally, because you cannot turn your head to look around, just a might spooky, but I survived none the less……….
We drove around RockHills for about twenty minutes and were about to give it up, when we stumbled across the quiet little place called “Gimpies” and just had to check it out.So, as we were accustomed to doing before we went into any new joint, we sat in the car for a while to check out the action,and clientelle,the first five patrons that came out while we were sitting there were well braced and/or casted, and the next two were a.b.’s and the third goup were all wearing Milwaukees So that did it we decided to go in, due mostly to the fact that these days one never sees one person in a Milwaukee, let alone five in one day, not to mention five in the same group!! so we decided to go in and see what the place had to offer.
As we entered we got quite a surprise in that every one in the place was wearing a brace or cast of some sort from the soft collar upto full body plaster,I told Molly “I think we’ve stumbled into that casting bar we heard about last month,and when our server appeared at out table she inquired as to the origin of the braces we were wearing and as to need, if we wanted a session or just drinks and I said just drinks for now thanks Molly looked at me and mouthed the word session? and i just nodded back and said we gotta see where this goes.As we were sitting there waiting for service, this petit, beautiful waitress, wearing a new Minerva with an extension comes to our table and asked us for our order,after we told her what we wanted she disappeared,as wiatresses often do. In the mean time a woman wearing an old fashioned steel and leather molded cervical collar, comes over and asks if we minded if she join us, and we told her that it would be o.k. as she sat there we could sense some aprehension and Molly broke the ice by asking her what, exactly was it that she wished to speak to us about,She said that she was very interested in our braces and was wondering just where she could get some like them,and then she went into this long story on how she loved the sight of braces being worn by others and, that,also she really was enjoying ours, and this happened no less than five or six times throughout the evening. Well it was getting towards closing time and as we were getting square with bar and getting ready to leave, our waitress came back to tell us that she and a bunch of her friends were rec bracers as well and that they were having a little get together after the bar closed, and asked if we would like to come over and party for a while, Molly and I looked at each other and said in unison “sure” we then asked directions and at that time found out that she only lived half a block from my house and that she had seen me out in the yard in various braces at different times but didn’t really know if she should make contact on account of she didn’t know if I was a rec. user or a med. user,but that I always had super looking braces.
So we drove back to my house and walked over to the party,There were about 25 people there and all but one in a brace of some sort. Molly asked the braceless person why she had no brace and she explained that they were not quite ready yet, but she showed us all a picture of what they would look like and they were going to be awsome. The brace she as geting was a head to toe setup with leather and steel corsets, basicaly it amounted to a milwaukee/bi lat hkafo with a bi lateral shoulderbrace and one arm was all the way down to the hand, and movable, she said that her brother was an orthotic technician and was doing the work at the school he was attending for a final exam project, Oh, and the hkafo part was of the reciprocating gait system type which made it even more unusual and intrigueing.
Well after the party we went home and Molly said that she would like to try to sleep in her Milwaukee brace,just to see what it was like, and I said I just wanted to sleep with her, but she insisted and also insisted that I sleep in my Milwaukee brace as well. Well as you might be able to immagine all that happened that night was sleep, cause we were both exhausted and sex in oneMilwaukee brace might be o.k. but with both parties in Milwaukees, it just isn’t going to happen, 7:30 rolled around pretty quickly and Molly had evidently forgotten that she was wearing a brace and tried to get up the way she normally did,and nothing happened she could not move, so then she rembered that had decided to wear her new milwaukee brace to bed last night, and asked me if I would help her take it off so she could shower, so I agreed,but some thing was amiss here as the neckring nut that I had on my brace was missing on hers, but instead there was a small keyhole and three more just like it on the pelvic section, this was something new to me and I didnt have a clue as to how to remove her brace and we couldn’t reach Tim on the weekend, his service told us he was out of town, so Molly just had to stay in the brace untill Monday when the lab opened. This was saturday morning, so to make her feel more at ease I promised not to take mine off untill we could reach Tim or his lab partner on Monday,or when ever she could remove her brace.
So that afternoon we went to the mall and walked around and then found a restaurant that served drinks, and went in for a couple, durring the afternoon it was slow and they didn’t have a waitress on duty so we just sat at the bar, when the bartender came to ask us for our order, he stared first at Molly and was asking the standard questions and Molly told him we had a skiing accident in Steamboat and had to wear these braces for the next three years, then he saw my brace and was just ammazed to see two people at the same time wearing Milwaukee braces, then he started to tell us that his daughter was getting one for scoilosis and that she was really scared about having to wear it for five years.then he asked us if we wanted another, and I switched and Molly got the same thing she had before. when he came back with our drinks he asked us if we could talk to his daughter about the braces we were wearing and that she was going to get, when we agreed he told us that she was coming in for dinner early with his wife, around 4:30 or so and if we did this for him he would cover our drinks and dinner as well. Well we talked to his daughter and when we were finished with dinner,she said that she felt better about wearing a Milwaukee brace and after seeing that people actualy do have a life in one, she said she wouldn’t feel so weird and paranoid about the big day when they were to put her into the brace.We asked when that was, and she said that monday at 3p.m.. so we said that we would meet her right here at five or so to see how it was going and she said that that would be wonderfull,”it’s a deal,we’ll be here” said I, and Molly agreed as well,then Molly took me aside and asked “what if I am out of this by then ?”and I said”we will get your keys from Tims partner and then come over here to meet with the girl and then we can go home and get out of these things and shower and what ever else happens to come up and Molly just smiled and said “okeedoke”So we left and went to a movie and then went home and turned in for the night. Sunday we slept in til about noon and had a leasurly brunch and watched a football game and Molly wanted to try her h k a f o ‘s on over the milwaukee agian as they didn’t have the locks on them, so I assisted her in donning the h.k.a.f.o.’s and she looked great in them and as an effect of having stood up and straightening her legs all the way out the droplocks fell and she was rendered totaly immobile, so I helpped her over to the couch and laid her out on it, then I got the camera out for some more pictures of her in her new toys and then agreed to let her take pictures of me in the same situation when we got the keys. well sunday dragged on so we decided to go see another movie to kill some time, there was a Shakespear festival downtown at one of the smaller theaters, so that was good for about 6 hours and we thought that we had had enough of that and headed home for bed.
Monday came, and as we were getting ready to leave the house to go to Tims lab, the phone rang, it was the lab calling to appologise for forgetting to give us the keys to Molly’s brace and they would run them right over to us if we wanted. I said “o.k”, and inside of two minutes there was a knock at the door, upon opening it I found Tim standing there with the elusive keys in one hand and a pair of brand new minervas in the other. he said that it was a peace offering for forgetting to supply us with them straightaway,what with the excitement and all,at least on Molly’s part anyway..
So after Tim left, I summoned Molly to the bedroom and announced that I had a surprise for her. As she came down the stairs and into the bedroom, she saw me standing there in brace and holding some keys, now at this point I would have thought that she would have just jumped at the chance to be let out of her brace,but instead,she said” if that little girl would have to endure this thing for five years then I can wear it for the next four or five months, and especialy every time we went to the mall and stopped in that restaurant where we met the girl,I agreed and so, when 4:30 rolled around we started out for the mall and our appointment with the little girl.Well we were early and thought we would have a drink, so we ordered and Ed the barman from before had left orders not to take any money from us as this was his treat, for helping Anna with her dilemma, and fears and so forth. Well, five thirty came and so did Anna,her mom Cindy,and Ed,and as we sat and chated we commented on how well her new clothes hid her brace, and Anna said that when the lady first put the brace on her, she wanted to cry and when she remembered what we had talked about and she was all good with it. Her brace was setup for both scoliosis and kyphosis,so she had an “S” curve as well as an anterio-posterior(front to back) curve, so there were a lot of pads and straps the braces we were wearing did not have.After dinner we sat and talked for a while longer, then I noticed that Molly was tired so we wished Anna the best of luck and told her that if she ever wanted to talk, to just give us a call. She thanked us and we were on our way back to my place to get Molly out of her brace for the first time in four days. As she came out of the shower she commented on how wierd she felt without her brace and how she thought she would rather wear it than not wear it, and after only one hour out decided to put it back on, at least for another twenty three hours, then she would see how she felt about wearing it for a longer time, I told her that was the maximum recomended wear time and she said that she understood that, what she ment was, for more days. When I asked how many days she had in mind she said she was not sure but thought she would try to go for a month and then reevaluate “,o.k.” I said “go for it “.after the third week she had not complained at all and when she was out of the milwaukee brace she complaind of feeling insecure and couldn’t wait to put it back on again..Well the month came and went as did seven more and one day she was to have an appointment with her G.P. and was a tad bit apprehensive about it as her Doc had no idea that she was wearing this brace, but the Doc had seen her at the market and about town so he knew that she had it but not why.At the Doctors office, Molly had come clean with her Doc and he was amused and said that it probably wouldn’t do any damage and could possibly help her otherwise poor posture, and upon the completion of his exam , he had her come into his private office and explained that she actualy does have a scoliotic curve, and that because she had been wearing this brace she had unknowingly held the further progression of the curve, he then recomended that she continue wearing this brace until he could schedule an appointment for what he called a Stagnara brace, which he said would be more appropriate for the curves that she had.
Molly got home before I did and was sitting in the den looking over all of the info on this new brace, the Doc had given her, and when I got home, she came out to the kitchen and gave me the news. Well I was taken aback at this little revelation, but she was o.k. with it, saying “this new brace does not have an opening and that once it was put on the only person that could remove it was her doctor or the technician that put it on her, and she was all excited all over again, at the prospect of yet another new brace. I told her that I thought it was way cool and she agreed with me.
Molly made an appointment with Union Orthopaedics,for the following tuesday at 10:30 a.m. and as usual was fifteen minutes early and still wearing her, now eight month old,Milwaukee brace as requested by the technician.as she was sitting in the waiting room she noticed that Anna was sitting across the room from her and she got up and went over there,and sat down next to her, Anna did not recognize Molly at first because Molly’s hair had grown quite a bit, but soon it clicked and Anna looked over and smiled and asked what Molly was doing here, and Molly said that she was getting a new brace because the Milwaukee was not doing the job any more, Anna said that she was just getting her brace adjusted for growth and that she would be at the restaurant later and that if Molly had her new brace by then that she would like very much to see it, Molly said that she didn’t think she was getting the brace today, that she was just here for fitting, but if she did get a new brace today that she would in fact meet her there for a soda after the appointment, thinking that she was only going to be measured and not actualy fitted, but Molly was unaware that the form and model that Tim had taken was to be used for this new brace (Tim not only had his own lab,but worked for Union orthopaedics as a fabricator three days per week as well) so when Molly went in for what she thought was just a fitting she was a bit surprised to learn that she would be going home with her old brace in a bag and the new one on. When she came home she showed me her new back jewelery and it was fantastic, so I asked”how long do you have to wear it each day “? and she “twenty-four/seven.So I asked all the questions I could think of, and she answered a few more that I hadn’t come up with yet
As we were takling about her day I noticed that this brace had no opening,and when I asked her about that, she smiled and recalled the first few days of the Milwaukee brace and how I wore my brace so she wouldn’t feel like she was out there all by her self and then when we did finaly did get the keys how she wanted to stay in it for a while and yada yada yada. Well with this new brace, she didn’t have to worry about removing it for the next six months at least and she said that it felt better than her Milwaukee because she could bend and move around and knowing about trying to bend or turn your head in a Milwaukee (yeah, right) she thought the new brace was less restrictive and more comfortable and that was a good thing as she was going to have to wear this brace for quite a while.While she was at Union Orth. she asked the techs if she could still wear her h.k.a.f.o.’s and they said that it wouldn’t be any problem, and as a matter of fact it would actualy be easier to donn them now than it was with the Milwaukee brace because of the design differences between the two braces and that an adapter could be built into the Stagnara that would allow the h.k.a.f.o’s to be connected directly to it, so she opted for that adapter.
As the weeks turned into months and after six of them had passed Molly had to go in for a check up to see how every thing was holding up and th be let out of this brace for twenty four to forty eight hours so the lab could change a few things and make some adjustments. Molly did not care for this much at all as this was the longest time she had been out of a brace in the past year and two months.So as a result of this long braceing she was a little bit wobbly and then she remembered the Minervas tim had given us, so when she got back to my place she first tried the milwaukee and decided that she would give it a try for a few hours, but bailed out of it in about three and went for the Minerva with an extension. Molly had never worn the minerva and at this point thought it to be quite comfy overall and thought it would do until she could get her Stagnara(corsette Lyonaise) back on again.So out came the camera again to document the minerva on Molly.
After the second day the lab called to let her that she could come in and pick it up,and that they had made a couple of small modifications to the frame, but, that it would fit better, so I relayed the message and Molly stopped in after work. After she was there for about twenty five minutes.my phone rang, it was Molly and she was torqued all out of shape and asked if I could come right over, I said I would but it would take a while in the rush hour traffic, like forty to fifty minutes, and she said she could hold out for that long but step it up!So when I got into traffic I called her back and inquired as to exactly the problem was but, she couldn’t talk right then as there was a tec right there with her and he would not leave her alone in the room. Well that put me hot and right now too,so when i arrived at the lab I waltzed right in like I owned the place,and the girl at the front desk tried to stop me, but to no avil,and when I found Molly she was just livid about what they had planned for her next six months of “treatment”.