where wheelchair users and BIID/transabled unite!

The University of Milwaukee

Chapter One

This story begins in lecture hall at a large Midwestern university where I was sitting through the final segment of an interminable microbiology lecture. Rather than listening to the professor, my thoughts were drifting off to the coming weekend and what I might do for fun in addition to studying for finals. It was mid- December, the end of the first semester was fast approaching and the only off-campus places I had been in the last four months besides my apartment, the grocery store and the orthotists shop was the public library. As much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t get myself to venture out socially wearing a Milwaukee Brace.

In July of that summer, I had undergone the first of two stages of instrumentation and fusion surgery to correct kyphosis and scoliosis; surgery which I should have had five years earlier when my doctors had advised me to have it done. I had worn a Milwaukee brace since the 5th grade to deal with curves that were originally misdiagnosed as idiopathic but were actually caused by a congenital defect. By the end of high school, it was clear that surgery would be inevitable but I stubbornly avoided it, largely because I was enjoying living a somewhat normal, brace-free life for the first time in a long while as an undergraduate student at a small liberal arts college in Wisconsin. I also had a horrible fear that if I went ahead with surgery, I’d end up in halo and I wanted no part of one of those devices.

By the end of my second year of college, the kyphotic curve had grown more painful and I’d decided that I didn’t want a hunchback look for the rest of my life so I finally agreed to have a type of two-part Harrington procedure that would take care of the curves once and for all. Because post-surgical immobilization is essential with that type of instrumentation, the surgeon and I discussed various options including casting, bracing and halos. As hard as he tried, he could not change my mind on a halo so he agreed that a full body cast instead would suffice.

A week before the surgery, he called to offer me a cast alternative and said that a slightly modified Milwaukee might work in place of a cast provided I was committed to full-time wear. I reminded him that I had worn one type of Milwaukee or another longer than anyone in the world and that I thought I could readjust to life with my old brace. He explained that a standard Milwaukee brace like I’d worn in high school would not work because it permitted too much movement. That was why he had originally ruled out a Milwaukee or other CTLSO in favor of the cast for post-surgical support. He went on to explain that Milwaukee braces were originally designed for post-surgical use and that up until the very early 1970’s when the throat mold was introduced, Milwaukee braces were very restrictive and hence very effective in limiting unwanted neck, back and head movement. Unfortunately, he added, they also led to dental deformities an weren’t popular with kids who had to wear them for several years to prevent curves from worsening. According to the doctor, those factors led to development of newer designs like the throat mold brace I had worn for so many years. Suddenly thinking that I may have been hasty in agreeing that a return to brace wear sounded better than a cast, I asked him what he meant by a “slightly modified” brace? The surgeon said that they would simply replace the throat mold with a chin pad, use oversized occipital pads, add some stabilizing pads in front and back and fully extend the anterior and posterior bars of a brace. He assured me that even with the modifications, it would still be better than the plaster alternatives, but nowhere near as effective or comfortable as a halo.

Eventually I opted for the modified brace, had the surgery and everything went fine. I transferred to a large university in the same state to begin my junior year, thinking that I might blend in better amid 20,000 students rather than 2,000. As I said earlier, I really hadn’t yet started to feel comfortable on campus and even though I’d made lots of casual friendships and had many invitations to join people for outings, I still felt much too self-conscious to venture out to a bar or really pursue some meaningful social opportunities, even though there were many great possibilities. So I found myself daydreaming about when and how I might actually accept a invitation to go out with classmates and maybe even get to know a couple of women in this class better. I simply had to get over the feeling that being the only person on campus wearing an incredibly restrictive and very conspicuous body brace would prevent me from developing a real relationship with someone.

Professor Lewis’ discussion about the upcoming final the third week in December stirred me back to what I was supposed to be focusing on at the time. Although I hadn’t noticed her when the lecture began one of the other juniors in the class, a very attractive and very nice woman named Amy, had taken a seat in the row ahead and to the left of my seat in the rear of the lecture hall. She must have been trying to get my attention for some time because as soon as she caught my eye, she passed me a note. I opened it and read, “after class I’d like to talk to you about joining a study group to prep for the final. You don’t look very interested, however, falling asleep and all!” When I finished reading, I looked up and found her smiling slightly waiting for a reply. I gave her the best nod I could manage over the chin pad of my brace and pointed to the hallway as a meeting place. I had often talked with Amy about school related stuff and she always was pleasant, but never seemed entirely comfortable with me and she never laughed when I’d make a light-hearted comment about my brace to break the ice in a discussion. I’d always felt she found something about me interesting, however, because I often noticed her glancing my way and she was one of only a few people that usually sat behind me in the lecture hall. Needless to say, I was excited that she would consider inviting me to join a study group with her. Maybe this would provide my much-needed opportunity to break out of my shell and start interacting with people.

We met out in the hall after class and at her suggestion went to get a soda together. While we walked, she jokingly said that she’d seen lots of people fall asleep in Professor Lewis’ class, but never had she caught me sleeping. I said that I often dozed off but that thanks to my brace, I didn’t suffer the embarrassing “bobbing head syndrome” so it was hard to tell when I was sleeping. I said that I considered this one of the few advantages of wearing a body brace in college. To my great surprise, Amy laughed and began asking all the standard questions about why I was wearing it, did I have to sleep in it, wasn’t it uncomfortable, was it hard to drive with, etc. We got our sodas and continued talking for a long time about the difference between kyphosis and scoliosis, braces and other treatment types, friends she knew in high school who’d worn a brace and how great it was that I was so willing to talk about it. She seemed genuinely surprised that I was willing to wear clothes that made it easy to see and said that if she had to wear something like this she would cover it up as much as she could.

I couldn’t hide my excitement at having someone to talk openly and ask questions about my brace and I was surprised by how much she seemed to know about scoliosis and brace treatment. Amy seemed to be unusually interested in the details of the brace itself and the physical limitations it imposed on me; asking questions like why the brace I was wearing seemed to be so much more restrictive than the ones she remembered kids wearing in junior and senior high school. I explained the obvious differences in mine and the need for limiting movement after surgery. I told her that once the second stage of the surgery was complete that I’d be able to return to wearing a normal style Milwaukee which would be less restrictive and much less conspicuous. Eventually, we both needed to leave. She told me about the study group and hoped I’d join them next week. I thanked her sincerely for the great discussion said I would look for her in microbiology tomorrow. She turned to leave then stopped and asked if I would be sitting in the same spot in the lecture hall. Although I was happy she’d asked, I must have looked puzzled and didn’t react right away. Amy laughed and said she planned to sit next to me and poke me every five minutes to keep me awake through the lengthy slide presentation Prof. Lewis had promised for tomorrow. I assured her I would come well rested and take my exact same seat near the back.

I was late for class the next day and cursed myself for missing the chance to thank Amy again for our talk. I took a fairly isolated seat near the back of the auditorium and began looking around for Amy. Not seeing her, I made an effort to focus on what Professor Lewis was saying. Part way into the lecture, he began his slide show and darkened the room. I noticed Amy come in at that time moving very slowly and quietly to avoid attention. She took a seat directly in front of me and sat down without saying hello which kind of surprised me. I was sure she’d seen me but I guessed she hadn’t wanted to make any noise by saying something to avoid drawing attention to being so late. Immediately, I took notice of how different her appearance was today. While Amy normally dressed in typically sloppy collegiate style clothes, with oversized, loose flannel or denim shirts and jeans, today she was wearing a very attractive but bulky, heavy weight turtleneck sweater and a mid-length skirt. Instead of pulling her long dark hair back as she always did, it was fully combed out over her shoulders. She looked great from the back and I could only imagine her ample chest in that sweater. She must have had an interview or something that day I thought.

With her sitting right in front of me like that, I couldn’t focus on the slide show and I was consumed with thinking that I should tap her on the shoulder and say hello. We were essentially alone near the back of the room so I began to try and reposition myself so that I could slide far enough forward to say something. Anyone who has ever worn a Milwaukee or other CTLSO knows how difficult it is to lean forward in a chair that slants back, so after several attempts I resigned myself to saying hello after class. While the professor droned on, Amy began to pull her long hair up off her shoulders and work it into a bunch at the back of her head, securing it with an elastic band. Since this was how she normally wore her hair, I didn’t think anything of it, but I found myself studying her even more intently; something about the way her sweater fit up around her neck seemed odd. It was only after several more minutes of close scrutiny that I recognized the unmistakable tops of two Milwaukee Brace occipital pads protruding just above her turtleneck sweater. I was absolutely dumbstruck. The feelings and arousement I felt at that moment were like none before. Here, sitting 3 feet from me in a crowded college lecture hall was an incredibly attractive woman wearing a Milwaukee Brace (apparently for her and/or my enjoyment) and going to great lengths to make it known to me alone. I was in such an astounded state I didn’t know what to say or do. After a few minutes, Amy pulled her sweater up higher around her neck so that none of the pads shown. Moving as far ahead as I could manage, I quickly whispered, “please don’t cover it up, no one can see you back here.” Amy hesitated for a moment, checking the professor and then responded by carefully rolling the heavily ribbed neck of the sweater down an inch or two in back to reveal the entire leather covered occipital pads supporting the back of her head, the round nut holding the neck ring together and the leather trimmed sides of the neck ring. Repositioning herself with some difficulty, Amy turned her waist and legs to the side of her seat and twisted her upper body and head as far around as she could within the brace in order to look back at my face out of the corner of her eye. She must have seen the reaction she was looking for because she proceeded to slowly and as inconspicuously as possible, roll down the front of her turtleneck, uncovering the rest of the neck ring sides, the large plastic throat mold and the very top of the anterior bar. Keeping one eye on my face, she then lightly grasped the front of the brace and ran her hand slowly and down its length, beginning just below the throat mold, continuing down between her breasts and stopping at her waist, outlining the inch-and-a-half wide anterior bar of her brace under her sweater as she went. The effect on me was devastating.

The professor began to signal that the end of the slide show was approaching and Amy quickly rolled her turtleneck sweater back into place, let her hair down and stood up to leave. She bent forward at the hips to collect her coat and pack and in so doing pulled the back of her sweater tight across the posterior bars, exposing a small gap between her skirt and the bottom of the sweater through which a portion of the plastic pelvic girdle was clearly visible. She threw her coat on and in the same motion turned her back to the professor so that we were finally looking each other squarely in the eyes. The feeling of wonderment and surprise I felt was certainly reflected in my face and I think she enjoyed it because she seemed exhilarated by what she had just accomplished. I started to stand and she motioned me back down, handing me another note before heading quietly down the row and out the door.

The note read:
Randy – I truly hope you enjoyed that half as much as I did and I hope that you’re not totally turned off or find me to be a complete weirdo. I will explain all this as soon as we can get together, but right now I need to get out of here and get this off before someone sees me with it on. I am incredibly excited about future opportunities with you and I can’t wait to learn more about you and that brace of yours. Please meet me in the deli line at the cafeteria 12:45 and let me try and explain.

My mind was ablaze with questions and I had to convince myself that the entire episode was not simply another daydream. After class I walked straight to the nearest door and stood outside in the 30 degree air for several minutes trying to reorder my thought process and calm the insatiable and indescribable sensation she’d left me with. I had a feeling that this sensation was going to dominate my life for some time.

Chapter Two (Not written by the original author)

I still had 3 hours to wait till I meet Amy at the cafeteria. My mind was spinning so fast with new and unfelt sensations that I knew it would be useless to try studying or do something constructive.

On my way to my dorm room I had a most unusual thought that I could not shake. I felt that I should change into something more sexy (if that was possible in a Milwaukee), fix my hair and put on makeup.

I had always known that I was attracted to certain females, but Amy in her brace this morning had really started my libido to flame into action.

So with a new skirt and sweater I had recently bought and my combed out loose like Amy’s earlier and fresh makeup, I headed out for the cafeteria.

I arrived at the cafeteria at exactly 12:45 but did not see Amy. I started to instantly worry that she had changed her mind and if I should call her or wait till our next class to talk to her.

Then I heard someone call “Randy” from behind me and I turned completely around since head movement is impossible in a Milwaukee. Amy waved as she came running up the stairs. She was dressed in the same clothes as before, but I could instantly tell she did not have her brace on by the way she moved. It was also apparent in the change in her posture. I had never really noticed the curvature in her back until now, but the brace had certainly helped her posture.

Amy slowed as she approached and we just looked at each other for several heartbeats as each waited for the other to speak first. Then the tension and we both started to talk at the same time and burst into laughter as the spell broke faded away.

Amy led the way to the deli line as we talked about class and the study group she had invited me to for our finals.

Neither of us talked about that mornings experience as if by mutual agreement while we were in line. Amy led us to a very remote corner of the cafeteria where we would not be overheard as we talked over lunch.

After we were settled into the booth, I looked down with my eyes to my plate and realized I was nervous and had lost my appetite.

Amy must have sensed my mood and started, “Randy I’m sorry if I offended you this morning with my little display. You must think that I’m a complete nut job to do something like that, but please let me explain….”

Before she could finish I interrupted her saying that I had completely enjoyed her display that morning and had been totally turned on by and hoped that she did not think I was a weirdo for feeling that way.

We both took a deep breath and then settled into a afternoon of conversation mainly about Milwaukee back braces and the details of day to day living in one. Randy had a million of questions about what it was like in the brace as a teenager and then as college student and the differences between the two braces. Then the subject turned to Amy’s interest in the Milwaukee.

It was a duel interest. She was attracted to women in a Milwaukee and the way they looked and the restriction the brace imposed. She had first noticed this in High School and friends that had worn them. She had made a point of making friends and spending as much time with them as she could manage. Then when she had seen Randy in her class in a Milwaukee she had been scheming on how to meet her and become friends.

Her other interest was in wearing a brace herself. She had had bad posture mainly due to some slight kyphosis, but also because she had been self-conscience about her large breasts in Jr. High School. She had seen doctors as a young teen, but they did not feel she needed a brace at that time. Later in college she had started having back pain and had convinced a local orthoist to make her a brace. She had just lacked the courage to wear it in public.

Before we knew what had happened we had talked all afternoon and missed our other classes for the day. We decided to continue our conversation at Amy’s dorm room where she could wear her brace to relieve some of the pain she had started feeling since we had sat down earlier that day.

45 minutes later we entered Amy’s private dorm room and dropped our book bags by the door. Amy offered me a straight chair as she crashed onto a low sofa and hit the replay button on the answering machine. One of the messages was to change our study group meeting until the next afternoon. That left us without plans for the evening that started us both thinking. Neither of us had class on Tuesday or Thursdays, so until our study group the next evening we were free to pursue other interests. It was the week before dead week and we had completed all our assignments and did not have homework due.

Amy got to her feet and stretched her back, then looked my way and asked if I would like to see her brace now. Who was she kidding, OF COURSE I wanted to see her brace and most especially, her in it! She walked over to her closet and opened it revealing a large bag in the bottom of the closet partial cover by hanging clothes. She pulled it from the closet and untied the knot in the string holding it closed. Then with what seemed like infinite slowness withdrew a beautiful Milwaukee back brace. It was a standard kyphosis Milwaukee with shoulder rings and sternal pad. The pelvic girdle was a rich crème color and had 3 straps to close it.

Amy extended the brace toward me for a closer inspection as she pulled her skirt and sweater off. Amy was exquisite as she stood in front of me in nothing but her matching black bra and panties. She had jet-black hair down to the middle of her back and very smooth honey colored skin. Amy was only 5’2″ and weighed around 140. She had an extremely womanly figure at 36D/28/40. Her stomach was very flat and her breasts and buttocks were firm and round. I had never actually made the leap from a general attraction to females to full out lust until right then, but I felt my heart beat faster and my breathing increased as I looked at her.

With a smile, Amy reached for her brace and after unfastening the pelvic girdle straps and the screw on the neck ring slipped with obvious practice into it. She adjusted the shoulder rings around her arms before reaching to fasten the 3 straps one at a time on the pelvic girdle. Then she reached up and tightened the neck ring. As the brace was fastened tight, her body was transformed. The pelvic cinched her waist in a couple of inches accentuating her figure even more. Then she reached behind and strained to reach the straps that tightened the shoulder rings and pulled them snug. She was beautiful with the neck ring circling her throat. I stood staring, transfixed by the exquisite brace holding her beautiful body in perfect posture. Amy’s eyes smiled in relief as she said, “that feels so much better now.”

She then looked at me with mischief in her eyes as she asked if she might see my brace now that I had seen hers. Well, I did not feel I could refuse and in truth I wanted her to see me in my brace.

So I started taking my skirt and sweater off. Amy and I are about the same size in weight and weight, but I’m a C cup and I have light blonde hair and my complexion is very fair.

Our braces are very similar as far as design, but mine was much more heavy duty, tighter, and extended higher and actually lower (the pelvic girdle on my brace was lower in back and in the front middle, holding my hips very tightly in a forward tilted position. My brace also had a chin pad instead of the more modern throat mold.

We both took our time examining each other and grew more aroused as we did so. Without planning it we moved toward each other and embraced in the only way you can in a Milwaukee, very carefully.

Later, we lay in Amy’s bed sweaty, exhausted and a little bruised (Milwaukee’s can be dangerous). We decided to shower and helped each other out of our braces. I was only allowed out of my brace to shower and had to be careful not to bend or twist while doing so.

After our shower, I was toweling off carefully and Amy asked if she could try my brace while I dried. Since we are basically the same size, I saw no problem while I dried. I actually thought that I would take my time to enjoy a little brief escape from the brace.

Amy pulled it on and began tightening it. I helped by pulling it really tight. She moaned as it tightened. She said it actually felt better than her brace since it was tighter and actually straightened her back more. Picking up the phone, she phoned her orthoist office. He said that he was working late that night and that she could come by around 7:00 p.m. Since we where going to her orthoist, I talked her into wearing it to the office.

We put our braces back on and dressed. Her orthoist was 5 blocks off campus, so we decided to walk even though it was cold.

Her orthoist unlocked to let us in the office and introduced himself as Dr. Brad Moore. He explained that he was glad she called when she did since he was going on an early Christmas vacation in a few days. He was working late in the evening until then to get as much done as possible before he left. Amy explained that she wanted some modifications to her brace to make it more like mine since it felt better and relieved her pain more completely.

Dr. Moore asked me some questions about my brace and condition. He then asked if he might see my brace. Turning to Amy, Dr. Moore said that before he made modifications of that sort, he would like to take a new set of X-rays. As I found out later from Amy, Dr. Moore was not just an orthoist, but also a medical research doctor in the field of spinal deformities and treatment.

Amy took her brace off and Dr. Moore took several x-rays. He had us wait in an examine room while the x-rays were developed. We both jumped when the door opened and Dr. Moore entered. He slid the x-rays up on the viewer and explained that Amy’s kyphosis had progressed and was starting to make her spine had rotated to form the beginnings of a scoliosis “S” curve, since he first made her brace for her the year before. It was not severe enough for surgery, but it was likely to continue progressing unless something was done to halt its progression. Amy looked up at Dr. Moore with a very depressed look on her face and asked what could be done to halt the curve progression. Dr. Moore explained that since she had stopped growing, the normal course of bracing would not work to make her spine grow straight. However, he was conducting research into bracing adults with kyphosis and scoliosis to arrest curves progression and perhaps improve curvatures. Amy asked how that was possible and he explained that I was experimenting with a modified Milwaukee brace design, physical therapy, and diet.

He made an appointment for her first thing in the morning to try the new modifications and begin her treatment.

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