ForumOnline-Shop

Author Topic: Jennifer  (Read 19769 times)

Offline mr_90proof

  • Silver Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #15 on: 23. February 2022, 05:57:40 AM »
Chapter 9.

The followup appointment the following Friday afternoon went much as Emily had predicted.  The sleep doctor went over her results, throwing out terms Jennifer didn’t completely understand as she just nodded in agreement.  He was prescribing her a cpap, and would have Emily finish up her mask fitting and instructions on how to set up and use everything correctly.  Jennifer was ok with this, she had made peace with the idea of the cpap before the appointment.  After the doctor finished, he had Jennifer taken to the lab where Emily was waiting. As she sat down, Jennifer said to her “Well, you called it”.  Emily smiled, held up a mask, and told Jennifer “and here is your shiny new mask”.  Emily told her the brand and explained this was a full face mask, which meant it covered both her mouth and nose.  She then fitted it on her face, attaching the straps around her head and adjusting them until they fit correctly.  She removed the mask, and had Jennifer move so she was facing towards a mirror.  She instructed Jennifer to watch what she was doing, and again put the mask on, explaining the order to fit the straps as she went.  She explained the mask should fit snug, but shouldn’t be uncomfortably tight.   She took a piece of hose, and showed Jennifer how to attach the hose to the front of the mask, then removed everything, again noting the order of the steps involved.  Once she had the mask off, she handed it to Jennifer and told her to try it.  She had Jennifer try it several times until both were confident she could do it.  She told Jennifer the first few times she might want to put her mask on in the mirror.  But she told her after a few nights she would be able to do it in her sleep and laughed.  She moved on to showing her how to set up and use the machine.  She told Jennifer to watch as she adjusted things on the machine, setting everything as prescribed by the doctor.  She said the machine was smart, and should remember those settings.  But, at least the first few nights she should check the settings before bed.  Finally, she had Jennifer put the mask on again, connect it to the hose, and turned it on.  As the machine whirred and the air flowed, Emily told her this is how it should feel.  She let Jennifer experience it for a minute or so, then turned the machine off and asked her to take the mask off.  It all seemed pretty straight forward to Jennifer.  Emily handed her a manilla envelope, which included instructions on everything they went over in case she needed to review it once she got back home, as well as the instructions and settings for her machine.  She also noted that there was a good youtube video available on the clinic’s youtube channel that showed how to put on and remove her exact mask if she needed a visual.   When asked if she had any questions, Jennifer replied “No, you did a great job”. Emily said the last thing to do is schedule a follow up in 6 weeks.  She said they just wanted to check a few things to make sure everything was working, and if there were any slight adjustments that needed to be made.  She explained they were usually able to get everything right the first time, but sometimes there were a few slight adjustments that needed to be made to get things dialed in perfectly.  She boxed everything up, and then gave Jennifer a few parting words.  She warned her that the first few nights would be strange.  She also warned that she might have some red marks on her face in the mornings, but there should not be pain.  She said the red mark would lessen or disappear completely as her body got used to it.  She gave her a few tips; she handed Jennifer a sleep mask to cover her eyes if she didn’t already have one.  Jennifer said she didn’t.  Emily told her to try it out the first few nights when she got ready to go to sleep.  Emily said it seemed to help a lot of patients adjust to falling asleep more quickly. She also recommended she put chapstick on each night before she put her mask on.  And finally, she said for at least the first few nights, starting tonight, she should wear the mask a few hours before bed.   She said obviously don’t hook the hose up, but wear it around the house a few hours just to get used to the feeling of it.  She said to stick with it a week, and she said by the following Friday she would be wanting to put her mask on before she went to bed.  She gave Jennifer her card with her cell number on it and told her to call or text if she had any issues or questions.  Jennifer pulled her phone out, and entered her number.  She told Emily she was liable to lose the card before she made it out of the building  Emily laughed and said she was the same way; that is why she had also included her card in the manilla envelope.  She told her she would see her in six weeks, and said goodbye.

Once home, Jennifer got the machine inside and set up beside her bed. She plugged it in and made sure all the settings matched those on the spec sheet she had been given and then powered it on. It whirred to life.  She flipped it off, and then went to the mirror and put the mask on as she had been instructed.  She went back and set on the edge of the bed, hooked the hose up, and turned the machine on.  She felt the air hit her face.  Feeling like everything was correct, she turned the machine off, removed the mask, and layed it on the nightstand beside her shiny new cpap machine.  She then started dinner for her and her boys.  As they ate dinner they filled each other in on their day, and plans for the weekends.  Jennifer told them she had gotten a cpap that afternoon and wanted to show it to them.  But she jokingly told them they better not laugh.  After dinner she went into the bedroom, and came back out wearing her cpap mask.  Despite her admonishment to them earlier, they both did laugh.  She told them to knock it, but it came out sounding like Darth Vader had said it.  This just made the boys laugh more.  Her oldest hugged her, and told her they still loved her, even if she was Darth Vader.  This made her laugh, which also sounded strange through her mask, causing them all to laugh again.  She explained she had been instructed to wear it a few hours before bed the next few nights.  Again she told them no to laugh, and then told them she better not hear them snoring or she had one for them too.

She wore her cpap a few hours as she did a load of laundry and read her book, At around 10 she headed to bed and sat down on the edge of the bed.  She then hooked up the hose, turned the machine on, got under the covers and finally pulled the eye mask down over her eyes. She fell asleep surprisingly quickly.  The next morning she woke up feeling good.  She sat up, took both her masks off, and went into the bathroom.  Again Emily had been correct in her prediction.  There were red marks on her nose and cheeks, but they weren’t painful.  Over the next few nights, Jennifer adjusted quickly to her new sleeping arrangement.  By the middle of the week, as she got ready for bed, she thought about how anti climatic it all had been.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as she had anticipated, and again realized Emily was correct when she said it was no big deal.  On Friday she got a text from Emily.  It asked her how things were going.  Jennifer replied back that things were going great, that Emily had been correct about everything.  Emily asked her if she had more energy, and it was then that Jennifer realized she did have more energy.  And she had not had the urge  to take an afternoon nap one day that week.  She replied back to Emily that she did have more energy, and was very appreciative of all her help.  Emily replied back that was her job, but thanked her anyway.  She wished Jennifer a good weekend, and said she would see her in 5 weeks.

That followup appointment went smoothly.  Her followup appointment for her back did as well.  The x-rays showed no changes.  Dr. Andrews did transfer her case over to the scoliosis clinic, but it was just for her annual x-rays and scoliosis screening.  Over the next few years, everything seemed to go great.  Both her boys had graduated and were off at college; one was on track to graduate soon and her youngest was doing well.  They both were in school out of state, but they still visited on their breaks.  Things were great at work, she had gotten a promotion to vice president of finance, and now had her own office and her own personal assistant.  Everything was wonderful.  A couple of her friends had thrown her a big 40th birthday party, and she even had a date here and there but nothing too serious.  She visited both the sleep center and the scoliosis center for her annual checkups.  There were no real changes.  She was happy, enjoyed her job, and other than a few “getting older issues” her health was great.  Over the four years she had noticed she was straining to see her computer screen.  She ended up with glasses, and another annual checkup to add to the sleep center, scoliosis center, and her annual dentist appointment.  She had also started to have some mild carpal tunnel issues, which see had self diagnosed and was treating herself.  She had picked herself up a couple of wrist braces which she wore at night and around the house if her wrists were bothering her.  But overall, things were great as Jennifer approached her mid forties.

Offline mr_90proof

  • Silver Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #16 on: 23. February 2022, 11:20:21 AM »
Chapter 10.

Over the previous 4 years, Jennifer had worried little about her back.  She visited The Scoliclinic once a year for her x-rays and checkup.  And she still did her morning exercises, though not has diligently as she had when she first started.  In fact she had become pretty lax over the last year, often only doing them once or twice a week.  However, she woke up one morning with stiffness and soreness in her back, so she committed to do them every morning that week.  However, at the end of the week, despite her stretching and exercises she still felt a twinge in her back. She had just had her annual checkup a few months earlier and everything was fine.  Surely it wasn’t something serious.  But she figured she better call and make an appointment to have it checked out.

A week later she sat in Dr. Wellington’s office after she had gotten x-rays taken.  He started off by telling her he had bad news.  He said her spinal curvature had progressed an alarming amount since her last appointment several months earlier.  He talked several minutes describing her condition, mentioning terms like thoracic scoliosis, cervical kyphosis, cobb angle, and more.  It was a lot for Jennifer to take in.  He said there were a couple of options.  He motioned towards the screen on the wall mounted above his desk between the two of them, and started talking about options as he went through slides up on the screen.  He really got down in some details, talking about the history of scoliosis braces and of spinal fusion to treat scoliosis.  Once he was done, he turned to Jennifer and asked her what she thought.

The first thing she said was “Wow, this is terrifying.  So what you are telling me is I have three options.  One, do nothing, let my spine continue to do what it is doing and end up crippled, with surgery being the only option at that point.  Two, go ahead and have spinal fusion now despite all the risks and drawbacks.  Or three, get a scoliosis brace and try to stop or even correct my curve to avoid surgery.  And if this doesn’t work then surgery is still an option”. 

He agreed with her that was correct.  He said he would recommend bracing to start.  He said if she needed more information or time, she was welcome to let him know.  Also, if she wanted to get another opinion or two that was understandable.  She asked him what bracing would involve.  He told her, noting that the brace was a new design he had actually come up with.  He said he had basically stolen all of the best ideas from several different existing braces, and incorporated them into one brace.  He then motioned for her to watch a quick video up on the screen.  When it was done he told her that was one of his actual patients that had undergone treatment several years earlier, and that she was now doing well, had corrected her curve some, and now only wore her brace at night to maintain it.  The doctor continued that there would be a period of adjustment wearing the brace, and it would impact her day to day life some, especially at the beginning.  But he said, it wouldn’t impact her as negatively as a failed spinal surgery.

After a few minutes of thinking and trying to untwist the thoughts racing through her mind, Jennifer looked up at him and said “well, I only see one option, to try the brace”.  Dr. Wellington said great, lets get you scanned and measured.  After about an hour she was back in his office.  He explained that it would be one to two weeks before her brace was fabricated and delivered.  Once it was ready she could come in and get fitted in it.  In the meantime, he said he wanted her to get fitted for a nightguard and handed her a list of dentists.  He said as there was going to be a cervical component to her bracing regiment, he wanted her to get fitted with a dental appliance to avoid clenching, grinding, or even shifting of teeth.  He said she would only need to wear it at night. Further, he said he had collaborated with each of the dentists on the list, so they would know what she needed.  She nodded, still in a daze and asked if that was everything for today.  The doctor replied back that it was, and then assured her she had made the right decision.  He said they would contact her when her brace was ready, but to go ahead and get the appointment for her dental appliance made as soon as she could.  He said it might also take a few days, and he wanted her to bring it with her to her fitting appointment.

Offline m1090y

  • Special Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1967
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #17 on: 23. February 2022, 11:47:13 AM »
It's great to have a new author and this is a really well written story.  The description of symptoms and attempts to diagnose was very realistic.

Offline mr_90proof

  • Silver Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #18 on: 23. February 2022, 13:35:43 PM »
Chapter 11.

Once she got home, Jennifer sent Emily a text, asking if she could recommend a good dentist.  Emily replied back, asking her what she was looking to get done.  Jennifer replied that her back doctor had told her to get a mouthguard to help with her clenching, and she wasn't sure if her general dentist really did such things.  He said he had given her a list of names, but she didn't know anything about them.  She wanted to find out if Emily knew anything or had any recommendations.  She added on that so far, Emily had been right on everything she had ever told her, and really valued her opinion.  Emily asked her to send her the names of the doctors on her list, which Jennifer did.  A few minutes later Emily replied back "Dr. Cooper, he is great.  We collaborate with him often".   Jennifer thanked her, and said she was about to give his office a call.  She had not mentioned she was going to be getting a full blown scoliosis brace; she was more than a little embarrassed by the whole thing and was still working out how to tell people.

Jennifer made an appointment at Dr. Cooper's office for the day after tomorrow.  When she had made the appointment, she had told the receptionist she was referred by Dr. Wellington to get a mouthguard or something made and he had said the dentist would know what she needed.  As she pulled up to the office that morning, she was surprised to see it was an actual orthodontist office, more specifically a Neuromuscular Airway Orthodontist according to the signage.  After she had the impressions made of her teeth, she sat down with Dr. Cooper and asked what kind of bite guard she was getting.  He explained she would actually be getting two, one for her top teeth and one for her bottom.  Basically they were hawley retainers, with the addition of occlusional pads to help with grinding and to provide a little cushioning for her jaw.  He explained he had worked with some of Dr. Wellington's previous patients and there was often a period of adjustment that was hard on the teeth and jaw.  Great she thought, more stuff I have to wear at night.  He then said something that surprised her a little.  He asked if she had considered orthodontic treatment, he thought he could really help her.  Taken off guard she said no, I had braces as a kid and my teeth are straight.  He agreed they were, and then asked if she had sleep apnea.  She told him she did, and wore a cpap.  He told her he could get her off that cpap.  He said without even doing an exam that he guessed she had extractions and headgear when she previously received treatment.  She agreed that she had.  He continued on, noting that she was suffering from Extraction Retraction Syndrome, and it was pretty common to find in many people that had worn headgear and had teeth extracted.  He explained that the common protocol in orthodontics for many years was to focus on aesthetics and straight teeth.  This often led to people having retracted jaws, narrow arches, and obstructed airways.  Thus sleep apnea, and the need to wear a cpap mask for life.  He told her he could get her examined and have a treatment plan and cost budget together for her ASAP.  She thanked him, politely declined and stated she had enough medical things going on at the moment.  He said he understood, but if she wanted to explore it, please contact the office.  He then told her the appliances would be ready in a few days.  He scheduled her an appointment for the following week and told her it should be quick.  All they were going to do was make sure the appliances fit, and then show her how to take them in and out and care for them.

The next two weeks were emotional for Jennifer.  She picked up her two new retainers.  Dr. Cooper fit the retainers in Jennifer's mouth, showing her the correct way to seat them, and asked her if they felt ok.  She replied "yeth, jushth bulky" and her face reddened as she heard her lisp. Dr. Cooper said it looked like they fit perfectly but told her to wear them at night for the next week and see if she noticed any sore or raw spots in her mouth.   If not, then everything was good and they would see her annually for her fit check.  He then showed Jennifer how to remove the retainers and placed them in a retainer case.  He said it was important not to try to "bite" them in place, or remove them with her tongue, but with two fingers on each side.  He went over care and cleaning.  He then pulled out a clear bag with a sample bottle of Retainer Brite, a tooth brush and a sheet of instructions and placed her retainer case in the bag.  He did warn her she would have a lisp, as she had already noticed, but reminded her they were just for night time wear at home.  He said it shouldn't be a big deal, but that if she wanted to work on speaking better she should try reading out loud.  The week went smoothly with the retainers, other than the lisp and the fact that Jennifer felt ridiculous going to bed wearing two retainers, two wrist braces, a cpap mask, and an eye mask.  But she knew it would get worse when she picked up the scoliosis brace in three days. She wasn't yet ready to call it her scoliosis brace. They had called her the day before and made an appointment for her to come in on Friday.  She guessed it was done on purpose so she would have time over the weekend to begin getting used to the brace.

The day of her brace fitting appointment Jennifer arrived wearing a sundress.  The Scoliclinic had recommended she wear something loose and easy to take on an off.  She asked them if a sundress would be good, and they said that would be perfect as long as it was cut loose.  Once she arrived she was ushered back into the fitting room.  She entered to find Dr. Wellington and one of his nurses already there.  On the table beside them was a huge back brace, and beside it was something that looked like a neck brace.  Jennifer swallowed hard, knowing that it was hers.  She had seen pictures and video of one like it but seeing it in person and knowing it was hers made her stomach roll. After introductions were made between Jennifer and the nurse Melissa, they began the fitting.  As they had introduced themselves to each other, Jennifer had noticed that Melissa was wearing metal braces on her teeth, along with a bright lime green rubberband that was in a square configuration across the front of her mouth.

They had Jennifer remove her dress and put on a long white tight fitting tank top style undershirt.  They then put the brace on her, adjusting straps and checking the fit.  Once they were satisfied the back brace fit properly, they told Jennifer they were going to leave her wearing the brace for about thirty minutes to see if she noticed any pressure spots that really bothered her.  He explained that it would feel strange, and she would feel pressure as this was an asymmetrical active brace and it was normal to feel pressure.  They just wanted to check for real pain.  They asked her to put her sundress back on and wait out in the lobby until she was called.  This was brace fitting day they said, and they had another patient to see in this room.  After she put her dress back on she checked herself in the floor length mirror and noted you couldn't really tell she was wearing a brace underneath.  She felt like a robot though as she walked down the hall, and really hoped no one in the waiting room would notice she was wearing a brace as she entered and took her seat.  She immediately noticed how much taller and straighter she seemed to sit up.  Slouching was not an option.  When she tried to lean back, she found out quickly how awkward her new body was. She tried to lean back in the chair but realized that wasn't going to work well. She next tried to scoot back across the seat on her butt, getting her back near the backrest and slowly leaned back.  This worked better.  She pulled out her phone to try to occupy her mind.  She willed herself to please not drop her phone.  She knew if she did, it was going to be an adventure trying to pick it up off the floor, and she didn't want to try it for the first time in front of a half full room of strangers.  Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the nurse called her back in.

Jennifer was led back into the fitting room.  The doctor asked her how her brace felt.  She said it felt so strange.  He asked her if she noticed any real pain, and she replied she did not but it was really tight.  He stated it had to be to work.  He asked her once again to remove her dress and picked up what Jennifer thought looked like a neck brace on a stick.  The doctor explained a little about her back brace, explaining that this brace had outriggers that went under each arm stopping just below her shoulder blade.  This was to help correct her kyphosis and would also give her killer posture.  He then showed her how the brace was asymmetrical from side to side, this was to correct her thoracic curve and rotation.  Finally he held up the neck brace he was holding and said this is to correct your cervical kyphosis.  He showed her the threaded holes on the thin aluminum bar that was fit flush into the front of her brace and also the three small knob type bolts that fit into them.  He threaded one in, then removed it.  He did tell her to be careful though, the bar was aluminum and she should be careful she had it threaded correctly before she tightened it down.  He then showed her how due to a tongue and groove type of design the neck brace strut would only mate onto the brace so that the holes were aligned.  He said this would make it much easier for her.  He then asked Jennifer if she had brought her dental appliance.  She nodded and got the case out of her purse.  He asked her to go ahead and insert it into her mouth.  When she pulled out two appliances, he asked her who she had used, and she said " Dr. Cooper".  He nodded and said that explained why she had two separate appliances instead of one big bulky one as she inserted each retainer into her mouth.  He noted that different dentists used different devices, but they all did the same thing.  Dr. Cooper just preferred to use the two individual appliances.  He asked her if it had been a good experience.  She nodded affirmatively, not wanting to speak afraid she would lisp.  He positioned Jennifer in front of the mirror and told her to watch what he was doing in the mirror as she would not be able to look down.  With that, he opened the neck brace via hinges on the side of the brace, put the chinpad up under her chin and mated the assembly to her brace.  As he inserted and tightened the three bolts that held the assembly on her brace, Jennifer felt like she was looking up at the ceiling.  But as she had a pad under her chin, she could not look down.  She had to cut her eyes down sharply to see what he was doing.  Once the doctor was done with that he showed her how to close the brace around her neck and then tighten it via two hook and loop straps.  He told Jennifer that with both the back and neck brace on, her spine was now where it needed to be. He then made a couple of lines on the straps of the back brace and removed the neckbrace, then the back brace.  He asked Jennifer to put it all back on, telling her he had marked the straps so she knew how much to tighten them.  It was awkward, and she took a lot longer than the doctor did, but with the help of the mirror she finally got it back on.  Dr. Wellington pantomimed clapping and told her she did great; a lot of patients had more trouble the first time.  He said in a couple of weeks she would be able to do it blindfolded.  He told her it might seem like a lot right now, but again reassured her she made the right decision. He then told Jennifer they were done and to please slip her dress back on and follow the nurse to the office next door for some care instructions and her wear schedule.  He thanked her for being a great patient, then said he would see her at her one week follow up visit. 

As Jennifer followed the nurse down the hall, she felt like she was in some else's body.  She couldn't move from the hips up, and she could barely see the ground in front of her.  It all felt so alien.  She followed Melissa into the office, and awkwardly sat down on the chair, only perching on the front edge and leaning forward so she could see her.  Melissa pulled out a few pieces of paper and went over them.  The instructions included the care instructions for how to clean the brace as well as how to fit and remove the brace herself.  Also included was her wear schedule.  The wear schedule included a graduating schedule, increasing wear time each day.  It started this evening. She needed to be up to 12 hours by her one week follow up, and up to the full 20-22 hours by her two week follow up.  She explained the neck brace was only to be worn at home and when sleeping.  As long as she got in 10 hours a day with it she would be fine.  She encouraged her to go ahead and try to be to the 10 hours by next week.  She also explained that both the neck and back brace had thermal sensors in them, so they could monitor wear time.  Melissa then had Jennifer stand up, remove her dress, then remove the brace and sit in on the desk.    As Jennifer was slipping her dress back on, the nurse picked up the neck brace.  Once she had Jennifer's attention again, she showed her how to remove and reinstall the pads on the brace.  She said she would give her an extra set, and if they got dirty or wet they could be changed out.  They should be washed by hand and allowed to air dry.  She said she was also including an extra set of bolts for attaching the neck brace to the back brace in case she dropped or lost one. With that, she asked if Jennifer had any questions.  She replied "no", and realized she was still wearing her retainers.  She fumbled for her purse, removed them, and then placed them into her retainer case and back into her purse.  Melissa told Jennifer not to be embarrassed by a retainer, and then gave her a big smile really showing off her braces and rubberband.  Jennifer also noticed a set of hooks on her top teeth and some big steel rods on each side of her mouth that she had missed seeing before.  The hooks seemed like they started back around her molars, ran about half way down each side of her top teeth, and ended in an upturned hook.  The two steel rods ran from around Melissa's top back molars and ended at what looked like a bolt head beside her canines.  As she watched the nurse close her mouth Jennifer realized the bolts made her bottom lip stick out a little on each side.  She thought wow, that poor girl has a lot of metal in her mouth.  The nurse bagged everything up in a cloth bag with 'Welllington Brace' emblazoned on it, pulled the cord shut and handed it to Jennifer.  She got up, hugged Jennifer and wished her luck with her first week of wear.  When they did so, Jennifer felt something hard around Melissa's waist as she put her arms around her and felt something dig into her when Melissa squeezed her.  Jennifer realized Melissa was also wearing a hard, rigid back brace.  As they embraced, Melissa told Jennifer the first two weeks were the hardest, but she knew she would do great. Melissa then released her hold of Jennifer and told her to stop by the desk on the way out to make her two follow up appointments each of the next two Thursdays.


 

Offline Nameless

  • Bronce Member
  • **
  • Posts: 48
  • Gender: Female
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #19 on: 23. February 2022, 19:52:59 PM »
Wow! You are very descriptive and detail oriented, which is making this story really stand out. I love that I can visualize what you're writing. I'm definitely curious about where you're gonna take this story next

Offline mr_90proof

  • Silver Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #20 on: 23. February 2022, 22:23:13 PM »
Chapter 12.

That evening, as soon as she got home, she went ahead and put the back brace on.  She figured there was no time like the present to start.  Luckily she had a full length mirror in the bedroom, and used it to help her put the brace on.  Putting the back brace on really wasn't too hard.  It simply wrapped around her and closed with three velcro straps.  She lined the marks up on the straps to get the correct tightness.  She went ahead and put the neckbrace, extra parts, and instructions on her dresser.  She also marked her start time for the back brace on her wear schedule as she had been told to do.  She went ahead and hung the bag it had all come in inside her closet. She didn't foresee herself needing a travel bag for the brace.  She then headed to the kitchen and heated up a microwave dinner which she ate at the kitchen table.  She noticed that the straight back kitchen chair was the easiest and most comfortable chair she had sat in today.  After dinner, she went back into her bedroom, inserted her retainers, and put her neckbrace on.  She marked the start time in the column for her neck brace. She was determined to try to make this work, and her goal was to wear everything until her bedtime around 10.  She went into the living room with a book to read until then.  She then attempted to sit on the couch.  In reality, it was more falling backwards onto the couch.  Once there, she realized she was looking at the ceiling fan.  She struggled to get up, finally rolling over sideways off the couch.  This was going to take some getting used to she thought.  She went back into her bedroom and grabbed two pillows to prop behind her back.  This worked much better.  She was very, very aware of the brace as she read, but it was mostly just a strange feeling, not an uncomfortable one.  At one point she had heard a loud noise outside on the street and instinctively tried to turn her head and look.  She realized quickly there was no turning of the head while in her full brace; if she wanted to turn she would have to turn her whole body. As the clock approached 10, Jennifer again awkwardly got up off the couch, grabbed her two pillows and made her way back to her bedroom.  Once there, she used the mirror to take the neck and back brace off and then marked her time sheet.  She smiled, feeling a bit proud, when she saw she had worn the back brace for nearly 4 hours, and the neck brace for over two.  Her schedule only called for two hours with the back brace, and one hour with the neck brace. She then thought about taking her retainers out, put she decided just to leave them in.  She had gotten used to wearing them at night over the previous week, and they didn't bother her so she just left them in.  Plus, she thought she had noticed that since she had started wearing the retainers her teeth and jaw felt great when she woke up in the mornings.  Overall she thought it wasn't as bad as she had feared, but she did wonder how she was going to sleep in it.  She then got ready for bed, putting on her wrist braces, then her cpap and eye mask, and quickly fell asleep. 

As Jennifer had no plans for the weekend, she decided to try to wear her new brace as much as she could.  The nurse Melissa had told her that the wear schedule was just the bare minimum and she could wear it more.  In fact, she had told her the more she wore it, the faster she would get used to everything and the faster it would start helping her spine.  In addition, she told her if she got some extra hours over the course of the week, she could bank them in case she had a situation that caused her to be lax on her wear a day or two.  She had explained they weren't sticklers on the number of hours per day that she wore the brace, just the total number of hours for the week and month.  She calculated that the first week she needed to wear her back brace a total of 42 hours, and the neck brace a total of 18 hours.  By the time she got ready for bed on Sunday, she had already gotten in 20 hours with the back brace and 13 with the neck brace.  She had worn the back brace almost all day Saturday, only removing it for a one hour break for lunch. She had even worn it outside an hour as she worked in her little garden, though she had removed the neck brace before she went outside and kept it off the rest of the day.  On Sunday she had worn the full brace for the first half of the day, then taken it off to go to the beach.  She realized that once she got to full time wear, her sunbathing was going to be curtailed a little.  On Monday morning she awoke feeling rested and feeling good about her progress.  She thought maybe this first week isn't going to be so tough.  She had calculated the total hours she needed to wear the back brace the second week though, and realized it was going to be a lot harder at 102 hours total.  She realized soon she was going to be wearing her brace to work, but it wouldn't be today.

On Monday morning, she asked her assistant Jasmine to see if her boss was free and could meet with her.  A few minutes later she buzzed in and told her he was available, and to go on in as soon as she was ready.  Once in Pete's office, Jennifer explained she had been having issues with her back again.  She told him about her appointments, and her new brace.  Then he asked her if she could get a new desk and chair for her office, the one she had just was not going to work for her once she started wearing her back brace in the office the following week.  He enthusiastically said he would do whatever he could to help.  He asked her what kind of desk and chair she needed.  She told him she needed an adjustable height desk and extended height straight back office chair and pulled out some information she had printed from her briefcase.  She handed them to Pete and warned him to prepare himself when he saw the cost.  She continued on, saying she didn't expect Pete or the company to pay for them; she just wanted to ask if it was alright if she got them on order today with expedited shipping to the office, and have one of the maintenance guys help her get them moved into her office and set up.  Pete looked at her with a frown on his face, and said absolutely not, you cannot order these.  With a stunned look on Jennifer's face he continued, I will have Maggie put the order in right now and the company is paying for it.  He then picked up his phone and asked Maggie to come into his office.  He handed her the information Jennifer had given him.  He told Maggie to get this exact desk and chair on order immediately and have it shipped second day.  He then picked up the phone and called maintenance and asked to speak with their head maintenance man Bob.  Pete told Bob they were having an office desk and chair delivered Wednesday, and when it came in he was to drop what he was doing and have it moved into and assembled in Ms. Collins office.  He then asked her what else he could do. She thanked him for what he had already done and said she couldn't think of anything right then.  Then she thought a moment and told him actually, she might need him to give her a little moral support next week when she started wearing her brace at work.  Pete looked at her smiling, and assured her it was going to be fine, and that he would do anything he could to make it easier for her.

The rest of Jennifer's day was uneventful until her phone buzzed around 3 pm, and a text from a number she didn't have saved popped up.  She unlocked her phone and read the message; "Ms. Collins, this is Melissa Saunders from Scolicare.  I am just texting you to check in and see how you are doing with your brace.  I forgot to give you my card; please save this number, it is my cell phone.  Please call or text if there are any issues or you have any questions".  Jennifer quickly saved the number.  She then realized she did have a question.  She picked up her office line and dialed Melissa's number.  Melissa answered on the third ring.  After pleasantries and thanking Melissa for checking on her she said she did have a question.  She asked Melissa where she could get a couple more of the white undershirts she had been wearing under her brace; the one she had was due to be washed.  Melissa replied "oh my God, I forgot to give you extras. I was supposed to give you three additional and tell you to rotate through them.  You got me sidetracked when you were putting your retainer away and I showed you my new braces.  I completely forgot to put them in the bag.  I apologize so much; please let me make it up to you.  If you are going to be home this evening after six, I will bring them by and drop them off to you". Jennifer responded she didn't have to do that, but Melissa insisted.  She asked Jennifer if the address listed on her paperwork was her home address.   Jennifer confirmed it was.  Melissa told her when she left work at 5:30, she was going to head straight over; she should be there around 6. 

As soon as Jennifer arrived home around 5:30, she put her full brace on immediately.  For some reason, she felt like she should be wearing it when Melissa arrived. She didn't even worry about putting anything on over it; the white plastic and metal brace and undershirt was a top of sorts. Promptly at 6 the doorbell rang.  Jennifer went to the door, awkwardly turned her body so she could see through the peep hole to confirm it was Melissa standing there holding a brown sack, then opened the door.  Once the door opened, Melissa squealed "Yay! You are wearing your brace."  She then dropped the bag she was holding and again gave Jennifer a big hug.  She pulled back and then asked Jennifer how her weekend went and how she was adjusting.  Jennifer told her "if you haf time, pleash come in and I will tell you".  Melissa smiled back at her, exposing her braces, and said of course.  Jennifer led her into the dining room, had Melissa take a seat and then joined her across the table.  Melissa sat the bag and her purse on the table and told Jennifer the undershirts were in the bag and that she had thrown in a couple extra to try to make up for her mistake.  Then Melissa remarked that kitchen chairs were usually one of the most comfortable chairs to sit in when wearing a back brace.  Jennifer responded "shpeaking of whichth, and I don't mean to probe, are you wearing a back braysh?  If ith ish none of my bishunesh just tell me; I won't be offended".  Melissa replied "I am wearing a Wellington brace, though it is a little less intense than yours; no I am not offended by your queston; and yes I will tell you all about it.  But first, tell me how your first weekend went".  Jennifer then realized she had been lithping all over the place, probably spitting some too; and apologized to Melissa for it.  Melissa playfully slapped her hand and told her to quit that; her lisp was not bad at all.  She told Jennifer she was clearly able to understand her.  Then Melissa noted she herself had more metal in her mouth than an erector set and once again smiled broadly for Jennifer.  She then continued "even though I have more metal in my mouth than an aircraft carrier, I am scheduled to get even more metal added in here soon".  She tilted her head back, opened her mouth and pointed towards the roof of her mouth, where Jennifer saw there was already a shiny metal wire running across her new friend's palate.  "Dr. Cooper warned me that once I get my expander in, I Melisha, will have my very own lispth".  Jennifer grabbed Melissa's hand and said "you poor thing" then went through the highlights of her weekend, noting she thought she was making good progress.  Melissa agreed she was.  Then Melissa asked her that since she was there, did she mind if she had Jennifer take off her brace so she could take a look at her skin under the brace.  She wanted to check for bruising or a rash.  She explained she would be doing this on Thursday anyway, and if something was developing it was better to address it now than wait for it to become a big deal.  Jennifer agreed and took off her brace and then her undershirt.  She was glad she had left her underwear on.  As Melissa examined her, paying special attention to under her armpits and on her sides where the brace dug in, Jennifer thought how strange it was that she was receiving a scoliosis examination at her kitchen table.  Melissa finished up, saying everything looked good.  She did warn that as she started wearing her brace for more extended periods of time she would probably notice red marks when she took off her brace.  As long as they went away after an hour or two and didn't turn into bruising or a rash everything was normal.  Once done, she kind of nodded towards Jennifer's brace sitting on the table.  Melissa asked her to try putting it on without a mirror.  Surprisingly to Jennifer, she was able to get everything on fairly quickly without a mirror, even the neck brace, or "cervical extension" as Melissa called it, mainly by feel.  Once she had her brace back on Jennifer set back down.  Melissa remained standing and pulled off her scrub top, revealing the light green, yellow and orange flower print brace she was wearing.  Melissa exclaimed "now, let me tell you about my brace".  Jennifer held her hand up, cutting Melissa off.  Jennifer was really interested in Melissa's braces, especially when she had remarked Dr. Cooper was her orthodontist; the same orthodontist that had told Jennifer he could cure her sleep apnea.  Jennifer said "I'm shorry for cuthng you off; and thish may be prezsha, prezhump, inappropriate to ask, but could you also tell me about your braces and Dr. Cooper?  He ish tha ortodonshist that made my rethainers and he recommended I undergo threatment.  Could you thell me about yours?".  "Of course" Melissa said, "in fact my back brace and orthodontic braces are related."  With that she got ready to launch into an explanation of her situation.



Offline bracesfanza

  • Bronce Member
  • **
  • Posts: 41
  • Gender: Male
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #21 on: 24. February 2022, 02:53:13 AM »
Fantastic story. Cannot wait for each new chapter.
Thank you very much.

Offline Lithpkith

  • Bronce Member
  • **
  • Posts: 48
  • Gender: Male
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #22 on: 24. February 2022, 03:52:06 AM »
I agwee, thith ith a gweat thtowy! Pleathe don’t thtop.

Offline mr_90proof

  • Silver Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #23 on: 24. February 2022, 04:37:06 AM »
Thank you for the kind words.  I have a pretty good idea where this story is going, but as I write sometimes I have to change the radio station or take a scenic detour.  I have a few more ideas for stories, but I have bit off as much as I can handle with the current two.  I do hate to put them off however.  Whether it is a story, a song/chord progression, or song lyrics; it seems like often if I ignore an idea or push it off until later I lose it forever.  And no amount of trying to get it back works.

Offline mr_90proof

  • Silver Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #24 on: 24. February 2022, 05:44:46 AM »
Chapter 13.

Before Melissa started Jennifer asked "do you wahn shumthing to drink.  It is sho rude of me, I should have offered you shumthing earlier.  I have water, diet coke, sshweet tea, and shum merlot in the fridge.  I am going to get myshelf a glass of wine.  Do you want shumthing?"

Melissa said "you know, I wouldn't mind a glass of wine myself" and started to stand.

Jennifer told her "you sshtay put, you are my guesht.  I will get them.  I need practish navigating around in thish thing anyway".  She came back a minute or two later and handed Melissa her wine and sat back down across from her.  "I would like to proposh a toast; to my new fren that ish helping me sho much with this whole situaszun, and to my firsht of what will be many glasshes of wine drunk while wearing my braysh".  Melissa laughed and clinked Jennifer's glass.

Melissa said "I would like to add, since I didn't hear any glass breaking, you must have had success pouring wine in your brace for the first time as well".

Jennifer replied "I did, didn't shpill a drop, buth I'm not quite ready to call thish whole mission a success yet, I shtill have to figure out how to drink in thish thing.  I have not tried it yet."  When she tried to drink, she realized not being able to move her head posed quite the predicament.  She tried leaning her whole body back, and this didn't seem like it was going to work either. 

Melissa said "hold on", dug around in her purse and pulled out a ziplock bag with a few flexible straws in it.  She pulled one out and handed it to Jennifer saying "try this".  Jennifer put the straw into her glass and took a sip.  She looked up and said "I guessh I am going to have to invest in shome straws, and probably an eshtra bottle of wine sho I can get ushed to drinking wine through a straw" and laughed.

Melissa said "I bet you get the hang of it pretty quick.  I know I did".  Jennifer looked at her quizzically while Melissa continued on. "Thank you for the wine.  Now, how should I start this?  Well, first, I have been with the Scolicare clinic for the last 15 years.  I started with them right after I graduated nursing school.  I guess I am fascinated by the human spine; it is the core building block of the whole human body.  I also enjoy helping people". 

She went quiet a moment, gathering her thoughts.  As she did, Jennifer did the math in her head.  She didn't see how Melissa could have graduated nursing school before she was 20-22 years old.  That plus 15 meant that Melissa was somewhere in her mid to late thirties. She was a lot closer in age to Jennifer than she had thought; she had pegged Melissa to be around 30 years old.  She looked young.  At that time Melissa started back.

"About 8 years ago, Dr. Wellington started developing the brace we now call the Wellington Brace.  I guess it isn't the most original name.  But it fits in among the other older more traditional braces, such as the Milwaukee, Charleston, Cheneau, and Boston.  I suspect that Dr. Wellington named it after himself, but you know Wellington, FL is just on the other side of the state.  So he covered both bases."  She stopped for a moment, then started back. "I am sorry, I am rambling a bit.  I will try to get back on course.  So, I have been around the whole time he has been developing it and was involved with helping on some of his early research.  In addition, since he started using it on patients about 4 years ago I have been the lead nurse to help him on his bracing cases; both adult and adolescent.  I have seen the brace do some wonderful things for patients.  I am not just saying this because I work there and in fact am wearing one now; but I believe the Wellington brace is the most versatile and effective scoliosis brace on the market.  Me getting my own brace was a bit of an accident; and I don't mean like an injury accident.  About 6 months ago the clinic hired a new radiological tech fresh out of school.  Dr. Wellington asked him to take some practice x-rays.  This was so the tech could get some experience on the equipment we have, and so that Dr. Wellington could review his work.  I volunteered to be the guinea pig.  As Dr. Wellington was reviewing the quality of the x-rays, he noticed there was something amiss about the object in it - my spine.  He noticed I had a right thoracic curve with a little rotation.  It wasn't much, about 20 degrees, right on the border between monitor and brace.   It is considered normal for people to have a little curvature in the thoracic; it is only when it gets to 10 degrees it is considered scoliosis.  Between 10 and 20 degrees we usually just monitor it.  It isn't visible in a person's posture, bearing or stance; and it usually doesn't cause any pain.  And if there is pain we can treat it and alleviate it with physical therapy".

Jennifer stopped her and said "thish all shounds very familiar".

Melissa replied "I thought it might.  So, I had a curve of 20 degrees.  I never even realized it; it caused me no discomfort and it was not noticeable with a visual exam.  My gut instinct was just to go into a monitor protocol.  I met with Dr. Wellington, and he really wanted to put me in a brace.  He thought it would be great if he had someone that worked here that was also a patient here, and he told me I would be better able to relate to patients.  I told him for now, I wanted to monitor.  He asked me several times over the next few weeks if I was ready to get my brace, and I told him 'No, I am going to monitor'.  One day as I was looking at the files of another patient that was coming in for her annual monitoring appointment I noticed she was around my age and her xrays looked about the same as mine.  When she came in for her x-rays her curve had progressed 10 degrees.  That scared me and that was when I told Dr. Wellington I was ready to be fitted for a brace.  That was three months ago.  I went through the very same process you are going through.  That I why I hugged you after our appointment and told you the first two weeks are the toughest.  It really is the second week.  It is hard.  And if you notice, I do not have the kyphosis outriggers running up to my shoulders, nor the cervical extension you have.  I knew you were going to face a challenging two weeks.  And it is why I wanted to make myself available, so you knew someone that was going through the same thing and could empathize.  So, I have now been in my brace for about 3 months, I wear it 20 hours a day, sometimes an hour or two more and it has become pretty easy. It just feels like a part of me now.  That is not to say I won't be happy if I can just get to wearing it part time for maintenance instead of correction.  It just means it gets better, and once it does it isn't bad.  Now, back to my story and my braces."

Melissa stopped and took a sip of wine. "Like you, prior to my brace fitting Dr. Wellington had me visit Dr. Cooper.  Dr. Wellington wanted me to get fitted for a mouthguard, and then get fitted for the cervical extension just so I could experience it so I could explain to patients what the process entailed, what was involved, what it felt like, and what emotions I felt.  At my appointment, Dr. Cooper told me I had sleep apnea; he could tell just by looking at my mouth, as well as slight TMJ.  He also said I had some slight crowding, which he said could be fixed along the way.  He said he could fix every issue I had with treatment.  In addition, he said as a member of a referring practice, I would only be charged for the cost of hardware, there would be no charge for labor.  So i was getting offered a huge discount, and I am a sucker for a deal.  So I agreed to start treatment.  I guess I didn't exactly know what I was signing up for, but I am finding out.  Come sit beside me so you can get a better look at things.". Jennifer moved over to the seat beside Melissa.  "So, the first thing that happened was that Dr. Cooper did a thorough exam including x-rays, and a few other things.  I think he said one was called a CBCT; it showed my airway, which was severely obstructed.  He came up with a treatment plan quickly while I was there, and he went over it with me.  I didn't understand all of it, and I didn't ask any questions.  I knew I needed to do this, and to some degree I wanted to do this.  I mean who doesn't want a pretty smile?  I think maybe the reason I didn't ask questions is I figured the less I knew the less likely I was to get cold feet and run away.  So, the next thing I knew I was getting spacers put in my mouth.  I had the spacers a week, and they did suck.  The next week, I went in and had all this fitted in my mouth.  The first thing he did was remove the spacers.  Next, he installed the upper part of my herbst appliance.  It is all one piece, with two silver crowns, a holding arch between them, two telescoping rods; and because I am extra lucky, two hooks to connect my facemask to."  Melissa removed the rubberband from the front of her mouth and then she opened her mouth wide and gave Jennifer a close look, trying to point to the different pieces. "Next, he installed the lower part of my herbst appliance.  It also has two metal crowns, two arms for a lack of a better word that the rods from the upper piece attach to, and another arch, this time lingual."  She opened her mouth again and pointed out the parts.  "Next he installed my brackets and my archwire.  Then he attached the arms from the upper herbst section to the lower and connected them, literally with little bolts." She opened her mouth and showed them to her.  "I do not like the bolts, they rub on my cheeks and you can see that they make my lip poke out some like two matching pimples. I also have to wear a rubberband, which you have already seen pretty clearly, in a box in the front of my mouth all the time. Finally he finished with what may be the coup de grace.  He fitted me with my protraction facemask.  I don't have it with me, but rubberbands hook from those hooks I showed you to the facemask.   I have to wear it 12 hours a day.  Like our braces, Dr. Cooper's facemask has a way to track wear time, so I can't cheat or lie.  That is why I happened to have that straw in my purse, I have to use one to drink 12 hours out of every day.   In addition, I am going to get fitted for a MARPE expander either at my next appointment or the one after.  Not only is it a palate expander that is going to give me a lisp, it will be screwed into the roof of my mouth.  Yay me.  In summation, I love my braces.  And I hate my braces, sometimes.  But it is already helping me breath and sleep better so I am thankful for that.  If he recommended a treatment consult, you should do it.  If nothing else, I would love to have somebody to go through this with.  And with that, I have to go.  I have to get home and put on that facemask." She fished a fresh rubberband out of her purse and put it back on her braces.  She then stood, leaned over, and gave Jennifer a peck on the cheek.  "I will see myself out.  Thank you for tonight, I enjoyed our talk".  Jennifer stood up and it was her who initiated the hug this time.  Jennifer said "No, thank you.  You have been a lifeshaver.  Lesh do thish again", and finally released Melissa from her embrace.

Online Braceface2015

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1228
  • Gender: Male
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #25 on: 24. February 2022, 05:55:03 AM »
Did all of chapter 13 get posted or was part of it lost?

It's nice to have you writing for us, and you are getting quite a lot posted in a very short time. I'm having a hard time keeping up with what you are writing as I add each chapter to TheArchive.

Offline mr_90proof

  • Silver Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #26 on: 24. February 2022, 06:44:10 AM »
No, I accidentally hit post instead of preview about halfway through when I tried to do some proofreading.  I have updated it now, it should be complete but probably has some typos and misspellings for me to fix.

Online Braceface2015

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1228
  • Gender: Male
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #27 on: 24. February 2022, 07:03:39 AM »
I put each chapter through Grammarly before I proofread it, then read through it thoroughly before I add it to the file in TheArchive. Grammarly isn't always accurate, but it is a good tool to use. I find that writing my stories in a different program, such as OpenOffice or Google Docs, is much easier. It allows me to have a copy of what I have written stored on my computer. All I do is copy and paste each chapter to the Forum when I am finished with it.

With Google Docs, I use the spellchecker to catch spelling mistakes as I am writing, and Grammarly catches some of the other things as well.

Offline mr_90proof

  • Silver Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #28 on: 24. February 2022, 07:21:37 AM »
I have posted over half the chapters from the two stories from an old iphone 7. 

Online Braceface2015

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1228
  • Gender: Male
Re: Jennifer
« Reply #29 on: 24. February 2022, 07:32:33 AM »
If you have an internet connection, Google Docs will work. And Grammarly can be added if you have enough storage space.