Author Topic: First Time Home Buyer  (Read 32809 times)

Offline blueblur1997

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #120 on: 18. May 2023, 08:32:58 AM »
I am sure I will delete this, because I always delete the personal stuff I post here.  But I ran into my ex at Walmart this evening.  We just happened to park across from each other.  She saw me before I saw her, and my eyes got big when I saw her walking towards my truck.  I was like “aw hell, here we go.”   But we got along wonderfully.  After talking in the parking lot a long time; I blathered like an idiot of course; I walked her inside.  We then spent at least 10 minutes talking at the carts.   Then we just happened to bump into each other multiple times in that huge ass retail monstrosity.  It was uncanny.  And I feel like a complete as**ole.  I learned she is no longer a dental assistant; she is now managing a mortgage office.  I am glad for her on that, she was burned out on dentistry even “then”.  But she had the shittiest of shitty years last year.  In 5 weeks she 1) got covid and almost died, 2) lost her mom, 3) and her “new husband” died of a heart attack.  I feel horrible for her.  I am trying to figure out what I should do.  I feel like a complete ass that I didn’t know all this till today.  And I feel I need to do something.  She brought up a lot of “remember when we” and “you remember that” today.  I don’t have feelings for her like that anymore, but I could tell she is still hurting and I do have a heart.  And I do still care about her.  My thoughts are on the real ‘Haley’ right now.   I may take a few days off from writing.  Anyway, I will delete this soon I’m sure.

ETA: We have been chatting for over an hour.  I am taking her out to the nicest restaurant in an hours drive next Tuesday.  Gosh rest my soul.  The last year long sabbatical I took was because of a girl.  I hope not to repeat that.  But no promises.

Don't feel bad. Today, I bumped into my ex who I had a two year relationship with. We had a less than amicable breakup about 12 years ago when she cheated on me. I had no real serious relationships between my ex and the girl I'm dating now. I actually bumped into my ex at Trader Joes...where they have the absolute best peanut butter on the planet.

Offline Sparky

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #121 on: 19. May 2023, 17:27:58 PM »
But in the mean time know that Rob and Haley don’t die in a car accident like poor Jen and Mel.  That was just horrible.  The other people in their lives, especially Christy, are still absolutely crushed.  Eventually we will check back in on them though just to see how they are doing.

I'm glad it's not just me occasionally trying to kill off their characters.... :-)

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #122 on: 19. May 2023, 21:38:17 PM »
Part 47.

As I pulled up to pick Haley and Britt up, I thought about the previous ten days since my last appointment.  At that appointment Haley and I had briefly made out in her bosses office, all with Dr. Sanders blessing.  As we had come out Bri was in the chair getting her braces installed.  It was fascinating to watch and also a little horrifying.  Dr. Sanders had explained something about the dental work Bri had previously had on her lower teeth meant bonding brackets would be problematic.  So she fitted full bands on Bri’s lower arch.  Just watching the process was grueling.  I couldn’t imagine being the one undergoing it.  Once she was done, Bri’s lower teeth were completely silver.  There was almost no white to be seen.  I felt bad for her, but I noted that when she smiled her lower teeth weren’t very visible at least.  Dr. Sanders explained she would be in a lot of pain that weekend.  Due to the bands she had to install and the cleats located on some of them, both her lips and her tongue would be pretty beat up.  She said because of this she was going to give her a few weeks before she installed the remainder of her appliances. 

Since then I had adapted to my appliance.  I barely noticed it was there anymore.  Which seemed amazing to me.  I still wasn’t crazy about it.  But it was so worth it to see how happy it made Haley.  And I noticed that my jaw didn’t click anymore.  It took a few nights to get used to sleeping with the protraction brace, but it was so much better than the bow I had tried at first.  I did wear my facemask here and there, just for Haley’s amusement.  And she wore her’s for me.  Even in public on occasion.  She loved seeing what it did to me.  But what really blew me away was how Britt had handled her headgear.

That first weekend I had picked her up and driven her to my place.  She hid inside that weekend, afraid to be seen in public.  She was miserable.  And boy was she grumpy.  Between the headgear, the lip bumpers that didn’t allow her to close her lips completely, and the nicotine withdrawals she was not the most fun person to he around.  Haley and I still showered her with nothing but love and affection.  But by the middle of that first week, things were better for her.  She had gotten over the worst of her nicotine withdrawal.  And she had worked up the courage to live life, even wearing headgear.  That Thursday I had picked them up and treated them to lunch.  It was amazing.  Haley wore her facemask as a show of solidarity for Britt.

Since then Britt did her best to just completely ignore the headgear, though many others did not. The lingering stares and shocked looks on other’s faces proved this.  But Britt ignored them.  And why shouldn’t she?  She was gorgeous, headgear or no headgear.

That weekend I cooked dinner and had two other couples over.  It was not purely to eat and drink.  It had come about because one of my friends had sent me a text.  He said his wife Heather had a few questions about adult orthodontics.  I thought back to the pool party when Haley had first gotten her expanders and remembered that Heather had seemed very, very interested in Haley and Britt’s treatment.  So I asked the girls if they minded having dinner and talking about orthodontics.  I was really asking Britt.  I wanted to make sure she felt comfortable since she was still in her headgear 24/7.  I knew Haley would.  Britt said that sounded wonderful, but she said she would probably scare anyone considering treatment away with her headgear.  I told her that might be true.  But that Heather sure wouldn’t be caught off guard by what might be in store for her.  Britt had laughed and agreed with that.

That Saturday I got a text from John asking if I had room for two more guests.  It seems Heather had been talking with Jenny.  And Jenny had been considering getting braces again too.  I told him no problem, the more the merrier.  Dinner that night had been good.  Not my best work but good.  After dinner, just like at the pool party, us guys had retreated to the deck to drink a few beers and tell lies while the four women stayed in the den talking about adult orthodontics.  After the party had broken up and the other couples had left, I asked Haley and Britt how it had gone.  I asked them if seeing their headgear and facemasks had scared off Jenny and Heather. Britt said to her surprise no, that in fact both women said they were going to call Monday and book consultations.  She said both of them were really wanting to address a few things with their smiles, and they had said if they were going to do it, they might as well do it together like we are.  I looked at Haley and said “so, that is new patients number three and four.  I mean, Carol and Emily both booked their consults already and are starting treatment soon.  I am sure Jenny and Heather will too.  I think I am due another commission” and winked at Haley.  She replied “of course… sir” and smiled back at me from behind her adorable facemask.

I realized I had been sitting in my truck several minutes just replaying all of this.  The heck with memories I thought, my girls are just a short walk away.  As I walked to the door I thought about how much I was going to miss them.  They were leaving for the continuing education course in California in the morning and would be gone for four days.  This would be the longest I had gone without seeing Haley since we had started dating.

I knocked on her door.  The door opened and there was Britt.  And she was not wearing her headgear.  My eyes lit up and I yelled “Yay!  Dr. Sanders kept her end of the deal!”  Britt smiled as widely as she could and said “yes!  She removed it all!  The facebows, the lip bumpers, the springs.  I am free!  I still have to wear the headgear, but not until we get back from California.  Dr. Sanders said she obviously wants us to learn while we are out there.  But she also wants us to have fun!  She said since Haley and I have done so good we are getting a little headgear vacation.”  I went and hugged Britt and told her “I am so, so happy for you!  Now, speaking of Haley, where is she hiding.”  Britt answered “she is in the kitchen.”

I entered the kitchen to find Haley standing there.  She smiled at me and asked notice anything different?”  I answered “you aren’t wearing your facemask.  Britt already told me you are getting a little break from it.  That makes me a little sad though that I won’t see your cute ass in it tonight.  But I am much happier that you get a break.  You have earned it.”  She step over in front of me and said “what about now?” right before she locked her lips to mine.  My eyes flew open when I felt her tongue enter my mouth.  I pulled back out of instinct and exclaimed “YOU GOT YOUR TONGUE CRIB OUT!!!!”  She opened her mouth wide showing it to me.  She said “I got it all out, the expanders, the tongue crib, the hooks.  I am free!  At least until next week.”  I said “oh, we are going to take advantage of this tonight” as I leaned back in and kissed her.  It was so nice to feel her tongue in my mouth.  It had been so long since I had felt it I had almost forgotten what it felt like.  As we kissed I thought about the other things that tongue could be used for.  But first I owed these two dinner.   Now it was not just a going away dinner but a celebratory dinner as well. 

Back in Haley’s small living room I wrapped my arms around both girls.  I said “we have to go celebrate.  But I am a little sad.  I guess this means I am the only one left wearing headgear.”  Britt replied “that’s right nerd!”  Haley leaned over and said “well, I guess I must be partial to nerds” and kissed me, once again putting her new found tongue to good use.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #123 on: 20. May 2023, 18:05:13 PM »
Part 48.

Once we were in my truck I looked over at Haley, then craned my neck to look at Britt in the back seat, and said "ok, I was planning on taking you two to Bob's, it is pretty swanky.  But, things have changed.  Since you gals are free to eat anything you want, you pick."  The girls thought for a second and almost in unison they both said "TACOS!".  I smiled and said "your wish is my command."

As we drove we chatted.  I asked Britt about her change in treatment, about why Dr. Sanders had taken everything out of her mouth, even the braces.  I asked her if she was done; I didn't think so since she had mentioned headgear when she got back.  She explained "well, Dr. Sanders is not happy with the direction my treatment is going.  Not the mechanics of it, but the theory behind it.  She has been applying traditional orthodontic theory on me.  You know, straightening my teeth, pulling everything back with the headgear, what they traditionally have taught orthodontists in school.  Since she has jumped off into the abyss of holistic orthodontics she has had a bit of a paradigm shift in her thinking.  She told me she is worried she might be giving me an incredible smile, but at the expense of my overall health.  I started treatment before Haley and before she really had this change of philosophy.  Because of all of this, she took everything off while she reconsiders a new treatment plan for me.  You know Haley is in treatment to expand her mouth and bring everything forward.  Pretty much the opposite of what she was doing with me.  Haley will end up with a beautiful smile.  But Dr. Sanders primary goal is to improve her airway and increase her nasal breathing.  And I think she is going to do the same with me."  I looked at Haley and asked "what about you then?  If she already has you heading down the path she wants, why change?"

Haley responded "you remember at our last appointment together?  When Dr. Sanders said she was worried I was not getting real expansion, just tipping my teeth out?  Well, it has gotten worse.  It is easy to expand a kid's palate when they are growing.  But once we grow up, and everything fuses, it is a lot harder.  She tried the removable expanders with me and they didn't work.  She then tried traditional fixed expanders, and they didn't work either.  The traditional RPE I had was just tipping my teeth out.  If we had kept going, it could have tipped them all the way out of the bone. And that is obviously a bad thing.  Remember how Dr. Sanders recommended SARPE surgery for you?  Well, that would traditionally be the next step for me."

I reached over and grabbed her hand and said "oh baby, I am so sorry.  But at least you get a little break.  Are you going to get the surgery?  You know I am a big chicken, but I know you aren't.  And I would be there every second to hold your hand during recovery."

Haley said "maybe, but I may not have to.  That is the whole reason we are going to southern California in the morning.  There is a doctor out there who has developed a new expander.  It uses screws to anchor the expander in the palate.  And he is getting successful expansion in adults without surgery.  Dr. Sanders thinks I may be a candidate for it.  But first she wants to try it on herself."

My eyes got big and I asked "so, she it having it done herself?  And you said this thing will be screwed into her mouth.  Yikes!"

Haley responded "yes, she is going to be her own Guinea pig.  She doesn't want to start using this new technology until it is a little more tested, so she decided to be the one to test it.  This ortho has been experimenting with this for about 10 years and just released a scientific paper on it last year.  He had a number of cases, all successful.  There was a fair amount of interest in it within the orthodontic community.  So he has been teaching these courses for the last year or so; teaching others how to do it.  And as part of the course they always have a live demo of the actual installation on a new patient.  Dr. Sanders volunteered, along with another general dentist from Michigan that is attending, to be the patients.  It is all pretty cutting edge stuff and interesting.  Dr. Sanders had me remove her expanders last week so she could do all of the necessary impressions and overnighted them out there.  These expanders are custom made to fit each individual patient's mouth.  So, on the second day we will actually get to see a couple installed.  One in Dr. Sanders' mouth.  She said depending on how her experience goes, she might start using these in our practice.  And on me.  But don't worry, protraction is still a big part of it so I will still have to wear my facemask if I go that route."  She squeezed my hand and winked at me.  She continued "I will show you some pictures of it once we get to the restaurant and you aren't driving."

As we waited on the margaritas I had ordered for the girls to celebrate their parole from orthodontic hell, Haley pulled out her phone.  She held it up to me and said "this is what one of the expanders looks like.  At first glance it looks similar to the expander I had.  But notice those screws?  They go through the expander and anchor in the bone of the palate.  That is what makes it different and what makes it work.  The actual name of it is a maxillary skeletal expander, or MSE for short.  Hold on, there is a video of it on Youtube."  She found the video and opened it.  Once it was playing she handed her phone to me.  While I was watching the installation of one in a patient's mouth the waitress had brought the drinks.  The girls where sipping on them while I watched.  Once done I shook my head and handed the phone back to Haley.  She asked "what do you think?"  I answered "I think it looks scary.  And intense.  And that it would hurt a LOT."  Haley said "well, it is a little scary.  But it isn't nearly as intense or painful as surgery would be."

I was amazed at how many crunchy tacos the girls packed away.  I guess they really had been missing them.  I was a good orthodontic patient and settled for a soft burrito.  Both girls complimented me for this.  Once they had waved the white flag I said "well, we have a super early day tomorrow.  That 4 a.m. alarm is going to be here too soon.  Britt, how are we doing this?  I am staying at Haley's tonight, do I need to pick you up in the morning?"  Britt answered "nope, my suitcase is sitting at Haley's right now.  I will sleep on the couch.  That will make it a lot easier on all of us."  I told her "that is a great idea.  You know, you are smarter than you look" and gave her a big smile.  She looked back at me and said "and you are a bigger as**ole than you look" and smiled back at me.

The next morning's alarm did arrive very early.  We had stayed up until almost midnight the night before.  I rolled out of bed and headed to the bathroom. I was removing my facemask and splint when Haley stumbled into the bathroom.  She hugged me and said "it felt SO weird to wake up this morning without my facemask on.  I almost miss it."  I hugged her back and said "I do miss it.  You are so cute in it.  But I have also missed that tongue of yours, so I guess it is a fair trade."  She reached up and kissed me, letting me enjoy that tongue once again.  I pulled away and said "you do that too much and we will miss our flight.  But speaking of flights, I am afraid security might be a pain wearing your collar.  I am going to remove it, just for your trip.  I will keep it safe and sound here with me, like I keep your heart with me."  She cooed "awww... you are so sweet and thoughtful.  I hadn't even thought about security.  I will hate it not being there, always reminding me of you.  But you are probably right."  After I had unlocked her collar and removed it from her, I kissed the tan line on the back of her neck where it had been.  I told her "it and I will be waiting here for you when you get back."

Once we were all dressed I carried the girls bags out to the truck.  It was still dark outside.  The good news was this meant traffic would not be too bad.  Despite it being an almost hour drive to the airport, we didn't talk too much.  I think everyone was tired.  I know I was.  As I pulled up to the drop off area in front of their terminal I said "well, I guess I have to let you two out."  I looked at Haley and said "I am going to miss you so, so much."  Looking over my shoulder at Britt I said "and I am going to miss you too my little munchkin."  She extended her middle finger to me.  I laughed and exclaimed "I love you too!"

After I had gotten their bags out Britt gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek.  She said "thanks for the ride.  And dinner last night.  That was fun."  I hugged her back and said "I promise it was my pleasure."  Once I released her Haley slid up against me.  She said "I am going to miss you too.  But I will be back in four days.  And I will bring you a present."  She arched her eyebrows at me.  "But in the meantime, just remember this".  She leaned in and kissed me.  We played twister with our tongues.  Finally Britt said "get a room you two!"  Haley and I finished our kiss and Haley squeezed my butt.  As they walked away I yelled out "I love you! You two have fun!  And try to learn something."  Haley turned and blew me a kiss.  Britt turned and extended her middle finger to me again, a big smile on her face as she did.  As I watched them walk through the automatic sliding glass door into the terminal I thought about how lucky I was. 

As I climbed back into the driver's seat, my thoughts drifted from Haley and Britt to Dr. Sanders.  I thought about the video of that expander that Haley had shown me the night before, and the fact that in just a couple of days Dr. Sanders was going to have one literally drilled and screwed into her head.  Just the thought of such a thing sent a chill through me.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #124 on: 22. May 2023, 20:26:24 PM »
Part 49.

It felt strange to have the weekend to myself.  I did some yard work and went fishing.  I had vowed to myself not to pester Haley.  We had talked Thursday night.  She called to let me know that they had arrived with no major travel issues and had gotten checked into their hotel. They were about to go out to a welcome dinner with all the other event attendees.  I told her to have fun!  We had continued this routine Friday and Saturday night, Haley calling and filling me in on her day each evening.  She had also text me several pictures of her, Britt, and Dr. Sanders over the weekend; in front of a pier, standing on the beach, at some type of open air market.  And of course a couple from the office where the event was being held.  It seemed strange seeing all of them without their braces or appliances.  On Saturday she sent me several pictures of Dr. Sanders in the chair having her expander installed.  I couldn’t tell too much, and it didn’t look like she was in pain or under duress.  In the picture that Haley had sent of the three of them post installation, the metal bands of the expander and accompanying protraction hooks were visible in her mouth.  But she didn’t look to be in pain.  Haley had also sent me a picture of Dr. Sanders and the other dentist, Dr. White, who had received her own MSE.  They were each smiling broadly and holding their thumbs up.  On Dr. White’s face was a green facemask and on Dr. Sanders’ face was a blue facemask.  They both looked happy.  Haley said that Dr. Sanders would be uploading a bunch of photos and videos of her expander installation on Facebook if I were interested.

That Sunday afternoon I pulled into the cell phone waiting lot of the airport twenty minutes before the girls where scheduled to land.  To kill the time I was looking on my phone.  I went to the City Orthodontics facebook to page to see if it had been updated.  I saw Dr. Sanders had in fact made a new post.  It outlined that they had attended a continuing education course about a new type of expander.  And that she was going to be the first City Orthodontics patient to get one.  There were a bunch of pictures of her during various phases of the procedure.  There were also a couple of videos.  One was a 3 minute video showing the installation of one of the six screws in her mouth.  The other was of the orthodontist who was hosting the course making two turns on her expander.  I noticed that unlike the little blue key with the pin at the end that I had used to turn Haley’s old expanders, this expander used something that looked like an actual wrench.  I thought it looked just brutal.  All of it.  The installation, the screws that went into her bones, the huge expansion screw in the middle of her mouth, the turning of it, just all of it.  At the end of the post Dr. Sanders had assured everyone that the installation had not really hurt.  It had just been a lot of very strange pressure.  She said she had been in some discomfort since the local anesthesia had worn off the night before and was very sore today.  She said she would update her progress in the weeks and months to come. As I had been looking at the post I had noticed a truck pull in beside me. Once I was finished with Dr. Sander’s post I looked over.  In the driver’s seat was a man around my age that looked very familiar.  And then the lightbulb went off in my head.  That was Pete Sanders, Dr. Sander’s husband.

I got out of my truck and lightly knocked on his passenger side window.  He looked up from his own phone and warily appraised the man who was knocking on his window.  Then I saw the expression on his face change as he recognized who I was.  He rolled the window down and said “Rob Dawson?  Is that you?  It has been what?  Twelve years?”  I responded “yep, I believe so.  And I was just about to say the same.  I guess you are here to pick up Dr. Sanders?  I am here to pick up Britt and Haley.”  He answered “yeah, I am here to pick up Leslie, excuse me, Dr. Sanders.  She is one hurting unit today.  She got some kind of new expander installed yesterday and she is miserable today.  My poor baby.  And you are dating Haley aren’t you?  That’s why I recognized you, Leslie’s facebook post.  So you started treatment with her too.  But I guess that is the occupational hazard of dating or marrying these dental chicks.”  He laughed and then smiled at me, showing a mouth full of metal braces.  He then asked “so what is next for you?  You gonna get braces?”  I answered “I don’t really know.  I am not too keen about that idea.  Not at all.”  He responded “dude, I get it.  I absolutely hated these things the first few weeks.  But I got used to them.  I certainly don’t love them.  But I don’t hate them now either.  It isn’t that bad.  Not that good.  But not that bad.  And Leslie loves them.  So that makes it better.”  Just then I noticed him look down at his phone.  He said “they just just landed and are almost at their gate.”  I realized I had left my phone in my truck.  I said “hey man, it was good to see you.  I better check my phone, I don’t want Haley thinking I am ignoring them.”  Before I stepped away, Pete said “good to see you man.  And good luck with your treatment.  And with Haley.  She is a doll.”  I looked at him and said “yes she is, the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Back in the truck the first thing I did was look at my phone. And sure enough Haley had text me a few minutes earlier.  I replied “sorry babe, I was NOT ignoring you.  I got sidetracked talking with Dr. Sander’s husband Pete.  He pulled in beside me and we were catching up.  Small world I guess.  Text me back when you and Britt get your bags and your chariot will arrive.  And welcome home!  I have missed you! And can’t wait to see you!”

I got back out of the truck and said to Pete “well, I guess we have a few more minutes.  Tell me, how did you end up back here and married to an orthodontist?”  He told me “it is kind of a weird and long story.  But the short story is I met Leslie out in Colorado when I was playing.  We dated for almost two years.  I was always terrified I would be traded or moved up.  That I would be the one that messed things up.  And while I had at one time wanted nothing more than to make the show, there at the end I was very torn about it.  I loved Leslie and didn’t want to leave her.  Well, the joke was on me.  Because she left me when she went off to dental school.  But she went to the one just as hour up the road.  She did that for me.  To be closer to me in the offseason.  Once she was gone I realized how much I missed her.  And I realized what a grind being a minor league ball player really is.  It is not at all a glamorous life.  So, I hung up my cleats and moved back home.  Went back to college, got my degree, got a job I like, and married the love of my life.  Who then promptly put me in braces.”  He laughed and continued “that is the short version.  What about you?” 

I said “well, I met Haley because of the tornado.  Haley stayed a few days with Britt at Britt’s parent’s house.  Who happen to be my neighbors.  The day I met her was one of the worst days of my life.  That ended up being one of the best days of my life.”  Pete said “hey, we need to catch up.  But Leslie just got her bag. She said Haley has her’s too, Britt is still waiting but should be just a minute or two.  Good to see you.  Now let me go pick up my girl and see if I can make her feel better.”

I got back in my truck and saw the text pop up “we have our bags!  We are at door 2.  I can’t wait to see YOU ;)”. I cranked up my truck and pulled around.  I actually pulled in behind Pete Sander’s truck.  He was loading Dr. Sander’s bag in the back seat.  I put the truck in park and got out.  I didn’t see Haley or Britt yet.  I exclaimed “welcome home Dr. Sanders!  You had quite an eventful weekend.  And congrats on your new expander.  It looks like quite the engineering marvel!”  She said “thank you.  It shertainly doeshn’t feel like a marvel right now.  But it will get better.  It better get better.”  Pete went up to her and wrapped his arms around her and said “I am sorry baby.  Let me get you home and you can kick your feet up.” 

I had been so focused on Dr. Sanders I hadn’t noticed Haley and Britt until I felt someone wrap their slim arms around me.  I recognized the feel of Haley before she even spoke.  I turned in her arms and kissed her.  Once done I said “it is so good to see you, both of you.  I am glad you had a great time.  But you were missed.”  Before Haley or Britt could answer I heard Dr. Sanders.  She came over and said “girlsh, thank you for going with me.  And I will apologish in advansch if you have to do a little extra work tomorrow; or if I am a little cranky.  I am afraid thish mouth of mine is shtill gonna be a problem tomorrow.”

Haley and Britt both hugged their boss.  Haley said “thank you for the opportunity to go with you. I learned so much.  We all learned so much.  And absolutely, you just tell us what you need us to do.”  Britt added “you are such a trooper Dr. Sanders.  You will get to feeling like yourself in no time.  I know it.  And like Haley said, what ever you need from us…”

Dr. Sanders pulled away and said “I have the besht shtaff.  And friendsh.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.  I hope sho.  You all be shafe getting home and I will she you in the morning.”  As Pete opened the passenger door and helped her in the vehicle, the three of us watched her with pity.  Haley came back up to me and wrapped her arm around me.  She softly said “I feel so bad for her.  Her whole head has been killing her.  She has been in so much pain.  Especially on the plane ride.  I can’t imagine all the changes in pressure helped on top of all the pressure she was already feeling from the expander and screws.  I so hope she gets to feeling a little better tonight and can manage some sleep.  And I hope she doesn’t try and wear her facemask, but I am sure she will.”  I hugged Haley back and said “well, I don’t think I will be letting you get one.  I don’t know if I could handle seeing you in that kind of pain again.”  She hugged me back and said “thank you.  But Britt and I have already decided.  We are each going to get one.”

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #125 on: 23. May 2023, 18:55:29 PM »
Part 50.

It was after dark by the time I dropped Britt off at her apartment.  The girls had been hungry after travelling all day, so I had treated them to dinner on the way home.  They were still excited about being braces and appliance free and being able to eat anything they wanted.  And they were taking advantage of it.  On the ride home and at dinner, the girls had done most of the talking.  After all, they had a lot to talk about.  They had really had a good time on their little workcation.  They had eaten well, learned a lot, seen some sites, and connected with other dental professionals.  They talked a lot about how exciting this new technology was. 

I tried to talk them out of it, just based on how miserable Dr. Sanders had looked, but they seemed to have made up their minds.  Haley told me "look, I have spent over 6 months trying to get expansion.  And I have failed.  I need this.  And this seems like such a better option that surgery."  I couldn't argue with that.  Britt had chimed in "and I told you way back when, we do everything together.  I am not super excited about it, and I am not the poster case for needing it.  But from what we learned out there, almost everyone, well over 90% of people, could benefit from this.  So, Haley and I are going to do it together.  Not tomorrow, not next week.  But when Dr. Sanders begins to offer this treatment option, we are going to be patients numbers one and two.  Or maybe number two and three; Dr. Sanders might be number one already."  I gave up the fight, they seemed determined.  I promised them I would do whatever I could when the time came.

Once at Britt's, I carried her bag to the door and gave her a hug.  I told her how happy I was they had such a wonderful and eventful time.  But I was glad they were back home safe and sound.  Back in the truck, Haley rubbed her hand down my arm and said "I hope you brought your night splint with you.  Because you need to take me home, and I don't plan on letting you leave until tomorrow morning."  I smiled at her and said "I am a good Boy Scout.  I brought it and my facemask."

As soon as I had dropped her bag inside her bedroom she kissed me.  We made out for several minutes.  Once she pulled back she said "you need to put on your facemask.  I bet you haven't gotten your time in this weekend without me here to stay on top of you."  I sheepishly answered "I tried.  I really did.  But I still feel like such a goober wearing it."  She rubbed up against me and said "you are the furthest thing from a goober.  Maybe it will help if I put it on for you."  I told her "I am not the only one that needs to put something on."  I walked over and opened the night stand drawer and pulled her collar out.  I said "I kept it here so I could be close to it as I slept. It wasn't nearly as much fun to snuggle with as you are though" and gave her a big smile.  She obediently walked over to me and turned her back to me.  I quickly fastened it and locked it around her neck.  She turned and kissed me.  She then had me lay down on the bed.  She picked up my facemask and two elastics from the night stand and said "just lay back, I will take good care of you tonight."

The next morning I woke to find Haley gone from bed.  I went into the bathroom and found it empty.  I went into the kitchen and found her cooking breakfast.  She smiled at me and said "you have cooked me breakfast so many mornings, I have a lot of catching up to do."  I walked over to her and gave her a hug.  I then went to remove the elastics from my facemask.  She put her hand over mine and stopped me.  She said "you are so cute in that.  Leave it on till we are ready to eat."  She leaned in and kissed me on the cheek.

As I left her apartment I thought about what a wonderful way this was to start a week.  I had a pretty smooth week.  Work was fine, and Haley was back.  She made sure that I got my time in with my facemask.  I hated it but loved to see her happy.  She had given me updates on Dr. Sanders during the course of the week.  Haley told me that Monday and Tuesday had been very rough for her.  But Wednesday and Thursday were each better than the day before.  As I walked into the office at 3 p.m. on Friday I would find out for myself how she was doing today.  I didn't have an appointment.  But Haley was getting a removable Hawley retainer fitted today with an integrated tongue crib.  It had arrived that morning.  I told her I wanted to be there for her, even though I knew it would be a super simple and quick appointment.  But the honest truth is I had missed seeing all the girls in the office. 

I was not wearing my facemask as I knocked on the door.  Haley opened it for me and pouted.  She said "I was hoping you were wearing your facemask so I could show you off again."  I hugged her and said "and it is wonderful to see you too!"  She laughed and said "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that."  I squeezed her rear end and said "that's ok, you can make it up to me later."  She led me back into the treatment area where Bri was reclined in the chair with Dr. Sanders leaning in over her and Britt assisting.  Dr. Sanders was wearing her purple facemask and had seen me enter.  She nodded in my direction and held up her hand for a quick wave.  I sat down out of the way and watched.

Bri had a set of lip retractors in.  Wow I thought, those fully banded braces on her lower teeth were so visible.  Poor girl.  Once Dr. Sanders had replaced her wires and ligatures, she chose light pink, Britt went over to the cabinet and returned with several baggies and a pink Petit facemask.  Dr. Sanders explained to Bri "I am going to check the fit of your sagittal expander.  You will need to wear it all the time, only remove it for brushing and cleaning.  The removeable expander didn't work for Haley, but you are still young enough it might.  And if it doesn't, we can go to plan B."  She quickly fit the appliance in her mouth.  She looked at it from several angles and then nodded her head.  I realized how much clearer Dr. Sanders speech was.  I hardly noticed any lisp.  It had really improved since Sunday.

Dr. Sanders looked down at Bri and asked "so, how does that feel.  Poking or digging in anywhere?"  Bri replied "nah, ish jush fees sho beeg n bulky."  Dr. Sanders said "it will feel that way for a couple of weeks but eventually it will feel completely natural.  Now, I am going to install your forsus springs, lower lip bumper, and finally fit you for your facemask."  Once Dr. Sanders was done installing the springs and then the lip bumper, she removed the lip retractors from Bri's mouth.  She held up a mirror in front of Bri.  Dr. Sanders asked "so what do you think?"  Bri smiled.  I noticed as she did that the forsus springs protruded out of her mouth.  She quickly put her hand up over her mouth, covering it.  She said "ish sho musch metal.  What ish my fiancshay going to think?"  Dr. Sanders reached over and pulled her hand away from her mouth.  She said "it all looks wonderful.  You look wonderful Bri.  And if Tommy is the right guy for you, and I think he is, he will be just fine with it."  She then looked over at me.

She exclaimed "isn't that right Rob.  You had no problems with Haley having expanders and having to wear a facemask did you?"  I answered truthfully "no, not at all."  Dr. Sanders turned her attention back to Bri and said "and my Pete has no problems with all of the crazy things I have had to wear in my mouth and on my face.  Tommy won't either.  And it will all feel normal in no time.  Now, let's get you fitted for your facemask. You need to wear it 12-14 hours a day.  I'm not going to make you wear it in the office; I mean I don't make any of you do anything; but if you do it will leave you a lot more time to not wear it outside the office." 

Britt quickly adjusted the mask so that the forehead and chip cup fit Bri's face, then adjusted the horizontal bar on the mask where the elastics would go.  Once she was finished she held it on Bri's face while Dr. Sanders examined it.  She said "looks perfect Britt."  Britt quickly attached a pair of elastics to hooks on Bri's top molar bands and then stretched them and placed them on the mask.  Then to my surprise she attached a second set to hooks on Bri's lower molar bands and attached them to the mask as well.  Dr. Sanders took a look at everything and said "and you are done Bri.  You understand all about hygiene.  The only thing that is a little different with your current plan is having the protraction elastics top and bottom.  Remember one set up top, one set on bottom.  Good job, and they look great.  Now Haley, if you would?" gesturing to the chair.

As Bri got up she had a dazed look on her face.  She went over to the mirror and examined everything in her mouth.  After a few seconds she began crying.  Dr. Sanders got up and went and wrapped her arm around her.  Britt brought her a handful of tissues.  Dr. Sanders tried to console her "come on, it isn't the end of the world.  You look great.  And Tommy is going to be totally fine with it.  I promise you."  Bri sniffled and said "I dah think I can do thish.  Can you tah any of it off?"  Dr. Sanders tightened her arm around Bri's shoulders and said "I will make a deal with you.  Please try it this weekend.  Remember, you can take your facemask off.  I certainly won't ride you if it takes you a few weeks to work up to 14 hours.  Get through the weekend, and on Monday we can talk about it.  Is that ok?"  Bri took a final look in the mirror and turned.  I had the feeling it was just so she wouldn't have to see her reflection in the mirror.  She said weakly "I will tra."  Dr. Sanders hugged her and said "good girl.  Do this, you go on home now.  We can handle it here."

As Bri gathered up her things I stood and walked over to her.  I said "Bri, they look great.  That color really suits you."  She said "thah you" without a smile on her face.  I then considered whether I should say what I was about to.  I probably shouldn't, but I did anyway.  I added "and you might be surprised.  Tommy might chase you all around the bedroom tonight.  It has that effect on some people."  Then I looked over at Haley, who had her mouth open as Dr. Sanders fitted the new retainer on her.  I turned my head back towards Bri and noticed she had a slight smile on her face.  She said "thah you.  I dah believe you buh thank you."  I told her "I promise you it will be ok.  And look, those two girls over there are pros at having all kinds of metal in their mouths.  They will be more than glad to give you pointers I am certain."  Bri said "I hate to be a bother to them.  They hah been sho nicsh to me shince I shtarted, showed me sho musch."  I said "you won't be a bother to them.  Do they have your cell number?"  She said they did.  I concluded with "I know them pretty well.  And I am betting they are going to be the ones bothering you."  I offered her a hug, which she accepted.  It was a very "friend zone" hug.  I released her and said "and I totally get being a little freaked out about the facemask.  I still feel it.  But I bet the weekend goes better than you expect.  Now, take that facemask off, stow it in your purse, and get on home."  She went over to the mirror and did just that.  She returned and said "thank you."  I then said "let me walk you to the front, I will lock the door behind you."  After she had stepped through the door I shouted to her "they look great.  Congratulations!"  She turned and gave me a meek smile.  I locked the door back and went to check on Haley.

As I entered the treatment room, it looked like Dr. Sanders was finishing up with Haley and Britt was over in the corner working on some machine.  Dr. Sanders was going over her final instructions with Haley.  She said "so, all the time except when eating."  She looked at me and said "and maybe a few other things." then winked at me.  I had already realized that the personal side and professional side of Dr. Sanders were two vastly different animals, this was just further confirmation.  She continued "you will get the hang of talking in no time. The crib is smaller than the fixed one you had.  And once you start with your myofunctional training and get that stubborn tongue of yours trained, we can get rid of it completely.  And maybe by then you will have had your own expander installed anyway."  Haley said "thank you Dr. Shanders.  Thank you for making it removable.  Rob thanksh you too" and laughed.  I blurted out "what am I going to do with you woman?"  Looking over at Dr. Sanders I added "the both of you.  By the way Dr. Sanders, how is your mouth feeling?"

She said "well, you can call me Dr. Sanders.  Or, you can call me Leslie.  How about Leslie?  Anyway, thank you for asking.  To be honest, Sunday through Tuesday were very tough sledding. I had lots of pain.  Maybe not 10/10, but not far from it.  But it has gotten better every day since then.  And I am not back to 100% yet, but I feel like I am well on my way.  Other than the screws in my palate; they give my tongue heck; this expander is actually a little less bulky than the two I had previously.  I can talk so much better with it.  You know, this would be a very good option for you."  I said "well, I would like to talk to you about it.  And what it is like.  But not for me.  But for what Haley and Britt have in store for them.  I tried to talk them out of it on Sunday.  But they are awfully hardheaded."

She looked at me and asked "well, what plans do you and Haley have this weekend?  If you don't have anything, why don't you two come over to the house tomorrow evening for dinner?  Pete mentioned on the ride home Sunday how you two hadn't really had time to thoroughly catch up.  And I can tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly of the alien in my mouth.  What do you say?"  I looked at Haley and then answered for us both "sure, that sounds great.  Do I need to bring anything?"  Leslie looked at me and said "bring your facemask if you want to score bonus points with your orthodontist."  This cracked her up and she laughed so hard she knocked her own facemask askew.  As she straightened it up she then said "no, just bring the two of you. And an appetite.  This will be fun."

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #126 on: 24. May 2023, 21:06:46 PM »
Part 51.

I was just finishing up the crab and cheese stuffed bacon wrapped jalepenos when Haley came into the kitchen.  She said “you know Dr. Sandersh shaid we don’t need to bring anything?”  I replied “I know, but I hate to show up empty handed.  Plus these things for SO good.  Does Dr. Sanders drink do you know?  Haley answered “yes, she doesh.” I said “I said in that case, let’s bring a bottle of wine too.  Why don’t you pick one?”  Haley opened the cabinet and picked a Kendal Jackson.  She brought it over to me and asked “will thish work?”  I looked at her and said “that is perfect.  And so are you!” as I winked at her.  She said “you are sho shweet.  And you are being such a good patient.”  She kissed me on the cheek.  Since I was wearing my facemask I couldn’t repay the favor.  I said “of all the crappy things about having to wear this; the discomfort, the awkwardness, the embarrassment; the worst is not being able to kiss you.”  She hugged me and said “aww, my poor baby.”  She then reached up and removed the facemask from my face and kissed me.  As I kissed her I ran my tongue into her mouth, feeling her new retainer and tongue crib that hung down from it.  I noticed that unlike her earlier fixed crib, she was able to get her tongue around this one.  The feeling of her warm, wet tongue combined with the unyielding presence of the tongue crib felt so erotic.

As I pulled into the driveway of the Sanders’ home I looked over at Haley and said “have you been here before?  They have a nice place!”  Haley answered “yesh, Dr. Sandersh hosts a Christmash party for the office every year.  She is a great host.  And their back pool patio is nice.  You’ll see.”

Haley rung the doorbell as I had my hands full with the platter of peppers.  In Haley’s free hand she held the bottle of wine.  The door opened and we were met by the smiling face of Dr. Sanders.  She was wearing her purple floral facemask.  With a big smile on her face she said “yay!  Welcome!  Come on in!  And I told you that you didn’t have to bring anything!  But thank you! Follow me!”

We followed her through the house onto the back patio.  Pete Sanders was standing by the grill.  On his face was a smile and a blue Petit facemask.  He welcomed us “hello!  What you got there?”  I said “I have some stuffed peppers if you have room.”  He said “sure thing.  Bring ‘em on. And Haley, just sit that wine down on the table.  Leslie has already gotten into the seabreezes though.”  Dr. Sanders giggled and said “and they are so good.  Can I get you one? Or something else to drink?”  I answered “I better not, I have to drive.  But I bet Haley would love one”. Dr. Sanders answered “BS, if you want a drink, or many drinks, have at it.  You can stay here.  We have plenty of room.  And as many patients as you have referred to us lately you have earned it.”  I said “in that case, sure, I will take one.”

Dinner was great.  Pete had grilled thick ribeyes.  He had cooked mine to a medium rare perfection.  The peppers were devine, the Sanders both complimented them.  And Dr. Sanders had baked some potatoes and fixed a salad.  We sat at their dining room table and ate, drank, swapped stories and had good conversation.  Once dinner was done, everyone pitched in to help clean up.  Once done, Dr. Sanders suggested we move things back outside.

As we sat around the table outside she looked at me and said “so, you said you wanted to know more about this expander of mine.  Before I put my facemask back on let me tell you about it.  And show it to you.”  Before she started though she looked at Pete and asked “baby, aren’t you forgetting something?”  Pete sighed and said “ugh, the trials and tribulations of living with your orthodontist.”  Dr. Sanders laughed and said “I only make you do it because I love you babe!”  He stood and headed back towards the house.  Haley stood and followed behind him.  I didn’t think much of it, I thought maybe Haley needed a refill.  With the two of them gone Dr. Sanders scooted her seat over beside mine.  She said “here, take a look” as she leaned her head back and opened her mouth wide.  She used her fingers to hold her cheeks back.  I could see the molar bands wrapped around her back molars.  From each band there was a hook that ran along her outside gum line, terminating just behind her canine teeth.  I knew these were for elastics to hook to her protraction mask. There were two stainless steel wires that ran from each molar band to the big mass sitting square in the middle of her palate.  There was a large hex screw running horizontally across her mouth, and there were six small screws drilled into her mouth.  It was a lot.  And it looked like it had to hurt. 

After she had given me a good look she straightened back up and said “there it is.  It is anchored into my palate with those six screws you see.  There are three on each side of my suture.  As I turn the expander; I turn it twice per day; those screws expand outward.  The goal is to get that suture to split.  Once it does I will get a nice diastema between my front teeth and I will reduce my turns to one a day.  As I continue to expand that lovely gap with get bigger.  It will be impressive by the time everything is said and done.  Once I am done expanding, that will take around six weeks, I will get braces.  The expander will stay in for another 6-12 months while the suture fills in with bone.  But, once I get the braces on, I will be able to remove those arms that are in my palate running to the molar bands.  I will wear the facemask for probably a year, depending on my progress.”

I was about to ask her a question when I noticed Pete come out the back door.  On his face he was wearing his blue facemask.  In his hand he carried Dr. Sanders’ purple mask and a bag of elastics.  Behind him was Haley.  I noticed she was carrying something as well, my facemask.  Pete walked up to Dr. Sanders and handed her the facemask and elastics.  He said “here you go baby.”  She quickly donned the facemask.  Haley walked up to me.  With a pleading voice she asked “baby, will you put yoursh on too.”  I told her “no, but I will let you put it on me.”  She was beaming as she hooked the elastics to the hooks in my mouth and attached them to the mask.  She said “hmmph, I feel out of place without a facshmask of my own.” 

Dr. Sanders replied “you haven’t really taken a good look at your retainer have you?  Take it out and let me show you something.”  Haley popped the retainer out of her mouth and placed it on a paper towel.  Dr. Sanders pointed at the labial bow on the retainer and said “did you not notice these little hooks here?  And if you did, did you not wonder what they were for?  Let me show you.”  She got up and went inside.  She returned a few minutes later with a purple floral Petit facemask identical to the one she wore.  She told Haley to put her retainer back in.  Once Haley had placed it back in her mouth, Dr. Sanders held the mask up to Haley’s face and used an allen wrench to make adjustments so it fit Haley.  As she did she explained “this is my spare mask, but you can keep it.  I will get another from the office.  And there, it is now yours.”  She then picked up an elastic and ran it from the small discreet hook on the retainer to the mask.  She repeated with a second on the other side.  She said “now, you won’t feel out of place.”  I looked at Leslie and said “thank you Dr. Sanders, I know that Haley was feeling really jealous she couldn’t wear her's anymore.  And why wouldn’t she, look how adorable she is.”  Dr. Sanders winked at me and said “you are most welcome.  But you know what we are missing?  A picture of the four of us!”  As we crowded together, I knew that this was going to end up on Facebook.  But I realized I didn’t even care.  And even if I had it would have been worth it just to see Haley and a slightly tipsy Dr. Sanders in their facemasks.  It was so sexy watching Haley go about life while wearing hers.  And now here was Dr. Sanders doing the same.  There was just something different about her out of the office versus in it.  I wondered where the rest of this night would lead?

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #127 on: 25. May 2023, 17:06:48 PM »
Part 52.

I looked over at Dr. Sanders, or was it Leslie, or was it Kristin?  She had just arrived with another round of drinks.  I looked over at her and said "so, I have some questions for you about that expander in your mouth.  But first, what is your name?"  She looked at me with a confused look on her face and replied "what do you mean?"  I responded "well, you are obviously Dr. Sanders.  But when we first met you introduced yourself as Dr. Kristin Sanders.  But Pete calls you Leslie.  And you asked me to call you Leslie.  Just curious about that."

She said "oh, that.  All my friends and family call me Leslie, that is my middle name.  But all of my legal documents, professional listings and associations and such, show me as 'Dr. Kristin Sanders' or 'Dr. Kristin L. Sanders'.  It is confusing, but in a professional setting I will introduce myself as my "professional" name; Kristin.  But among friends I am Leslie or Les.  So, you can call me Leslie.  Both of you.  Haley, maybe just in the office in front of patients call me Dr. Sanders.  But I consider the whole office as one big family, so you should call me Leslie outside of the office.  Deal?  Both of you?"

I looked at her and said "it is a deal Leslie.  And that makes sense."  Haley said "it ish going to be a hard habit to break Dr. Sandersh.  I mean Leslie.  But I will try."  Leslie said "good, thank you.  So, what questions do you have about this impressive contraption in my mouth?"

I replied "first, that thing just looks brutal.  How bad did it hurt when you got it?  And how bad does it hurt now?"

She said "well, the installation was not bad really.  The spacers and the injections to numb my palate hurt worse than the actual installation.  Getting it installed wasn't fun, but I would not call it painful.  It was just a LOT of pressure.  And the noise!  Oh, you can hear and feel the screws going in.  That was a bit like nails on a chalk board.  When I start offering this treatment, I am going to provide headphones for patients.  That way it least it will mute some of the noise.  Now, the pain after the anesthesia wore off was pretty severe.  I was sore that Saturday night after getting it.  But Sunday was just hell.  I woke up hurting, and it got worse during the day.  But, I think a lot of that had to do with having to take off and land four times.  I have sinus issues anyway; that is one of the reasons I am undergoing expansion among others; and it is often hard for me to equalize the pressure in my head when flying.  With this new device screwed in; with the mini-screws sticking through into my sinus cavity and the expander pushing my palate apart laterally, it was excruciating.  It got a little better Sunday night once I got home."   She looked over and patted Pete's hand and said "I had a good nurse though" and continued.  "So, Monday was still very painful.  I was able to work, but barely.  Tuesday was a little better.  But that whole time I was popping Tylenol and Ibuprofen like candy.  I probably should have taken a prescription pain pill, but that would have meant I had to miss work.  And I didn't want to do that.  Every day since then has gotten better.  I am feeling pretty good now.  I still notice it is there all the time.  And eating is still a chore.  And the screws are rough on my tongue.  But I can live with it.  Speaking of tongues, stick your's out."

I looked at her with a scrunched-up face, unsure where this was going.  But I complied and stuck my tongue out.  Leslie leaned over and examined it.  She said "so, I am sure you have noticed it all too well, but your TPA leaves an indention on your tongue all the time.  It will go away when it is gone, but not until then.  And I am sure for the first week or two it really bothered you.  But I bet by now you are used to it.  Don't even notice it most of the time.  Am I right?"  I affirmed that all this was true.  She stuck her tongue out at me, and I looked at it.  She then pulled it back into her mouth and said "so, did you see that?  You can see the imprint of the expander on my tongue, the screws and the metal arms.  I too hope that I will just completely be used to it in another week or two.  But, I am not there yet.  At least my lisp is largely gone."

I said "so, it is bad, but gets better.  I am worried about my Haley here.  She seems dead set on doing this.  But you looked so miserable on Sunday, I don't want her to go through that."

Leslie responded "it is too early to say for certain, but I feel like it will be worth it.  Haley has tried so hard to get the expansion she needs.  But her mouth is being stubborn.  I think this will be the right thing for her.  And she will be glad she did it.  You know that whole "short term pain for long term gain".  It is a little of an axiom in the world of orthodontics.  But it is especially true with this."

I asked her "what's it like to turn it?  Does it hurt?  Or is it just pressure like Haley described with her old expanders."

Leslie responded "well, these expanders are a little more aggressive than a traditional Hyrax expander.  Each turn expands a little more than a turn with the Hyrax.  So, there is definitely more pressure.  I wouldn't call it pain.  But I wouldn't call it fun either.  Pete baby, do you want to turn Mama's expander now?"  Pete hopped up and headed inside.  As we waited Leslie continued "I think the best way to describe it is to show you.  And also, every patient is different.  From what I have seen and heard researching this, some patients hardly notice the turns.  Others experience real pain each and every turn.  For the vast majority of patients, including me so far only a week in, it is somewhere in the middle."

Pete arrived back and stood in front of Leslie.  She said "I think Pete enjoys turning my expander.  Maybe he feels like he is getting a little payback for me putting him in braces and making him wear that facemask."  He smiled and said "I am going to plead the fifth on that one."  Leslie removed her facemask and placed it on the table.

She then leaned her head back and Pete inserted the wrench into her mouth.  It took him two tries to get the wrench seated on the expander.  He then turned the wrench downwards, from under her nose toward her chin until the wrench was stopped by her lower teeth.  As he made the turn I could see her face tense up, especially around the eyes.  He pulled the wrench out of her mouth, seated it back on the expander, and made a second turn.  Once he was done Leslie closed her eyes and exhaled deeply.  For several seconds she sat there with her eyes closed taking long, controlled breaths.  She opened her eyes and said "that will wake you up in the morning.  It isn't really pain.  But you can feel the pressure radiating all the way up through the face.   Speaking of which, one thing I have noticed in patients in research papers is an increase in wrinkles.  You can see it in their progress photos.  Especially around the eyes.  It seems like, especially in women, this causes crow's feet around the eyes.  I think that is simply because of how much clenching of the face this whole process causes.  One thing I have integrated into my own treatment is using moisturizer religiously during the day and a retinol cream every night.  This is something else I am going to dive into a little deeper before I start offering this in the office."

I replied "that is good to know.  Any idea on when you might put her in one?  I want to have a heads up so I can take her out to eat all the crunchy, sticky, and chewy food."  As I was talking she picked her facemask up and quickly put it back on.

Leslie replied "well, I want to see how my process goes.  I never like to use any appliance or technique on a patient that isn't proven.  This is new, so I want to feel comfortable I am offering a proven method.  I actually like to have experienced what our patients are going through.  I think it makes me a better doctor.  And I also like it for all the girls to do the same.  It think it helps build empathy towards our patients.  I think a few of the girls think I just like to see them suffer.  And that is not the case at all.  There is a method to my madness.  I don't shy away from using the most effective treatment tools I have in my toolbox, regardless of the appliance.  And I extend that same philosophy to my employees' treatment as well.  I mean, how can we ask a patient to wear headgear, or a tongue crib, or a facemask if we aren't willing to ourselves?  That is another reason I wear my extraoral appliance in the office, and strongly encourage everyone else to do the same.  I just don't understand why there is such a social stigma about it.  I mean, tons of people every day wear glasses and no one bats an eye.  I look at that as an extraoral appliance for the eyes.  But someone wearing an orthodontic headgear or facemask?  The whole world turns to look.  I just don't get it.  Maybe I hope to normalize it.  At least around here.  Speaking of which, has anyone talked to Bri today?  I talked with her last night and gave her a little pep talk, she sounded like she was still down in the dumps."

Haley said "actually, Britt took her out shopping today.  To try to take her mind off of it.  And Tommy was taking her out to dinner tonight.  Let me shoot Britt a text."

We continued to chat, largely it consisted of Pete talking about his time playing ball.  And of stories of him and Leslie from back in that time in Colorado.  It was sweet.  And it made me reflect on a thought that had repeatedly run through my head about Haley and I.  Sometimes, it just seems like fate intervenes to make sure that two people run into each other in life.  Then Haley's phone dinged.

She looked down and said "well, Britt said that Bri was a lot better today than yesterday.  Britt said she seemed to be coming to terms with her braces.  She said the facemask was still an albatross, but we can work on that."  Leslie said "wonderful! I knew she would come around. I know it was a shock to her system.  But she will be fine.  Speaking of Britt, what is she doing this evening?"  Haley texted her back and quickly got a response.  Haley said "she is just sitting at her apartment watching TV."  Leslie said "awww.  We have got to find her a boyfriend.  She is just too incredible to be sitting at home on a Saturday night.  Tell her to get her butt up here, but that she has some catching up to do on the drinks.  And in the meantime, let's put our heads together and try to find her someone." 

And then it hit me.  I didn't know why I hadn't thought of him before.  Maybe it was because I wanted to keep Haley AND Britt all to myself.  But that wasn't fair to Britt.  She WAS special.  And I didn't need to try to hide her light under a bushel.  I thought about a friend from grad school.  He was probably my best grad school friend until we had both graduated and gone our separate ways; each moving away for jobs.  We had been very similar back then.  Only he was a MUCH better basketball player.  It was always fun to play pickup ball at the rec center and see the opponents' jaws dropped when he, the 6' 3" white kid, jumped through the roof to dunk on them.  I had only messaged him a few times over the past ten years.  But from Facebook I knew he had moved back to town and started his own business.  And I knew he was unmarried, though I wasn't sure about the girlfriend status.  One thing I did know, or at least suspected, was that he might share the same affliction I have.  He had never said it outright, but neither had I.  And I hadn't asked him about it.  But I did remember back in the day when we would be out at bars that he would always notice the girls with braces, often making a comment like "she is really cute with those braces".  And I remembered if there was a group of girls, if one had braces, she was the one he wanted.  As did I.  Maybe that is one reason we had gravitated towards each other.  Regardless, I knew he was a good guy.  I knew he was successful.  I knew he was in town and unmarried.  And I knew he needed to meet Britt.  And I kicked myself for not thinking of this when Britt was in her headgear.  If I were right about Chris, and I felt pretty confident I was, he would have chased her around the world while she was wearing that monstrous Interlandi headgear.  But, even without braces Britt was incredible.  And I bet the idea of her upcoming treatment would be enough to get his complete and undivided attention.  I didn't have his cell number.  But we were friends on Facebook.  So, I pulled out my phone and sent him a Facebook messenger.  I simply put "hey dude, how you doing?  We need to catch up."  I then gave him my cell number and told him to give me a shout when he could.  I then looked up and said to the girls "before you two start playing match maker, I might have just the right guy for her."

Offline Charlie0186

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #128 on: 26. May 2023, 07:12:18 AM »
I've finally caught up with this -- by using Balabolka to generate an "audiobook" for binge-listening.

It's a great story, told well.  You manage to ride the knife-edge of plausible devoteeism.

Offline Charlie0186

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #129 on: 26. May 2023, 08:41:03 AM »
So, I have had an idea for a while.  Probably a really stupid idea. 

It's not at all a stupid idea.  Quite the contrary.  My sense is to use whatever is available to you to add atmosphere to the story.  I applaud your efforts.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #130 on: 27. May 2023, 20:37:19 PM »
Part 53.

Over the past 3 months, not much of any significance had happened with me and Haley.  We were still madly in love and very happy.  If anything we had only grown closer during that time.  However, the same could not be said for Britt.  I had introduced her and Chris.  And they had hit it off.  They were now a thing.  And while I had not come right out and asked him if he had a thing for braces, just being around the two of them gave me my answer.  I could see his eyes light up when Haley and Britt would talk about their upcoming expander installation.  And that day was today, a blazing hot August Friday afternoon.

I pulled into the parking lot a few minutes before 2 p.m., I knew that Dr. Sanders wanted to start the procedures as soon as possible.  I walked into the waiting area and saw there was only one other person there, Chris.  I looked over and said "so, you are here to hold Britt's hand?"  He replied "yes, of course, I wouldn't miss this for the world."  I wasn't sure if I needed to check in with Lauren or not, so I walked up to the reception desk.  She had her back to me sorting some papers.  I cleared my throat to get her attention.  When she turned, the first thing I noticed was she was wearing a pink Petit facemask.  I said "Hey!  You couldn't resist could you?  They are all the style this season."  She said "I promise you that is not why I am wearing it.  I just got it last Friday and gosh it is a pain."  I assured her "I promise you it does get better.  A little better.  Do I need to check in or anything?"  She said "no, they are just finishing up with their last patient of the day.  They know Chris is already here.  They will come get you here shortly when they finish up."

I walked over and sat down beside Chris.  We chatted.  He filled me in on his and Britt's relationship.  It sounded like they were made for each other.  Our conversation was broken by Dr. Sanders' voice.  She trailed a tall, striking 40ish year old blond.  She had her head down, but even so the facebow coming out of her mouth and the black straps over the top of her head were very visible.  Dr. Sanders was saying "I promise you Meredith it will be worth it.  And time will fly, we are only talking two to three months.  And it will shave at least that much time off your total treatment time.  So, don't you think that is worth it?"

As she walked over to the reception desk the woman said "but did you have to make it permanent so I can't take it out at all?  I promised you I would wear it as instructed this time."  Dr. Sanders answered "I am afraid so Meredith, you know I have a three strikes policy.  I gave you two chances to wear it as required and that didn't work out.  This will make it so much easier for you.  You won't be able to forget to put it in."  Defeated the woman weakly said "ok, I know it is my fault."  With a sunny smile on her face, Lauren said "Mrs. Thompson, I have you all set for your next appointment in 6 weeks.  Here is your appointment card.  And for what it is worth, I think it looks good on you!".  The woman said softly "thank you."  Then, with her head down, she walked out the front door wearing her now permanent highpull headgear that would be her constant companion for at least the next few months.

Dr. Sanders had spotted the two of us in the corner and exclaimed "hey you two, come on back with me!"  As I followed her I said "so Doc, looks like you got a new facemask."  She turned and said "ah, you are observant.  I actually got the idea from a colleague of mine, another dentist that is also undergoing expansion and protraction like I am.  I noticed on her practice's Facebook page recently that her facemask always matched her clothing.  If she had a yellow dress on, she was wearing a yellow mask.  A green dress, a green mask.  Blue scrubs, a blue mask.  And so on.  I realized that she is actually color coordinating her facemask.  And why not?  We do it with shoes, purses and the like.  So, I am color coordinating too.  It is fun.  Today is pink scrub day, so that means it is pink mask day.  Look, even I admit this whole process isn't the most fun.  So, why not try to make the best of it.  Right?"

I answered "you are a nut Doc.  But you are right.  And it is so cool you set such a good example for your patients. Speaking of which, how are you doing?  Did those TADS you got in your gums to level your smile finally calm down?"  She said "yes, I finally got that little infection to go away.  I will admit that at first they might have hurt worse than the expander and braces though.  But at least since I got the braces on 6 weeks ago my gaps have almost closed.  I was feeling a little self-conscious there for a while.  You could have driven a truck through that gap."  I told her "well, I thought it was cute.  And I am sure Haley's will be too.  She is pretty worried about that aspect of it."

As we entered the treatment area I noticed that Haley and Britt were sitting in the corner quietly talking.  They were very fidgety and looked nervous.  Bri was assembling all the tools and appliances on trays.  She was being a good patient and wearing her facemask.  After her initial shock of getting everything installed had worn off, she had actually adapted quickly to all of her appliances.  And no, Tommy wasn't chasing her around the bedroom because of her braces.  But he was still chasing her around the bedroom in spite of them she had told me.  Dr. Sanders turned and approached Bri to check in on her, so I turned and walked over to the girls.

I gently patted Haley on the shoulder and said "so, today is the big day.  You are going to do just fine.  And look who I found outside" motioning to Chris.  He looked at Britt and said "how you doing babe?"  Britt looked at him and said "nervous.  But thank you for coming."  He replied "of course babe".

Dr. Sanders said "ok ya'll, come on over.  The show is about to start."  After Haley stood I wrapped my arm around her and led her over to the treatment chair where Dr. Sanders and Bri were seated.  Chris grabbed Britt's hand and they followed along behind us.  Dr. Sanders asked "so, I am going to go ahead and start by numbing you all up before we start.  Just be forewarned there will be a little discomfort. I really need to get in there with the needle to make sure you don't feel the screw insertion.  I just want to warn you.  So, who wants to go first?" 

Haley and Britt looked at each other, then at the trays of metal that Bri had assembled and laid out side by side.  They looked back at each other still in silence.  Then Britt said "hey, wait, why are there three trays and three expanders?"  I took this as my que.  I said "well, since you girls can't make up your mind I guess I will volunteer to go first."

Haley and Britt's jaws both hit the floor.  After a few seconds Haley said "wait, what?"  I looked at her and said "I couldn't let you two have all the fun.  Plus, Dr. Sanders assured me this would fix my snoring once and for all.  And I am in this for the long haul when it comes to the two of us.  I plan on sleeping beside you; while not snoring; for a long, long time." Haley let out a soft "awwww."  Britt said "but how? How did we not know about this?" as she looked at Dr. Sanders.  Dr. Sanders responded "he wanted to surprise you both.  And I admit I was an accomplice.  We did all the impressions two Saturdays ago."  Haley said "so that is where you went.  Baby, are you sure you want to do this?"  I said "absolutely not.  But I need to do it, for you."  She hugged me tightly.  She then craned her head up and kissed me.  She said "I will take care of you."  Looking in her eyes I replied "and I will take care of you."  I unwrapped myself from her and sat down in the chair.  Dr. Sanders first removed my TPA.  Once it was gone, my mouth felt so big.  I said “ah, that feels so good.  Too bad I don’t have but a few seconds to enjoy it.”  As I steeled myself for what was to come Haley grabbed my hand.  Dr. Sanders looked down at me and said "it will be over with before you know it".  She raised the shockingly long needle in her hand and moved it in front of my mouth as I opened wide.  I closed my eyes and concentrated on the feel of Haley's hand in mine.  As I felt the fiery burn of the needle going into my palate I concentrated on my breathing.  After Dr. Sanders had finished with the three injections I opened my eyes.  I looked into Haley's face and lied.  I told her "piece of cake, you don't have anything to worry about."  I got up from the chair and Haley took my place.

As Dr. Sanders administered the first injection Haley's hand clamped down on mine like a vice.  She did not have her eyes closed. Instead they were wide open, a look of terror in them.  With my free hand I stroked her arm and softly said "It is ok kitten.  You are doing great.  Just a few more seconds."  Dr. Sanders finally finished and said "you did good Haley.  Now Britt, it is your turn."  Britt stepped back and said shakily "I don't know if I can do it."

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #131 on: 28. May 2023, 21:17:41 PM »
Part 54.

Haley got out of the chair and approached Britt and said “come on now.”  Haley, Britt, and Chris walked away to the corner of the office.  I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but Britt appeared animated, doing much of her talking with her hands.  After a few minutes it looked like she calmed some.  Dr. Sanders asked me “do you think I should go talk to her?”  I thought on that for a few moments and said “I don’t know.  Give them a few minutes.  If Haley can’t calm her down, nobody probably can.”  We watched as Britt went silent.  She stood statue still for several seconds.  She then marched over towards us and without a word sat down in the chair.  Chris sat down on the stool beside her and took her hand.  Britt cut her eyes towards Dr. Sanders and said “please just get this over with.”  As Dr. Sanders administered the injections I could see Britt’s lip quivering and her eyes watering.  Once Dr. Sanders was finished Britt said “holy shit.  I hope that was the worst of it.  I don’t think I can take any worse.”  Dr. Sanders patted her on the arm and said “I promise, it is downhill from here.”

As Britt got up from the chair I asked “so Doc, now what?”  She said “now we wait.  Let’s give it about 30 minutes for the anesthesia to be fully effective.”  As we waited we chatted. And as we chatted I could feel my palate going completely numb.  It was a strange sensation.

Much of the conversation revolved around Haley’s trip out to Dallas for her orafacial myology training class, and how she was progressing with the course work.  We also talked about everything Haley and I had gotten into afterwards; we had taken Dr. Sanders offer and stayed a couple of extra days.  For the upteenth time, I thanked Dr. Sanders for being so generous.  She said “it is my pleasure.  I am so happy everything went so well.  It doesn’t sound like it could have gone better.”  She looked at Haley and asked “so, when do you think you will be ready for your first case?  I want to be patient zero.” She then looked over at the clock on the wall, and then at me.  She asked “you ready?”  I answered “as ready as I ever will be.  Just be gentle with me, I’m a big baby.”  She laughed and said “I promise.”

After I was reclined in the chair Bri handed Dr. Sanders my expander.  Dr. Sanders narrated what she was doing as she did it.  She said “first, I am going to check the fit.”  She placed it in my mouth, pushing the bands around my molars.  She then had me bite down to seat it.  After examining it she said “looks good.  How does it feel?”  I felt around in my mouth with my tongue and answered “it feelsh huge.”  She responded “it will at first, but over time you will get used to it.  Anything poking you?”  I felt around again and answered “na.”  She replied “Good!  I will now cement it in place.”  She removed it and handed it to Bri, who applied a liberal amount of cement to the bands.  She repeated the process of seating it over my molars, the expander flush against the roof of my mouth.  She then took the UV light and cured the cement.  Once done she said “ok, now we just need to insert the tads.  Go ahead and put these headphones on.”  Haley took the headphones from Dr. Sanders.  She stroked my arm and said “you are doing good baby.  And thank you for this.”  I noticed the look in her eyes, it was the same hungry look I had seen in them before when I was in the chair.  As she gently placed the headphones on my head I thought that tonight would be very interesting.  That is if we both weren’t too sore and miserable.

I couldn’t hear Dr. Sanders over the music, but she held up the first screw and said something to the others assembled around me.  I couldn’t see what she was doing inside my mouth, but I certainly felt it as the first screw went in.  As she used something that resembled a miniature ratchet to screw it in, I felt it.  It didn’t hurt, but it was so much pressure.  When the tip of the screw popped through into my sinus cavity I thought I felt a pop.  Once she was done, she held her thumb up to me and arched her eyebrows.  I answered her with a thumbs up of my own.  She picked up the next screw.

It took her about 15 minutes to insert the remaining 5 screws.  Once she was done she raised me back up and removed the headphones from my head.  She looked at me and said “you handled that like a rockstar.  Go and rinse over at the sink.  I will wait to start on Haley until you get back.”

At the sink the first thing I did was open up my mouth and tilt my head to see what it looked like.  I tasted blood in my mouth and wanted to see how bad it was.  While the expander looked huge, I noticed there was actually very little blood.  I filled a cup with water and sloshed it around in my mouth.  When I spit it out into the sink I noticed it was pink.  My next rinse came out clear.  I turned and walked back over.  As I did my mind was consumed by how strange this invader felt in my mouth.  The hooks along my gumlines didn’t bother me, I was used to them from my TPA.  But this new appliance felt huge.  As I felt around it with my tongue I realized Dr. Sanders was right, these screws sticking out were going to take some getting used to.  I sat down beside Haley.  She turned her head towards me and asked “how are you feeling baby?  Does it hurt?”  I answered “no, it doeshn’t hurt.  It jusht feelsh sho weird.  And wow, what a lishp.”  She said “it is cute.  And soon we will match.”

I held her hand as Dr. Sanders reclined her back.  It took about 25 minutes for Dr. Sanders to bond and screw the expander into her mouth.  While I would never want to see her in pain, it was a huge turn on.  Not only was the expander cemented into my loves’ mouth, it was physically screwed in as well.  I tried to wrap my head around that, and how crazy that seemed.  Just the mental aspect that a piece of metal was screwed into her mouth, and would be for quite a while.  Once Dr. Sanders was finished, Haley stood up.  Before I would let her walk to the sink, I hugged her tight.  I whispered “you are so brave baby.”

I followed her to the sink and watched her rinse.  She hadn’t said anything yet, and I was a little worried about her.  Once she was done rinsing I gently placed my hand on her cheek.  I asked “ish everything ok kitten?”  She looked at me and replied “yesh, it is jusht a lot.  My brain is freaking out a little bit knowing thish thing ish shscrewed into me.”  I looked at her and tried to reassure her. I told her “I know baby.  It ish a lot.  And it feelsh so weird.  But it will get better.  And I will be right here by your shide.”  She looked at me and said “again, thank you for doing thish with me.  It will make it eashier.”  She then leaned in and kissed me.  She pulled back and said “let’s go sit with Britt.  She needsh all the moral support she can get.”

We watched as Britt underwent her installation.  Chris was at her side, holding her hand.  Several times during the installation, her face contorted in a pained look.  Finally she was finished and Dr. Sanders raised her back up to a sitting position.  Before Dr. Sanders could say anything Britt exclaimed “Holy Shit!  That wash intensh!”  Dr. Sanders looked at her and said “and you did great.  I knew you would.  Anyone that can handle that horrible headgear though can handle anything.”  As she stood Dr. Sanders hugged her.  She then said “I am sorry I had to put you through that.  But it worked didn’t it?  And this will too.  I promise.”

After Britt rinsed; Chris had been right beside her the whole time; Dr. Sanders said “now, let me demonstrate how to make turns.”  She looked at me, and I took that as my cue.  I sat back down in the seat and opened wide.  She showed everyone the wrench and said “so, today I am going to make turns until I feel a little resistance in the expander.  But after today, take a week off to let your mouth heal.  Then in a week, each of you need to make two turns per day.  And when you start these turns, you will need to start wearing protraction gear at least 14 hours a day.  Haley and Rob, you two are already old hands at it.  But Britt, it will be new for you.  I will go ahead and fit your facemask today.  Go ahead and start wearing it this week to get used to it.  Ok, so now for some turns!”

I felt the wrench as she placed it on the expander in my mouth.  On the first turn I felt the pressure extend through my nose.  By the fourth turn I felt the pressure exploding all through my face. I didn’t know if I could take another when she said “ok, that feels good for today.”  She then repeated the process for both Haley and Britt, but only made three turns for each of them.  When she was done she said “males are harder headed then women, but we all knew that already didn’t we girls” and giggled.  She continued “so Rob, that may mean that you need a few extra turns along the journey.  Do any of ya’ll have any questions?”  I looked at the girls who didn’t say anything.  I answered for us all “no, I think you have done a great job exshplaining it all.  Actually, no, I do have a queshtion.  Are you going to get mad if the three of ush are cusshing you tomorrow for installing these monstersh in our mouthsh?”  Dr. Sanders laughed and said “no, I will completely understand.   Don’t forget, I understand it all first hand.”  She pulled her face covering down, titled her head back and opened wide.  She pointed towards her own mouth and said “when you are cussing me, just remember I totally get it!”

She said “actually, you know what, you should all come over to the house tomorrow.  You three probably won’t feel like eating much of anything for a few days.  But a frozen margarita by the pool might be the perfect remedy.  My treat for inflicting all this on you.  What do you say?  Please?”

I looked at Haley, she shrugged her shoulders.  I said “sure Doc, that shounds great.  Chris, Britt?”  Chris said “that sounds like a wonderful idea.”  Dr. Sanders said “yay!  Then it is settled.   So, all we have left to do is get you fitted for your facemask Britt.  What color do you want?”  Bri returned with 9 facemasks of different colors and held them out.  Britt said “I don’t care, you all will be the oncesh that have to look at it.”  She looked at Chris and said “why don’t you just pick the one that will look the least hideous on me.”  He looked at her and said “baby, nothing could look hideous on you.”  He looked at Dr. Sanders and asked “can she have a couple?  Maybe to kind of color coordinate like you are doing?”  Dr. Sanders said “of course!”  Chris then put his finger on the pink one, then the bright red one, and finally the cheetah print one.  As he did I thought about Haley, and how sexy she looked when she had worn her cheetah print mask.  The mask and nothing else.

Dr. Sanders said “excellent choices!  Bri, will you fit them for Britt?”  After Bri had fit the final of the three masks, the cheetah print, she looked at Dr. Sanders and asked “do you want me to go ahead and attach her elastics?”  Dr. Sanders said “sure, might as well start the break in period now.”  Once she had attached the mask onto her face, I noticed the way Chris was looking at Britt.  I could tell he wanted her;  right here right now.  He said “baby, you look incredible.” 

Dr. Sanders said “she does indeed.  And we are done!  You all did incredible.  Remember to stay on top of the pain this evening with pain killers.  And take a sleep aid tonight.  And Britt, go ahead and start wearing your mask at night and around the house to get used to it.  Chris, maybe you can help her with it?”  He didn’t answer immediately, he seemed to be consumed by the image of Britt in front of him, her with her new expander in her pretty mouth and her new facemask on her pretty face.  He snapped out of it finally and said “absolutely Dr. Sanders, I will do my best.”  He grabbed Britt’s hand and looked her in the eyes.  He said “come on baby, let’s get you home.  You have had a long day.”  She looked at him and said “yes, that would be nice.”  As they walked out, I realized that Britt had left her facemask on.  Maybe she realized that, like me, her boyfriend had an appreciation for pretty girls undergoing orthodontic treatment.  If she didn’t, she would find out tonight.

I looked at Haley and said “and I think I need to get you home too.”  Before we left I looked at Dr. Sanders and said “thank you Doc.”  She said “don’t thank me quite yet.  When that anesthesia wears off later tonight you might change your tune.”

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #132 on: 29. May 2023, 19:04:21 PM »
Part 55.

Unfortunately, Dr. Sanders had been correct.  As the local anesthesia wore off in of our mouths, both Haley and I began to feel it.  We sat cuddling on the couch watching a movie.  While I had thought we might be in for a bit of a tussle tonight, the fact is neither of us really felt like it.  Haley seemed to read my mind and said "I'm shorry. I don't want to be that girl that hash a headache.  But, I do in fact have a headache tonight."  I squeezed her close to me and responded "no need to apologizshe, I am right there with you.  Though for you, I would find a way to power through it" and winked at her.  She nuzzled up closer against me and asked "I wonder how Britt ish doing?"  She picked up her phone and started typing.

A few minutes later her phone dinged.  She looked down at the message that said "WHAT HAVE YOU GOTTEN ME INTO!!!  This is so bad!  How did you survive with an expander in your mouth!  And this facemask!  It is worse than the headgear!"  Haley showed me the message and said "well, Britt seemsh to be having a nice evening."  I laughed, the first time I had done so since our appointment.  I replied "that ish the Britt I know and love."  I picked up my phone and text Chris.  My message said "give that woman a sleeping pill, take her to bed, cuddle with her and tell her how pretty she is until she falls asleep.  And even as hard as I know it will be for you; with the expander and facemask she is wearing; don't try to be romantic with her unless she initiates it.  Just telling you from experience."

He sent me a message back "I am trying, but she is so wound up.  And what do you mean with the "expander and facemask" comment?"

I text him back a message "come on man, it is pretty obvious to see.  I take it you haven't told Britt about your little "thing"?  I will go ahead and tell you something, she is sharp as a tack.  She already realizes it I'm sure.  But, if it makes you feel better, you aren't the first person she has had in her life that has the same odd attraction.  And she is ok with it.  Maybe talk to her about it sometime.  Not tonight, but sometime.  And don't be weird about it.  I bet it brings you two closer together."

It was several minutes before he sent back a response.  It said "so, who was this other person?"  I typed back "you are texting with him.  We can talk about it later.  But not tonight.  Take care of Britt."

The next morning we were all still in pain.  It was manageable, but it couldn't be ignored.  Haley and I lay in bed for a long time just holding each other.  I asked her "sho, do you feel up to going to the Shandersh?"  She said "might ash well, my mouth ish going to be hurting regardlessh of where I am.  Might as well do it by her pool drinking her tequila."  I looked at her and said "that'sh my girl."  I got up out of bed.  I looked at her and asked "would you join me?  I sometimes have trouble washing my back."  She smiled at me and said "don't throw me in the brier patch."  I was glad to see a smile on her face.  It was the first one I had seen on her since the previous morning when she had left for work.

Later that afternoon we all were laying in loungers around the Sanders' pool.  Neither Leslie nor Pete were wearing their facemasks. Leslie had warned us that you had to be careful wearing a facemask outside during the day.  She said she knew from experience that the tan lines from the facemask were quite possibly even more embarrassing and awkward than actually just wearing the mask.  She had just brought us another round of frozen margaritas.  Like she had said the day before, they were a wonderful remedy.  They didn't make the pain go away, but it made me not really care as much about it.  Haley and Britt seemed to be having the same reaction.  Dr. Sanders had been asking us how our first night and day were going, and if we had any questions.  Britt chimed in "Dr. Shandersh, there hash to be a better option than the facemashk.  I woke up thish morning and my chin was absholutely killing me."  Dr. Sanders said "call me Leslie.  And actually, I learned a little trick from another ortho just the other day.  Since you are staying here tonight, you did bring your mask with you didn't you?" Britt reached over for her purse and pulled out the pink one.  Leslie said "Good girl!  I will go get a couple of things and make it better."

We were all sitting up, watching as Leslie returned a few minutes later with her hands full.  In one hand she held a pair of scissors and a couple of socks.  As I looked at her other hand I thought to myself "are those maxi pads?  Surely they aren't." 

She sat down and said "first off, don't laugh.  This works.  Hand me your mask Britt."  Once she had Britt's mask, she opened the package to one of the pads.  She said "so, first thing is stick one of these to the forehead piece.  Then peel off the plastic and wrap the wings around.  Like this".  She demonstrated.  She then said "now take your scissors and trim the pad off so it is flush.  Now you have some padding.  Finally, cut the end off of a sock; these are clean, new socks by the way; that is how much you mean to me Britt" and laughed.  She continued "slip it over the forehead pad.  And now, you have padding."  She quickly repeated the process on the chipcup of the mask.  She handed it back to Britt and said "try it on, see what it feels like."  Britt took two elastics and attached the mask to her face.  She looked at Leslie and her eyes lit up.  She said excitedly "OH WOW!  This is better!"  Leslie said "for the next few weeks, use that little trick while sleeping, then try weaning yourself off it.  Eventually your chin will get used to it.  Now, take it off and enjoy that drink.  But later tonight, you will appreciate it."  Haley said "Leslie, you were holding out on me.  Me and Rob, we just had to shuffer  through it till we got ushed to it."  Leslie said "I'm sorry you two.  I just picked it up a couple of weeks ago.  I don't know why I hadn't thought of it myself, but I didn't."  With a smile on my face I said "Leslie, don't beat yourself up.  I think I would be more worried if you HAD thought about wearing two maxi pads on your face instead of the opposite."  Everyone laughed.  Leslie gave me a faux glare and said "I told you not to laugh!", then gave me a big smile showing her metal braces.  It was wide enough to see the tads in her upper gums.  A question popped into my head.

I asked her "so Leslie, thoshe tadsh look pretty rough.  Doesh everyone need them?  Will we need them?"

She said "well, every case is different.  But yes, they are pretty common protocol in these cases.  I would say over half of patients do need them, maybe even 75 or 80%.  I will go ahead and tell you that Haley will definitely need them.  Britt may.  And you will need a couple in your lower jaw.  Sorry to be a party pooper, but I won't lie to you.  But, we will cross that bridge when we get there.  They aren't fun, but they are an important part of your treatment.  And if you don't get an infection like I did, they are pretty manageable.  Here, let me show you."  She leaned over and pulled her lips back.  She had three inserted high in her gums on each side of her mouth.  Attached to each one was a chain that was attached to her archwire.  She said "the good news is, we won't need to worry about them until expansion is complete and we cut the arms off your expanders.  So, it is a trade off.  I add a little metal, I take a little away."  She laughed.  No one else did, everyone was thinking about the idea of having more screws inserted into our bone.  She said "really, you will all do fine.  And hey, if the whole orthodontic thing doesn't work out, we can all go in together and open up a hardware store."  This brought a couple of laughs.  She finished with "enough about orthodontics, what do you say we see how that water in the pool feels?".

The next morning, we all stumbled down the stairs.  Leslie and Pete had fixed a big breakfast spread.  When Britt sat down she was still wearing her facemask, as were Leslie and Pete. Britt looked over at Leslie and said "thank you for the trick on the mask.  It really helped."  Dr. Sanders said "Wonderful!  I imagine that those margaritas helped as well.  And having someone there to help take your mind off it.  It sounded like you two had quite an intense game of hopscotch."  Britt's face turned red, and Chris looked down and studied the floor.  Pete interjected and said "you have to forgive my wife.  She sometimes doesn't have a filter.  And she is a huge fan of hopscotch.  Isn't that right babe?  We played a game last night."  It was Leslie's face who now turned red as she turned and slapped his arm.  She said "our hopscotch games are not to be discussed in front of company!"  Pete just sat there smiling back at her.  Leslie said "anyway, sorry about that.  Let's eat.  I know it will be hard for you three, but we made oatmeal, grits, and scrambled eggs.  Those should be manageable."  I felt so embarrassed trying to eat in front of the others.  It was so awkward.  But as I looked around the table, I realized I was not the only one having to go slow and take tiny bites.  Even Leslie was taking her time.  She noticed me looking around the table and said "it is a change for sure.  But it does get easier."  After we were done, I thanked the Sanders.  As I walked to the truck hand in hand with Haley I said "you know, if you feel up to it, I might be up for a game of hopscotch.  I have misshed it the lasht few evenings."  Haley squeezed my hand and said "I think that soundsh like a wonderful idea."

The rest of the week was one of adjustment for Haley, Britt and me.  My lisp improved, all of our lisps had, but I still felt subconscious about having so much metal in my mouth and calling on customers.  I tried not to let it show.  There had been a few conversations about it with customers, but none had gone badly or seemed to negatively impact my job.  In fact, I thought maybe just the opposite.  I felt like a couple of the orders I had written that week had been sympathy orders.  But whatever, they pay just the same.  Haley seemed to have adapted the best out of the three of us.  But she also had previous experience with an expander in her mouth.  Britt was still being herself, complaining about the expander and the facemask all the time.  But, at least after a few days, there seemed to be a more playful edge to it; like back when she had to wear her headgear.  And she said she couldn't keep Chris away from her, he was being so sweet.  She also text me that he had come clean with her about his "interest".  But that he had assured her that was not the reason he was so into her, not at all.  She said she believed him.  And she told me that she now thought that the both of us, Chris and me, were both super weird.  But she was ok with it.  And he was making it so much easier for her.

As I pulled into the parking lot of City Orthodontics, I thought "maybe this will be quick.  Afterall, I think Dr. Sanders just wants to examine the expander and see that we know how to do turns, since today is the day we all start turning."  As I walked towards the front door though, there was a nagging fear in the back of my mind that maybe she had a little bit more in store for the three of us.  I hoped that her comment from the previous weekend about "adding a little metal" wasn't foreshadowing for this appointment.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #133 on: 29. May 2023, 23:57:38 PM »
Part 56. 

I entered the office at 1:45 to find an empty waiting room.  I walked up to the reception desk.  Lauren greeted me with a big smile from behind her facemask.  She said “Hi!  How are you?”  I answered “I am good!  I have almost gotten over this lishp.  Well… I guess I still can’t say lishp.”   Lauren laughed then stopped herself.  She said “I’m sorry, I wasn’t laughing at you.  I promise.”  I smiled back at her and replied “no need for an apology.  It is funny that if you have a lishp, you won’t be able to say lishp.”  She smiled and said “I know, right?”  I changed the subject and asked “so how are you doing?  Have you gotten more used to wearing that mask?  And don’t take this wrong, but you seem awfully bubbly today.”  She smiled back and said “well, I have gotten more used to it.  And it is Friday.  And I have a pretty special date tonight.  My boyfriend is taking me out to celebrate our one year anniversary!”  I exclaimed “that is AWESOME!  Congratulations.  Where is he taking you?”  She said “I don’t know, he is surprising me.  He has been acting coy all week.”  I said “well, it sounds like he has something pretty special planned for you.”  She said “I hope so.”  She changed the subject back to business when she said “I have you signed in.  They are just finishing up with a patient.”  I took that as my cue and turned to walk away.

She said “hey, I’m not running you off.  I was just letting you know.  I have a couple questions for you!”  I turned back around and said “ask away, I am a pretty open book.”  She asked “well, what is the expander like?  Dr. Sander’s has mentioned a couple times this week I would also be a candidate for one.  How bad is it?  I have asked Britt and Haley, but I want an unbiased 3rd party opinion.”

I replied “well, I am not so sure how unbiased I am.  But it hasn’t been horrible.  The first half of the week was rough, but it has gotten better.  Eating still sucks.  And my tongue stays sore.  But it is ok.  I am hoping that turning isn’t too bad.  I will let you know, we all start turning today.  And I am not looking forward to having to wear the protraction gear again.  It has been so nice not having to deal with that.  It is going to be a shock to get back in THAT routine.  But I guess it is worth it.  I hope it is worth it.  But I will be honest, if it weren’t for Haley I would not be doing this.”  Lauren looked at me and asked “so you are doing this for Haley?  That is so sweet.  I wish my boyfriend would consider it.  I love him as he is.  But his teeth could use a little work.  And I think it would be fun to do it together.”  She stopped and said “well, maybe not fun.  But..”. I said “I get it.  It is hard to explain.  It hate all this” gesturing towards my mouth “but I am so glad Haley and I are doing it together.  It has brought us closer.” 

At that moment the door opened and a teenage girl stepped out in the waiting area.  She approached the reception desk so I stepped back out of the way.  As Lauren worked on her appointment card Dr. Sanders told her “Abby, you have done SO great.  If you will just wear those elastics like I ask I promise you I will have you out of braces before yearbook pictures.”  The girl turned and smiled at Dr. Sanders.  She asked “do you promise?”  As she spoke it looked like her mouth was a giant rubberband.  There had to be at least a half dozen stretching from her upper arch to her lower.  There were several sets on each side of her mouth, but the crowning indignity was a box elastic square in the middle of her mouth.  Dr. Sanders looked at her and said “I promise.  Wear those finishing elastics all the time except when eating.  If you do, we might be able to take those braces off at your next appointment.  And if not that one, I promise the one after.  Do we have a deal?”  She stuck her hand out.  The girl shook her hand and said “we have a deal.  It is going to be so weird being the captain of the cheerleading squad with all this”, she bared her teeth to Dr. Sanders, “our first game is only two weeks away”.  Dr. Sanders said “oh goodness, why didn’t I think of that.  Your school colors are blue and white aren’t they?”  Abby affirmed they were.  Dr. Sanders said “hold on!”  She disappeared back in the treatment area.  She returned with a couple of bags of elastics.  She pulled an elastic out, it was a bright blue, and held it up beside one of the bows in the girl’s hair.  Dr. Sander’s said “it is almost a perfect match.  If you have to wear the elastics, you might as well match right?  I mean, I am doing it with my facemask.  At least you don’t have to wear one of these while cheering.  Right?”  The girl took the elastics and said “thank you Dr. Sanders.  Thank you for not making me wear my headgear except at night.  And thank you for not making me wear one of those” gesturing towards her facemask.  She continued “Wait, I didn’t mean it like that.  I know all of ya’ll have to wear them.  Crap… I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…”. Dr. Sanders cut her off by saying “stop Abby, I get it.  A facemask is VERY conspicuous.  But it is the most effective tool to fix certain bite issues.”  Dr. Sanders looked at me and said “isn’t that right Rob?”  I was a little caught off guard but affirmed “absolutely, they are effective.  And you ladies make them look cute.”  I noticed out of the corner of my eye this made Lauren smile. 

Abby continued “well, I am sorry, that came out wrong.  By the way, how in the world did you convince Mrs. Thompson to wear her headgear full time?  She is pretty embarrassed to have braces at her age.  I didn’t even know she had headgear.  And now suddenly for the last week she has been wearing it at school and at cheer practice.  I don’t know what seems crazier, that the principal of my high school wears headgear to school, or that our cheer coach wears it to school AND to practice.”  Dr. Sanders said “well Meredith; excuse me Mrs. Thompson; is a very dedicated patient.  As is Mrs. Parker.  Both really want the best outcomes in their treatment.  And I can be pretty persuasive when I need to be.”  As they talked, I put two and two together and realized the cheer coach they were talking about was the woman I had seen the week before, Mrs. Meredith Thompson, the tall blond woman who now had wired in high pull headgear.  She was a high school teacher AND the cheer coach.  Wow, she WAS brave.  But wait, she wasn’t the only one at her school?  The principal wore it as well?  I wondered if this was because Dr. Sanders had wired it on?  Or if she wore it because she knew if she didn’t Dr. Sanders would not give her a choice in the matter.  I noticed that Dr. Sanders had not mentioned that one of the methods she would use to persuade a patient to wear their headgear was to wire their facebow in.

Lauren handed Abby her appointment card.  Abby thanked her then said “so, you promised you would take these off at my next appointment, right?”  Dr. Sanders laughed and said “I promised to try by your next appointment.  But I do promise if not that one, the very next one.  So worst case, we are talking 3 more months.”  Abby said “I would love it if you could make it the next one.  That way I could at least cheer at the last few football games without braces.  I’m a senior, and no one has ever seen me cheer without braces.”  Dr. Sanders stood there in silence for several moments.  She looked at Abby and said “ok, I promise you I will take them off at the next appointment.  You might have to wear a couple of functional appliances for a few months, but you will be able to take them out.”  Abby jumped against Dr. Sanders giving her a huge hug.  She screeched “THANK YOU DR. SANDERS!  THANK YOU!”  As she hugged Dr. Sanders she was jumping up and down.  She finally let go of Dr. Sanders and stepped back.  Dr. Sanders continued “I promise to take them off at your next appointment IF you wear those elastics like I ask.”  Abby said “I promise!  I promise I will keep them in my mouth all the time!”  Dr. Sanders said “and remember to change them out every morning, after lunch, and after dinner.  Three new sets per day.”  Abby said “I promise!  Thank you so much, I am so happy!”  She turned and skipped towards the door.  Dr. Sanders stopped her by saying “Abby, since your next appointment isn’t for six weeks, good luck with cheer.  And tell Mrs. Thompson and Mrs. Parker that they are doing great.  Tell Mrs Thompson for me.  But also do me a favor and tell her yourself.  I bet she would appreciate it.”  Abby turned with a huge smile on her face and said “sure thing Dr. Sanders.  And again thank you so much.”  She then headed out through the door, seeming to be floating as much as she was walking.

As Dr. Sanders walked over to lock the door I said “wow, you made her day.  Maybe her week, maybe her year.”  Dr. Sanders looked at me seriously and said “and that is what makes this worth it for me.  To see the excitement on patients faces when they get their braces off and see their new smiles.  And it is also why I am so strict at times.  I want them to be over the moon happy when they see their new smile.  Despite the road it takes to get there, I have yet to have a patient tell me it wasn’t worth it once it is all done.  Speaking of which, come on and follow me.  We have a few things we need to do.  And by the way, where is your facemask and protraction brace?” 

I looked at her and said “I didn’t bring them.  I thought you just wanted to take a look at my expander and have me show you that I know how to turn it.”  She looked at me coldly and said “no, we have a few other things to do today.  And even so, you ALWAYS need to bring ALL your appliances with you to every appointment.  I thought you knew that.  Normally this would be strike one.  But it is my fault.  I just assumed you knew.  So, I won’t count this one against you.  Come on, follow me.”  As I followed along behind her I couldn’t get over how serious she had turned and how suddenly it had happened.  As I followed behind her I pleaded “Dr. Sanders, I am really sorry.  Honestly, I didn’t know.”  She stopped and looked at me.  She said “no need to apologize.  This is my fault.  I have probably been too lax in your treatment on account of your relationship with Haley.  We will rectify that today.  Come with me to my office and we will go over some ground rules before today’s appointment.”

As I followed along behind her my stomach was churning.  What did Dr. Sanders mean by “too lax”?  And what were these ground rules she spoke of?  Regardless, I felt like I had really messed up and that I was being marched to the principal’s office.  And that made me think of Dr. Sanders’ three strikes policy.  And the fact that there was a high school principal right this very minute sitting behind her desk wearing headgear.  I don’t know if I had ever felt more nervous than I did as I sat down in Dr. Sanders’ office.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: First Time Home Buyer
« Reply #134 on: 30. May 2023, 17:30:38 PM »
Part 57.

Dr. Sanders sat down behind her desk.  She sat there in silence steepling her hands.  I couldn't take the silence and again apologized "Dr. Sanders, again I am sorry.  I really didn't know.  I hope you aren't upset."

She looked at me and said "I am upset.  But I am upset at myself, not you.  I feel I have not been professional with your treatment.  I haven't explained my rules.  I haven't had you sign a treatment contract.  None of my normal protocol.  It is almost like boom, you were just in treatment one day.  But, in my defense, you are the first case I have had like this; a husband, well significant other, of an employee starting treatment.  So this is new territory for me.  No, I am not mad at you.  But let's get you started with a real treatment plan."   She got up and walked over to a filing cabinet.  She opened it and removed a stapled packet and laid it down on her desk in front of me.  She sat in the chair beside me. 

She said "this is my standard treatment contract.  Please read through it.  I do want you to sign one."  As I read through it she explained some of the high points.  Dr. Sanders said "so, this explains the financials.  If you fall behind on payment, treatment will be suspended until payment is made current.  It also outlines the expectations you can expect from this office.  We will provide you with the best treatment plan to achieve your treatment goals.  In the office I will offer a professional doctor/patient relationship.  That doesn't mean we can't be friends outside the office.  But in here, I am the doctor and you are the patient.  It also outlines what is expected of you, the patient.  You will be on time for your appointments.  You will bring all your appliances with you to all appointments.  Even better is if you just wear them.  You will agree to follow the treatment plan and instructions of the doctors and staff.  It outlines my three strike policy.  This really revolves around removable appliances.  If you do not wear them as prescribed, on the third strike the appliance will be made fixed through the duration of treatment or until the appliance is no longer needed.  It also explains my wear tracking system, I have a website set up so patients have their own log in.  This site allows patients, or parents in the case of our younger patients, to track their wear time.  This is a tool for patients to track their time to make sure they are getting in their required time.  And it is a way for me to monitor patients.  And yes, patients can lie.  But, if I catch a patient lying to me, that is automatically three strikes.  Period, no questions asked.  I am honest and upfront with patients, and I expect them to return the same courtesy to me.  I promise it is much better to be honest and say "sorry, I just haven't been wearing it" than to lie about it.  I have not been having employees use the system.  But, thanks to you, I am now.  Including myself.  It is just the right thing to do.  Like I have said before, I can't expect patients to do something that we ourselves are not willing to do."

Dr. Sanders went silent as I finished scanning through the contract.  Once done I lifted my head.  She looked at me and asked "are you ok with this?  If not, we can stop treatment now and I will hold no ill will. Again, it is all my fault that I did not go over this with you at the beginning."  I said "if you will hand me a pen, I will sign this.  I did not bring one.  I must have left it with my facemask and protraction brace."  Dr. Sanders laughed.  She said "Wonderful!  And you are a funny and charming guy.  I am so happy we can continue on this journey together.  And thank you.  Are we still friends?"  I smiled at her and said "of course we are."  She looked at me and stuck her hand out.  I shook it.  She said "I will give you a hug outside.  But remember, in here I have to keep it strictly professional."  I looked at her smiling and said "yes ma'am Dr. Sanders."  She said "thank you.  Also, and this is not because you have been a bad patient, I want to start scheduling your appointments during our standard operating hours.  This is mainly just because now that everyone in the office is in treatment, it is a struggle to get all of our appointments administered in three hours each Friday.  I hope that isn't a problem."  I looked at her and said "nope, not a problem at all.  Though I hope you will still let me sit with Haley during her appointments."  She said "absolutely!  What, do you think I am some kind of monster" and laughed.  I let out a sigh of relief.  I was not really in trouble.

Dr. Sanders looked at me and said "again, thank you.  Now, let's go get you, Haley and Britt fixed up!"  I followed behind her into the treatment area.  Haley and Britt were over at the sink sorting through tools and organizing a big slotted tray full of brackets.  I walked up behind Haley without her noticing and wrapped my arms around her.  As I did I said "they were right, all the pretty girls hang out here."  She turned in my arms and said "hey babe, fancy meeting you here" and hugged me back.  Dr. Sanders said "hey you lovebirds, let's get this show started.  I am ready to go home."

The three of us gathered around the chair, and Dr. Sanders one by one examined each of our mouths and our expanders.  She gave us all a clean bill of health, and said it looked like our hygiene was good.  She then had us begin turning our expanders.  She had each of us turn them ourselves.  It took me the longest to get the wrench positioned on the expander.  After I did, I noticed that Haley and Britt already had theirs in position.  I noticed they were watching me, waiting on me to catch up.  We made our first turn in unison.  I thought this appropriate as we were all in this together.  As I turned mine, I couldn't get over how strange it felt.  It wasn't pain, though it bordered on the edge.  Instead it was just a feeling of pressure through my face I had never experienced before getting the expander.  After the first turn, we all made a second turn.  This one resulted in even more pressure.  Once we were done Dr. Sander's said "Yay!" as she clapped her hands together.  She continued "and now you are on your way.  It will get easier the more you do it.  Now, let's get on with the rest of it.  Britt, would you get back in the chair please."

Once she was in the chair Dr. Sanders said "so Britt, we need to make sure we keep that lower jaw of yours in sync with your upper maxila as we bring it forward. We could do that with a herbst.  But I think a better, more discreet method will be the use of a Mara appliance.  Those upper molar bands already have the bucal tubes I need.  We just need to get the lower bands with stops installed on you, and then place the elbows on the upper. I think I can manage even though you haven't had spacers on bottom." 

Dr. Sanders got up and went over to the cabinet and pulled out a tray.  She removed a couple of silver bands with large metal stoppers on them and a couple of stainless bent elbows.  I then realized that Bri was not here.  I asked Dr. Sanders "where's Bri, is she ok?"  Dr. Sanders looked over and said "yes, she is great.  She has an eye doctor appointment this afternoon.  But she is good.  But that leaves me as the orthodontist and assistant today." 

Once she returned she dabbed some cement on the bands and placed the bands over Britt's teeth.  Without spacers, Dr. Sanders had to really force them down over Britt's teeth.  As she did I noticed Britt was wincing.  Once done, she quickly cured the cement with the UV light.  She said "almost done".  She then inserted the bent elbows through the bucal tubes on Britt's upper molars, and bent them with a pair of pliers.  She said "and now we will keep your lower jaw forward Britt.  Be careful at first when you bite down so you don't bash the elbows against the stoppers. It won't hurt the appliance, but it won't feel good. At first, you will want to consciously make an effort to keep your lower mandible forward when you bite down.  But after a while your jaw will get used to it's new position and it will naturally close without hitting."  I watched as Britt opened and closed her mouth.  She looked at Dr. Sanders and said "yeah, this will take some getting used to."  Dr. Sanders replied "I bet you get used to it by Monday, the body is quick to adapt."  She looked at me and said "Rob, now it is your turn.  We need to do the same for you."  Oh shit I thought.  My premonition of getting more metal was correct.

I obediently sat in the chair without complaint.  Afterall, I had just signed a contract saying I would do exactly that.  Dr. Sanders repeated the process on me.  As she forced those molar bands on, it straight hurt.  She noticed my face and said "your teeth will ache for a few days, but it will go away."  After she had installed the metal elbows, I tentatively bit down.  And wow, did this thing keep my lower jaw forward.  There was no way for it to slide back.  I knew I just had to look like a bulldog.  As soon as Dr. Sanders proclaimed she was done, I got up and went and looked at myself in the mirror.  I did not look like a bulldog, but I did have a more defined jaw line with my mouth closed.  I opened my mouth to see how visible it was.  I saw that I couldn't really notice anything else in there, it blended in with all the other metal already there.  As I opened and closed my mouth I thought "this should be manageable."  Then I thought to myself "it better be, I don't have any other option other than quitting."  And I wasn't going to do that.  Because of Haley.

I returned to the chair.  Dr. Sanders looked at me and asked "you ok?"  I said "yes, I just wasn't expecting it."  She said "just remember what I told you earlier.  I have yet to have a patient tell me it wasn't all worth it in the end.  We are almost done!  Tonight, I need you all to start wearing your protraction devices for at least 14 hours a day.  Rob, now that you have that Mara you can just wear the facemask if you want.  Or you can wear the protraction brace.  It is completely up to you.  And girls, I made the decision just a bit earlier, we are all going to start using the wear tracking system we use with our patients.  I will get you all your log in and passwords now.  Let me go get them from my office."  As Dr. Sanders stood Britt objected "Dr. Sanders!  Doesn't Haley get any new accessories today?  Come on, this isn't fair!"  Dr. Sanders said "I said we were almost done, not that we are done.  I am saving the best for last.  Let me go get those logins and passwords first.  Then I will come back and get Haley all set up with her new gear."

As she walked away, I saw Haley's face turn white.  I walked over and wrapped my arm around her and said "I am sure it won't be bad baby!"  She gulped and leaned herself into me, like she was trying to hide.  I wrapped my other arm around her and stroked the back of her head and said "whatever it is, we will get through it."