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Author Topic: Jennifer  (Read 38018 times)

Offline mr_90proof

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Jennifer
« on: 19. February 2022, 09:45:34 AM »
Chapter 1.

It hurt.  Jennifer awoke slightly, shifted stiffly a few inches and adjusted the pillow she had wedged under her side before she fell asleep. She then adjusted the pillow under her head.  Instinctively with her other hand, without even realizing she had done it, she reached up and touched the metal on her face.  If she could have turned her head she might have twisted a bit in the pillow to try to get more comfortable.  But as she couldn’t, she adjusted the pillows the best she could and fell back into a uneasy slumber.

It had started five years earlier as she approached 40.  Things just started to hurt more.  At first she thought little of it; getting older brings a few more pains.  Getting ready in the morning took a few more minutes.  There where a few more wrinkles in the mirror as she did her makeup.  But she was a beautiful, independent women with two teenagers, so a little backache or a stiff muscle was not something to worry with.  She was too busy, between work and kids, to let a little ache and a pain slow her down.  But then her back really started to hurt.

It was towards the end of her oldest son’s senior year that her back really started bothering her.  The occasional ache and pain had progressed to the point that she had back pain much of each day.  It was not a debilitating pain, but it was persistent.  It bothered her every day; and it had begun to impact her work life.  At work, she had purchased a lumbar support to put in her chair.  It did not help much.  But it was tolerable.

Jennifer was the accounts payment specialist for a small privately owned manufacturing company.  She had worked there for over ten years, had a good relationship with the owners and her coworkers, and generally enjoyed her job. One of the reasons she enjoyed it was the atmosphere in the office.   Most of her job entailed handling invoices that came in for raw materials, shipping, and all the other 101 things that a manufacturer received bills for.  So it was pretty bland.  But she liked her coworkers and the camaraderie in the office.  However as her kids had gotten older, and as she could do much of her job from her home laptop, she had a lot of flexibility.  She could work from home or from the office.  As long as she got the job done, her boss did not care too much whether she was in the office or at home. 

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #1 on: 19. February 2022, 10:25:16 AM »
Chapter 2.

For months, Jennifer bit her lip anytime her back bothered her.  Again, surely this was just part of getting older.  However, at one of the monthly finance meetings her coworker Carla, who was sitting beside her, dropped a pen on the floor. Politely enough Jennifer reached down to pick it up.  As her hand got near the pen, her back objected to this. As she was leaning forward and reaching down to the floor her muscles in her back spasmed.  Perched as she was on the edge of the chair and with most of her weight reaching out awkwardly from the chair, once her back gave out she found herself unceremoniously dumped on the floor of the meeting room.

It happened fast, and several of the seven people in the room rushed out of their seats to see if they could help.  The rest just looked on in shock. 

As Jennifer lay on the floor, her first reaction was embarrassment.  She had basically just fallen out of a chair in the middle of a meeting.  But she was also scared.  She had been having aches and pains in her back for several months and had basically ignored them.   But now that same back had just deposited her face first on the floor in front of a number of her coworkers.  This wasn’t just an uncomfortable inconvenience anymore.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #2 on: 19. February 2022, 10:43:35 AM »
Chapter 3.

As soon as she hit the floor, Jennifer was aware of movement around her.  As she got her bearings she looked up to see Carla and Pete, the owner of the company, at her side peering down on her. Pete told her not to move.  For some reason, this made Jennifer think back to the cpr and first aid class she had taken to become a lifeguard in college.  But that thought quickly went out of her mind, and she told them she was fine.  She sat up against their disapproval.  Between the endorphines and the embarrassment, she was not aware of any pain.  Mainly she did not want to be laying on the floor, the center of attention in a board meeting, because she was a clutz that fell out of a chair.

After repeated admonishments that she was ok, and after threats from Pete to call an ambulance, they all arranged back around the desk and completed the meeting.  However, after the meeting wrapped up and everyone was gathering their laptops, pens and pads Pete discretely asked Jennifer to come into his office.


Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #3 on: 19. February 2022, 11:15:56 AM »
Chapter 4.

As the others left the meeting room, Jennifer tried to hide in the corner, still embarrassed about what had happened.  Pete, as was customary after all their meetings, was the last one in the room.  He approached Jennifer and asked her if she was really ok.  She insisted she was.  Nonetheless he asked her to follow him into his office.

As they entered his office, Pete asked Jennifer to please sit.  While Jennifer had been in the office many times before and had no reason to be nervous, she was.  Pete closed the door and sat in his chair behind his desk.

“First of all, are you ok Jennifer?  That could have been a nasty spill if you had hit the desk.  My first concern is you”

“Yes, I am fine.  I am just a klutz I guess”.

“No, i don’t believe that.  You have worked here too long for me to think that.  You are sharp.  You are smart.  You didn’t just fall out of a chair.  I have seen you the last few months, I have seen the lumbar support in your chair, i have seen you standing up and stretching, I have seen the grimace you make when you pick something up or just move the wrong way.  Something is wrong.  And while I wanted to say something earlier, I did not want to intrude on your personal space.  But after today, you have to see a doctor.  My first instinct as the owner of this company, and looking out for its best interests from a liability standpoint, was to call an ambulance to check you out today.  But I did not want to embarrass you in front of everyone.  But something is wrong.  You have to see a doctor.  Not today, but soon.  I want you to do this because I care about you.  You are a great person with two great boys.  But also because you are a valuable member of our team.  We need you here, and it would just take too long to train somebody new to replace you”.  And with this Pete gave a nervous chuckle.  “I won’t tell you what doctor to see, but I can recommend a great orthopedist.  When I slipped a disk in my back a few years ago overswinging on a drive at the golf course, he was a life saver.  Would it be ok if I called to see if I could make an appointment for my most valuable employee?”

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #4 on: 19. February 2022, 11:22:00 AM »
Quite the different start from "normal", I guess.  ;D But I like it quite a lot.
I'm more than thrilled to see, where you are leading this story. Please DO continue!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #5 on: 19. February 2022, 11:38:18 AM »
The end.

I will continue; excuse switches between first/second/third person; and all the other rules I don’t remember on writing “correctly”.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #6 on: 19. February 2022, 11:54:37 AM »
Chapter 5.

As Jennifer sat there, she heard the boss talking.  But she was still mortified by what had happened.  She heard what he was saying but was not really comprehending it.  But when she heard him ask her if he could make her a doctor’s appointment she snapped back to attention.

Jennifer hated doctors.  She had no real reason to hate them.  And she had much experience with them.  But they made her nervous at best, and flat out scared the rest of the time.  But when Pete asked her if he could make an appointment with “his” orthopedist she agreed to it.  She knew something was wrong with her, and she knew she should see a specialist about it.   

Once she agreed, Pete told her he would make the call and let her know the day and time.  And obviously it would be work related and there would be no question of missed work.  With this Jennifer got up and left his office and went back to her desk.  Over the next hour, several people stopped by to check on her and see if she was alright.  She assured everyone she was just fine.

Towards the end of the day Pete came by her desk personally and asked Jennifer if 2 pm the following Thursday would work for her to meet with the orthopedist.  Of course it would she thought to herself, I will just be here at work.  But with that thought in her head she forced a smile and said “Sure!”.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #7 on: 19. February 2022, 17:38:16 PM »
It is nice to have another writer join us. You are off to a good start,

I always try to ask the new writers if it would be okay if I added their stories to TheArchive. TheArchive is my personal collection of braces stories, some of them dating back to the beginning of the internet when dial-up connections and newsgroups were prevalent. In the last couple of years, I have been sharing my collection with other people who like stories and have kept adding more stories to it.

As for the composition of your story, there is nothing wrong with it. Your spelling is good, you have a good flow through the story and it is easy to follow as it moves along. My suggestion is that rather than post small sections the way that you are, write more of the story using another program such as Word, OpenOffice, Google Docs or whatever program you prefer and then copy and paste it to the Forum.

Numbering each part of it also helps so that when we read your story, we don't miss parts of it.


Offline Lithpkith

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #8 on: 19. February 2022, 19:51:59 PM »
I like thith new appwoach to youw thowy. Maketh me cuwious ath to what happenth netht. Thank you fow wwiting.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #9 on: 20. February 2022, 19:12:19 PM »
Chapter 6.

In the week leading up to her appointment, Jennifer did everything she could not to dwell on it.  On the morning of her appointment, she was filled with a sense of dread.  She wasn’t exactly sure why she dreaded medical appointments so much.  As she got ready, applying her makeup and dressing in her customary white blouse, black knee length skirt and sensible 2” pumps, she wondered why she so dreaded the doctor and dentist.  She thought maybe it was the result of her experience when she was an impressionable teenager with braces. 

In junior high, her parents had insisted she get braces.  In truth, she needed them.  She had an obvious overbite and crowding, even if she didn’t know what that meant at the time.  Being in a small town, there were few treatment options.  Dr. Murphy was her orthodontist.  He was a stern man, ex-military, and the kids undergoing treatment had a secret nickname for him; Sargeant Grump.  In hindsight, her junior high years seemed to have been dominated by orthodontic appointments.  She had received braces when she was thirteen.  To correct her crowding she had had two premolars extracted.  To tame her tongue thrusting she had a large tongue crib installed, which she wore for the first two years of her nearly three year treatment.  She had hated this tongue crib.  It was visible every time she spoke; and even worse it caused her a horrible lisp.  Some of the meaner kids made fun of her, calling her Jennither.  But the crowning indignity was the headgear she had to wear.  Sargeant Grump had fitted Jennifer with a combination headgear that she was supposed to wear twelve hours per day during the week, and 18 hours on the weekends and school breaks.  While she did not have to wear it at school all the time; her mother was very strict with her wear schedule.  She monitored it like a hawk, and several times her mom had insisted she wear it to school to make up for missed time. Of course, as soon as her mom was out of sight she would remove it and stash it in her bookbag.  But as her mom also picked her up after school she had to put it back on as she waited to be picked up.  She did her best to hide, but of course some of the bullies had seen her.  This led to them adding to her nickname; she now was Robot Jennither.  However, this had only occurred a few times.  The worst was the weekends and summer break.  Having to get in her 18 hours, she hid at home much of the time.  That is not to say she didn’t have any social life.  She did.  She had her first boyfriend, she had her first kiss, she went to her first dance all during this time.  But her headgear wear had definitely impacted her social life and schedule.  She thought back to the time her family went to Florida on vacation.  On the agenda were days on the beach, with the highlight being a day at Disney.  Jennifer knew her mom would make her wear her headgear, which would have mortified her 14 year old psyche and ruined her vacation.  With tears in her eyes, she had begged her dad to let her go without it.  After a discussion between her parents, her parents came to a compromise.  Jennifer would bring her headgear on the trip and would have to wear it on the 9 hour car trip down and back, and whenever they were at the condo in private.  But she wouldn’t have to wear it out in public.  She had a great vacation and fell in love with the beach.  In fact, she thought that one week is what led her to take her first job out of college in Florida, where she had been ever since.

Despite her nearly three years in braces, and the pain and embarrassment it had caused her at times. right before she turned 16 she had her braces removed.  She had a gorgeous new smile.  When she turned 16, she passed her drivers test and received her license.  Right before they took her picture, she had removed her retainers and stashed them in her retainer case.  While most drivers license photos are “bad”, Jennifers had not been.  It featured her pretty face and brand new pearly white smile.  High school had been great for her.  She had a car, she was a popular cheerleader, and she was usually dating one handsome boy or another.  As a senior she had made the homecoming court and even been voted best smile. So while her junior high years may have been a little rocky, her high school days had been great.  And she couldn’t help but think that just a little of her high school experience was because of her smile.

Snapping back to the present from her reminiscing, she looked at the clock, grabbed her keys and purse and headed to work.  As she left for lunch, she went by her bosses’ office and knocked on the door.  She received a reply to come in and have a seat.  She told Pete she had her doctor’s appointment at 2 pm and was not sure how long it would take.  He told her to take the rest of the day off and go take care of herself. He repeated how much he had been helped by Dr. Andrews, and that he was sure she would be glad she went.  With that she got up and headed to get lunch before her appointment.  She went around the corner and ordered a salad for lunch.  For thirty minutes she mainly poked around at it.  The butterflies in her stomach had killed her appetite.  At 1 oclock she dumped her salad in the trash can and headed out for the 35 minute drive to Andrews Sports Medicine clinic.


Offline Lithpkith

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #10 on: 20. February 2022, 20:25:40 PM »
Tho faw, tho good! Intewething chawactew development. I’ll be watching fow mowe of thith thtowy!

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #11 on: 20. February 2022, 21:28:44 PM »
Thank you for adding the chapter numbers. And thank you for the longer chapter.

I'm enjoying the story so far, and am looking forward to more of it.

Offline bracessd

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #12 on: 21. February 2022, 17:24:06 PM »
Nice job!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #13 on: 22. February 2022, 03:27:05 AM »
Chapter 7.

Jennifer pulled into the parking lot of the large modern looking glass and brick clinic at 1:37.  By the time she found a parking space and made it into the lobby she had about 15 minutes until her appointment.  She had arrived early on purpose, anticipating a good bit of paperwork.  She approached the front window in the waiting area, told the receptionist who she was, and received her expected stack of paperwork.  She retreated to a corner chair with a desk, filled out everything, and returned it to the receptionist.  The receptionist thanked her and asked her to wait in the waiting area until her name was called.  As she did she checked her emails, trying to take her mind off the fact she was in a doctor’s office, all the while fidgeting nervously.

After a 15 minute wait, a nurse emerged from the side door and called her name.  She got up, waiving her hand and followed the nurse back.  They stopped at an alcove with a tape measure on the wall and a scale.  The nurse asked Jennifer to remove her shoes and stand against the wall where she measured her height at 5’ 5”.  She told Jennifer to keep her shoes off and set them on a small table and then stepped onto the scale; which read 131 pounds.  The nurse noted both on the chart she was holding, and asked Jennifer to grab her shoes and follow her into the adjacent examination room.  Once in the room and seated on the examination table, the nurse checked Jennifer’s temperature and then her blood pressure, noting those as well.  With the baseline information done, the nurse handed Jennifer a hospital style gown and asked her to change into it once she left, telling her she could keep her underwear on.   She said the doctor would be with her shortly and left the room.

After what seemed like a lifetime to Jennifer, but was actually only 10 minutes, the doctor entered the room.  Jennifer felt very anxious and vulnerable in the thin open backed hospital gown as Dr. Andrews introduced himself and told her he understood her back was bothering her.  He then asked her to tell him what was going on.  Over a few minutes Jennifer explained that her back had been bothering her, and then about her fall that had been the reason for her visit.  He asked her if there were any other issues she had recently noticed, and she noted that she had been tired lately and had been having a few headaches in the mornings when she woke up, something she attributed to her back.  He then asked her what she did for a living, if she could think of an incident or accident that could have caused it, and how often she exercised.  Dr. Andrews nodded, and then asked her if she minded if he took a look at her back.  Of course she agreed, that was the whole reason she was here.  He asked her to stand and pulled the gown back from her shoulders exposing her back.  Over the next few minutes he poked and prodded her back, asking “does this hurt” several times.  Once when he was pushing on the muscle towards the back and under her collarbone she noted some pain.  He then asked Jennifer to do some bending; telling her again to tell him if something hurt.  If it hurt too bad to continue she was to stop and let him know.  Several times she did note pain, but never to the point she quit.  Just as she was wondering when this would end, the doctor asked her to put her gown back on and sit back on the table.  He told her he did want to have some x-rays taken of her back; and once that was done he would be back to talk with her.  He told her a nurse would be in shortly, and got up to leave the room.  Jennifer’s anxiety couldn’t handle this, so she asked Dr. Andrews if he thought anything was severely wrong.  He turned and told her he didn’t think so; but he did want to look at the x-rays.

A few minutes later a radiology tech entered the room and asked Jennifer to follow her to the radiology department. Once there, several x-rays where taken from several different perspectives.  Once complete, the tech took Jennifer back to the original exam room, asked her to get dressed back up and to wait in the waiting area.  Once back in the waiting room, Jennifer could not help herself from googling spine surgery.  What she saw terrified her.  She was fighting the urge to just get up and leave when the initial nurse opened the side door and called her name. 

Jennifer followed the nurse back to the initial exam room, and when she entered she saw Dr. Andrews was already there.  He politely asked her to sit in the chair adjacent to him, not the exam table.  First off, he told her he had almost all good news.  He could not find any injury to her back.  She had no disk or vertebra impairment, and he noted no issues with ligaments, tendons, or muscles.  He did note that he had found some of the muscles in her back very tense.  He continued that he thought the root cause of Jennifer’s back pain was sitting in an office chair all day.  He said he could not tell her exactly why her back had spasmed and locked up, but he said it was most likely simply a cramp caused by dehydration.  He then laid out his treatment plan.  He was going to schedule her an appointment with one of their physical therapy techs to go over some stretching and exercises she would need to do.  He said you don’t need surgery or immobilization, you need activity.  He also told her he was going to, for the short term, prescribe her a muscle relaxant to take if she woke up in the morning and her back was stiff.  Again he noted how bad it was for the back to sit for hours at a time staring at a computer screen. He said one thing he did in his office was have his staff use standing desks.  He continued on, telling her “that is the mostly good news, I do have a little bad news”.  He said when he reviewed her x-rays he had noticed a small amount of curvature of her spine, but it was almost imperceptible in the x-ray.  He asked her if she had ever been diagnosed with scoliosis, and after she said no he told her it was probably something she had had her whole life.  He said it was possible it was late onset idiopathic adult scoliosis, but his gut instinct told him otherwise.  He said he was going to schedule a followup appointment for six months just to take more x-rays.  He said in such mild cases as hers, monitoring was all they did.  He continued on, saying there is one more thing that concerns me.  He noted that she had been tired, and having some headaches in the morning.  He told her he did not think this was related to her back at all.  He wanted her to take a sleep test.  He told her she had borderline high blood pressure, which along with being tired and having headaches in the morning hinted towards her having sleep apnea.  He explained that there was a great sleep medicine doctor in the same medical park they were in now.  He explained that he himself was not some new age holistic doctor, he was basically a back mechanic. But he said, any doctor should know that the building block of health is diet and adequate rest.  He went on, saying her height and weight were squarely in the healthy range, so unlike many patients he wasn’t going to recommend she lose weight.  Just eat lots of fruits and vegetables and lay off the donuts he laughed.  He said he was however worried about the rest she was receiving.   He noted that sleep is when the body repairs itself.  In conclusion he stated, I want to schedule you a sleep test if you will agree.  Jennifer agreed.  He smiled broadly and stood.  He thanked her for putting her trust in him, and said there would be an assistant in immediately to take her by the discharge coordinators desk to get everything wrapped up and get those additional appointments made. 

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #14 on: 22. February 2022, 20:07:15 PM »
 Chapter 8.

The next day back at work, Jennifer’s boss came by her desk a little after 8 and asked if she could meet with him after he finished up with his meetings at 2.  At 2, Jennifer went down the hall and asked his secretary Maggie if Mr. Masters was done with his meetings.  She replied with a smile that he was and he was expecting her.  As Jennifer stepped into his office Mr. Masters, or Pete as he preferred to be called, welcomed her in and invited her to sit down.  Pete told her the reason he asked to meet with her was simply to find out how her doctor’s appointment went.  She said it went great, then briefly ran through it.  He told her it was great that it had been so positive, and he was really glad she had everything checked out.  She did mention she had a couple of additional appointments coming up, and Pete told her the company would do whatever it could to accommodate her.

The next week Jennifer had her appointment with the physical therapist.  Over the previous week, she had made it a point to get up from her desk every hour or two and walk around a few minutes.  In addition, she had watched some Youtube videos on back pain and stretching, and had been trying a few of the stretching exercises she had watched each morning.  On the day of her physical therapy appointment, her back felt better than it had in months.  In fact, she felt no pain.  Nontheless, she went to the appointment and was shown a regiment of stretching and back strengthening exercises.  Much of it was very similar to what she had already started doing.  She didn’t think it would be a big deal, it was only a few minutes each morning.  She vowed to herself she would be diligent and do them every morning.  She left the appointment feeling better about the situation than she had in some time.  She did have her sleep study scheduled for the following week, and she was a bit nervous about it.  She had been doing a little research on sleep apnea, and after checking off several of the signs and symptoms as things she had been experiencing, she worried she might have sleep apnea.  She knew that a cpap was the most common treatment for sleep apnea, and she really didn’t want to have to sleep with a mask every night.  But it was so common, she didn’t think it could be that bad.  If they recommended it, she had resigned herself to at least try it.

The following Wednesday after work she headed to the sleep clinic.  She knew she would be early, but she didn’t want to have to drive home, then have to get right back in her car an hour later to backtrack 30 minutes to the clinic. She had a night gown she normally slept in, as well as an overnight toiletries bag, a change of clothes for the next day, and the book she had been reading.  They had explained the procedure, what to expect and what to bring on the phone.  Once she was there and checked in she met with her sleep tech Emily.  She went over everything, took a few measurements of her face and had her try on a couple of cpap masks.  She knew she most look ridiculous in them, but she tried to keep a smile on her face as they went through the process.  Once finished she was escorted to her sleep study room.  It was set up similar to a hotel room, with a bed, a TV, a corner chair and a bathroom.  The tech told her it would be a few hours until they started, so she could relax and watch tv or read while she waited.  She asked her to be ready for bed by 9 o’clock.  Emily also told her there was an intercom beside the bed, and if she needed anything to just call her.  She told her she didn’t have to mash any buttons or anything, she could just talk and they would hear her.  For the next two hours she read, trying to take her mind off of things.  She then got up, brushed her teeth, took her makeup off, cleaned her face, and slipped into her nightgown. 

Promptly at nine the intercom beeped, and a scratchy voice asked her if she was ready to start.  She replied “not really, but we might as well do this”.  A few moments later the door opened and Emily pushed a cart with several machines on it through the door.  If took about 30 minutes to hook up everything up to Jennifer as she sat on the edge of the bed.  She had several different sensors placed on her head, a strap with some kind of box attached to her chest, and finally a little splint like thing went on her index finger.  Jennifer thought she must look like a cyborg with all the wires running off of her.  Emily pulled back the sheets and helped Jennifer into bed.  She explained if might take a few extra minutes to fall asleep wearing everything, but most patients were able to nod off eventually.  She explained they might be in during the middle of the night, and if she needed to get up to use the bathroom, use the intercom and they would come in and unhook everything.  Jennifer told Emily she would do her best to hold it, she didn’t want to have to go through the process of becoming a Transformer again.  At this Emily laughed, wished a good night, and turned off the light as she left the room.

It did take an extra half hour or so for Jennifer to fall asleep.  It wasn’t that anything was uncomfortable, just different and she was very aware of it all.  However, after laying in bed for about 30 minutes she did drift off to sleep. The next thing she was aware of was a voice coming out of the intercom.  Once she came to, she responded.  The intercom voice, who Jennifer now recognized as Emily’s voice, told her she was going to enter the room.  Emily entered the room holding a cpap mask.  She asked Jennifer to sit up and she quickly fitted the mask to Jennifer, hooked a hose to it, and made a few adjustments to some buttons on one of the boxes on the cart.  Emily told Jennifer she wanted her to sleep the rest of the night with the cpap mask.  She told her to expect to feel air on her face once she turned on the machine, and with that hit the button turning on the cpap machine.  She told Jennifer to lay back and go back to sleep.  The mask on her face felt very foreign to Jennifer, but as she was not really fully awake she was able to go back to sleep surprisingly quickly.  Once again, at 6 am, Jennifer was woken by the intercom voice.  It was Emily again, and she said she would be in shortly to unhook everything.  As she undid her earlier handy work, she asked Jennifer how she felt and if she felt rested.  Jennifer responded yes, she had actually slept pretty good despite being dressed up like an astronaut.  She also said she felt well rested, which was not the case every morning when she woke up.  Emily wrapped up and stowed everything on the cart and asked Jennifer to go ahead and get ready for the day and get all of her things packed up as it was time for check out.  She told her there were towels, soap and shampoo in the bathroom, and once she was ready to give them a call on the intercom.  Jennifer showered and got dressed for her work day.  Once ready she called on the intercom.  A foreign voice responded that someone would be there shortly to escort her out.

Shortly thereafter a knock came on the door and a male orderly entered.  He offered to carry her backpack, and Jennifer followed him back into the office where the appointment started.  Behind the desk was Emily, studying some charts and graphs on the table in front of her.  She got up, thanked John for bringing Jennifer in, and asked Jennifer to sit.  She wrapped up the appointment, explaining that one of the center’s sleep doctors would review her results, which usually took 3-5 days.  She went ahead and scheduled a follow up appointment for the following Friday.  As they finished up Jennifer couldn’t resist asking Emily what the study showed.  Emily stated she was not a doctor, and that the doctor would go over the results with her when they met next week.  Jennifer told Emily of her anxiety with doctor’s, and how the wait might kill her.  Emily said she understood, and everything she was about to tell her was off the record.  But based on her experience, she told Jennifer it was clear she had moderate sleep apnea.  She went on that at the followup appointment, the doctor would review her results with her, and and almost certainly prescribe her a cpap machine.  Emily noted that after she had put the cpap mask on her, her snoring had stopped.  Snoring Jennifer thought?  She hadn’t even realized she snored.  Emily continued that she had already sized her face, and the following Friday she would almost certainly be leaving with a shiny new cpap mask and machine.  She said that was one reason she had scheduled the follow up for Friday, so she could get used to it over the weekend. Emily told her not worry though, a cpap was not a big deal at all.  In fact she herself had been wearing one to sleep for the last three years, and it had really improved her quality of sleep and she considered it life changing.  She then repeated however that everything she just said was unofficial, and it would be up to the doctor to determine her treatment.  With that she thanked Jennifer for her time and told her she would see her next Friday.

Offline mr_90proof

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Offline Braceface2015

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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

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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.

Offline Braceface2015

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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

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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. 

Offline Braceface2015

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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.

Offline anton08

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #30 on: 24. February 2022, 16:20:32 PM »
Well, this is one of the best stories in my humble opinion. It is well written, the content is logical, the characters are convincing, very well done! :) Thanks a lot to the author!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #31 on: 24. February 2022, 22:14:13 PM »
Chapter 14.

After Melissa left, Jennifer realized she was hungry and had not eaten dinner yet.  She went into the kitchen and made herself a sandwich.  Jennifer was not brave enough yet to try cooking in the brace.  It felt so weird trying to do things in the brace; her vision and movements were so constricted.  So though it was a little more complicated than she was used to, she was successful in making herself a turkey sandwich.  Though it had been a challenge just drinking with the neck brace on, she decided to try to eat in it too.  She poured herself a second glass of wine, pouring around her straw, and carried her glass and plate back to the kitchen table.  It was doable, but barely.  She could barely open her mouth.  She was not able to take a bite from the sandwich, it was too thick, but with a knife a fork she was able to cut tiny bites and get them in her mouth.  While it felt like it took forever, she finally finished the sandwich.  She realized this would be a good diet plan.  But, not wanting to lose any weight lest the brace not fit, she made a mental note to pick up some nutrition drinks so she could get some calories if she was in a hurry.  She realized this was a whole new world, and she really hoped she could get used to it like Melissa said she would.  The rest of the evening she watched TV on the couch, again using two pillows off the bed to prop behind her.  She made another mental note to pick up some extra pillows so she could just leave them on the couch.

Jennifer was determined to get her daily hours of wear time in, even though she had banked those extra hours over the weekend.  It was a challenge to herself, and she hated to lose.  She stayed up watching TV till 10:30, a little past her normal bedtime, just so she could get her 5 hours in.  She realized her life was now an arithmetic problem, doing the math each day to see if she got her wear time in, and doing the math to figure out how she would get the wear time in the next day.  She realized the next day, Tuesday, called for 7 hours.  She was not ready to try sleeping in the brace yet, so she decided to take off from work a little early the next day.  Tuesday she again got in her time, 7 hours.  After she took everything off that evening and marked her sheet, she realized tomorrow called for 9 hours.  She would have to wear the brace to work, stay up half the night, or try to sleep in it.  She wasn't ready to wear it out in public yet, and she didn't want to stay up all night, so she made up her mind to wear it to bed the next night.  The next evening, Wednesday, she sat on the couch reading.  Her phone buzzed, and she picked it up.  She saw it was a text from Melissa.  It said:

M:  Jen, you have your follow up appointment at 2 tomorrow.  Just a heads up, wear your back brace into the appointment, even if you just put it on in the parking lot.  Even though it is the first week, Dr. Wellington will scold you if you aren't wearing it.  You don't need to wear the cervical extension but do bring it and your mouthguard with you along with your timesheet.

J:  Thanks for the heads up, I will do that.  I was actually not planning to wear it; just bring it with me.

M:  Well then, good thing I text you.  Also, I have an orthodontist appointment tomorrow morning at 8.  I am dreading it; I might get my expander installed.  I spoke with Dr. Cooper and he said it would be ok for you to come back to the back with me and observe my appointment.  You seemed pretty interested in the whole process the other night, and this would be a chance for you to see it first hand.  And maybe you could even talk to him about booking a consultation yourself?

J:  Thank you for the offer.  I would love too, but I have an important meeting in the morning I can't miss.

M:  I understand.  Sweet dreams, I will see you tomorrow afternoon.

In fact, Jennifer had told Melissa a couple of white lies.  First, while she did have a meeting in the morning, it was not one that she couldn't have rescheduled.  Second, Jennifer would not love to.   She was scared of the orthodontist and the prospect of wearing braces again.

She went back to reading; once for whatever reason she thought back to her time with braces as a teen and shuddered. At 10, she got up off the couch and went to the bedroom.  It was the first time she had layed down in her brace, and she realized her normal pillow arrangement was not going to work.  After several minutes of trying different things, she realized she was most comfortable with just the corner of one pillow under the back of her head.  She made a note to not just buy some pillows for the couch, but an assortment for the bed as well so she could try some different things.  She awkwardly rolled over, swung her legs off the side of the bed, and managed to sit up.  She put her CPAP mask on, pulled her sleep mask onto the top of her head, and positioned the hose of her machine on the edge of the bedside table.  She realized she wouldn't be able to turn her head and look over to get it like she was used to but would have to blindly grope for it with her arm.  She laid back down and got as comfortable as she could then attached her hose.  She then realized she also couldn't see her cpap machine.  It was within reach, so she extended her hand out and felt around on the top of it.  She found what she thought was the on/off button and pressed it.  The machine came on.  Yay for small victories she thought.  She reached over, found the bedside lamp, and switched it off.  She then pulled her sleep mask over her eyes.  And immediately felt panic.  She felt claustrophobic, like she was locked in a box.  She was stiff as a board, her face and head were covered by her cpap mask and the associated straps, and her sleep mask put her in total darkness.  Her heart raced and she concentrated on breathing deeply to avoid a full on panic attack.  After what seemed like an eternity she calmed down.  She layed there and layed there.  She could not fall asleep.  Finally after what felt like all night, Jennifer gave up on wearing the brace.  She slipped her eye mask off, disconnected her hose, and rolled up to sitting position.  She saw the clock said it was midnight.  She had layed there two hours without sleeping.  She thought that she could have layed there all night and not fallen asleep.  She took her brace off and marked her time sheet for 7 hours.  She was disappointed in herself, she was supposed to get 9 in.  But she needed to get some sleep.  She went back to bed, hooked up her cpap, and fell right to sleep.

The next day at her appointment, Jennifer put her backbrace on over her clothes in the parking lot, and carrying her cervical extension went in for her appointment.  It wasn't a long wait before she was sitting in Dr. Wellington's office, with Melissa sitting in a chair beside the doctor.  They said their hellos and then the doctor started talking. He congratulated her on wearing her brace to her appointment, he said that was the attitude he loved to see in patients.  He then asked to see her time sheet.  He added up the time and smiled.  He told her "you have done great for your first week, you were at 39 hours this morning.  You are going to get to 41 easily, heck you may be there already but since you didn't put down your start time today I have no idea how long you have worn your brace today.  He told her it was really important she mark the sheet when she put her brace on so she could track her wear time.  He said he had his own ways to tell how much she had worn her brace.  He asked her when she put the brace on that morning, and she sheepishly admitted she had just put it on in the parking lot.  He looked over at Melissa and said "I wonder who gave you that idea" and smiled.  Melissa however did not.  Jen had already noticed her friend had just been sitting there looking dejected and miserable the whole time the doctor had been talking, and Jen realized she had not said one word the entire time.  She worried if everything was ok.  But the doctor just looked back at her and continued on, saying "I see you did not hit your daily goal yesterday for the first time, did something happen?"  Jennifer explained she had tried to go to bed with her brace for the first time, and she just couldn't fall asleep so she took it off after two hours.  Dr. Wellington told her he would write her a prescription for 2 weeks of Ambian.  He said she should then be able to fall asleep; and after a few weeks her body would be adjusted to the brace and she should be able to fall asleep easily without drugs.  He said your time sheet looks good, let's check it.  He then typed a few things on his computer and looked up and smiled.  He said "you are at 39.6 hours with your back brace, and a whopping 33 hours with the cervical extension.  Great job.  It matches almost exactly what your time sheet says.  Some patients try to fudge their numbers, but the bluetooth sensors in your brace don't lie."  He then instructed her to put on the cervical extension so he could check the fit of her brace.  After he was done, he said everything looked great, but he didn't volunteer for her to remove the neck brace so she kept it on.  He concluded by telling her she was doing great.  And even though she was easily going to hit her weekly hour goal this week, he asked her to try to wear it the entire 12 hours today that her schedule called for.  He said with the Ambian, she would be able to do, he was confident in her.  With that, he said that Melissa would wrap the appointment up with some X-rays both in and out of the brace, take a look at her for bruising or rashes, and then next week they would look at some progress x-rays together.  With that he thanked her, said he would see her next week, and left leaving only her and Melissa in the office.

As soon as he was out of the office, Jen looked at her friend and asked "Are you ok?  You don't seem yourself".  Melissa replied "Yes, but my mouth is killing me.  I told you I had an ortho appointment this morning.  I got good news and bad.  The good news is I don't get my expander till my next appointment.  The bad news is he put powerchains on both my upper and lower teeth and adjusted my herbst appliance.  I took some ibuprofen, but it didn't help".  Jen got up and went around the desk and gave Melissa an awkward hug around the shoulders and said "oh you poor thing".  Melissa said "let's go get your x-rays, and excuse me if I don't talk much".  The rest of the appointment went fine, taking x-rays both in and out of her brace, and examining her skin with a clean bill of health.  Melissa asked Jen to put her back brace back on until she was at least back at her car.  She said if the doctor caught her without it they would both be in trouble.  So looking out for both herself and her friend, she but her back brace back on and then got dressed.

Jennifer got to her car wearing her back brace and carrying the neck brace.  She realized she had her brace on under her clothes and would have to strip down in the parking lot to take it off.  Well she told herself, I am going to have to get used to driving in it eventually.  She put her brace bag in the back seat, then sat down in the front seat.  And then realized her seat was adjusted all wrong for driving in the brace.  After a few minutes of adjusting the seat this way and that she settled on a comfortable position.  She was sitting much more straight up than she was used to; and she had removed all her lumbar support from the seat; the brace was now her lumbar support.  She headed to the pharmacy to pick up her prescription.  Driving felt awkward, but not dangerous.  She was very careful though, as she noticed she had to move a little differently.  When she pulled into the parking lot, the line through the drivethru pharmacy window was a mile long.  She made up the decision that, even wearing her brace, she was going to go inside.  She figured she was going to have to be wearing it public eventually.  She steeled herself for possible embarrassment and managed to get out of the car.  When she returned to the car, she realized it was a piece of cake.  Not one single person seemed like they noticed she was wearing a back brace.  And she then realized she had been wearing her brace in public.  Sure it was wading into shallow end; but she had worn it into and out of a spine center and a pharmacy.  Now she admitted in her mind, at both of those places it was common to see injured people in braces, casts, crutches or wheelchairs so a woman in a backbrace might not draw any attention.  But still she thought, it had gone smoothly and she had even forgotten she was wearing the brace much of the time.  Feeling brave and confident, she decided to go do a little shopping.  She stopped at first at a Bed, Bath, and Beyond and got a whole shopping cart full of pillows.  Her next stop was the grocery store.  As she parked, she had an idea.  After she turned off the car she googled "soft food braces" on her phone.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #32 on: 25. February 2022, 00:23:03 AM »
Chapter 15.

That afternoon back home, as Jen was making the several trips to and from her car to unload her pillows and groceries and still wearing her brace, she felt like a champion. She was winning this battle.  She had managed a whole afternoon in public in her brace, and she decided she was going to treat herself by foregoing the cervical extension that evening, at least until bedtime, and enjoy a nice dinner.  Without it on, she cooked herself a nice dinner of pork chops and brussel sprouts along with a side salad.  After she ate and cleaned up she sent Melissa a text.

J:  Hey love, how is your mouth feeling?

M:  It feels like it got hit by a baseball bat then run over by a dump truck.

J.  Aww, I am sorry. :( What plans do you have for tomorrow night?

M:  Nothing, wear my facemask and watch TV like usual I guess.

J:  Well, you have new plans for you and your facemask.  I am going to make you dinner and try to cheer you up.  I will not take no for an answer because I have already been to the grocery store.  And I am not going to even ask what you like, cause I got everything soft in the store.  Whatever we don't eat, you can take home with you so you don't have to fool with cooking or ordering out for a few nights.  What time do you like to eat dinner?

M:  I usually try to eat around 6, as soon as I get home from work, and be done by 7.

J:  Well then, you are going to have to come straight over here after work then.  And don’t forget your facemask, I don’t want you to have to rush off like the other evening.  I was hoping we could eat, and then watch a movie and have a girls night in. 

M:  Aww, you are so sweet.  I will warn you I might not be the best company until my mouth stops hurting so much.

J:  Remember when you scolded me for apologizing for my lisp?  Well, now it is my turn.  Stop it.  You will be wonderful company.

M:  In that case, I would absolutely love too.

J:  YAY! YAY!  HAPPY DANCE!!!  On a less happy note, I am going to try to sleep in my full brace again tonight.  I hope it goes better than last night. 

M:  Take the ambian, if should work.  I am about to take one myself so it will knock me out and I can quit thinking about my mouth.

J:  In that case, I will leave you alone so you can go to bed.  I look so forward to seeing you tomorrow night!

With that, Jen put her phone down.  She had a huge smile on her face.  She was happy and looking so forward to the next night.  She looked at the clock and saw it was already 8 pm.  She sat down on the couch with her new pillows and spent the next hour googling recipes on her phone for the soft foods she had gotten, saving the ones that looked good to her favorites.  At around 9, she took an Ambian and headed to the bedroom.  She went through the same process she had the night before, the only difference being she had a few new pillows to try out.  She got comfy, or as comfy as she could, after about 5 minutes, turned off the lamp and slipped down her eye mask.  She braced herself for the panic to hit, but it didn’t.  She wasn’t exactly comfortable, but after about 20 minutes she fell asleep. 

The next morning she awoke at 6:15 to the sound of her alarm, and out of habit tried to sit up.  She had a jolt of panic run through her when she couldn’t, then she remembered she was wearing her brace.  She processed that in her head again, I am wearing my brace… and it is the next morning.  YAY! She slipped off her eye mask, then her cpap mask, and managed to sit up.  She rubbed her eyes, and again looked at the clock to make sure it really was 6:15.  It was.  She got up and took her brace off and hopped in the shower.  She showered, did her hair and makeup, then emerged to get dressed.  When she entered the bedroom she looked over at her back brace and thought, what the heck.  She put it on, got dressed up, and headed for the office.

About 9, she text Melissa.

J:  Good morning, I hope you are having a wonderful day!  :)  Were you able to sleep ok?  And how does your mouth feel?

It was about 15 minutes before she got a response.

M:  Good morning to you too!  Sorry for the delay, it is brace fitting day and I was with a patient.  My mouth is still sore, but I think it is better.  At least I am telling myself that.  And yes I was able to sleep, that Ambian is for real.  How about you?

J:  I was able to sleep through the night! Wearing my complete brace!  And I feel pretty good today.  So good, I decided to wear my back brace to work.  And so far, so good.

With that, Jen looked up to make sure her door was closed, pulled up her sweater to expose her brace, and took a selfie.  She sent it to Melissa.

M:  :P :P :P❤❤❤ :D :D :D I am so, so proud of you.  I would love to talk with you all day, but I have to run.  I have more patients to lock into their torture devices.  >:D

J:  Haha!  Have a great day!  And I will see you tonight!

Right before lunch time, she stopped by her bosses Pete’s office.  She went in and sat.  She thanked him so much for her new desk and chair, and for getting maintenance to put it together so fast.  She said she loved it, it was perfect, and again thanked him.  He said it was his pleasure and asked how the brace acclimation was going.  With that she looked at him and said “what do you think?”  Pete responded “I have no idea, that is why I asked you”.  With that she stood up and did a spin in front of him, then bent over like she was trying to touch her toes, her whole torso as stiff as a board.  He asked “Are you wearing it right now”.  “Yep” she said, “and to answer how it is going, it is going much better than I was afraid it would.”  Pete said “That is great, I can’t see it at all.  It wasn’t till you bent over did I have a clue.  And by the way, you have killer posture.  I slouch so bad, I might have to get me one of those” and laughed.  He continued smiling and said “and this isn’t sexual harassment but you really do look great.  And remember what I said, anything I can do let me know.”  Jennifer said “well, I was hoping I could leave a little early today, I brought my lunch with me so I can spend it at my desk”.  He looked at her, “Seriously Jennifer, what ever you need to do, you do.  You don’t have to ask me to leave early, unless it is the day of our annual shareholders meeting” and laughed again.

Jen thanked him and headed back to her desk.  As she walked, she thought about what a great guy and boss Pete was and she felt fortunate to work for him.  The next 3 hours went smoothly, the desk and chair were lifesavers.  Jen marveled at how much of a nothing burger her first day at work with the brace had really been.  She had worked it up in her mind that it was going to be horrible.  Maybe Melissa was right, this wasn’t the end of the world. As she was getting ready to finish up for the day around 3, her phone buzzed.

M:  Hey girl, how’s your day been?

J:  It has been great, I can’t believe it.

M:  It is because you are rockstar.  I meant to mention earlier, we knock off at 4 here on Fridays.  I guess you will still be at work, so I will go home and then see you at 6. 

J:  Actually, I am leaving here in a few minutes.  My plan was to have dinner cooked and ready when you got over.   But, it might be even more fun if we cooked together.  How about when you get off, you just come on over.  I have a couple of bottles of wine.  And a fresh new pack of straws.  :) We can cook, drink, and just have us a big time.

M:  That sounds awesome.  Do you need me to bring anything?

J:  Nope, just yourself.  And I guess your facemask  ;D ;D ;D ;D

M:   ;D ;D ;D  ;D

Jen had a huge smile on her face as she finished tidying up her desk.  As she got up and left, she didn’t notice that she had knocked the trifold pamphlet from Dr. Cooper’s office off her desk and onto the floor.  She turned off the lights and closed her door for the weekend.

After she left, her assistant Jasmine opened her door and flipped on the lights.  She was carrying some financial reports she needed to leave on Ms. Collins desk.  As she turned to leave, she noticed the pamphlet on the floor.  She picked it up, saw what it was, and carried it back to her own desk.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #33 on: 25. February 2022, 01:12:48 AM »
Thanks for the idea.  I have tried the note pad by the bed idea.  It just doesn't work for me.  If I don't flesh something out, it just doesn't work to come back to it.  It is just me.  Music is easier, you can just record it.  But written is harder for me.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #34 on: 25. February 2022, 01:18:59 AM »
Also I would like to add, I had planned to get to the conclusion of chapter 15 much, much earlier; but like I said sometimes between way points I end up getting off the interstate and wandering through the country for a while before I get back where I planned to be.  As I type my brain is usually screaming "recalculating route" most of the time.  And sometimes I change my route up completely, skipping planned waypoints and/or adding new ones.  I have a few more major waypoints for this story and a final destination; even a couple ideas on a prologue.  I just don't know how long it will take to get there.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #35 on: 25. February 2022, 05:28:42 AM »
Chapter 16.

Jen was eager to get home.  But driving with the brace still felt very different than what she was used to.   But, she thought to herself, I bet I will get used to it.  After her cautious drive home, she entered her house around 3:30.  First she changed out of her work clothes and into some a little more comfortable, sweat pants a comfy T-shirt and some flip flops.   She wasn't worried if her brace showed through her clothes in front of Mel.   She went in the kitchen and prepped a few things for dinner but didn’t start cooking.  She wanted to wait until Mel arrived before they started.  She did go ahead and mix up two bowls of jell-o, one strawberry and the other mango, and put them in the fridge to congeal.  She also made up two bowls of pudding, one vanilla and one chocolate, and put them in the fridge so they could keep the jello company.  In addition to this, she had gotten three flavors of ice cream; the standbys of chocolate and vanilla.  She had also gotten a tub of rainbow sherbet.  She was very mindful when shopping to avoid any that had nuts, cookie or candy pieces, or caramel in them.  Until now, she had never noticed how many ice creams would be off limits to someone with braces.  Her favorite ice cream was cashew caramel, but she didn’t want to eat anything in from of Mel that she couldn’t have too so she had left it in the freezer at the grocery store.  She went ahead and got a bottle of wine out of the pantry and put it and two wine glasses on the counter.  She then went into the living room and started tidying up.  Not long after that her doorbell rang.  She looked through the peep and saw Mel standing there with a bottle of wine in each hand and a duffle bag awkwardly slung over her shoulder.

Jen quickly opened the door and exclaimed “let me get some of that” and took the two bottles of wine from her.  “It is great to see you, please come on in.”  As Jen led Mel into the kitchen she told her “I told you not to bring anything, but thank you.”  Mel answered “it would be a great tragedy to run out of wine on girls night” and laughed.  As soon as Jen had put the bottles down on the counter beside the one already there, Mel poked Jen in the back.  Jen turned and exclaimed “Hey, what was that for?”  Mel said “just checking patient compliance.  There is another method of checking I guess” and gave her a friendly hug. 

Mel pulled back and said “I have been in these scrubs all week, do you mind if I change?” She patted her bag and said “I brought a change of clothes”.  Jen responded “of course not, follow me” and led her into her bedroom.  “Go ahead and freshen up, the bathroom is over there” as she pointed to the door “get changed and come join me in the kitchen.  I am going to put you to work.  But I will have a glass of wine waiting on you”.  Mel had noticed Jen’s cervical extension on the dresser when she entered.  She looked at it and said “so I assume that is your extension’s home when it isn’t around your neck?”  Jen replied “Yes it is” then pointed to the night stand with her cpap machine, cpap mask, and both her wrist braces. “and there is the rest of my scarlet letter outfit.  I am quite the specimen when I go to bed.”  Mel said “it doesn’t look too bad, certainly better than this” then unzipped her bag, dug around, pulled out her facemask and held it to her face.  She then bared her teeth and braces to her friend and said “now this, this is sexy”.  Jen looked at her and said “ah, so there is the infamous facemask.  And by the way, you are beautiful AND sexy regardless of what you have on your face.  Now get to changing so we can get to cooking and drinking” and walked out of the bedroom.

Jen went into the kitchen, opened the bottle of wine, poured two glasses and carried them into the living room.  She placed the glasses onto coasters on the coffee table and sat down on the couch.  A few minutes later, the bedroom door opened and Mel emerged.  She was wearing a pink floral print casual dress with a little bit of a plunge and sandals.  But the first thing that Jen noticed was the facemask on Mel’s face. 

Jen stood up and said “you look beautiful, but you didn’t have to dress up for me”.  Mel replied “Ha, I am pretty sure this facemask clashes with this dress.  But I wear scrubs all week, so I like to dress up a little on occasion, even if we are just having a girls night in.  I don’t go out too many nights anymore” pointing to her facemask “so I look for any excuse to wear some of my ‘cute clothes’.  Jen picked up the two glasses of wine, looked at Mel, and said “let’s go in the kitchen.  I got some straws, and we can start working on dinner”.

Once in the kitchen, Jen told Mel all the possible choices they had for dinner, and showed her some of the recipes she had favorited on her phone.  They settled on a ground turkey and pea pasta recipe that looked pretty good.  Jen got out the pasta and a big pasta pot as well as the turkey and a skillet to brown it.  Jen made a deal with Mel, she would be on turkey duty if Mel would be on pasta duty.  As they cooked they talked and drank their wine.

Jen made it a point not to mention anything about Mel’s facemask, even if the initial sight of it had shocked her a bit.  As they cooked side by side though, Jen was trying to discreetly take a closer look at the mask on her friends face without embarrassing her.  Jen thought it kind of resembled a catcher’s mask like her son used to wear, just missing a few of the bars.  There were blue pads on Mel’s forehead and chin with vertical bars running down and somewhat following the outside of each side of her face that connected the two pads, then in front of Mel’s mouth there was a horizontal bar with two posts that connected to each of the two vertical bars.  Then there were rubberbands on each of those posts that ran into Mel’s mouth, and finally a black nylon strap that ran around the back of her head.  She could obviously drink with it, at least with a straw, as she had seen her taken several drinks of wine.  She wondered if she had to eat with it on, and if so how?  Mel had noticed Jen sneaking a few looks at her and asked “are you not even going to say anything about this albatross on my face?”  Jen replied “well, I figured if you wanted to talk about it, you would bring it up.”  Mel said “thank you, but it’s ok, I’m sure you have some questions, and it is probably a bit of a shock seeing if for the first time.  I know I was shocked the first time I saw it.”  Jen replied “I will be honest, I certainly did notice it when you came out of the bedroom.  And it has certainly intrigued me.  Do you mind if I take a closer look?” 

Mel turned and presented her face to her friend for inspection.  Mel said “this is a delaire adjustable facemask.  Dr. Cooper said this is the best kind, as it is completely adjustable for face size and angle of pull.  You can adjust it for height here” and pointed to the two screws on each end of the forehead pad, “you can adjust it for width here” and pointed to two screws on the chin cup, and “you can adjust this middle bar up and down to adjust what Dr. Cooper calls angle of pull.”  And about that time the pasta pot boiled over a little.
 
Mel said “oh crap” and turned back to the stove and slid the pot back to the back eye of the stove which was off.  The boiling water in the pot receded.  Mel swatted Jen on the arm playfully and said “see what you made me do.  And you better get back to your job, we don’t want to burn the turkey.  I can finish showing you everything before we eat.  But you can ask me any questions you have while we finish up in here”.

Jen asked “Does it hurt?”.  Mel replied “No, it doesn’t hurt. Everything else in my mouth seems to hurt, but the mask really doesn't. It can be a little uncomfortable on my face after wearing it all night, it sometimes makes my teeth a little tender, and it is annoying as can be, but it doesn’t really hurt.  It is embarrassing as can be though.  I have never left the house with this thing on, and I don’t plan to.  I was even embarrassed, maybe even dying inside a little, when I walked out of your bedroom just a few minutes ago.  I always try to wear this every moment I am home alone.  On Fridays, that means I put it on around 4: 30, take it off for an hour or so to eat dinner, and then put it back on till the next morning.  That way I get about 14 hours in, 2 extra I can bank for later.  During the week, I get home around 6, eat, then put it on at 7 and wear it till 7 the next morning, getting in my 12.  I will also try to wear it during the day on the weekends if I am home, but I also like to go out and enjoy my weekends.  It is tough, almost impossible, to get in all the hours if I want to do something one or two nights during the week and something on the weekends, so I try to get as many hours in as I can when I can.  When I was in there changing, I realized if I wanted to stay over a while tonight, and I do, I was going to have to wear it in front of you to get my hours.  So I figured I might as well get in as many hours as I can.  Even if it is so embarrassing.”

Jen grabbed her friend’s hands, looked her in the eyes, and said “you don’t have to feel embarrassed or self-conscious around me, ever”.  Mel held her gaze and said “thank you, that means a lot.” After a few moments Mel broke off their gaze, feeling just a little flush inside, and said “Now, lets get this food finished up and eat!”  She then finished off her glass of wine, sucking greedily on the straw until the glass was empty.  She filled her glass back up, and without asking topped Jen’s off too.  Jen said, “Hey, it looks like I am falling behind, I better try to catch up.”

The two finished up cooking dinner; then set the big bowl of pasta in the middle of the table and then set out two place settings on opposite sides of the table.  They were into their second bottle of wine, which Jen also placed on the table.  After they sat down to eat they both fixed their plates.  Mel was still wearing her facemask.  Just after Jen got done wondering if she was going to eat with it on, Mel said “what I am about to do is probably considered very bad table manners”, and pulled the rubberbands up off the posts on her facemask.  She then held the mask with one hand while she unsnapped the strap from around her head.  She placed the mask on the table.  She then removed the rubberband that was in the front of her mouth and deposited it beside the mask.  Finally she removed the rubberbands from the hooks on either side of her mouth, laying them in a little pile with the other rubberband.   When she was finished, she noticed Jen staring at the facemask and rubberbands.  Mel said, “if those rubberbands gross you out, I can throw them away, I have more with me.”  Jen snapped back from her daydream state and said “no, it doesn’t gross me out.  Honestly, I was wondering what it felt like to wear it”.  Mel grabbed the mask and handed it to her friend.  She said “go ahead, hold it up to your face.” Mel then got up, and walked around behind Jen, and after a little adjusting, snapped the strap on.  “Now, let go of it, the strap will hold it.  You don’t have hooks in your mouth; lucky you; so you can’t attach the rubberbands and get the full effect.   But that should give you an idea.”   Jen reached up and felt the foreign object on her face and looked at her friend “and you wear this 12 hours every day?”  Mel replied “yep, you get used to it, sorta.”  Mel then unsnapped the strap, moved back to her seat placing the facemask beside the rubberbands and said “but enough about that mask, let’s eat.  I am starving.  I haven’t eaten hardly anything in two days, and my teeth feel good enough for me to dig in.  This wine might be the best pain killer I have had in a while.”

For nearly an hour, they ate and chatted, telling each other about growing up, their likes and dislikes; the kind of things new friends talk about,  As they were each finishing up their plates of pasta, and the second bottle of wine, Jen mentioned she had all kinds of desserts that should be “sore braces friendly”. Mel said not to be offended, but she was rather partial to the wine.  Could they just have another bottle of it for dessert, even though it would mean an uber ride for her home.  Jen laughed, then said “there is no need for an uber unless you just want to.  You can certainly stay in one of my boys' rooms, either would make a fine guest bedroom if you don’t mind a sports motif.  Mel answered “well, if you don’t mind…. I sure am feeling pretty good and would like another glass, and uber makes me nervous; I have had a few sketchy rides before”.  Jen said “then it is settled, you are staying, there is no room for discussion. Let’s get the dishes put in the sink, get us another bottle of wine, and find a movie we can agree on”.

They got the dishes stowed, opened another bottle of wine, then settled onto the couch and found a movie they both wanted to watch.  Before they started the movie Mel said “well, playtime is over I guess; I need to clean my braces.  Another joy of braces is getting to clean them after every meal, then put my mask back on”.  She disappeared into the bedroom, and came out a few minutes later.  As she walked in front of the couch towards the kitchen table she flashed Jen a big smile showing off the herbst and the fresh pink rubberband she had put in after brushing and said "fresh and clean".  She then grabbed her facemask off the kitchen table and returned to the couch.  Jen said “I know this is weird, but can I try and put it on you, like you did me?”  Mel looked at her and replied “ yes, that is a little weird, but yes you can” and handed the facemask to Jen.  “Let me hook my rubberbands onto my braces first , they then will be sticking out of my mouth.  Then take the mask and put it against my face, then hook each rubberband to the corresponding post.  Then snap the strap around my head; you will have to adjust it a little as I sized it to your head”.  She then turned towards Jen, opened her mouth and put a rubberband on each hook, then closed her mouth with two rubberbands sticking out.  Jen placed the mask gently up to her face, and carefully placed one rubberband over each corresponding post.  Mel thought there was something sensual about the care that Jen was taking to be gentle.  She felt a little shiver go through her when Jen inadvertently brushed her fingertip against her cheek. Mel turned her head the other way, and after a little tinkering, Jen got the strap to snap shut.  Mel turned back to Jen and said “you are a natural”.  She leaned over, shoulder to shoulder against Jen and turned her attention back towards the TV.  Jen hit play on the movie.  Once it was over, as they searched for another, Mel brought up Jen’s neck brace.  “How are you doing with the cervical extension?  You wore it the other night when I was here, but not tonight.  Are you doing ok with it”.  Jen said, “ I am, I am going to put it on when I go to bed.  But I have gotten all the hours I need this week.“ Mel replied “yes, but this is the first week.  In another week, you are going to have to wear it 10 hours a day on AVERAGE, have you worn it for 10 hours in a day yet?”  Jen thought and realized the longest she had worn it was last night, 7. 5 hours.  She hung her head a bit and mumbled no.  Mel continued “you know what would make me reall happy, if you would go put your extension on and try to get 10 hours in.  If you put it on now and wear it untill 6:30 in the morning, you will do it.”  Jen looked over at Mel and said “Ma, do I have to” and got up and went into her bedroom.  She came out a minute later wearing her neckbrace, performed an awkward curtsy in front of Mel, then lowered herself down stiffly onto the couch.  Mel scooted over on the couch, and leaned over resting her head on Jen’s shoulder, being careful not to dislodge her facemask.  She whispered “thank you for putting that on, and thank you for tonight”.   Jen reached over and blindly found Mel’s hand “You are sho welcome, I jush wish I could lean over and resht my head againsht you”. 

The two of them had been watching their second movie of the night when Jen heard the softest, sweetest snoring noise coming from beside her.  She couldn't turn her head to look, but she realized that Mel had fallen asleep.  Jen sat there for a while just enjoying the warmth and comfort of having someone that she cared about nuzzled up beside her, and she listened to her friend sleep.  It made her feel warm inside.   After a while she got to worrying that Mel might get a crick in her neck from sleeping too long in such an awkward position, so she gently shook her friend and woke her up.  “Hey” she said, “you can schleep in my shun’s bed.”

She hesitated a moment weighing the consequences of what she was about to say, then added.

“Or if you want, you can shtay in mine”. 

Mel lay there in silence for several moments, looking into Jen's eyes, while Jen's heart thundered in her chest.   Mel replied “I would like that”.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #36 on: 25. February 2022, 06:39:19 AM »
And now ladies and gentlemen, it is time for intermission.

I am not done with these two ladies by a long shot, but I need to spend some more time with the gals over in Nashvegas.

By the way, why did Jazmine pick up the pamphlet on orthodontics off the floor and carry it to her desk instead of just placing it back on Ms. Collins/Jennifer's desk?

Also, what do you need to do to get access to the stories board?

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #37 on: 25. February 2022, 07:00:52 AM »
If ya'll have any ideas on where this story might go next, let me know.  I think I already know the destination, and how I am going to get there.  But I am always up for trying a new route.

BTW, I have an idea and rough draft for the prologue in my head.  It might get me kicked off here though.  Not for breaking any rules on vulgarity, cursing, etc.  But because ya'll all might hate me so much for what I did, al la Sopranos cut to black.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #38 on: 25. February 2022, 08:23:54 AM »
I never tell a writer what to write. Each writer has their own idea of where a story should go and it is up to them how it gets there.

Sparky and I write very different stories, though we have worked together on stories before.

You need to be satisfied with what you write. Don't try and write to please everyone, it doesn't work. There are just too many different interests to try and satisfy them all.

Offline kelly-Marie

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #39 on: 25. February 2022, 18:46:58 PM »
Amazingly detailed story I'm loving it it reminds  me of some stories I used to read on the beck brace appreciation website now defunct. I wonder if you've ever read any stuff on there?

Offline MikeB

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #40 on: 25. February 2022, 20:15:20 PM »
I think you need to email Marty

Yup. You have 32 posts, so just DM Marty a request here.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #41 on: 28. February 2022, 05:17:25 AM »
Chapter 17.

Jen concentrated on breathing deeply as her heart pounded in her chest and Dr. Cooper reclined the chair.  She was nervous, to the point of being scared.  But she made herself think about why she was really doing this.  A number of thoughts ran through her head.  First, she thought about how much had changed over the past three weeks since Mel had stayed over that first night, and how happy that time had been.  She then thought that she really did need this to treat the root cause of her sleep apnea.  But mostly she thought about how happy she thought this would make Mel when she surprised her tonight.  Once she was reclined, Dr. Copper asked her “Ready?”.  She took a deep breath and said “yes”.  She closed her eyes and tried to relax, wondering what Mel’s kiss tasted like and wondering if her body felt as warm and soft as she thought it would as Dr. Cooper’s assistant began to install the metal into her mouth.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #42 on: 01. March 2022, 08:07:43 AM »
Chapter 18.

The past three weeks had been a confusing and painful time for Jen.  She was not a lesbian, or she didn't think she was.  She had never been attracted to a woman before.  But there was something about Mel.  Nothing had happened that night sexually when Mel slept in her bed; they had lay nestled together and talked.  Mel was so considerate and carrying.  It seemed it was more of a case of two people that each needed someone to hold.  And they had found each other that night. But over the past three weeks they had spent more and more time together, and Jen had found herself becoming more attracted to Mel.  Mel did everything she could for Jen to make her second week in her new shell as pleasant as possible.  Because, just like Mel had told her, that second week was hard, very hard.  But Mel had been there the entire time to offer encouragement, wisdom gained from her own personal experience, and a shoulder to cry on.  They definitely shared a bond; and it went beyond each wearing a back brace; but neither knew exactly where that bond ended.  And both were afraid to push the boundary, because they didn't want to push the other away.

That back half of that second week was the hardest thing Jen had ever done. All her confidence from the first week disappeared when faced with wearing her brace all day, every day, with no choice but to do it or fall short of her required time.  Jen did not think she would have been able to make it through without her friend. Mel was selfless; she made sure that she always available for Jen every day; she brought her dinner or cooked for her every night; she was there for her. To hold her hand, to offer her encouragement; one night she had literally been a shoulder to cry on when Jen broke down and didn't think she could do it.  But during that time, during the hours they spent together, it was clear to Jen that Mel was herself terrified of her upcoming expander installation.  More than the pain she knew it would bring, she dreaded the humiliation she knew she was going to feel having a lisp and having trouble communicating with patients.  Jen thought about what Mel had told her about her braces when they had first met - that she wished she had someone to go through the process with her.  To have someone to commiserate with; to have someone to cry to when things were tough; to be her guide.  And Jen decided she was going to be that person; to try at least in some part to repay Mel for everything she had done for her..  So 10 days ago, Jen had called and scheduled a follow up at Dr. Coopers. 

She was going to get braces.  At the visit a week ago she told him simply "I am ready".  After a more thorough exam and measurements, he told Jen his treatment plan for her, and then inserted spacers in her mouth.  As they had discussed her plan and what to expect she had an unusual request for the doctor.  One, Dr. Cooper had not included a herbst appliance in her treatment plan.  She asked him if she could benefit from one.  He said yes, but he thought he could use rubberbands to accomplish the same thing.  He said the herbst appliance is very effective, but it so intrusive he tried to avoid the herbst if at all possible.  She said if it would help, she wanted to try it.  She said her friend seemed to have benefitted so much from one, she wanted to give it a try if he thought it would help at all.  In fact, she just wanted to get the same thing in her mouth that Mel had.  Not because she wanted the metal in her mouth, but because she wanted for Mel to feel like she had a partner. She also had another unusual request.  She wanted to get the marpe expander, which was a part of her treatment plan, installed at the same time as her braces; not wait a few appointments like was his standard procedure.  He said it would be a lot to handle at once; he liked to give patients time to become acclimated to the braces and facemask before he started that phase of treatment.  She told him she just wanted to get it over with; that she thought she would be able to handle it better if she just "ripped the bandaid off at once".  He agreed to do what she wanted; he told her he wished more of his patients had her attitude.  She didn't tell him the real reason; she was doing this for her friend.  The week of having spacers was a little stressful for Jen.  First, they really hurt and she had to bite her lip and not show any sign of it around Mel.  Second, she had to be conscious around Mel not to open her mouth too wide and reveal the blue rubber stuck between her teeth.  She was most worried about those on her lower arch that surrounded her bicuspids where the crowns of the herbst would go.  She wanted to keep this a secret from Mel; she hoped that her friend's reaction was worth the hell she thought she was about to go through.  She had an idea for how she wanted to surprise Mel, and she didn't want it ruined by a glimpse of a blue rubber spacer.

 


Offline bracessd

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #43 on: 02. March 2022, 17:16:43 PM »
Great story so far!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #44 on: 03. March 2022, 05:42:15 AM »
Chapter 19.

The first order of business was removing her spacers.  It was an easy process.  And as soon as they were removed Jen felt a sense of relief.  They were finally gone.  But the relief would not last long.  Dr. Cooper had some local anesthetic that he injected into Jen’s palate.  He explained that this would numb her for the installation of the tads for her expander, and while it took effect they would install her braces.  The assistant said it appeared the spacers had done their job.  She then began fitting her herbst appliance.   Because Jen had asked to have her expander installed at the same time as her braces, her herbst did not have a palatal arch as Mel’s did.  Jen’s expander would accomplish the task of distalizing her rear molars.  So instead, which was a little different than Mel’s, the upper portion of Jen’s herbst had a marpe expander stretching between each crown.  Dr. Copper said they would install the herbst and her braces, and then insert the tads in her palate, then connect the herbst appliance rods.  Like Mel though, each crown had  an integrated hook for her face mask and the sliding rod to connect to her lower crowns.  Once the assistant had checked the fit, she applied the cement to each crown and she then placed her expander/upper herbst over each molar.  She then had Jen bite down on something she thought looked like a square stick as the assistant monitored and checked the progress.  Once the rear crowns were positioned where the assistant wanted, the assistant did the same with the lower portion of her herbst.  With the herbst appliance installed but not yet connected, the assistant moved onto her brackets.  Each metal bracket was installed to her top arch, she then followed with the same on the lower arch.  Once that was done, the assistant asked her what color she wanted for her ligatures.  Jen had remembered that Jen had told her that her favorite color was green, and Jen picked the closest shade that matched the predominate color of Mel’s back brace.  Once the assistant was done installing the arch wire, Dr. Cooper said they should take a little break so Jen could relax and see what they had done.

Dr. Cooper raised Jen’s chair and asked her if she wanted to see her braces before they finished the installation.  Jen thought to herself not really. I just want to get through this.  But she accepted the doctor’s mirror and held it up to her face.  She then smiled.  And her other hand shot up to her face and covered her mouth.  It looked so foreign.  Dr. Copper assured her she looked great.  With that, he asked if she was ready to finish.  In a state of shock she simply nodded yes.  He then reclined her chair.

Dr. Cooper said he would finish up the rest of the installation. He inserted the lip spreader and bite blocks under her rear molars to keep her mouth open.  He took a pick, and put it in her mouth.  She couldn’t feel what he was doing, but when he asked if she could feel what he was doing, she answered “na”.  He told her they were ready to install her tads.  He told her there would be four of them, and she might feel some pressure and feel some vibration in her head.  Jen cut her eyes down and watched as he placed a silver screw into her mouth, then took something that looked like a miniature socket wrench and screwed it into her mouth.  It didn’t hurt her, but she felt it.  More than just feel pain, she could feel it through her head as it was screwed into her bone.  Once Dr. Cooper finished with the first, he asked Jen if she was ok?  She nodded yes, and he continued with the process.  After about 20 minutes, Dr. Cooper announced he was done with the installation of the tads and they were almost done.  He took another tool that looked like a small screw driving and told her he would install the rods of her herbst.  It went quickly, and after all that had been inflicted on Jen’s mouth she hardly noticed.  Once the doctor was done, he announced they were almost done and raised Jen’s chair back to a sitting position.

Dr. Copper informed Jen they were almost done with the appointment.  He told her she had done great.  He told her that all that was left was to show her how to put on her facemask, turn her expander, and then go over care and cleaning of her braces and post opp instructions for her tads.  With the mention of the face mask, the assistant had picked it up off the counter and handed it to Dr. Cooper.  He held it to her face and with an allen wrench made several adjustments to the height and width so it fit her face.  He explained that this was a Delaire face mask, and it would help protract her upper jaw.  Than he went into why it was the best, and Jen zoned out.  She had heard this already from Mel. Then the doctor placed the mask on her face while the assistant held the mirror so Jen could see what he was doing.  Once he had placed the elastics on her teeth and then connected them to the face mask and snapped the strap around her head, he removed it all and said he wanted her to try.  She it did it quickly the first try, and Dr. Cooper proclaimed that she was a natural.  She didn’t mention she had put one on before, just on someone else’s face.  Dr. Cooper then announced he needed to show her how to turn her expander.  He first took a model with an expander in it, and showed her how to insert the key into the hole and make a turn on the expander.  He then said he was going to make two turns on Jen’s expander.  He had her tilt her head back and open her mouth as wide as she could.  She couldn’t exactly see what he was doing.  But she could feel the scraping sensation as he inserted the key into the hole in her expander, and could certainly feel the pressure as he turned it.  On the second turn the sensation was even stronger, bordering on discomfort, as she felt the pressure in her sinuses and above her nose.  It was a completely new feeling for Jen.  She asked the doctor “will ish alwaysh feel like thatch”.  That was when she discovered her lisp.  She knew she would have one, but to hear it for the first time was a shock.

Dr. Cooper told her she would likely feel pressure at times when she turned it.  But that she would become accustomed to it, and that pressure was normal.  Only sharp pain would be an indicator that something was wrong.  Dr. Cooper sensed or saw the look on Jen’s face when she spoke, and assured her that the lisp would improve.  He patted her arm and told her again she was doing great; she had a lot of new things in her mouth but it would begin to feel normal over the next two weeks.  He then went over the care of her expander, telling her to take 800 mg of ibuprofen if it bothered her over the next few days, and to perform a salt water rinse three times a day for the next week while the tads healed up.  He instructed her to turn her expander once per day until her follow up in two weeks. He told her that her upper suture would likely split in the next 8-10 days and it would be an odd sensation of cracking and she would feel it.  He told her this is what they wanted, don’t be alarmed. He then discussed face mask wear.  He said normally he would give a patient a schedule to acclimate to it.  But because she had seemed so enthusiastic he was not going to do so for her.  He told her to wear it as much as possible.  He told her to go ahead and try to sleep with it as soon as possible, as becoming accustomed to sleeping with it was the most difficult for most patients.  He told her she needed to be wearing it 12 hours per day by the time of their appointment in two weeks, and more was better.  He told her that there was a sensor in the face mask that would monitor wear time, so it was important she wear it as instructed.  He said it was possible to install springs for 24 hour wear if a patient needed help becoming acclimated to it, but he preferred to avoid that.  Finally he went over the general care and cleaning of braces, and told her that if she did not already have one, he would recommend investing in a waterpic snd gave her a few suggestions.  With that, Dr. Cooper proclaimed they were done.  He told Jen he was proud of her and she had done the right thing.  He told her he would see her in two weeks, but if she felt acute pain to contact the office.  In a bit of a daze, Jen made her way out to her car, trying to come to terms with a mouth that felt completely foreign to her.

Offline bpenfold83

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #45 on: 04. March 2022, 12:12:56 PM »
Fantastic story!!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #46 on: 07. March 2022, 05:16:46 AM »
I am going to at least finish this story out; I like it and I feel I have something invested in the characters.

Chapter 20.

Jen felt like she had made a mistake.  As much as she wanted to be supportive for Mel, she didn’t know if she could do this.  It was just so much.  When she got to her car, she opened the door and sat in the driver’s seat.  Even with everything going on in her mouth, she still noticed the constriction of her brace as she settled into her seat.  She had largely become accustomed to wearing her back brace over the last several weeks.  She rarely noticed it; it had just become a part of her like Mel said it would.  But with so much feeling foreign to the body that she had inhabited for over 40 years, she noticed.  She noticed it all.  She noticed the back brace, the braces, the herbst, the expander.  And she broke down.  She started crying.  Why was this happening to her; and why had she agreed to this?  It wasn’t the pain; she didn’t feel any real pain yet.  It was just the foreign feel of everything in her mouth.  And her back brace.  And the neck brace she knew she had to wear for 12 hours a day.  And the cpap she slept with.  At least she thought as a result of this, she had scheduled an appointment to be fitted for a nasal mask instead of the full face mask she had been wearing.  She had to do so to accommodate the face mask; she had been lip taping the last few nights since she got it to keep her mouth closed.  But despite all this, she knew the real pain was coming.  Dr. Cooper had explained it would take a week or two for her mouth to become acclimated to the braces and herbst.  He had given her wax for this.  He had also explained that the palate expander, and specifically the tads, would likely be painful over the next two to three days.  It was just so much.  The braces; the herbst, the expander, the face mask, the back brace, the neck brace… she didn’t know if she could do it.  And she cried.

After a good cry, she sat up and took a deep breath.  She was doing this for Mel, and to some extent for herself.  She knew she needed to.  She didn’t want to live on a CPAP every night for the rest of her life.  And she hoped what Dr. Wellington and Mel told her was true; that if she was diligent in her back and neck brace wear she could transition to a maintenance schedule of just a few hours; or even a best case scenario of none at all and just monitor it again. But right now, in her car, she felt overwhelmed.

After she had composed herself she thought how happy she thought this would make Mel.  And she smiled.  And it felt so foreign.  Just like she thought when she got her Wellington Brace, she thought “this is a whole new world”.  She was glad she had talked with her boss the day before and taken tomorrow off.  She had told Pete she was getting braces, it was related to her back and her sleep apnea.   She told him it might be a shock to see, and she would have a lisp. As always, he was supportive and told her to do what she needed and he would be there if she needed anything, anything at all.  She did not think she would be able to work tomorrow with everything going on.  She had also told her assistant Jasmine that she would be out.  She told her she was getting braces.  Jasmine surprised her when her eyes lit up.  Jasmine told her “wow, that is so cool.  You are so lucky.  I have always wanted braces.  My parents couldn’t afford them, and I really need them” and she smiled big at Jen, showing off her teeth.  Jen had never noticed Jasmine’s crowding and overbite. Jen thought she did need braces.  Jasmine continued “i wish our insurance covered braces.  I am so jealous.  Promise me you will show them to me when you come back to work”.

As Jen sat in her car, she thought “I bet Jasmine wouldn’t be jealous of this”.  Jen had taken a look at her mouth and the new companions she had picked up during the installation.  But her heart was racing so much at the time she had not really studied the new skyscraper she felt was in her mouth. She took a deep breath and flipped the visor down and flipped the mirror open.  Oh. My. God. She thought.  There is so much metal.  She opened her jaw as far as she could, it was sore from being open for 2 hours, and looked at her expander.  Wow she thought; and I have to turn that once a day for the next two weeks until my follow up, and then it may go up to twice a day. This is just so much she thought.  With nothing left to do, she cranked her car.  At least Mel would be home in three hours.  She really needed her shoulder to cry on.  But first she wanted to surprise her with what she had done.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #47 on: 07. March 2022, 05:59:49 AM »
Chapter 21.

When Jen pulled into the driveway, she turned off the car and got the bag out of the back seat.  It was a plastic bag with handles, not like a grocery store bag, but more like a Christmas gift bag; and inside were her new facemask and rubberbands, as well as the assorted brushes and cleaning supplies she had left Dr. Copper’s office with.  When she picked up the bag, it hit her again, she would be wearing the facemask in the bag for 12 hours a day very soon.  The “it is just so much” feeling hit her again.  She took a breath and told herself she would get through it.  She unlocked the door and looked at the clock. She had 2 and a half hours until Mel got “home”.  The past several weeks had found Mel and Jen together most nights.  Watching TV or movies, cooking dinner and eating together, talking; or even just reading a book but knowing the other was there.  It was comforting to Jen to have such a close friend; maybe even a companion she thought.  Since her divorce she had not had anyone around much; just her boys and all the non stop races to get them to the next practice, game, dinner, school function, and the list went on.  And even once they had both gone off to college, it hadn’t changed Jen’s routine much.  She was just so invested in her job, and it had become habit to come home in the evenings and watch the TV or read a book.  But since she had met Mel she found herself with someone to spend a little of her time with.  And it was nice; she really enjoyed it.  As she walked into her house, she thought it meant enough for her to agree to get this scaffolding installed in her mouth.  But she thought, during much of that time Mel had been wearing her face mask.  And it didn’t seem like that big a deal between them.  Since that first night, Jan and Mel had not stayed together.  So Jen didn’t know how Mel really slept with the mask on her face.  Mel had told her that you got used to it and never complained about it.  But it was easier to think about someone else getting “used to it” than yourself.

Once Jen came inside and closed the door behind her she headed for her bathroom.  This would be where she kept her new orthodontic supplies.  As she walked in, she looked over at her neckbrace and thought “soon, like tonight, I am going to try to make it all work”.  Once in the bathroom, she stowed all of her supplies in the cabinet and laid her face mask and rubberbands on the vanity; she then had an idea.  She would go ahead and try to brush her teeth.  She knew it would become very common soon, so she decided she would try it before her mouth really hurt, or before she had food stuck in them.  She took the toothbrush they had given her and put the toothpaste they had given her on it.  And she tried to brush her teeth like they showed her.  It felt so foreign.  And she made a mess.  Her lips didn’t operate like she was used to, and she couldn’t swallow normally.  She stopped and took a breath.  “It will get easier” she told herself.  Once the humiliation of not being able to do something as simple as brush her own teeth passed, she headed to the kitchen.  The next chore was to rinse her mouth with a saltwater rinse.  Dr. Cooper had told her to do this three times a day for the next week to help healing of the tad sites and avoid possible infection.  He had stressed how important it was to keep her mouth clean for the next week.  The rinsing went better than the brushing.  And since alcohol is a disinfectant and a pain killer she thought, why not have a glass of wine.   Even if was 3:30 in the afternoon.


Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #48 on: 07. March 2022, 06:42:39 AM »
Chapter 22.

After Jen’s third glass of wine, the bottle was well over half way gone.  She felt much better she though.  And she poured herself a fourth glass.  For the past hour and half she had not really done anything.  She was just in the kitchen drinking wine and thinking about everything that had happened over the past two months.  It was a lot to digest; the full body brace and the braces from hell.  But the wine helped.  As the clock ticked closer to Mel’s arrival, Jen took a sheet of paper and made her note to Mel.  It said “The door is open.  Come into the bedroom and close your eyes.  i have a surprise for you.  P.S. just go with it, please”.  She opened the junk drawer in the kitchen, took out a roll of Scotch tape, and tore off a piece a couple of inches long.  She went to the front door and taped the note to the front door.  She then sent a text to Mel.

J: “What you up to?  Hope your day has been great  :)”.

M: “Just finishing up here, about to head your way.  I will stop and get some lettuce for a salad”.

 J: “Don’t worry about the lettuce, I have something I want to show you!”

M:  “What is it?  What do you want to show me.”

J:  “Everything is great, I Just have a surprise for you.  Just go with it, please”.

M: “You have me worried, I am on my way.”

With that part of the plan completed she walked into her bedroom and cracked her blinds open so she could see the driveway.  Jen realized then that she hadn’t thought about whether she should put on her neck brace first, and then the facemask; or vice versa.  Since she was so used to putting the neck brace on, she decided to put it on first.  At least she was used to the feeling of being immobilized from the hips up.  She thought to herself “at least I don’t have to wear those retainers anymore; instead I just have a battleship in my mouth…”. Once she had her neckbrace on she went into the bathroom.  She took the bag of rubberbands and shook a few out on the counter.  Despite her head being immobilized and unable to open her mouth very far, she managed to get a rubberband hooked onto each of her hooks so they were protruding from her mouth.  Using her lips to hold them, she reached down and picked up the facemask.  She placed it against her face and using the mirror affixed each rubberband to the posts om her facemask.  For the grand finale she managed to snap the strap around the back of her head, feeling grateFul they had adjusted it to fit her at her installation.  She then went and sat on the bed looking out through the blinds.  When Mel’s car pulled up she went into the bathroom and closed the door about 2/3 of the way.

As soon as Mel entered the house, after reading the note, she half jogged to the bedroom and said “what is goin on?”

Jen answered “Ya don fahla direszions.  Closh your eyhesh”.  Mel had grown accustomed to Jen’s lisp with her bite guards, and wondered why it was worse then normal.  Nontheless feeling that there wasn’t some huge emergency she closed her eyes.  Jen walked in front of Mel. Mel could sense her there.  Jen said “Open ya eyhesh!”

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #49 on: 07. March 2022, 07:13:00 AM »
Chapter 23.

Mel opened her eyes and was stunned. Her mouth dropped open, showing her own braces. What was going on here?  Did Jen “steal” her facemask when she wasn’t looking?  Then Jen smiled and said “wha do ya shink?”.  Mel looked at her best friend in her full brace; and now with braces and a facemask like her own; and then hugged her.  Mel pulled back and said “you did it, why didn’t you tell me?”.  Jen replied “I wanned to shurprish you.  You have done sho musch for me gettin ushed to my braysh, I wanned you to have shomeone to go through brayshes with.  I got my eshpander today jush sho you wohd na have to do ey alone”. Mel looked at Jen and hugged her again.  She whispered in her ear “thank you.  But you poor baby.  Does it hurt”.  Jen said “itsh ish from tawkin sho muchsh”.  Mel pulled back and looked at her friend.  She said “I know you don’t have to wear your facemask fulltime right now”.  She reached over and unsnapped the facemask’s strap from the back of Jen’s head.  She then held the facemask and gently removed the rubberbands from it.  She followed by sticking her fingers into Jen’s mouth and removing the bands from her mouth. . She laid the facemask on the bed, dropped the wet rubberbands to the floor,  and told Jen “let me see if I can kiss it and make it better”.  She  gently laid her lips upon Jen’s, tasting the wine, and pulled her close in a loving embrace.

Offline Lithpkith

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #50 on: 08. March 2022, 02:02:59 AM »
Poow Jennifew! Thhe and Mel have fowged a gweat fwiendthip and they need each othew mowe now than evew. I can’t wait fow the netht thaptew!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #51 on: 10. March 2022, 07:44:27 AM »
Chapter 24.

Mel pulled her lips back from Jen’s mouth thinking she might have gone too far.  She was surprised when Jen awkwardly leaned forward and continued the kiss.  They enjoyed the moment, neither thinking about what it meant, each just lost in the moment.  After several moments Jen pulled back.  Both were flush and short of breath.

Mel looked at Jen and then hugged her tightly again.  “You poor baby, the first thing we are going to do is get you as comfortable as possible”.  Mel reached over and unstrapped Jen’s cervical extension from around her neck, and then unscrewed it from her back brace.  She then led Jen over to the side of the bed and threw the covers back.  By this point the lidocaine in Jen’s mouth was wearing off and her mouth was starting to throb.  Mel arranged the pillows and gently helped Jen down onto the bed so she was propped up slightly.  She asked Jen if she had taken any pain medicine yet, and Jen shook her head no.  Mel told her “i will be right back”. 

She returned with 2 ibuprofen and a glass of water.  She had been doing research about her own MSE installation and knew that the first few days could be very painful and it would take a week to two for healing to occur.  And then there was the turning of the expander.  She took the pills and put them into Jens open mouth and then handed her the glass of water.  Jen took a sip of water and tried to swallow.  It was so foreign to her she didn’t get the pills down on the first try.  Mel could see she was struggling.  She didn’t say a word, but layed her hand on Jen’s shoulder.  On the second try Jen got one of the pills down.  On the third try she got the second pill down.  And a tear formed and ran down Jen’s cheek.

Mel wanted more than anything to take the pain away from her friend.  But she knew she couldn’t.  She went around to the other side of the bed and crawled across it and then wrapped herself around Jen.  She said “don’t try to talk, I know it will hurt.  But I am here for you.  Just know how much this means to me.  And I am going to take care of you.”

Jen said, despite Mel telling her not to, “thank you.  I did thish so I could help you, and you are taking care if me again.  How bad ish thish going to be?”.  Mel hugged her tighter and said “you are going to do fine.  I have been scouring the internet, and Facebook, to see what the MSE process was like.  The next few days are going to be uncomfortable. But I will be here for you.  I can’t tell you what having the expander is like, but your lips will get used to the braces pretty quickly.  The herbst will take a little longer, but you will also get used to it.  Did they give wax?”  Jen nodded her head yes.  Mel asked her if she had put any on, and Jen shook her head no.  Mel said “let me put some on for you.”  She got up and went into the living room, removing a small container of wax from her purse.  She returned to her position beside Jen and pinched out some wax.  She rolled it around between her fingers until it got warm and soft.  She asked Jen to open her mouth.  She placed the first flattened ball of wax over one of the hooks on Jens molars.  She told her “I know when I first got my braces, the hooks for my facemask where one of the most painful things in my mouth.  Let me get them covered up.”  She took a second ball of wax, and once warm, placed it on the other hook.  She then placed two larger mounds of wax over the bottom of Jen’s herbst. She looked at Jen and asked her if the book on the nightstand was any good and what page she was on, she wanted to read to her.  Jen answered “it ish, I am on page 87”.  Mel reached across Jen, reaching for the book.  As she did, her face was inches from Jen’s.  As Mel leaned across her, Jen reached up and put her hand behind Mel’s head and gently pulled her in for another kiss.  This time she let her tongue venture out and explore Mel’s. Mel reciprocated. Once they came up for air, Mel said “I can’t make the pain go away, but I can try to take your mind off it”.

Mel did not get her wear time in with her facemask and neither did Jen get her time in with her neckbrace that night.

The next morning, Jen awoke first as her mouth was hurting.  As she became alert she realized that Mel was snuggled up against her and she remembered what had happened the night before.  Mel was snoring lightly; it sounded like a purr to Jen; and she thought “this is a whole new world indeed”.

Offline Lithpkith

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #52 on: 10. March 2022, 15:32:37 PM »
I jutht love thith thtowy, thank you tho muth fow thhawing!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #53 on: 11. March 2022, 04:09:47 AM »
Chapter 25.

Jen tried to slip out of bed without waking Mel. It was early, a few minutes before 6, but Jen’s mouth was really hurting.  She slipped out of the bedroom and pushed the door shut silently.  In the kitchen the first thing she did was shake out a couple of ibuprofen and poured herself some water.  Swallowing the pills was once again a struggle.  The metal expander felt huge in the roof of her mouth.  The four screws holding it in place dug into her tongue every time she tried to swallow.  She really hoped she got used to it and did so quickly.  While she had taken the day off, and would have loved nothing more than to curl back up beside Mel, she knew she would struggle to fall asleep with the pain plus Mel had to go to work. 

So instead she started a pot of coffee and pulled out a skillet.  She wanted to cook breakfast for Mel.  And even though her mouth was hurting, she thought she might be able to manage a few bites of scrambled eggs and yogurt herself.  As she cooked the 4 eggs, she took a bowl of cantaloupe and honeydew out of the fridge and laid it on the counter.  She then pulled out a tub of greek yogurt and some shredded cheese.  She had just sprinkled some cheese on the eggs when she jumped.  She had been so invested in the eggs she had not noticed Mel slip up behind her.  When Mel wrapped her arms around her waist it startled her.  Mel softly spoke into her ear “Good morning beautiful, I didn’t mean to scare you.  Did you sleep ok?”

Jen turned around and looked at Mel. Even without any makeup on and her hair a mess she thought she looked gorgeous.  Jen said “I did, musch better than I tthought I would.  Thank you for lash night.  Thank you for everysthing.  It ishn’t enough, but the leasht I can do is fix you breakfast.  I am jusht about done”.  Mel leaned over, gave Jen a quick kiss and said “I will help”.

They sat across from each other at the kitchen table, each with their scrambled eggs, yogurt and coffee.  Mel had gotten some of the cut fruit, but Jen refrained from any, thinking her mouth was not up to it.  Before they started to eat Jen said “I want to apoloshize in advansh, I am afraid that I am going to look and sound like a train wreck trying to eat.”  Mel reached across and took Jen’s hand and told her “do not apologize for that.  First, you are going to get the hang of it in no time.  And second, did you forget how much I have going on in my mouth?  I know exactly what it is like”.  Jen was able to eat a little.  It was not fun, but by taking small bites and taking her time she was able to manage the eggs and yogurt.  Once they were done, Mel told Jen not to try to do a thing, she was going to clean up.  Jen got up and made herself comfortable on the couch while Mel quickly got everything put up and the dishes rinsed and in the dishwasher.  She then came over and curled up beside Jen.  Mel looked at Jen and said “I wish I had taken today off too, I would love to stay curled up beside you.  But I have to get ready.  Do you mind if I take a shower here?  I have a change of cloths with me”.  Of course Jen agreed.  Mel continued, “Thank you.  Will you come with me to the bathroom?  I need to clean my braces.  And you need to as well, I want to help you.  Plus I want to take a closer look at them if that is ok”.  Jen got up and took Mel’s hand and led her to the bathroom.  Once there they brushed.  Again it was awkward for Jen, but Mel was a pro.  Once they were done brushing, Mel asked Jen to turn and face her.  She had Jen open her mouth, and very gently used a proxy brush to clean between the brackets and wires of Jen’s braces.  She then took a braces flosser and flossed Jen’s teeth.  As she worked she was also examining the expander in Jen’s mouth.  She told her friend “that is an impressive device.  And don’t we make the pair, you will be used to yours in two weeks, and I will be getting mine.  We are going to have to get creative with our soft food, between the two of us we will be eating it for a month.  And there, you have shiny clean braces”.  Mel then turned her attention to her own braces, making quicker work on herself than on Jen.  Jen just watched what she was doing.  Once Mel was done, she asked Jen “do you need to turn your expander?”  Jen said she needed turn it sometime today, she might as well do it now.  She opened the medicine cabinet and got the blue key out.  Mel stopped her as she turned towards the mirror and asked her “do you mind if I turn it for you?  I have watched enough Youtube video trying to prepare for my own.”  Jen handed Mel the key, sat down on the closed toilet lid, opened her mouth as wide as she could and tilted her head back.  Mel told her “I am going to be as gentle as I can, if I am hurting you just hit me and I will stop”.  As Mel carefully inserted the key into the hole, Jen felt a tingle in her body.  Not from pain or discomfort, but from the intimacy between the two of them.  As Mel turned the key, she felt a different kind of tingle.  This one was in her face, radiating out from her sinuses to her cheek bones.  Once she was done Mel gently removed the key from the hole and removed the key from her mouth.  Mel hugged Jen and said “you did great.  Does it hurt?”  Jen answered “it hurtsh a little, moshtly just a lot of preshhzure.” 

Mel looked at her and said “while we are here, I think I need to also examine the patient for any pressure spots from her brace”.  She slipped the robe off of Jen’s shoulders, and then unstrapped the brace from Jen’s body.

After they had finished showering together, Jen dressed in some comfortable sweats and took her book into the living room as Mel finished getting ready for work in the bathroom and bedroom.  Jen was reading out loud as Dr. Cooper had recommended when Mel came out of the bedroom wearing her facemask.  She settled on the couch and said “I am in trouble.  I didn’t wear my facemask at all last night.  I am going to have to figure out how to make it up.  I have never worn it outside of a closed door, but I am at least going to wear it on the way to and from work today.  That is at least an extra hour.  And not to be a nag, but you might want to try to catch up with your neckbrace today.  And try to wear your facemask to get used to it.  The more you wear it the faster you will get used to it.  I will bring some moleskin from work and I will put a little extra cushion on your’s this evening.  It really helps, especially on your chin.  I wish I could stay, but I have to run.  If you need anything, just text me.”  She hugged Jen, and headed out the door.  With her head down, she made her way quickly to her car.  Once she got in and got her seatbelt on, she had a realization.  She didn’t really care what anyone else thought.  The only person she really cared about was inside where she had just left, and she had already seen her wearing the mask.  Not only that, she had a facemask of her own.  Feeling a little more confident, she cranked the car, backed down the driveway and began her drive to work.


Offline Lithpkith

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #54 on: 11. March 2022, 06:32:57 AM »
I love the welationthhip development between Jen and Mel! Maybe we could all leawn to wethpect and love one anothew ath these two ladieth do. Gweat thtowy, thank you fow wwighting and thhawing it with uth.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #55 on: 14. March 2022, 03:48:25 AM »
Chapter 26.

Jennifer continued reading out loud, relearning how to talk with everything going on in her mouth.  The inside of her lips and cheeks were not yet accustomed to the brackets, wires, and rods in her mouth. After about 30 minutes her mouth felt sore and raw, so she decided to take a little break.  Knowing she did need to catch up on her neckbrace she got up and went into the bed room and put it on.  She then went into the bathroom and put on her facemask.  She was going to wear it as long as she could stand.  She looked at herself in the mirror and thought she looked ridiculous and then thought “I hope this is all worth it”.

Jen returned to the living room and got as comfortable as she could on the couch.  She began scouring the internet for information on MARPE/MSE procedures, looking for other’s actual first hand experiences.  There was not a ton of information out there.  But she did find the blog of another woman who had a similar treatment to her own; braces, and MSE and a Petit facemask.  She also found a pediatric dentist who was documenting her own treatment on her Instagram page.  She too had braces, and MSE, and had experimented with several different designs of reverse pull pull masks.  It was reassuring to see that these woman had survived, and that it did get better.  She also found information on the DNA/Vivos appliance.  It seemed pretty common for patients to incorporate extraoral protraction in many of these cases.  She found the blog of one young woman who had also worn a facemask, and then tried the Crane appliance.  Jen looked at it and realized it was simply a neck brace with an added articulating arm to which the elastics could be attached.  By this point Jen was definitely feeling the pressure of the mask on her face.  It was especially bothersome on her chin, just like Mel had said it would be.  Jen reached up and felt her own neck brace and wondered if it could be modified like the Crane.  She thought unlike the other lady, she already had to wear it every night.  If she could modify it to take the place of the facemask, it would be an improvement. 

She continued searching.  She realized there really was not that much information to be found, but what she did find was helpful in boosting her spirits.  And she realized that the most valuable information had come from those people that were brave enough to share their journey with the world.  Jen decided she was going to do the same.  She had never done any such thing, so she started searching.  She found some good resources on starting a blog, one such site went through the process step by step.  She moved to the kitchen table and opened her laptop.  With the neckbrace on, it was awkward but she managed.

After reading up on the process, she decided to jump in with both feet.  Using Wordpress and BlueHost she soon had the beginnings of her own blog.  She decided to title her blog “Adult Orthodontics - TMJ and Sleep Apnea Treatment - Everything But the Kitchen Sink”.  She worked at it for awhile.  She tried taking pictures of the appliances in her mouth, but it was awkward and they did not turn out to her satisfaction.  She decided she was going to recruit Mel to take some better ones when she arrived home.  She also had another idea.  She was going to try to convince Mel to document her treatment on the blog as well.  The time went by quickly, and before she knew it the time was approaching noon.  Jen was definitely feeling the facemask on her chin.  She decided to remove it.  When she did she noticed how sore her chin was.  She decided to take a picture of it, it was clearly red in the picture.  This mask was going to take some getting used to.

Soon after, her phone buzzed at her.  Mel had sent her a text.

M: How are you doing babe?

J:  I am managing.  My mouth is sore, but I am speaking a little better.  I did manage to wear the facemask for over three hours.  But it is really uncomfortable on my chin. 

She sent Mel a picture of her sore red chin.

M:  I promise it gets easier.  I am going to add some padding for you tonight.  It will help.  Guess what I did today?

J:  Do I get any kind of clue?

Mel took a selfie of herself and sent it to Jen.  Jen looked at it: there was Mel in her scrubs, wearing a blue medical mask on her face.  But the blue orthodontic mask also on her face was unmistakable:

J:  Wow! You wore your facemask to work.  You are such a badass.  Has it gone ok? 

M:  Yes it has.  I was terrified walking through the parking lot and into the building this morning.  I just knew people were going to be pointing and laughing.  But that didn’t happen.  I had built it up to be a lot worse than what it really is.  Dr. Wellington has been the only one to say anything.  And it surprised me.  He said it was great that I was being so diligent in my own care.  And while orthodontic and orthopedic braces aren’t exactly the same, he thought it was great I was wearing it.  He said I could be roll model to patients, especially new patients struggling with their new scoliosis braces.

J:  That is great.  I am so proud of you. I can’t wait to see you tonight.  I have a job for you though.  I have started a blog to document my process and I need a photographer.  I was hoping you would agree to it.

M:  Of course.  It sounds interesting.  I would love to help.  I have to run, but I will be thinking of you.

J:  You are so sweet.  I can’t wait to see you.


Offline Lithpkith

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #56 on: 14. March 2022, 18:15:09 PM »
Jutht love love love thith thtowy! Both thethe ladieth awe badath!! Can hawdly wait fow the netht chaptew!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #57 on: 18. March 2022, 05:20:32 AM »
Chapter 27.

Jen smiled, she couldn’t help it.  Even with everything going on texting with Mel made her happy.  She also realized she was due for some pain medicine. Her mouth was hurting, it had been hurting since her appointment the day before.  So, she went into the kitchen and took two Tylenol out and managed to swallow them.  The idea of alternating between ibuprofen and acetaminophen was actually something that she had picked up off the internet that day.  Dr. Copper had offered to write her a prescription for a codeine based drug if she wanted, but Jen hated opium based pills.  They just made her feel like a blob and tried to avoid them.  She had told him that she wanted to try to manage the pain with over the counter pills.  He had told her he understood.  But he also told her there was no shame in taking oxy for a couple of days if the pain from the mse got too extreme.  She took the Tylenol and returned to the kitchen table.  Whether her blog ever amounted to anything she didn’t know, but it was engrossing her she realized and keeping her from thinking about her mouth as much.  After about 30 more minutes; this was all new to Jen and she was going slowly; her cell phone rang. 

It was a local number she didn’t recognize, and despite her often not answering unknown numbers because they ended up being an offer for an extended warranty on a vehicle she hadn’t owned for 5 years, she did answer.

J: “Hello, Jennifer Collinsh, may I help you?”

Unknown Number: “Hello Msh. Collinsh, this is Diane Shorter, I am the treatment coordinator from Dr. Cooper’sh, we met briefly at your appointment yeshterday.  We wanted to call and check on you.  How are you doing and how ish the pain?  Do you need us to phone in a prescription?”

J: “I am hurting.  But I am managing.  I am trying to keep busy to keep my mind off of it.  At this time, I would prefer not to take a prescription pain pill.”

D: “That is exshellent.  Are you having any other issues?  Have you been able to turn your eshpander?  Have you been able to begin your break in period on your fashmashk?  Do you have any questions or consherns I might could addresh?”

J:  “Issues other than having 8 pounds of metal screwed into my mouth and having to wear a catcher’s mask half the day?  No, not really.”

As soon as Jennifer heard what she said, she regretted it.  She was being snarky to this woman who was trying to help her.  It surprised her when she heard laughing on the other end of the line.

D:  “I completely undershtand.  It might not help your pain, but I undershtand.  I am alsho undergoing airway orthodontic treatment.  Sho I completely undershtand.  There are actually three of us here in the offish that are undergoing a similar treatment ash you.  So just know you aren’t alone in thish, and it doesh get better”.

J:  “Thank you; and I am shorry for snapping at you”.

D: “No apoloszhee needed.  Is this your cell phone?  If so I am going to text you my cell phone number in cash you have any issues over the weekend”.

J:  “Yes, this is my cell phone.  And again I apologize for snapping at you”.

D:  “Again, no apologzee needed.  I completely undershtand.  I will text you my number.  If you have any questionsh or issues when the offish ish closed pleash let me know.  By the way, for only being 24 out from your inshtallation, you are shpeaking great.  Again, let me know if there ish anything I can help you with.”






Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #58 on: 18. March 2022, 06:40:11 AM »
Chapter 28.

Jen still had her phone in her hand when a text popped up.

D: Ms. Collins, this is my cell phone number.  Please feel free to save it and text me with any issues or questions you have. - Diane Shorter

J: Thank you so much.  And I am so, so sorry for snapping at you.  I feel awful.  Please, please, please accept my apology.

D:  No apology needed, but it is accepted.  I know you are hurting.  And I know this is a big change.  I well understand; I remember the pain from my own MSE installation.  And again, you really are speaking well.  I am three months into treatment and still have trouble.  But don’t be too alarmed; I also have a lower Wilson expander.  I think it impacts my speech more than my upper expander.  Our other patients that only have an upper MSE like you are almost all back to speaking at 95-99% within 2 weeks.  And I also understand what a pain the facemask is.  Extra padding will help.  I don’t know why we don’t just provide it for the patient, but if you want to swing by the office this week I can help you with that.

J:  Thank you.  But I have a friend that is actually helping me with that.  She is going to bring me some sheep’s wool to put on the pads tonight.  Do you know Melanie Saunders?  She is also a patient there.

D:  Of course, Mel is a sweet heart.  She is doing so well with her treatment.  It is great you have a friend to go through this with.

That made Jen think again.  What where people that didn’t have someone to go through this experiencing?  She had Mel to hold her hand last night.  But what had Mel gone through with no one to hold her?  But what about others that were going through this scary and painful process alone?  She had an idea.

J: You asked me if I had any questions.  I do.  I am starting a blog to document my process.  Mainly to try to help others, because there is so little information out there on what this process is like other than on provider’s pages.  And they obviously gloss over the bad and ugly parts.  Since you are going through the process, would you share your experience and tips to put online?  And also, have you ever heard of the Crane appliance?

D:  Well, I certainly would share with you my experience and tips/tricks with you.  I am not sure I feel comfortable with putting myself out there though.  And no, I am not familiar with the Crane.  Christy, our hygienist and myofunctional therapist might.  She is all into this.  I am going through this to help with my breathing and sleep.  I swear she is going through this process just so she can go through the process.  She is up to date on everything, and I mean everything, in regards to this.  Do you have any information you can send me and I will ask Christy and Dr. Cooper?

J:  Of course, I will send you a couple of pictures and links.  But basically the Crane is a neck brace that takes the place of a facemask.  It has a rod that you attach the elastics to.  I already wear a neckbrace at night as part of my scoliosis brace; I wondered if I could use something similar so I don’t have to wear a body brace and a facemask.

D:  Oh please send the info to me. You poor thing, having to go through this orthodontic process and having to wear a body brace.  As for your blog, I bet Christy would be all over it.  And I will also mention it to Jocelyn, or Josie, our scheduling coordinator.  You didn’t meet her.  She just started treatment this week and is having a tough time with it.


Offline Lithpkith

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #59 on: 18. March 2022, 15:58:08 PM »
Thankth fow continuing thith gweat thtowy! Lookng fowawd to the netht chaptew.

Offline bracessd

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #60 on: 18. March 2022, 16:30:37 PM »
Nice job!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #61 on: 25. March 2022, 00:56:40 AM »
Chapter 29.

Jen got up from the table and headed into the kitchen.  First, she fixed herself a glass of salt water and rinsed her mouth as she had been instructed.  She was supposed to rinse three times a day; morning, mid day, and in the evening.  She then got a vanilla protein drink out of the fridge.  She didn't want to deal with the hassle of trying to eat anything.  While not in agony, her mouth did hurt.  And she didn't really want to have to go through the process of cleaning her braces and expander again.  Again she thought of all the adjustments that having braces was going to mean.  After finishing the drink, she returned to the couch.  She got comfortable and started reading out loud again.  She realized that while she still had a long way to go to sound "normal", she was speaking much clearer than she had been just the evening before.  It was a Thursday, and she was planning on going into work tomorrow.  She was dreading it.  She was afraid she would feel embarrassment, not just from having such visible braces, but also from her lisp.  After about 30 minutes, she took another break.  While wax did help, the inside of her mouth was in no way used to all the new sharp edges.  She thought of Mel again, and thought she seemed fine with her braces.  They really didn't seem to bother her.  She hoped she would get to the same point, and the sooner the better.  She then realized she had not emailed the information on the Crane device over to Diane.  She got up and went back to the kitchen table.  She opened her emails and started one addressed to Diane.  She started her email by thanking her for checking on her.  Then she explained she was including the information on the Crane device.  She copied the link to the manufacturer's website, as well as the link to the blogger that had experimented with one.  In her searching, she had also found a youtube video with a guy that was undergoing MSE that demonstrated how it worked.  She copied and pasted that link as well.  Finally, she decided she would take a picture of her own neckbrace and attach it as well.  She took out her phone, and as she tried to get a clear shot of her wearing it, she realized she might should put on her facemask.  After just a little struggling, she managed to get the rubberbands hooked in her mouth and then onto the mask.  She finished by snapping the strap around her head.  She did manage to take a decent picture of her neck brace.  You couldn't see her whole face, but you could see the chincup which would let Diane know she was wearing it and being a good, compliant patient.  She hit send.

Feeling a little stir crazy; Jen wasn't used to just relaxing and "doing nothing", she ventured out on her back deck with her book. It was a nice day, and the sunlight felt good. After about 30 minutes, she nodded off.

Jen woke about 2 hours later.  She realized she had gotten some sun. Then she remembered she was wearing the facemask.  Oh gosh she thought, I hope I don't have tan lines.  She ran inside and into the bathroom.  She removed her facemask, and with relief she saw she did not.  She did make a note though that she would have to be careful if she ventured outside with it on again.  She couldn't foresee herself doing so very often, but it was something to keep in mind.  She decided to leave the mask off until Mel got home, it really was bothering her chin.  She went to the kitchen and retrieved her phone.  She wanted to send Mel a text just to see how her day was going.  When she looked at the screen, she saw a message from a new number.

C:  Ms. Collins, this is Christy Thomas at Dr. Cooper's. Diane passed along the information on the Crane appliance.  I am very interested in it.  In fact, I have ordered one to try myself.  As well as being Dr. Cooper's hygienist and myofunctional therapist, I am also the office guinea pig.  Based on pictures of the device and your neckbrace, I do believe it might be possible.  But, Dr. Cooper would rather have me try it first before prescribing it to a patient.  Diane also mentioned you were starting a blog to chronicle your journey.  I would love to participate if you would have me. 

J:  First, thank you.  And second, please call me Jen.  I really appreciate you looking into this for me.  Would you be willing to get together sometime so I can pick your brain about this whole process, your experience, and any tips or tricks you could offer?

C:  Of course, I would be glad to.  Do you have any time in mind?

J:  I want to make it as convenient for you as possible.  I am free most any evening, and I have this whole upcoming weekend free as well.  This is quite an adjustment with everything going on in my mouth, and I don't see me going out for the next few days.

C.  I completely understand.  There is definitely a learning curve of sorts after getting braces.  And in our case, all the other goodies like expanders and protraction devices make it even steeper.  But it does get better.  What about Saturday afternoon?  I could meet you somewhere?

J:  If you would be comfortable with it, you could just come by my house.  And if it is ok, I will probably have Mel Saunders here too.  We are friends and she is going through the same process. 

Jen left off that Mel had become a little more than just a friend, and the two of them would have been together anyway.

C:  That would be great.  What about 2 pm?  Just send me your address and I will see you Saturday.

J:  Thank you so much.  I do look forward to it.

Jen finished by sending her the address.  She then sent a text to Mel.

J:  Just wanted to let you know I am thinking about you and hoping you have had a great day  :)

M:  Awww, you are too sweet.  My day has gone just fine.  In fact, I realize that by wearing my facemask all day here, it will free me up from wearing it this evening.  And I might can put this mouth to good use...

J:  You are bad, you are going to get me all excited.  I can't wait to see you this evening.  Kisses.

M:  Kisses back. 

Offline Lithpkith

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #62 on: 25. March 2022, 04:16:46 AM »
Thank you fow thith latetht chaptew! Totally enjoying thith thtowy! Ooooh, kithing with bwatheth, thweet! Thith getth bettew and bettew, can’t wait fow the netht chaptew!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #63 on: 25. March 2022, 06:40:38 AM »
Chapter 30.

Around 6 pm there was knocking at the front door.  As Jen went to the door she saw Mel’s car in the driveway.  She opened the door to find Mel with her arms full.  She had a duffle bag in one hand, and several plastic bags in the other.  Jen grabbed the duffle from Mel, and followed her into the dining room where Mel put the bags down on the table.  Mel then turned and gave Jen a hug, asking her “how was my favorite person’s day?”  Jen replied “it went better than I feared.  The pain wash manageable.  I haven’t tried to eat shince thish morning, but I think I may give it a shot thish evening”.  Mel looked at her and said “good, because I brought dinner.  First though, there is something I have wanted to do all day”.  She leaned in and gave Jen a very gentle, caring kiss.  She continued “do you want to go ahead and eat, I didn’t have much of a lunch.”  Jen said she would give it a shot.  Mel told her to just have a seat, she would handle it.  She slid Jen’s computer down to the end of the table, and told her she wanted to check out her new blog when they got done eating.  A few minutes later, Mel returned with plates and silverware; and then made a second trip coming back with two glasses of wine.

Mel pulled the food containers out of the bags and then ran through the options. “They probably did think my order a little unusual, but I have the following: mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken noodle soup, grilled zucchini, baked lemon butter salmon, and some soft rolls.  Anything in particular sound good?”  Jen looked at Mel and answered “thank you for thish.  I guessh I will try a little of all of it and she what worksh”.

As they ate they discussed their day.  Mel talked about the butterflies she felt wearing her facemask into the office.  And while she had been aware of it all day, it had really not been a problem.  She then said “but I fear I made a mistake wearing it.  At the end of the day, Dr. Wellington again told me how great it was that I was wearing my facemask at work.  And he told me if it is something I need, that he hoped I would continue to do so.  So, I guess I will wear it again tomorrow.  Ugh.”  She added she had taken her facemask off before she went to pick up the carryout order; she wasn’t that brave yet.  Jen then told Mel about her blog, falling asleep on the lounger, and the communications she had with both Diane and Christy.  She then told Mel “I should have ashed you first, but it just sort of happened.  I invited Chrishty over on Saturday.  Do you have any plansh for Saturday afternoon?”  Mel replied “the only plans I made for this weekend were taking care of you.  So sure, I will be here”.

The two continued eating.  Then Jen panicked.  After eating a spoonful of chicken noodle soup; it was made with spaghetti noodles instead of the more traditional short flat noodles; she felt one hanging in her throat.  “Aghh” Jen gagged as she got up.  “There is a noodle caught in my throat.”  Mel got up too and hurried with Jen into the bathroom.  Mel had Jen open her mouth.  She saw there was a noodle wrapped around her expander and hanging into her throat.  She took a toothbrush and dislodged it from the expander.  She then told Jen to hang right there and quickly returned with the glass of wine.  She handed it to Jen to try to wash the noodle down.  It worked.  Jen looked at Mel and told her “that wash horrible.  Thank you for saving me”.  As they returned to the table Mel apologized “I am sorry that happened.  I feel like it is my fault.”  Jen stopped her and looked her in the eyes saying “it ish not your fault at all.  We are both learning ash we go.  I guessh we need to knock shpagetti noodles off the menu unlessh we cut them up small enough” and laughed.  They finished their meal without further issue.  Once done, Mel started cleaning the table.  She told Jen to get her computer ready, she wanted to see her handiwork. 

When Mel had finished cleaning up and putting the leftovers in the refrigerator, she sat down beside Jen. Jen ran through what she had done.  She also pointed out the pictures she needed help with.  She wanted a closeup of her braces; the hooks coming off her molar bands, the herbst, and the MSE screwed into her palate.  She also wanted a pic of her wearing her mask, as well as closeups of how the rubberbands attached.  Mel took her phone and took the closeup photos of Jen’s mouth.  Jen then got her facemask and attached it to her face.  Mel took several pics of this as well.  Jen reviewed them and then had Mel email them to her.  Once she received them and saved them on her computer, she added them to the blog post.  She then asked Mel if she would post about her experience.  Mel looked at Jen and asked her “would it make you happy?”  Jen told her it would.  Mel answered “well then, of course I will”.  After about an hour, they had Mel’s story posted, along with similar photos as Jen’s.  Then Jen remembered about adding the padding to her facemask.  As Mel went through the process of affixing the padding to the inside of the chin cup and forehead pad, Jen took pictures; a before and after of sorts.  Once Mel was done, Jen put the mask back on.  She looked at Mel and told her “wow, this does feel better.  I guess I will wear it the rest of the evening and try to sleep with it”. Mel told her she was doing great, and kissed her on the forehead.  She then got her own mask out of her bag and looked at Jen telling her “we are in this together” and attached her own facemask.



Offline Lithpkith

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #64 on: 25. March 2022, 15:31:23 PM »
Thankth fow chaptew 30! I weally like the way thethe two women cawe fow each othew. Looking fowawd to chaptew 31!!!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #65 on: 28. March 2022, 19:40:29 PM »
Chapter 31.

Jen awoke the next morning and pulled her eye mask up and off her face.  She sensed Mel was not beside her.  As she could not turn her head, she reached over and felt with her arm to confirm it.  She rolled over, up and into a sitting position on the edge of the bed as she had become accustomed to and removed her face mask.  It was a huge relief, the pressure on her chin, even with the newly added padding, was intense.  She next removed her cpap mask, laying it on the nightstand beside her facemask.  She walked over to the dresser and took off her neck brace.  With all her night time devices off, she walked towards the kitchen.

She found Mel sitting at the kitchen table looking at her phone.  Mel had already made breakfast and had each of them a plate of food and a cup of coffee waiting. It was soft food, eggs again along with a couple of pancakes.  She also had placed a couple of ibuprofen on the napkin beside Jen's plate. As Jen walked over to the table, Mel looked up, smiling through her facemask, and told Jen "good morning babe".  Jen responded "you really didn't have to do all thish" gesturing towards the table.  Mel looked at her and replied "I know I didn't have to.  But I wanted to.  I want to make your day, and every day, as nice as I can.  Plus, you made it through your first night wearing your facemask.  That calls for a celebration."  She got up and went over and hugged Jen.

As the two ate, again Jen was able to manage even if it was very slowly and somewhat unpleasantly, they talked about their upcoming days.  Jen was very nervous about her first day back at work.  She thought that this was even scarier than the first day wearing her back brace to work.  At least with it, she was able to hide it under her clothes.  She was a mature, professional lady that did take some pride in her appearance.  And she now had massive visible metal braces and appliances, along with her new speech impediment.  And she couldn't just hide that under her clothes.  Mel assured her she would do great.  Mel also told her she wanted to take Jen out on a date at her favorite restaurant as soon as her mouth felt up to it.  Jen told her she would like that.

After breakfast they went into the bathroom and went through the ritual of cleaning their braces.  Again, Mel turned Jen's expander.  And again she immediately felt pressure in her sinuses.  After each finished in the bathroom, they got dressed.  Mel dressed in her customary scrubs.  She did her makeup and hair, and then put her facemask back on.  She looked over at Jen and said "I guess this is going to become a thing.  I still feel like a bit of a pariah wearing this at work though".  Jen looked at her and said "you are sho shtrong; and nothing you could wear could diminish your beauty" and reached over and kissed her on the cheek, managing to avoid the metal and plastic mask in the process.  Jen herself dressed a little more formally than was normal for a Friday.  She put on hose, a white blouse, and a black skirted business suit.  She slipped on some matching 2" black pumps, did her makeup, put her hair up, and finished with some gold jewelry.  She hoped that by dressing up, maybe it would distract others from her braces.  Mel told Jen she looked absolutely ravishing, good enough to eat.  She gave her a hug and went out the door wearing her facemask.  Jen was at the door watching her leave when halfway to her car Mel stopped and turned.  She told Jen "if you need anything, anything at all today, even if it is just a hug, let me know and I will be there".

As Jen made the drive in to work, she had butterflies in her stomach.  What would her coworkers think?  What would her boss Pete think?  She was the CFO of a company, and she had braces.  She made her mind up, that one way or the other, she would make it through the day.  As she entered the lobby, the front desk receptionist Melinda greeted her.  "Good morning Ms. Collins, you look really nice this morning".  Jen stopped and thanked her "Thank you Melinda, you look nish ash well."  She smiled at her with a closed mouth smile.  Melinda responded "You got braces! They look good."  Jen looked at her and smiled again, this time showing her new companions, and replied "thank you, they sure don't feel good."  Melinda looked at her and said sympathetically "I completely understand, I had braces all through high school.  If you need any tips, let me know".  Jen thanked her and headed back towards her office. 

There, she found Jasmine already at her desk.  As Jen approached, Jasmine was looking up at her expectantly.  Jen stopped at her desk as she said "Good morning Jashmine.  I guessh you can tell I did get my brayshes."  Jasmine looked up at her saying "you look so pretty.  I think they are so cool.  You have a wonderful smile already, but think about how gorgeous it is going to be.  Can I take a closer look at them?".  Despite it seeming a little weird, Jen figured she might as well get it over with.  She knew that Jasmine was wanting braces herself, so she figured this would eventually come up.  Might as well get it out of the way now.  She asked Jasmine into her office and had her sit in a chair in front of her desk.  Still standing, Jen leaned towards her and gave her a big smile.  After giving her a good look at them with her mouth closed, Jen opened her mouth showing the expander screwed into the roof of her mouth.  Jasmine seemed mesmerized.    After a few moments she said "wow, they look pretty complicated.  Is that an expander in your mouth?  And is it actually screwed into your mouth? What are those rods on the sides?  And what about those hooks?". 

Jen went and sat down behind her desk and started "yesh, that ish an expander.  And yesh, it is shcrewed into my mouth.  And yesh it hurtsh, and yesh it gives me thish lispth.  But it ish shopposed to get better.  The rods are my herbst appliance.  That little wire that goes along the inshide of my lower teeth ish part of it too.  It ish to hold my lower jaw forward, while they pull my face forward.  And that ish what the hooksh are for, they are my crowning achievement.  They connect to my reversh pull headgear that I have to wear at night.  It is horrible and sho embarrassing.  But I need to pull my whole maxilla forward, and this is the only way other than double jaw shurgery."  Jasmine looked at her and said "that is so cool.  You still look so pretty.  And I am so jealous.  I want braces so bad; I just wish they weren't so expensive.  I need them so bad" and smiled at Jen.  Jen had never been big on noticing peoples teeth, but she realized she probably was going to be talking to people about braces and teeth alot over the coming years.  She noticed that Jasmine had pretty severe crowding, an apparent overbite, and had an openbite.  When she talked, you could actually see her tongue pop out through the gap on occasion, even when her mouth was closed.  Jasmine looked at her and said "do you have a picture of the headgear?  I know it is weird, but I am just so interested in this".   Jen looked at her and said "I have even better" and sent Jasmine a text with the address of her brand new blog. "You can shee all about me and my new mouth acceshories on thish blog I started.  There is sho little info on what I am going through, I deshided to start a blog to chronicle it.  I have a friend going through the shame thing, and you can shee her shtory too."  Jasmine opened the link and seemed transfixed.  She read for several minutes, clicking on some of the pictures to enlarge them.  After she had skimmed through it all she looked up at Jen and said "wow, that is a lot you are going through.  But it is going to be so so worth it." 





Offline Lithpkith

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #66 on: 29. March 2022, 06:04:48 AM »
Thith ith one of my favouwite thtowieth! I jutht love how thethe two ladieth cawe fow one anothew!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #67 on: 29. March 2022, 23:18:11 PM »
Chapter 32.

Jen spent the next few hours working on financial reports.  She hoped she could just stay locked away in her office most of the day.  She knew she was eventually going to have to unveil her braces in front of others in the office, but she hoped today wouldn’t be that day.  She was still very self conscious of her speech, as well as some of the strange movements and tics her mouth made as it became accustomed to all the new metal assaulting it.  She did expect things to get a little better, and she wanted to wait until then before she had to speak too much with others.

Around 10 am her office line rang.  She picked it up and answered “Hello, Jennifer Collinsh”.  As she heard herself, she cringed.  She really hoped she would eventually be able to at least say her own name clearly.  The person on the other end of the line was Melinda from the front desk.  She told Ms. Collins that there was a delivery for her, and asked her if she could come pick it up.  Jennifer asked her what it was, but Melinda told her that the outside of the note said it was a surprise.  Perplexed, Jennifer got up and made her way to the front desk.  There, on the front desk, was a very pretty floral arrangement.  Melinda apologized for not telling her what it was, and pointed to the envelope on the outside.  It did say “to be announced as a surprise”.  Jen was a little shocked, she couldn’t even remember the last time someone had given her flowers.  And who were they from?  She thanked Melinda and picked up the bouquet.  She took them back to her desk, shrugging when Jasmine asked her who they were from.  Once at her desk, she set them down and opened the envelope.  The note was short, but it melted her heart.  “I hope these flowers brighten your day as much as you brighten mine.  Love, Mel”.

Offline Lithpkith

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #68 on: 30. March 2022, 05:03:55 AM »
Thith thtowy bwightenth my day! Eagewly looking fowawd to the netht chaptew!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #69 on: 11. April 2022, 21:59:40 PM »
Chapter 33.

Around 11:30, Jennifer got up from her desk and told Jasmine she was going out for lunch.  She told her it might be a little longer lunch than normal, but she would be back if anyone needed her.  While she had continued to try to work since she had retrieved the flowers, she was very distracted.  She couldn't help but look at them and think of Mel.  She desperately wanted to see her and let her know how much they meant.  As she sat there looking at the flowers she had an idea.

After she left work, she stopped by a deli around the corner and got some sandwiches.  She didn't really know if she would be able to eat one, but she didn't really care.  Food was not really what she was focused on during this lunch break.  After getting two sack lunches, she headed to Dr. Wellington's office. Once she was in the parking lot, it was nearly noon.  She sent Mel a text.

J: What are you planning on doing for lunch?

It was only a minute or so before she got a response.

M:  I don't know, I haven't really thought about it too much.  I guess I will go around the corner and grab a sandwich or something.

J:  Would you like to join me for a little picnic?  I am in the parking lot and picked up a couple of sandwiches on the way over.

M:  Of course, I will be out in a few minutes.

J:  I will meet you in the lobby  :)

As Jen sat in one of the chairs in the waiting area she fidgeted.  She didn't even realize she was doing it, but she was full of nervous energy.  After just a few minutes the door beside the reception desk opened and out stepped Mel.  She was wearing pink scrubs and her blue reverse pull headgear.  Her hair was pulled up in a messy bun, and she had on a bare minimum of makeup.  And Jen thought she was the most gorgeous thing she had ever seen.  Jen hopped up out of her seat and rushed over to Mel.  She gave her a hug, she couldn't help it, and whispered in her ear "I got the flowersh; they may be the shweetest thing that has ever happened to me".  She quickly released Mel; she didn't want to embarrass her at work, and asked her "can we go to the park a few blocks away?  It is a gorgeous day, and I brought us a little lunch".  Of course Mel agreed.  She then said "but first, let me take this stupid mask off" and removed her facemask and elastics, stowing them in her purse.

As they made their way across the parking lot; Jen had to retrieve the food from her car; she reached down to hold Mel's hand.  Mel accepted it.  Jen felt funny; like she was back in high school on a first date.  Once at her car, she turned towards Mel.  She said "again, thank you sho much for the flowersh.  I can't even deshcribe how shpecial they make me feel".  She then stepped forward and put her arm around Mel's waist, feeling the unyielding plastic of her scoliosis brace, and kissed her passionately.  It was the first time either of them had ever shown any real affection in public, and it was in front of Mel's place of work of all places.  Jen quickly stopped, and apologized "I'm shorry, I don't want to embarrash you at work".  Mel looked into her eyes and told her "you aren't embarrassing me at all", and put her lips back to Jen's.

After walking the few blocks to the park hand in hand, they found a nice shaded and secluded picnic table.  Jen pulled everything out of the bags and arranged it on the table.  She had gotten Mel a turkey and swiss and gotten herself a tuna salad sandwich, not because she loved tuna salad but she thought it might be easier to eat with her new mouth accessories.  Mel thanked her for lunch, and bit into her sandwich.  Jen stared at her's a moment, then tried to do the same.  She realized right then that eating a sandwich was just not going to work.  She said "well, so much for that.  Guess I will be drinking my lunch".  She put the sandwich down and Mel grabbed her hand.  Mel said "oh you poor baby.  I shouldn't have locked my purse in your car, I have a knife in there.  You could cut it up and try it.  Do you want me to run and get it?".  Jen looked at her and told her "no, I didn't come here for the food, I came here to be with you."

Offline giacc

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #70 on: 13. April 2022, 19:08:19 PM »
fantastic story...

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #71 on: 18. April 2022, 17:15:48 PM »
Hey everybody, I am taking a little break from this.  I posted a little explanation over in my other thread.  But I want to add that I am thankful for this outlet that allowed me to share some of my thoughts and ideas.  I think it may have contributed a little bit towards me having the courage to slay a couple of the monsters in my closet that had been scaring me and keeping me from getting out of bed.  Thank you all for reading.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #72 on: 20. May 2022, 19:03:44 PM »
Hey everybody, I am taking a little break from this.  I posted a little explanation over in my other thread.  But I want to add that I am thankful for this outlet that allowed me to share some of my thoughts and ideas.  I think it may have contributed a little bit towards me having the courage to slay a couple of the monsters in my closet that had been scaring me and keeping me from getting out of bed.  Thank you all for reading.

Writing stories, writing & playing music, painting, drawing - all good ways of helping express yourself, make you think about things happening in your life, help you work out what you want from life. Writing for an audience makes it much more interesting too. Good to hear it's helped you... maybe we'll see you back again... you know you'll be made welcome once more.

Offline ksmooth

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #73 on: 03. June 2022, 05:29:49 AM »
Awesome story! I'm a sucker for orthodontic and orthopedic combos. Thank you so much for the hard work!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #74 on: 05. October 2022, 10:47:20 AM »
Chapter 34.

Mel looked up at Jen and said “are you sure you don’t want me to run and get you a knife.  It is going to break my heart if you can’t eat”.

Jen looked back into Mel’s eyes, grabbing her hand, and said “no, it ish ok.  Pleash eat your samdwitch.  I jusht want to shpend shome time with you.  Even as niesh as the day is, being with you makesh it even better.  This is perfect”.

Mel removed her hand from Jen’s, stood, and went around the table.  Sitting in front of Jen she leaned in and kissed her passionately.  Mel pulled back, staring into Jen’s eyes, and told her “thank you, I feel the same way”.

Jen watched as Mel ate her sandwich.  She was just enjoying being with her.  Even just watching her eat a sandwich, which she wasn’t able to because of her new braces and expander, made her happy. After a few bites Mel implored Jen “please, try to eat.  It is killing me eating and thinking you are hurting to bad to even try”.

Jen replied “really, it is ok.  I am not hurting too bad, it just feels strange.  And I have a plan for this sandwich.”  While Mel had been eating, Jen had noticed a family of ducks swimming in the pond behind them.  Jen looked at Mel, smiling unconsciously even with all her metal, and asked her “would you want to feed some ducks with me?”

Offline bracessd

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #75 on: 05. October 2022, 17:19:56 PM »
Good job, hoping there's more!

Offline TrainTrack

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #76 on: 06. October 2022, 00:25:07 AM »
Funny, just yesterday I saw this post after scrolling down, and now I get to read more! I really like how they met, and how there is more than just scoliosis bonding them together. I also love how Jen cares enough for Mel to get enough courage to get braces so Mel would have a supporter. Overall, great story!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #77 on: 14. October 2022, 18:54:15 PM »
Chapter 35.

As Jen stood by the pond, pinching off pieces of bread and tossing them piece by piece to the family of ducks in the water, Mel watched Jen.  Mel liked seeing her girlfriend happy.  And from the giggles that were coming from Jen as she watched the ducks fighting over the bread, it seemed she was happy.  And at least for the moment, she had forgotten about the cumbersome new orthodontic work in her mouth.  After Jen had tossed the last bit of bread to the ravenous ducks, Mel wrapped her arm around her and whispered to her "you are so cute."  Jen turned her head to Mel and said "aww, thank you.  You know, you aren't too bad yourshelf" and gently kissed her.  The two stood there for several more minutes, simply enjoying the moment. 

Mel glanced down at her watch, and with a mock pout said "I hate for this to end, but I guess I need to get back to work.  At least it is Friday.  Just a few more hours until we get our weekend pardons".  Jen laughed and replied "I guess you are right" and squeezed Mel's rigid waist.

Back in the Scoliclinic's parking lot, Jen asked Mel to get in her car with her for a moment.  Once both were seated she looked over at Mel and said "thank you again for the flowersh.  You really don't know how musch they mean to me".  Mel responded "I am so glad you like them. And thank you for our little picnic.  You really don't know how much that meant to me.  I do have a favor to ask, can you check and make sure I don't have too much food stuck in my braces?".  Mel turned and leaned over the console towards Jen and opened her mouth wide.  Jen looked into her mouth and said "hang on" as she got a proxy brush out of her purse.  She had spotted a bit of bread stuck back between a bracket and one of the scopes of Mel's herbst.  She made quick work getting it out.  She made one more inspection and declared "that looks like everything.  But, I better give it one final check".  With a devilish grin on her face, you placed her lips to Mel's and plunged her tongue into her mouth.

Mel responded eagerly.  The two spent several minutes locked together, weaving their tongues into and around the other's mouth. Jen felt the roughness of Mel's braces, the bolts and scopes of the herbst, and especially the warmth of her tongue.  After a few minutes, both flush, they came up for air.  Mel looked at Jen and said simply "wow..." and exhaled deeply.  Jen lovingly looked at Mel and said "shee, I told you thoshe flowers did something to me" and laid her hand on Mel's.  After each had somewhat regained their composure and touched up their makeup in the car mirrors, Mel looked at Jen and said "you don't know how much I want to go home with you right now.  But I have to go back inside, at least for the next few hours.'  As Mel grabbed her purse, Jen asked her "are you going to wear your facshmask thish afternoon?  You know, you might not get much chance to wear it thish evening." and winked.  Mel said "oh... in that case".  She took the facemask and a couple of elastics out of her purse, and like the seasoned veteran she was, quickly donned the headgear.  Jen looked at Mel and told her "you are sho shexy." and kissed her on the forehead pad of the mask.  She continued on "now go, get on in there.  I will shee you thish evening".

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #78 on: 15. October 2022, 04:22:21 AM »
Should this keep going?  I have the major plot points and a conclusion; just not sure how long it will take to get there and if it is worth it.

Offline TrainTrack

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #79 on: 15. October 2022, 05:34:40 AM »
Yes, of course!

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #80 on: 15. October 2022, 06:04:16 AM »
I'll give you my advice, take it for what's worth.

If you have a good idea of where you want your story to go, write it. The rest of us really don't matter that much. We will all appreciate reading what you write. As for how long it takes, that again is up to you to decide.

Some stories in my collection are over 100 pages long, others are 5 pages. One of my favourite stories is very short, another one is quite long.

When I write a story, I write what I want to read, not what I think other people will like.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #81 on: 16. October 2022, 04:19:09 AM »
10/4

Offline duncombec

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #82 on: 16. October 2022, 10:32:27 AM »
Should this keep going?  I have the major plot points and a conclusion; just not sure how long it will take to get there and if it is worth it.

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you have to cover everything as one linear story, but I don't think anyone would have an issue if it became episodic, with some jumps forward in time, and if you think of anything later, have the character think back on it as a memory.

Hope that helps!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #83 on: 17. October 2022, 02:23:14 AM »
Chapter 36.

Back in the office; Jen tried to concentrate on work.  But she just couldn’t.  Her thoughts kept wandering to Mel.  The time dragged; she was so ready for the weekend and for the work week to be over.  Around 4:30, as she tidied up things on her desk, her phone buzzed.  She looked down and saw a text from Christy, the hygienist at Dr. Cooper’s.  The text read:

C:  Ms. Collins, I just wanted to check with you to see if 2 p.m. tomorrow still worked for you to meet up?

J:  Yes!  I am looking forward to it.  Maybe you can share some tips and tricks to make this whole process easier.

C:  I will certainly try.  But to be honest; the biggest tip is simply time.  It takes a little time to get used to everything.  By the way, how has today gone?  How are you feeling?

J:  I think I will survive.  Talking is still a challenge.  Eating is a bigger one.  And then there is the whole issue of just having to face the world with all this metal.  But I am making it.  I hope you are right and it will get easier.

C:  i promise you it will.  I have your address; and I will see you at 2 tomorrow.  Have a great evening.

J:  Thank you so much.  And I hope you have a great evening too!

As Jen finished packing up her things; she felt gratitude towards the ladies at Dr. Cooper’s.  Both Diane and Christy had reached out to offer help and support.  As rough as she feared the next couple of years might be, at least she felt she was being treated at an office that cared about her.  She was grateful for the little informal support group that was offering her guidance.  Foremost of whom was Mel, who she couldn’t wait to get home to and see.  With that, she turned off her office light, closed the door, and headed towards her car.

Offline bracessd

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #84 on: 17. October 2022, 19:39:46 PM »
You're doing a great job @mr_90proof, I'm really enjoying this story

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #85 on: 18. October 2022, 08:22:19 AM »
Chapter 37.

As Jen approached their house, she noticed Mel’s car was already in the driveway.  This was not unusual; as Mel did get off early on Fridays.  Jen parked her car and went inside.  She said loudly “I’m home”.  She got no response.  She headed towards the kitchen, thinking maybe Mel had her ear buds in and hadn’t heard her.  If so, she was going to try to sneak up on her and surprise her.  And then kiss her.  But the kitchen and dining room were empty.  Jen was wondering what was going on as she exited the kitchen and reentered the den.  She then saw the flower petals on the carpet, leading from the front door to the closed door of their bedroom.  Jen had completely missed them when she first entered the house.

She went to the bedroom door and opened it.  As she did, she smelled the fragrance of the candles burning inside.  The room was dark, lit only by the light of the few burning candles and the ambient light coming through the drawn shades. Jen’s eyes were not adjusted to the light.  But there was light enough for her to clearly see Mel seductively propped up on one elbow in the bed.  She was not wearing her back brace or her facemask.  Instead she was wearing nothing but a sheer white bustier that framed her gorgeous breasts. 

Jen was blown away, her heart skipping a beat.  After a moment of taking it all in she made eye contact with Mel.  Once she did, Mel said “I hope you meant what you said at lunch”.


Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #86 on: 23. October 2022, 18:28:14 PM »
Chapter 38.

The next morning the light was already pouring in through the shades when Jen woke.  Before she opened her eyes, she noticed she felt strange.  She was sleeping on her side, which she never did anymore since she started her scoliosis bracing regiment.  She realized she wasn't wearing her brace.  She could also tell she wasn't wearing her CPAP or facemask.  When she opened her eyes, she was met by the sight of Mel curled up beside her, feeling her warm breath on her face.  She then remembered the night before.  And a thousand thoughts rushed through her head.  She felt like the relationship between them had changed the night before.  She realized also that she was in love with her partner, who now slumbered beside her.  She reflected on the previous night, a smile coming to her face.  And she knew why she wasn't wearing her scoliosis brace, CPAP mask, and facemask.  She remembered it all, even falling asleep in Mel's arms; both exhausted but happy.  She lay there for a few minutes, enjoying the memory of the night before and the warmth of Mel beside her.  But she also had thoughts running through her head about what this all meant.   After a few minutes, she realized thinking about it wouldn't change anything, and she realized she felt a little bit sticky and needed a shower.  She slipped out of bed without waking Mel, noticing the alarm clock said 8:47.  She couldn't remember the last time she had slept so late.  But then she thought, she also couldn't remember the last time she had stayed up so late.

Jen slipped into the bathroom and silently shut the door.  She turned on the shower and soon stepped under the steamy water.  As she enjoyed her shower, she didn't see the bathroom door open through the steamy glass.  However, she did notice the shower door opening, and turned to see Mel stepping into the shower with her.  The two embraced again, kissing as the warm water rained down on them both.

After finishing their kiss, Jen pulled Mel into her and enveloped her in her arms.  She simply held her for a few moments.  She then let go and pulled back slightly while looking Mel solemnly in the eyes.  She said "I love you."  Mel stood there for a moment, the warm water running down her naked body, then replied "I love you too."  The two kissed once again.

After finishing their long shower together, now wearing bathrobes, Jen worked on her hair as Mel put on her makeup in the mirror.  Mel spoke first, saying "last night was wonderful.  But I do feel a little guilty about it".  Mel laughed when she noticed the crestfallen look come over Jen's face in the mirror.  She continued "no silly, not about us.  I feel guilty about not wearing my brace or facemask.  I cannot honestly remember the last night I did not wear them, it has been months.  You better not tattle on me to Dr. Cooper or Dr. Wellington".  Jen stepped behind Mel and wrapped her arms around her waist and said "I hope it wash worth it".  Mel turned in Jen's arms and kissed her.  She then replied "of course it was.  I guess it is a good thing today is a Saturday so I can catch up.  And you too.  But first, how about a little brunch?".

After finishing up their brunch, both retreated into the bathroom again to clean their braces.  After brushing and flossing, Mel picked up the wrench to Jen's expander, looping the blue safety cord around her finger.  Jen obediently tilted her head back and opened her mouth wide.  Jen inserted the wrench and gave the expander a turn.  As the wrench hit the back of Jen's throat she gagged.  Mel quickly withdrew the wrench from her mouth and hugged her.  She said "I am so sorry to hurt you."  Jen replied "no, you aren't. Thank you for doing it.  It is jusht shomething I have to get ushed to."  Mel answered "you know, you did so much better eating this morning.  And your lisp is so much better than a couple days ago.  You are getting the hang of it just fine".  Finished with their cleanings, they went into the bedroom where both put on their cotton undershirts.  Mel strapped on her back brace while Jen did the same.  Once Mel was strapped into her brace, she walked over to the dresser where Jen's cervical extension lay.  She looked at Jen and asked "will you wear your extension for me today?".  Jen replied "I guess I should, even as much as I don't want to".  Mel picked it up and intimately fit it onto Jen.  Once done, she said "you are so beautiful.  And you are doing so good" then kissed her.  She pulled back and said "and since I won't be able to kiss you once I put my facemask on I am going to make this one count" and again placed her lips to Jen's and slipped her tongue into her mouth.






Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #87 on: 24. October 2022, 15:41:58 PM »
Chapter 39.

After finishing their kiss, Mel pulled back from Jen.  She looked at her lover and said “unfortunately I guess play time is over.  I better go and get my facemask out of my purse.  Meet you in the living room?  You can tell me all about the plans you have made for us for this weekend”.  Jen responded “that sounds good.  But spoiler alert I don’t have much planned other than being with you.”  Mel responded “that is the best plan I think I have ever heard.”

Once Mel had left the bathroom Jen stepped in front of the mirror and washed her face then patted it dry.  She then applied some lotion to her face and touched up her face with some light makeup, followed by a subdued lip stick.  She then attached an elastic to each of the hooks in her mouth.  Once complete she looked over at the protraction mask laying on the vanity.  She made an unconscious sigh as she picked it up.  She quickly fit the elastics onto the mask, and snapped the strap around her head.  She checked her image in the mirror and once again sighed, thinking “what have I gotten myself into?”

Jen entered the living room to find Mel on the couch with the TV on.  She looked at Mel, who now was also wearing her facemask and a Scoliclinic hoodie which hid her brace.  Jen stiffly sat down on the couch and leaned against Mel.  Jen said “I really don’t think I could make it through this without you.”  Mel responded “nonsense, you are an incredibly strong woman.  You can do anything you put your mind to.  But thank you.  And I am glad I can be here for you, and vice versa.  I do admit I am conflicted by the whole thing”.  Jen pulled away somewhat from Mel and awkwardly turned to face her.  “What do you mean?” Jen asked.  Mel continued “I am conflicted because I hate you are having to go through this.  I hate to see you in pain or even just uncomfortable.  And if I could I would make it all go away.  But, on the other hand, if you hadn’t come into the clinic two months ago I would have probably never met you.  And meeting you is the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Jen was momentarily speechless as tears welled in her eyes.  She leaned back over and held Mel.  Jen said “that is the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me.  And I promise you, that sentiment is mutual.”  Mel responded “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you cry”.  Jen wiped her eyes and said “I promise you they are tears of happiness.”


Offline bracessd

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #88 on: 24. October 2022, 19:00:05 PM »
Really enjoying this story!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #89 on: 25. October 2022, 01:45:57 AM »
Thank you.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #90 on: 26. October 2022, 20:52:08 PM »
Chapter 40.

After about an hour of snuggling on the couch, Jen said to Mel "with Chrishty from Dr. Cooper'sh coming over in a few hours, I feel like I need to shtraighten up and maybe fixsh a little snack jusht to be hoshpitable.  Would you be up for helping me?"  Mel responded "Sure, I would love too!  I'm not really hungry yet, but I would love to help.  What did you have in mind?".  Jen said "I don't know, but shumthing soft.  I might want a bite myself".  Mel squeezed Jen and asked "Seriously, how is your mouth feeling?  It kills me to think you are hurting."  Jen replied "Honestly?  My mouth hurtsh.  It has for four daysh.  I haven't wanted to worry you.  But these shcrews in my palate are still really sore.  And they wreck my tongue.  I think the besht thing I can do is keep busy sho I don't think about it.  I know I didn't think about my mouth lasht night, other than what I could use it for" as she raised her eyebrows and gave Mel a sly smile.  Jen then untangled herself from Mel and stiffly stood up.  She cut her eyes down towards Mel, unable to move her head with her neck brace on, and said "I am going to go see what we might can come up with".  Mel got up and followed Jen into the kitchen.

An hour and a half later the living room and dining room had been straightened up, and Mel was removing the pizza bites and potato skins from the oven.  Jen was in the dining room, putting out three wine glasses and a bottle each of a cab and a zinfandel on the dining room table.  She also hooked her laptop up and powered it on.  Once she finished she walked back into the kitchen where Mel was carefully transferring the hors d'oeuvres to a serving platter.  Jen walked up behind Mel and wrapped her arms around her, whispering to her "I really like spending time with you.  And thosh smell delish".   Mel replied "I love spending time with you too!  But I do need to ask you something before Christy gets here.  This is the first time we have been with someone else socially since, well, since us.  How do we handle it?".  Jen responded with a "hmm... well I don't want to throw it in her face.  But I'm not embarrassed by it.  I meant it earlier when I said I love you.  I think we just go with it and cross that bridge when we get to it.  What do you think?".  Mel responded "I love you too, and I am not embarrassed at all.  In fact I want to go all Ron Burgundy and announce to the world 'Jennifer Collins and I had sex. And now we are in love'.  But I know that is not the right way to go about it.  Even if that is how I feel."  Jen squeezed Mel and said "you are just so sweet.  Let's just see what happens, and if it comes up it comes up".

Shortly before 2, the doorbell rang.  Jen, still wearing her neck brace, awkwardly looked through the peep to see Christy Thomas standing there holding a blue plastic tote.  Jen had considered removing the neck brace before Christy arrived, but she realized she had already sent her pictures of it and of her wearing it.  So, with the embarrassment already out of the way, she decided to just keep it on.  As Jen looked at Christy through the peep she realized she recognized her; Christy had cleaned her teeth before her braces installation on Wednesday.  But with her mind spinning that day, she had not connected the two when they had been texting.  Jen opened the door and welcomed her "Ms. Thomas, welcome and thank you for coming!  Please come in.  Do you need a hand with that?".  Christy replied "Please, call me Christy.  And thank you, but I've got it.  Just point me to where I can put it down."  Jen turned and said "Please, follow me, I was thinking we could sit at the table.  Mel and I whipped up a little snack, and if you like wine I have some of that too."

Mel stood up from her kitchen chair as Christy approached and said "Christy, it is good to see you.  And thank you for taking time out of your Saturday.  Just sit the tote down wherever there is room".  Christy replied "it is good to see you too Mel!  And it really is no problem.  I have never really had the opportunity to nerd out on 'teeth stuff' outside of the office or in continuing education classes.  Really, I love this stuff, so I was excited when Ms. Collins asked me to do it".  Jen jumped right in and said "Please, none of this 'Ms. Collins' mess, I am Jen.  And Christy, I have to apologize, when we were texting I didn't even realize who I was talking with.  I apologize".  Christy laughed as she sat down the tote and said "no need for an apology, you had a lot going on Wednesday, and I am sure a thousand thoughts racing through your mind.  But we can talk about all that now.  But before we do, let me compliment you both on wearing your facemasks. As a tooth nerd, I love to see patients being proactive with their treatment."




Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #91 on: 28. October 2022, 05:14:48 AM »
Chapter 41.

After the three ladies had taken seats at the dining room table, Christy said “you girls have put me on the spot.  I guess I should go ahead and put on my facemask too.”  She popped the lid off of the blue tote and dug around for a few seconds.  She pulled out a pink Petit facemask and a bag of elastics.  She deftly hooked the elastics onto her braces and then attached each elastic to either side of the horizontal plastic bar of the mask.  Christy said “there, that is more like it.  I really do need to do a better job of wearing my protraction gear and setting a good example”.  From her research, Jen recognized the mask as a Petit style mask, different than the Delaire masks her and Mel wore.  She asked Christy “Is there a reashon you have a different type of mashk than we do?”  Christy responded “I actually prefer this style over the Delaire, at least for day time wear.  It is less bulky than the Delaire.  But, because it does not have the strap like the Delaire, it is more easily dislodged from the face, especially while sleeping.  I do have a Delaire mask too that I wear at night, but for daytime wear I prefer this style.  They both accomplish the same goal, protraction of the maxilla.  I will get all into it, I have brought several different styles of protraction devices I will discuss. But before we get started, let me compliment you on your blog.  I think it is wonderful. You did a great job setting it up.  There is a lot of useful information.  I was hoping I could ask you if I could share it with some other people in the profession and with our current airway patients.  But I want to ask you first”

Jen responded “Of coursh, that is why I started it.  Well, that and sho I could shtay busy and try to not think about how much thish was hurting” gesturing to her mouth.  She continued “And thank you for the compliment.  I really had no idea what I was doing.  I shtill really don’t.  That is one reashon I asked you over, to get your input.”

Christy responded “Of course, of course.  I think you did a first rate job, done by a professional.  I think this could really be helpful to other patients.  And I would love to help.  This is my jam” and laughed. “First off, I want to go ahead and apologize though if I bore you or drive you crazy getting down in the weeds.  And if you want to knock off at any time, it won’t offend me.  I don’t know what you have planned for later today.  Once I get to talking about this, I can ramble for a while.”

Mel piped in “well then, lucky for all of us we don’t have any plans.  Jen’s mouth is still hurting, so tonight will be a Netflix and chill kind of night.  With maybe some wine, mashed potatoes, and ice cream”

Christy responded “I understand, the first week is an adjustment. The first five days are usually the worst.  And you are on day four.  So the good news Jen is that you are on the downhill side of it. It will continue to get better.  Now, I am not exactly sure what you had in mind, but I have a bit of an outline in my head.  I was thinking I could explain at a high level traditional orthodontics versus current airway orthodontic philosophies.  I have brought a bunch of things to look at; appliances, protraction devices, etc.  Then I thought I could give you some actual examples of cases, starting with mine.  I also spoke with Diane, Josie, and Allison yesterday and they gave me the ok to discuss their cases with you in detail. I even took some pictures of them and their appliances.  If you have questions along the way, please sing out.  Does that sound good?”

Jen answered “That shounds great.  But before we get started, I know who Diane and Josie are, but who is Allishon?”

Christy replied “Oh, I’m sorry.  Allison is Dr. Cooper’s wife.  She has had a rather complicated and grueling treatment so far.  In fact, Allison was Dr. Cooper’s first MSE airway case.  She started treatment about 10 months ago, a month before I did.  I was the second case in the office.  I have had a few speed bumps along the way.  But Allison has really had some challenges.  She has been in a facemask 24/7 for the better part of these past 10 months, and then 2 months ago also had an aggressive tongue crib installed on top of the braces, MSE, and Herbst appliance already in her mouth.  But she has worn it all with grace and seemingly without complaint.  While she doesn’t officially work in the office, she is in and out all the time.  You will probably meet her sometime.”

While Christy had been describing Allison’s treatment Mel’s mouth had dropped open.  She asked “You mean to tell me she has been wearing a facemask 24 hours a day for 10 months?”

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #92 on: 01. November 2022, 00:06:43 AM »
Chapter 42.

Christy responded "Yes, she had springs installed the week after she had her MSE placed.  I will show you pictures and an example of it when I get into protraction devices.  It is very effective.  Traditional orthodontic theory was that you could not get protraction in adults without surgery; but new techniques used over the past few years have shown this is not true.  You can get protraction in adults with reverse pull headgear.  But the secret is it has to be worn consistently for a significant amount of time, 14 hours per day at least.  And more is better.  It doesn't do any good if it sitting on the bathroom counter or in one's purse. It has to be worn. That is why I was so happy to see both of you wearing yours when I got here.  Allison has had a couple of breaks in fulltime wear; Dr. Cooper removed the springs when they went skiing over Christmas and for their 10th anniversary vacation to the Bahamas.  He let her just wear it at night on those trips.  But other than that she has been wearing it 24 hours a day.  I will get into her case a little later, but she had a very retruded maxilla and constricted airway thanks to headgear and extractions when she was a teenager.  It is really amazing to see the changes that have happened for her over the past 10 months.  With that said, because of the severity of her case, Dr. Cooper has told her to expect to continue to have to wear it for quite a while.  She is looking at a minimum of 12 more months, and maybe more depending on how her bones continue to respond to treatment.  To make matters worse for her, she lives with her orthodontist so she can't really cheat" and laughed.

Christy continued "But before I get into individual cases, let me discuss traditional orthodontic theory.  For years and years, orthodontics has focused primarily on aesthetics.  A straight smile was the goal; the airway was not even considered.  So, and this was taught in school, orthodontists were quick to extract teeth and use retractive orthodontic techniques.  Think headgear.  I had it from the time I was 13 until right before I graduated high school at 18.  And two of those years I had to wear it to school. By the way, I know you are undergoing scoliosis treatment.  I can empathize.  In addition to having braces and headgear for much of junior high and almost all of high school, I too had scoliosis.  In addition to having the pleasure of wearing headgear, I also had the added indignity of having to wear a Milwaukee brace for the last 3 years of high school and until the end of my freshmen year in college.  You would have thought that by the mid 1990s the Milwaukee brace would have been relegated to the annals of history.  But, I am just lucky I guess.  I mean, I have never met anyone my age who wore one, not to even mention having to wear it in college.  And yes, you can imagine how much fun high school was with headgear, glasses and a Milwaukee brace.  And then, despite the relief of finishing my orthodontic treatment, having to continue to wear my Milwaukee brace off to college.  It was mortifying.  But, I lived and did eventually turn into a swan.  And the Milwaukee brace, if it didn't completely cure my curve, did keep me from having to have surgery.  I guess that is a positive.  So, I can completely empathize with what you are going through, both with your orthodontic treatment and with your orthopedic treatment.  It really is great the two of you are going through your airway treatment together.  When I read about it on your blog, it warmed my heart."

Jen jumped in "I don't think I would have been able to have handled all of thish" knocking the knuckles of her left hand on her back brace while pointing to her facemask with her right hand "if it hadn't been for Mel.  She hash truly been my lifesaver".  Mel reached over and took Jen's hand and said "Nonsense, I already told you have done as much for me as I have for you.  Maybe more.  And Christy, I don't know if you know this, but we aren't just going through orthodontic treatment together" as she lifted her Scoliclinic hoodie up showing her brace "but we are also going through bracing together.  Poor Jen's brace is just a little bit more intensive than mine".  Christy answered "awww, I knew you were a nurse over at the clinic, but I never noticed you wore a brace.  You have always hidden it while in our office.  I can't say I envy what either of you are going through, but I do understand.  Again, at least you have someone to share the journey with.  I wish I had had a "brace buddy" in high school instead of being the pariah I was.  But again, I lived."  Christy continued on, saying "my back sometimes still bothers me.  But I don't think I could handle wearing a brace again after my high school and college experience.  But enough about my high school trauma, let me get back into orthodontics."

Christy continued "so, traditional orthodontics can give a patient a wonderful straight smile.  But as we are finding out now, for many patients, the treatment they received years ago wrecked and constricted their airway.  Between orthodontics, the modern diet and sedentary lifestyles that many people live today, sleep apnea is an epidemic.  To mask the symptoms but not really fix the underlying cause, hundreds of thousands of people are on CPAPS.  And probably twice that number should be.  What current airway orthodontics is aiming to do is not just treat or mask the symptoms but fix the root problem.  We do this by opening up the airway.  We widen the jaw with maxillary tad expanders.  And we protract the maxilla forward.  This enlarges the airway and gives room for the tongue.  Then, combine this with myofunctional therapy, and we can fix the root problem in 2-3 years usually.  It is just a process to get there."

Christy continued "So, how do we do that?  Well you are already pretty familiar with most of it, you already have much of it in your mouths.  But, I will show you some examples.  Airway orthodontics in theory is pretty much the same for all patients; fix and enlarge the airway.  But, individual cases do vary and there are different tools, or appliances, we use."  Christy then reached into her tote and pulled out several white plaster molds of jaws and teeth, each with expanders on them, and a model of a skull with a bunch of lines on it.  She gestured to the models and said "these are examples of some of the different type of expanders in use. One is a standard 4 screw like you have Jen.  This is a six screw model.  This is what Josie has, and what you will be getting Mel. This is for patients with thicker palates.  And finally, we have this bad boy.  This is a tandem expander with tandem mechanisms and eight screws.  We use this on especially stubborn palates.  Like mine!.  I am lucky enough to be on my second one of these" she said as she tilted her head back and opened her mouth wide. Jen and Mel both peered into her mouth at the staggering amount of metal and screws in Christy's palate.  Mel said "wow, that is intense.  So just for clarification, I am NOT getting one of those?" and nervously laughed.  Christy answered "No, lucky you, you 'only' get a standard six screw expander.  Really though, I have gotten used to mine.  I mean, I still know it is there but it doesn't cause me a ton of problems anymore."  She continued on as she held the skull up "so this is a model of the human skull.  These zigzag lines are the sutures in the skull.  This main one in the middle of the upper palate is the one we split with the MSE expander.  The secret is the screws in the palate; by anchoring the expander in the palatal bone we actually can separate it and move it without surgery.  And, once that main suture is opened, these sutures here towards the back of the palate also loosen up.  And with them loosened up, we can simultaneously get forward movement with the use of protraction forces.  I.e. the lovely facemasks all three of us have on our faces.  The key time to focus on protraction wear is when we are actively expanding.  Once the suture splits, wear the facemask as much as you can.  If you notice, I have some pretty wicked gaps in my teeth.  I am towards the tail end of expansion and am actually on my third expander.  I had a standard 4 screw that didn't open my suture, so I got the more robust tandem expander.  It worked.  But, I maxed out expansion on it and had to have it removed and this new one installed.  I hope it is my last one.  I try my best to wear my mask 14-16 hours but it is hard and I often times fall short.  In fact, maybe now is the time I go ahead and get something out of the way that I was planning to save till the end.  It is a treatment policy change that Dr. Cooper is instituting starting this Monday.  But, first let me tell you about Josie's treatment, it will make sense why when I tell you about the new policy change".

Christy continued "so, you have heard me mention how important it is to wear your facemask during active expansion.  Josie's suture just split two weeks ago.  But, she can't wear her facemask likes she needs to.  Or at least she couldn't.  It wasn't that she didn't want to or try to.  But most nights she was taking it off in her sleep.  She tried several types of masks and the result was the same. She wasn't getting her time in.  Knowing how important it was to wear the mask, she allowed Dr. Cooper to install springs like Allison has for 24 hour wear this past Monday.  For 24 hour wear we use a different type of mask than we are wearing" and pulled out a facemask Jen and Mel had not seen before.  Christy continued on "this is a modified Grummon's protraction mask.  If you notice, it has a forehead pad.  But instead of a chincup, it has pads that rest on each cheekbone.  Because you still have to eat, drink, and turn the expander while wearing the mask, this is the best option.  The Delaire and Petit make it very difficult to access the expander for turning.  There is just not as much to get in the way with this mask, and also it doesn't 'bounce' on the face when talking like you notice from your Delaire masks or my Petit mask.  So, if it is so good, why don't we use it on all cases?  The reason is because it is the least comfortable.  It puts tremendous pressure on the cheek bones.  Eventually most patients get used to it, but the first few days are a period of adjustment.  An uncomfortable period."  She handed the mask to Jen and continued "to help, we install additional gel padding on the cheek pieces that you can see there. But even then it, simply put, hurts until the patient gets used to it.  And when Dr. Cooper installs springs, he uses 1,000 gram force springs instead of the standard 500 grams of force like you get from your elastics.  So not only is the mask just less comfortable, there is even more pressure on the face.  Poor Josie was miserable the first few days, that is why she was out on Wednesday when you had your installation.  She called me crying on Tuesday night, asking me if I could come take it off her. I talked her out of it, I explained she needed to do it, and also pointed out how Allison had adapted to it.  But, it has been hard on her.  Not only the physical discomfort, but also the emotional discomfort of wearing it in public.  She is a very pretty 25 year old blonde; she sings in her church choir and teaches a zumba class on the weekends.  She confided in me how self-conscious she felt wearing it.  To add insult to injury, she just got married three months ago and she is still in the 'newlywed bliss' stage, or was until she started having to wear the facemask all the time at home.  She was back in on Thursday, but yesterday she asked if Dr. Cooper would remove it.  Dr. Cooper asked her to just try to make it through the weekend and see how she felt on Monday, and she agreed.  He made a bit of a deal with her that impacts me, Diane, and all patients including you two.  At our Friday afternoon staff meeting, Dr. Cooper said he was instituting a new policy starting this Monday.  He is going to require all patients to wear all their appliances while in the office.  That includes protraction headgear.  He said he thought it important we set a good example for patients, and he said he hoped it would help Josie feel more comfortable not being the only one in the office wearing headgear.  And Diane had a come apart.  I mean, she is our office mom of sorts.  She was hot, asking Dr. Cooper why he was doing this to 'his girls'.  But Dr. Cooper is very persuasive and convinced her he wasn't doing this 'to his girls, but for his girls'.  He told us we all know we need to wear our facemasks, and what better setting then in an orthodontic office. Plus, he told us how much he thought it would help our current patients, including Josie, with their self confidence.  So, in summary, Diane is still not too happy with it.  But she accepted it.  So, starting Monday we will be the three amigos in facemasks.  That just leaves Sandra, the assistant that helped in your installation, as the lone holdout on treatment.  But Dr. Cooper is working on convincing her to start treatment.  It does seem to be pretty contagious in our office, and I don't think she is far from agreeing to it.'


Offline bracessd

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #93 on: 01. November 2022, 16:52:29 PM »
Nice job! I'd be down to be one of Dr. Cooper's patients

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #94 on: 04. November 2022, 18:45:00 PM »
Chapter 43.

Christy continued "so, I have given you a brief overview of the whole process.  I have pictures on my phone of my treatment, along with some of Josie's, Diane's and Allison's treatment.  Jen, would you mind if I email them to you so we can look at them on your computer?  That would probably make it easier for all of us to look at".

Jen replied "of course not, you can use my wifi too if you want.  You can just send them to the email address I emailed you from on Thursday."

Christy said "great, give me just a few seconds".  She pulled her phone out, connected to Jen's wifi, typed a quick message, attached the pictures and hit send.  A few moments later Jen's computer dinged at her, indicating a new email had popped into her inbox.  Jen slid her computer over in front of her and opened the email.  Christy stood up and scooted her chair over beside Jen so she could see the screen.  Seeing this, Mel followed her lead and scooted over too; leaving all three ladies sitting shoulder to shoulder looking at Jen's computer screen.

Christy continued "Jen, please click on that first pic and we can just go through them one by one.  I tried to attach them in the right order, but if I got one out of order I apologize in advance.  So, this first one is of my mouth before I started treatment.  You can see that I had a narrow smile; you can only see my front 6 top teeth.  And if you notice, I also had a mild crossbite, meaning my upper arch was not lined up correctly with my lower, and a bit of a class three bite, or an underbite.  You have seen my current expander in person today, but this next one is the original 4 screw MSE that did not split my suture."  Jen, clicked on it, and saw an expander that looked almost identical to her own.  Christy continued "so, as I told you earlier, my first expander did not work.  I guess I am hard headed, because it just didn't have enough force to split my main palatal suture.  The next picture is after I had it removed, you can see my traumatized palate".  The picture showed a palate with four angry looking screw holes, blood seeping from one of them. 

Mel piped in "so, I am completely expecting my installation to hurt a lot.  But how bad does the removal hurt?"

Christy answered "well, I would NOT do it for fun.  But it really isn't that bad.  And any discomfort is far outweighed by the relief of getting the expander and screws out of your mouth.  It is heavenly.  But, for me, it only lasted about 2 weeks while the lab made my new tandem expander.  And getting the expander actually installed doesn't hurt much as long as we do our job with anesthesia.  It is a strange experience, with a lot of pressure.  But the actual installation doesn't hurt until the days to follow. Here, in the next picture, you can see my first tandem expander after it was installed.  You can see the two jack screws and eight screws.  That was an experience.  It had twice the screws as my original, so it was twice as fun to get installed.  And yes that is sarcasm.  You can notice that the two jack screws are fully closed."

As Jen clicked on the next picture she said "if I am going to fast or two slow with the pics, let me know." 

Christy said "no, you are doing great.  Now this next picture is when my first tandem expander was fully expanded.  I still did not have the amount of expansion that Dr Cooper wanted.  So I got scanned for another one.  I kept that one about two more weeks until the lab had my new one ready.  From this next picture, despite not being where Dr. Cooper wanted, you can see I still had a giant diastema between my two front teeth.  You two will both likely get one too.  It bothers some patients, but I actually think they are kind of cute. So, once the lab had my new expander ready, which you can see in the next picture, I had the old expander removed and the new one put in immediately " as Jen clicked on the next picture. "Here she is in all her glory before she went in my mouth.  She is still in my mouth now 2 months later, but she is a lot wider now than when she first found her new home" and Christy leaned her head back and opened wide, again showing the ladies her palate.  "I am just weeks if not days away from being done turning her.  But, I still get to keep her in while the new bone of the sutures fill in. So that will be at least six more months.  I will be honest, I am ready to get it out.  And I hope I'm not scaring you Mel, but you will understand once you get your expander installed." 

Mel replied "well, I am already terrified of it.  What's a little more fright.  But I am going to do it, if for no other reason than I can't back out now since Jen already jumped into the deep end with hers".  Out of the corner of her eye, Christy noticed Jen reach her hand over to Mel's and caress it.

Jen looked Mel in the eyes and said "it will be ok.  And I will be here to take care of you just like you have been here to take care of me."  Hearing this made Christy turn and look at the two ladies, and how they were looking at each.  She cocked her head a little as she scrutinized them.  She wondered to herself "are they 'together'?".

With that thought still somewhere there in her brain Christy continued "So, that is where I am now in my treatment.  You already see the facemask I wear, at least my daytime facemask" as she tapped the forehead pad with her index finger.  "The only thing I haven't really addressed is the Herbst appliance which each of you have.  I do not have one.  I need more maxillary than mandibular protraction.  Nontheless, at night I wear six triangle rubberbands, three on each side.  This effectively wires my jaw shut and ensures my lower jaw moves in conjunction with my upper.  It is not fun; but Dr. Cooper let me choose that route instead of the Herbst. I guess he knew I would be compliant.  Even so, he told me if I didn't wear my rubberbands he would be able to tell and I would have to get the Herbst.  So, I wear my elastics religiously at night.

Mel interjected "do you think Dr. Cooper would let us do that?  I really hate this Herbst appliance."

Christy answered "well, you can ask him.  But I can already tell you his answer will be no.  He has tried it with some other patients.  And I am not saying you girls would not be compliant, but history has shown us some patients aren't.  So, he now uses a Herbst appliance on more severe cases.  It removes patient compliance from the equation."

Jen then turned her head and looked Mel in the eyes and said "I haven't told you this, but Dr. Cooper was not going to use a Herbst on me, but instead use elastics.  I asked him for the Herbst."

A quizzical expression came over Mel's face as she asked "but why?".

Jen answered her lovers question with "I told him it was because I had a friend that I had seen it work well on, and if he thought it would work in my case let's just go that route.   But the truth is I did it for you.  I didn't want you to have to go through it, or any of this, alone." 

Tears welled in Mel's eyes as she turned in her chair and wrapped her arms around Jen in an embrace, laying her reverse pull headgear encumbered face on Jen's shoulder.  Christy thought to herself "yes, there is something going on there".




Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #95 on: 05. November 2022, 02:53:03 AM »
Honest question, am I getting too bogged down in the details?  I have some more major plot points that need to happen, and we might not get there before the asteroid takes us out.  But I like to tell the story in detail, especially when the ladies are talking about their elective treatment.

Offline TrainTrack

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #96 on: 05. November 2022, 05:13:00 AM »
I don’t think you are, but if you think you are, then change it! My stories tend to be more straight to the point, so it is nice to see someone who pays so close attention to details. Writing is about what you think, not what other people think about it. There is no way to please everyone.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #97 on: 05. November 2022, 10:11:40 AM »
If you are happy with the way that you write, keep going. Write the stories you want to read for yourself. The rest of us will read what you write. You can't please everyone and shouldn't try to.

Offline bracessd

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #98 on: 07. November 2022, 18:06:10 PM »
I think you're doing a great job, keep it up!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #99 on: 07. November 2022, 20:36:36 PM »
Chapter 44.

After Mel released Jen from her embrace, she stood up and headed towards their bedroom.  After she had left, Christy looked at Jen and asked "I know this is none of my business, and I don't want to offend you, and you can tell me it is none of my business; but are you and Mel a thing?".

Jen laughed and said "it is funny you ask, me and Mel had a conversation about how to handle this right before you came over.  And no, I am not offended, I don't think.  But yes, me and Mel are a thing.  And it all happened because of my back.  It is funny how things work out sometimes."

Christy replied "Again, it is none of my business.  But the way you two look at each other is beautiful.  I wish me and my husband still looked at each the same way."

Jen answered "this is all new to me; the full spinal brace, the orthodontics, and having a girlfriend." She laughed again.  At that time, Mel emerged from the bedroom door way holding a couple of tissues. 

Mel said "sorry about that" as she sat back down.

Jen grabbed her hand and replied "no need to apologize.  And while you were gone, I told Christy about us."

Mel's face contorted somewhat as she stammered "oh.... and....?"

Christy realized this was a question of sorts and answered "and you two are beautiful together.  The way you look at each other is something most people only wish to have.  And it is so great you have each other to go through this with.  Life is funny sometimes, but it seems like it usually has a way of working out.  What is that saying about being darkest before the dawn?  Anyway, I think you two are adorable.  And as I told Jen, I wish my husband Matt still looked at me the way you two look at each other.  And having said my peace, hopefully without offending either of you, I will continue talking orthodontics." 

Jen spoke for the both of them when she said "no, you didn't offend us.  And thank you for being understanding, I think this is something me and Mel will have to address more in the future.  But again, thank you."

Christy replied "good, so we are still friends" as she gave both Mel and Jen a big metallic smile through the bar of her facemask. "I guess next I will go through briefly the cases of the other gals in the office.  I will start with Allison, since she has the most complicated case.  But first, I need to email you some more pictures."

It took about 30 more minutes to go through the three additional cases.  Once she was done she said "And so, I think that is a good example of how theoretically the approach to airway cases is the same, but there are details that vary by each individual case.  Do either of you have any questions about anything."

Jen replied first "that was SO much metal in Allison's mouth; what with the expander, tongue crib, tongue spurs on the bottom, herbst appliance and wired in facemask.  How does she really manage?".

Christy responded "she manages fairly well.  It is no walk in the park for sure, and her speech has really been difficult for her since she got the tongue crib and spurs.  But she seems to handle it with a smile and a laugh.  I mean, I guess at times all you can do is laugh about things.  And like I mentioned earlier, she is married to her orthodontist.  Rob, excuse me Dr. Cooper, is not trying to make an example of her or anything, but he does want her to have an exemplary outcome.  Please don't repeat this, but if Dr. Cooper has a shortcoming, it is that sometimes he focuses 100% on the outcome of treatment, and not patients' emotional feelings during treatment. But you can't argue with his results.  And even he knows he can't really make an adult patient do something; all he can do is try to persuade them to do it.  But there is a little different dynamic with him and Allison than the normal doctor/patient relationship."

Mel then chimed in "I guess that is right.  But at least she seems upbeat about it all.  What about Josie?  You mentioned she was really struggling with the facemask.  I mean, even with it, she is still gorgeous.  But it has to be hard.  And how much more does that Grummon mask hurt versus what we are wearing?  I have worn my facemask to work the last few days, and I talk a good bit to patients, so it definitely does bounce up and down on my face a good bit.  Would the Grummon be a better alternative?"

Christy answered "well, why don't you try it?  I will even use the springs like Josie and Allison have so you can get the full experience.  I will simply hook them on the hooks in your mouth and then on the posts of the facemask.  You can see what it feels like.  The only difference will then be that I won't crimp the hooks closed like Dr. Cooper would for 24 hour wear."

Mel took off her Delaire mask, and Christy got up and stood over Mel.  After sizing it and adjusting the mask to fit Mel's face, she attached the springs to the hooks in Mel's mouth, and then holding the facemask attached the springs to the mask.  Christy looked down and said "so, you notice that you don't have a strap holding the mask on your face like your Delaire.  Using springs is a little more secure than elastics, so Dr. Cooper doesn't require patients to wear a strap during day time wear.  There is a velcro strap very similar to the one of your current masks though that he asks patients to wear at night while sleeping.  With the springs, the mask can't come off, but it can get knocked sideways.  The strap prevents that."  Christy held a mirror up in front of Mel and said "so, what do you think?" 

Mel moved her jaw up and down, noticing that it was nice not to have a chincup to deal with and said "well, I mean I can't say that I love it" and laughed "but it definitely makes it easier to talk.  Would you mind if I wore it until you leave just to see what it feels like?"

As Christy moved back to her seat she replied "even better than that, I will leave that one with you.  Why don't you try to wear it through until tomorrow?  That will give you a better idea of what it is really like.  And that reminds me, I need to shoot Josie a text and check on her.  She had her first zumba class today wearing her headgear and was super nervous.  I talked with her on the ride over and told her she would do great.  But I do want to check on her and let her know I am thinking about her.  Give me just a second please" as she picked her phone up off the table.  After some furious typing, she hit send.  Then she smiled as she had an epiphany. She looked up at Mel and Jen and asked "would it be ok if I took a selfie of the three of us wearing our facemasks?  I would like to send it to Josie".

Jen and Mel answered in unison "of course".  After taking a selfie showing all three lovely ladies smiling widely behind their three different styles of facemasks, Christy sent it along with a message.

C:  Josie, I know you killed it today.  Just because that is what you do.  But look at what I am doing right now! I am with two of our patients Mel and Jen.  And look we are all also wearing our masks.  Know we are thinking about you.  XOXO.

A few moments later a reply popped up.

J:  THANK YOU SO MUCH!  And it went ok.  I definitely felt mortified at first, and I got lots of looks and a few questions.  But once I started the class everything seemed to go pretty much normal.  I am headed home now. Now I am terrified of what everyone's reaction will be at church tomorrow, but I will cross that bridge tomorrow.  Again, thank you so much again.  And tell them thanks for the moral support as well.

Christy held her phone up so Mel and Jen could see the response and said "Josie lived, and she said thanks.  Speaking of which, this upcoming week is Josie's birthday.  And with everything going on Diane and I are going to throw her a birthday week party all week.  All of the girls from the office including Allison are taking Josie out for lunch on Monday.  Would you come?  The more the merrier, and you could meet Josie and Allison."

Offline TrainTrack

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #100 on: 07. November 2022, 23:18:57 PM »
I really like the stories of the three women, and I can’t wait to see what it is like meeting Allison and Josie!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #101 on: 09. November 2022, 00:23:03 AM »
Chapter 45.

Jen responded "sure, that sounds fun.  I am in.  And I am pretty flexible too.  When and where are you thinking?" 

Christy answered "we do lunch from noon to 1, so someplace close to the office and quick.  We will probably take a vote on Monday, but there are a couple of places we usually go if we go out for lunch.  There is a good little deli and a decent Mexican restaurant nearby.  It will probably be one of those.  Could I just text you where to meet?"

Jen replied "sure, that works.  The way my poor mouth still feels, I might be eating soup regardless of where we go. What about you babe?  You in?"

Mel thought a minute and answered "sure, we do lunch from noon to 1 as well, but I might have to leave a little early depending on how far a drive it is."

Jen looked at her and said "tell you what, I will leave the office a little early and pick you up at the door right at noon, and then drop you off right at 1 to save you some time.  I am pretty free to come and go as I please, but I know you have patients to see and appointments to keep.  Does that work?"

Mel reached over and grabbed Jen's hand and said "you are so sweet, and so thoughtful. Of course that works for me.  And speaking of an achy mouth, what if I pour us both a glass of wine.  It is after all the weekend and you went to the trouble to get them out of the rack.  Christy, would you like a glass?"

As Mel began to pour, Christy responded "I would love to, but I will have to take a raincheck. My husband Matt is actually taking me out on a date tonight.  I don't want him to think I was out getting drunk with the girls all afternoon.  Plus, I don't need to start this early, I am sure we will have a few drinks out ourselves.  And then later, well, you know" as she smiled at the girls and raised her eyebrows. "Let me get all my junk packed back up, I know I have taken enough of your time.  And again, thank you for the invite and letting me blab away most of the afternoon talking about orthodontics.  I enjoyed it.  And I mean that about taking a rain check.  Maybe me and Matt and you two could go have dinner or something one of these days.  I would like that."

Jen looked at Christy and said "Sure, we would love a rain check, that sounds fun.  And no, it is us who need to thank you.  I really appreciate it.  It gives me a little hope about this all getting easier.  I do have one favor for you in regards to the blog.  I love that you think this could help other patients and I am all for you sending it out to others.  But if you have the time at all, I would like you to help me with it.  I am a rookie at all this, but I am sure I can set you up as an admin too.  Could you maybe go in and fix anything I got wrong and add some of the stuff we talked about today?  Things I wasn't even aware of. "

Christy answered "of course, I would love to.  It will still be your baby, but I would love to help.  Just shoot me over a link and instructions when you have a chance.  I will get on it as soon as I get that.  Also, would you mind if I posted that selfie of the three of us in our facemasks? To a dental nerd like me, it was actually cute. The protraction headgear is the biggest issue for many patients.  Compliance is not what it should be for many, many patients.  Maybe if some of those patients know and see there are other people going through the process it will make it easier on them.  Speaking of which, and maybe to prove a point to myself, I am going to wear my facemask on the drive home.  I mean, I have always locked myself away in the privacy of my house when wearing it.  But starting Monday, I am going to have to get used to wearing it in front of lots of people really fast.  Might as well start now. Also, you mentioned your mouth hurting.  It will get better.  But did you notice something this afternoon?  Your lisp is pretty much gone.  That is about the right time frame, you are almost through day 4, and most patients are back to talking mostly normal by day 5.  That is if you have that little bitty 4 screw expander like you have instead of a huge mutant tarantula in your mouth like I do" and laughed.  "It took a little longer for me, but even I was back to talking mostly normal in 10 days."

Jen cut her eyes as she looked at Christy and said "little bitty huh?  It has felt like a bear trap was nailed into my mouth with railroad spikes.  But you are right, it does feel better.  And wow, I am talking clearer.  Wow!  And I hope you know I am just being a little sarcastic" as she gave Christy a bright shiny smile.

By now, Christy had finished packing up and stood.  She looked at Jen and told her "really, you are doing great.  And it will get even easier.  In another week, the expander will be a piece of cake.  The headgear will always be an albatross of sorts, but you will even get a little bit more used to it.  Now, wish ME luck as I navigate outside wearing mine for the first time.  I definitely have some butterflies."

Mel stood and told Christy "I understand completely.  I felt that same thing on Thursday as I made a break for my car wearing mine hoping no one would see me.  But you know what, once I was safely in my car, I realized the only person I really cared about what they thought was this one here" as she walked behind Jen and laid her arms over shoulders linking her hands over Jen's breasts. "And you know what, once I realized that, it made it a lot easier.  And I bet it is the same with you and your husband.  I am sure he has seen you in it, and I am sure he is ok with it.  I mean, he is taking you out on a date tonight so it doesn't look like a stupid plastic and metal mask messed that up.  So, who cares what a random stranger thinks?"




Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #102 on: 09. November 2022, 21:13:02 PM »
Chapter 46.

It was slightly before noon on Monday when Jen pulled up in front of the Scoliclinic.  She pulled into a spot where she could see the front entrance and sent Mel a text letting her know she was out front.  A few minutes later she saw Mel come out the front door, so Jen pulled her car over by curb.  She noticed that unlike last week when she had met Mel here for their picnic, Mel had not removed her facemask before heading out the door today.  Instead she was still wearing it as she opened the door, put her purse on the floorboard, and hopped into the passenger seat. 

She looked over at Jen and said "hey babe, thanks for the ride" and gave Jen a big metallic smile. 

Jen replied "aww, look at who is being all cute today.  Come here.." as she leaned over and gave Mel a hug across the console.  As she pulled out into the parking lot she continued "I would have loved to have kissed you too, but I guess that will have to wait till later.  Are you going to wear your facemask to lunch?  And how has that new Grummons mask felt today?  I know your cheeks were hurting yesterday."

Mel looked over and said "it is ok, I am getting used to it.  It is definitely a lot easier talking with patients with this on versus that other one. And yeah, I figure what the heck, I might as well.  We are going to lunch for Josie afterall, and maybe if I wear my facemask it will make her feel better about her whole situation."

Jen responded "shoot, I didn't even think about that.  I don't know if I am brave enough to wear mine out in public, but I should have at least brought it with me so I could think about it.  Instead, it is still sitting on the counter in the bathroom."

Mel replied "if you are serious about it, I can help you out.  I brought my Delaire with me to work today in case this one got too painful.  I have it in my purse.  And I know it fits you well enough.  I still remember that first night we spent together.  I remember putting it on you, even though you didn't have braces to hook the elastics to, and it fit you ok.  And I also remember you putting it on me, and the jolt I felt when you brushed your finger against my cheek.  And I also remember falling asleep in your arms wearing it, not even realizing at that moment that I was right in the midst of falling for you" and ran her hand up and down Jen's shoulder.  Jen looked over at Mel with love in her eyes and Mel snapped "eyes on the road young lady! I don't want anything to happen to my momma's only baby girl.". 

This drew a laugh from Jen as she turned her eyes back to the road and spoke "aww, you are just soo sweet.  I would like to wear it into lunch.  For Josie.  And you.  I just don't know if I am brave enough to do it."

Mel answered "sure you are.  And I will be right beside you.  And know that if anyone does look at you, it is only because you are the most gorgeous woman in the world."

Parked in front of "Deli Delish", Mel pulled her Delaire facemask out of her purse and handed it and a pack of rubberbands over to Jen.  Jen hooked an elastic on the hooks in each corner of her mouth and then connected them to the corresponding posts on the facemask's horizontal bar.  Mel looked at Jen and said "you look absolutely gorgeous.  And I will adjust the strap for you" as she reached over and behind Jen's head.  After a few moments of tinkering with it to get the length right, she snapped it shut around Jen's head.  She looked over and said "Ready?"

For a long moment Jen just sat there frozen, not moving or speaking and staring out the front windshield with a thousand yard stare.  About the time Mel was going to say something else, Jen exhaled deeply and said "Yeah, I guess" and opened the driver door.

After both had exited the car and Jen had locked it with the key fob, Mel took Jen's hand as they made the short walk across the parking lot towards the deli. In Jen's mind, all she could think about is what a strange site they must make; two pretty 40ish year old women walking hand in hand, and both wearing orthodontic facemasks.  Her thoughts were broken when Mel squeezed her hand and said "you really are the sexiest woman in the whole world, I hope you know that". 

Jen answered "thanks babe, you aren't too bad yourself.  And here, let me get the door for you". She knew Christy and the gang were already there and had a table somewhere near the back corner per the text message Christy had sent on their ride over.  As she entered the deli, she looked to find them.  And if she had thought that the sight of her and Mel walking across the parking lot wearing reverse pull headgear might have been strange, it was no match for what she saw in front of her.  There, in the back corner at a large table, was Christy waving at her and saying loudly "hey! back here".  Seated around her were Allison, Josie, Diane and Sandra.  No, it was not an unusual sight to see 5 ladies sitting around a table for a quick work lunch.  What was very unusual however is that 4 of the 5 of them were wearing reverse pull headgear themselves.







Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #103 on: 10. November 2022, 21:02:08 PM »
Chapter 47.

Jen and Mel made their way over to the table.  Christy stood and said "Perfect timing; we haven't ordered our food yet.  I did go ahead and order you each a water and saved you each a seat.  But before you sit, let me introduce you to a couple of people.  First, Mel I think you two may have already met, but Jen I want to introduce you to the birthday girl herself.  Jen, this is Josie, Josie this is Jen."

Jen stuck her hand out and said "it is such a pleasure to meet you in person Josie.  We heard a lot about you on Saturday in case you wondered why your ears where burning.  And don't worry, it was all good."  As she was talking she had unzipped her purse.  She continued "Mel and I didn't know what size you are, so we spent a lot of time making sure we got you something that fit" as she handed Josie an envelope.

Josie took the envelope and replied "It is nice to meet you too.  I am sorry I missed you on Wednesday.  I think Christy told you I was having some issue with this" as she pointed to her facemask.  "And thank you so much for the gift, you really didn't have to.  But thank you.  And thank you for wearing your headgear in here.  Actually thank all of you. At least I don't feel like I am the only one everyone else in here is staring at."

Mel answered "Josie, if anyone is staring it is just because they are blown away by a table full of such beautiful ladies."

Christy replied "She is right you know.  And speaking of beautiful, let me also introduce you two to Allison.  Mel and Jen, meet Allison.  Allison, meet Mel and Jen."  As Mel and Jen shook hands with Allison, Jen realized that Christy wasn't kidding when she said Allison was beautiful.  Tall and striking, Jen thought she could be a model.  Well, if not for the orthodontic facemask she was currently wearing.

As they shook Allison said "It ish show niesh to mee you two ladesh.  And kudo'sh for wearing your faschmashks in public.  By the way Jen, how ah your treatmentsh going?  I heard ya justch got your bracshes lasht week, I hope Rob ish taking goo care of you."  As she spoke, Jen couldn't help but notice her mouth, and the large tongue crib that hung down so low behind her front teeth.  It was so visible when she spoke, even if her mouth was obscured behind the bar and elastics from her facemask.  She wondered how she could speak at all with that much in her mouth.

Jen answered "well, it has been an adjustment for sure, but I have had a lot of people to help me so far.  Mel has been a lifesaver, and both Christy and Diane have helped me out bunches too.  But so far, so good I think."

After the ladies took their seats, Christy looked at Josie and said "well, are you going to open it?" gesturing to the envelope. 

Josie opened the envelope and pulled out the Happy Birthday card.  As she opened it, a gift card slipped out and onto the table.  First Josie read the card and she then picked up the $100 gift card and looked at it.  Her face beamed as she looked at Jen and Mel and exclaimed "Thank you! But it is too much.  But it fits perfectly!".  This brought a laugh from those at the table.

Jen replied "I am glad you like it.  And it is not too much; it makes me that happy that you like it."

Christy handed menus over to Mel and Jen and said "I don't know if you two have been here before, but everything is good.  I really like the chicken salad wraps, and their strawberry and pecan salad is wonderful, though you will have to ask them to hold the pecans, ya know, because of our braces."  As Christy had been talking, Jen had been examining her face.  As soon as she had entered the deli, she had noticed that all four women were wearing Grummons face masks.  But after sitting down across from Christy, she had noticed that instead of elastics coming from the corners of Christy's mouth, she now sported springs.  She had noticed the same on Diane.

Jen looked at Christy and fished for an answer.  "So... I feel a little out of place wearing this clunky Delaire facemask instead of that sleek mask all of you are wearing."

Christy laughed and said "I wondered how long it would take you to notice and say something.  But yes, I am now wearing a facemask like Allison and Josie.  And like them I am now wearing it full time.  Yesterday, I did a lot of thinking about some of what we talked about.  And about what I had been telling Josie all last week.  So yesterday, after talking with Matt and making sure he wouldn't disown me, I decided I needed to walk the walk too, instead of just talking the talk.  So this morning, I asked Dr. Cooper to install my springs.  He was more than willing of course."

Josie looked at Christy and said "really, you didn't have to do it.  You were doing a good job wearing your facemask.  I am the one that was having trouble. I am sorry, please don't blame me for..."

Christy cut her off and said "no sweetie, there is nothing to apologize for.  I did not have to do it, but I needed to do it.  I needed to do it for you.  But I also needed to do it for me.  Now, tonight when my cheeks are on fire I might answer differently.  But even then I won't blame you" and laughed.

Diane interjected "well, you might not blame her, but I might" and laughed herself.  Sitting between Josie and Christy she put her arm around each of their shoulders and continued "but when Christy surprised me with what she did this morning, I knew I couldn't let my girls go through it alone" and hugged them tight to her.  "So here we all are, wearing our facemasks full time.  We are all in this together now I guess.  Well, all except one of us" as she locked eyes with Sandra.

Sandra lowered her head to break eye contact with Diane and spoke for the first time since Mel and Jen had arrived.  She answered "I know, I know.  If I start treatment will all of you cut me a little slack?"

Diane answered for them "I don't know if we would cut you any slack, but we would become your biggest cheerleaders."

Sandra sat in silence as all eyes at the table looked at her.  After a long and uncomfortable amount of silence she defeatedly slumped her shoulders and said "ok, I will tell Dr. Cooper I am ready to start."

Christy gave an excited "Yay!" as Diane got up and made her way around the table.  She hugged Sandra as she whispered "I promise, we will take good care of you."   

Offline blueblur1997

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #104 on: 10. November 2022, 23:22:47 PM »
Nothing like a little peer pressure to get the last holdout to join. Love it.

Offline TrainTrack

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #105 on: 10. November 2022, 23:30:12 PM »
Nothing like a little peer pressure to get the last holdout to join. Love it.
Yup. I think we all knew she was going to crack eventually. I hope she gets a treatment as extreme as Allison’s  ;D. This is a great story.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #106 on: 11. November 2022, 02:51:47 AM »
One thing is for sure.  If I reread my posts for 20 times, I will find spelling or grammatical errors, words I just left out, or different phrasing for certain lines 20 times.  I think I am now happy with that last chapter; and specifically the second half of it, after making 20 modifications.  I need to quit or I will change it 20 more times, and hell by then it might be about a puppy that lost his way.

https://dereferer.me/?https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eN5JOnfRxYI

Offline kelly-Marie

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #107 on: 11. November 2022, 03:30:45 AM »
I clicked on the link and saw a short video about a a puppy was rhat supposed to be or is my tablet acting up?

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #108 on: 11. November 2022, 18:19:31 PM »
No, it is a link to "The Puppy Who Lost His Way".

Offline kelly-Marie

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #109 on: 11. November 2022, 19:45:58 PM »
Cool glad it's working properly PS I love puppies and Kittens  but then who doesnt!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #110 on: 13. November 2022, 18:33:50 PM »
Chapter 48.

After placing their orders, yes Jen did order soup, the ladies chatted and gossiped.  During a break in conversation Christy said "oh, Jen, I almost forgot.  The Crain appliance I ordered arrived today.  Of course it would, the day I got my facemask wired on.  So, I can't test it out.  But Dr. Cooper is very interested in seeing how it works."  She looked at Allison and continued "Allison, do you want to tell Jen the good news yourself?"

Allison said "oh shure, but firsht let me thank you Jen for getting Chrishty to order it.  The goo news ish that Rob wantsh me to try it out thish week.  Sho he is going to let me out of facshmashk jail this afternoon" and gave a big smile. "It will be sho niesch to washh my facesh this evening.  I mean, he is still having me wear thish one during the day, but it will be sho niesch to get a little break and be able to take it off at night." 

This brought a response from Mel.  She asked "so how does that work?  I haven't even thought of what an inconvenience it would be trying to wash your face with full time wear."

This time, it was Josie that spoke up as she said "it is definitely an inconvenience, you have to lift the forehead pad up with one hand and wash underneath the mask with your other hand.  And then the same for each cheek pad.  It definitely makes it harder.  And pulling the mask off your face puts even more pressure on your teeth.  I actually cut up a soft cotton shirt into some strips, and at night I slip a folded up piece under each of the pads.  It helps with comfort, and also soaks up any icky sweat or grime.  It is kind of gross when I explain it like that, but it is definitely more comfortable."

This led to Mel having another question.  She asked "well, this is maybe a little too personal, but how does showering go?  I guess you can get the mask wet?"

Josie continued "yes, I just shower with it on just like before.  The metal parts of the mask are all stainless, as are the springs obviously.  And these pads are a closed cell rubber that don't absorb water.  So, I just shower and then dry the mask off on the outside and inside when I am done."

Christy looked at Mel and said "Mel, you seem pretty interested in this.  Are you thinking about trying it?  We would love to have one more player on team headgear" and laughed.

Mel responded "no, well it did cross my mind.  I am already wearing it at work and most of the time at home.  And you said it was more effective.  So yeah, it crossed my mind.  But no, I don't think I could handle it like you ladies can."

Christy said "I bet you would surprise yourself.  You know, you could come in this Friday afternoon and have it installed.  And see it how it goes over the weekend.  Oh, and by the way, we are having a proper party for Josie this Friday evening at my house.  I would love it if you two could make it.  We could settle that raincheck for Saturday's wine.  Maybe you could come by the office before we close on Friday and get some springs installed?  Then we could celebrate Josie's birthday AND you being such a great patient?  Just an idea to think about."

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #111 on: 14. November 2022, 21:17:15 PM »
This ended up being a little longer than anticipated so I have split it into two chapters.

Chapter 49.

At 12:45 Mel spoke to the table “ladies, I had a wonderful time.  But I have to get back to the salt mines.  This was fun, we definitely need to do it again.  And I look forward to seeing you all this Friday.”

As she was standing Christy said “well, maybe we will see you on Friday afternoon?  Think about it.”

Mel responded “I will, but I am pretty sure I am going to just stick with this for now.”

By now Jen had stood as well, and she addressed the ladies at the table “I will echo what Mel said.  I had a great time.  Thank you.  And Josie, Happy Birthday!  We will see you all on Friday evening.”

On the ride back to the Scoliclinic, Jen asked Mel “are you really considering it?  I mean the facemask?”

Mel said “no, I don’t think so.  It is just something that crossed my mind.  I think I would miss kissing you too much” and smiled broadly at Jen.

Parked back in the parking lot Jen removed her facemask and looked over at Mel.  She said “speaking of kissing, would you take your mask off for a minute?”  Mel obediently removed the elastics from her mouth and layed the mask in her lap.  Jen leaned over and kissed Mel, her tongue flicking into Mel’s open mouth.  After several moments, Jen leaned back, eyes locked onto Mel’s.  She told her “I had been needing to do that since I picked you up.  Now scoot, get on in there to work.  I will see you this evening and we can pick back up where we left off here.”

Mel looked at her and said “that mouth of yours might get you in trouble” and smiled.  She then quickly put her facemask back on.  Standing outside the car she leaned in and said “I love you” and then turned and headed across the parking lot towards the Scoliclinic.

Chapter 50.

The rest of the week went smoothly for Jen.  On Thursday she got a text from Christy.

C: Jen, Dr. Cooper would like you to come in and discuss the Crane appliance.  What does your schedule look like tomorrow afternoon around 4?  If you want to and can make it, you could come on in.  If not, we can just wait until your appointment next week.  Just let me know please.

J:  Sure, I am flexible.  I will be there at 4.

C:  Good deal.  I will see you then.  Has Mel thought anymore about getting her facemask installed for fulltime wear?  She wouldn’t want to join you would she?

J:  No, she is going to stick with the elastics.  But thanks for the offer I guess.  Speaking of which, how has this week gone for you and Diane?

C: It has taken a little getting used to going out in public.  And we were both pretty sore the first half of the week.  But overall it has not been a big deal.  I am glad I decided to do it.

J:  Good for you two.  I will see you tomorrow afternoon.

The next afternoon around 3:50 Jen parked her car at Dr. Cooper’s and headed towards the entrance.  Mindful of the new policy regarding appliance wear in the office, Jen had put her facemask on in the car. After entering the front door she walked across the waiting area towards Josie.  As she walked she noticed only two other people there.  A lady around her age, and what she assumed was her teenage daughter.  The daughter was wearing a blue Delaire facemask.  Both had their phones out and were studying them intensely, not even seeming to notice someone else had entered the room.

At the desk Jen greeted her new friend.  She said “Josie!  Your hair, it looks great!”

Josie smiled at her through her facemask and said “Thank You!  My husband is so sweet.  He took me to have my hair done this week after work  I do think it turned out well.  The owner of the salon is actually a patient here, and she stayed open late just for me.  She definitely took a little extra special care of me.”

Jen responded “Oh that is sweet  Of your husband and her..  And it does look wonderful.  To change gears; I am supposed to have a 4 o’clock appointment and need to sign in.”

Josie apologetically said “we are running behind a little.  We had an emergency earlier, a patient got hit in the mouth with a softball and we had to rush her in.  So we are running a little behind.  Will it be too much of an inconvenience to wait about 20 or 30 minutes?  If so, I can reschedule you for next week.”

Jen said “That is no problem.  I understand.  I am sure I have some emails I need to handle anyway.  How was the patient?”

Josie responded “well, she is going to be sore for a while.  But she didn’t have any damage to her teeth.  But that softball did a number on her braces.  And her braces did a number on her lips.  But she will be ok.  Thanks for understanding.  I will call you when Dr. Cooper is ready.”

Jen made her way to the corner of the waiting room and took a seat.  She pulled out her iPhone and started scrolling.  After a minute or two she sensed someone approach her.  She looked up to find the lady from across the room standing in front of her. 

She said “I am sorry to intrude, but are you Jennifer Collins?”

Jen looked up and said “yes, I am.  Is there something wrong?”

The lady responded “no, not at all.  I just wanted to thank you.  Christy sent me and my daughter a link to your blog.  It has really helped both of us.  And I am sorry, I am Michelle Andrews” as she stuck her hand out.  Jen shook her hand while Michelle gestured with her other across the room towards the blond in the facemask and continued “and that is my daughter Mandy.  Honey, come over here.  I want you to meet someone.”  Mandy obediently made her way over beside her mother.  Michelle continued “Mandy, I want you to meet the lady that has the blog we were looking at.  This is Jennifer Collins.”

Mandy stuck her hand out to Jen and said “nice to meet you Ms. Collins.  And thank you.  Your blog had a few little hacks that I hadn’t thought of.”

Jen shook Mandy’s hand and responded “Mandy, it is a pleasure to meet you.  And please call me Jen.  I am glad I was able to help.” 

Michelle looked at Jen and said “well, I am sorry to intrude.  But I just wanted to thank you.”

Jen replied “you aren’t intruding at all.  I am just waiting.  Would you like to have a seat?  Mandy you can tell me how your treatment is going.”

Michelle said “if you are sure… I actually have some questions for you.”

Jen said “then please, have a seat.  I don’t know if I will have any answers but I will try.”

Michelle and Mandy took seats.  Michelle continued “Mandy has been in treatment for about two months, and she is doing really well.  I just feel guilty I didn’t get her in sooner.  I hate the fact she is graduating this year and is going to have to go off to college with braces.”

Mandy hugged her and said “Oh Momma, it is ok.  I am more worried about you.”

This last statement perplexed Jen until Michelle responded.  Michelle said “thank you baby” as she hugged Mandy back.  She then looked at Jen and said “Mandy has been such a trooper about all of this.  So much so that I am joining her.  We actually aren’t here today for her appointment.  We are here for mine.  I am getting my braces, expanders and headgear here as soon as they call my name.  And I am terrified. Please tell me it will be ok.”

Offline radian

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #112 on: 15. November 2022, 16:44:16 PM »
Excellent story ! I especially like the suspense at the end of each chapter. I can't wait for the following, hoping you'll keep that daily rythm of posts.

Thanks a lot

Offline bracessd

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #113 on: 15. November 2022, 17:41:16 PM »
Keep up the great work!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #114 on: 15. November 2022, 20:31:40 PM »
Chapter 51.

Jen tried to ease Michelle's fears by saying "you will do fine.  It is an adjustment for sure, but everyone here is wonderful.  I have never been to any kind of office where everyone, and I mean everyone, is so caring and willing to help.  I don't know if you realize it, but every single one of the ladies here is in treatment themselves.  I think that says a lot about the office.  You will be sore this weekend.  And you will need to practice talking. But it gets better after the first week.  I am only a week and a half in, and this week has been so much easier than last week.  If you want, we can exchange numbers too.  If there is anything I can do to help, I am willing.  That is one thing that helped get me through the first week, having shoulders to lean on.  And it is cool that you and your daughter are going through this together.  I am doing this with my best friend. It really helps having someone else that understands what you are going through.  And just to help with the actual care and maintenance of the braces.  She actually turns my expander for me.  And I plan to do the same for her when she gets hers next week.  But again, you will be fine."

Michelle looked at Jen and asked "are you sure?  I would love to have your number in case I have any questions."

Jen assured her "yes, I absolutely mean it" as she went into her contacts on her phone.  She hit the + to add a new contact and typed in 'Michelle Andrews' and said "ok, what is your number?"  After Michelle had given her the number and Jen had entered it, Jen hit call.  Michelle's purse started ringing.  She dug her phone out of her purse. Jen told her "go ahead and put me in your contacts. I will check on you this weekend.  And I am betting that Diane and/or Christy will do the same."

Michelle responded "thank you so much.   You don't know how much I appreciate it.  I do have a couple of questions.  How much did the expander impact your speech?  I am getting an upper and a lower.  I am a high school teacher and I am so nervous about how I am going to sound on Monday.  And what is it like wearing the facemask?  Dr. Cooper has already told me I absolutely have to wear it 14 to 16 hours a day.  Basically every minute I am not at school.  To make it even worse, he recommended I wear it full time, but I don't think I can do that.  How bad is it?"

Jen replied "again, it is an adjustment.  Definitely put the extra padding on it.  The first few days are rough on your chin. But like all of this you get used to it.  My friend Mel has been in treatment longer than me, but she has actually been wearing her's to work the last week or so.  And I actually wore mine out in public this week.  And we are still both alive" and laughed.  Jen noticed that Michelle most definitely did not laugh, or even smile. In fact, the expression on her face was a mixture of fear and sorrow.  Jen continued "you will do fine with it.  I know you will.  As for the speaking, I do not have a lower expander so I don't know what it is like.  I know Diane does, and I bet she would answer any questions about it.  But it took me about 5 days to lose my lisp.  Again, it is just something that takes a little adjusting to.  The main thing that helps is speaking.  The first day back at work I was extremely self conscious, but again I made it through.  And you will too."

Michelle responded "I hope you are right.  It just seems..."

As she spoke the door beside the reception desk opened and Jen, Michelle and Mandy turned towards the sound of the voice projecting through it.  Through the door stepped a cute young lady with curly shoulder length brunette hair wearing pink scrubs who appeared to be in her mid to late 20s.  She had her head down, and on her face was a pink Grummons facemask held securely in place with two stainless springs.  Behind her was Sandra, who was speaking to her.  Jen couldn't help but overhear the conversation.  Sandra was telling her "Nicole you are doing great.  And you made the right decision too.  Just wear it this weekend.  By Monday it will be totally normal.  Josie here will get you all setup for your next appointment.  And really, the color just looks so cute on you."  As Nicole shuffled over to the reception desk, head down almost appearing to try to hide, Sandra looked over to the three ladies in the corner of the waiting room.  Sandra said "Michelle, Dr. Cooper is ready for you.  If you and Amanda would just follow me please."

Jen looked over at Michelle and noticed that the color completely drained from her face.  She looked like she had seen a ghost.  She sat motionless for a few seconds and swallowed hard.  She stood up on shaky legs.  Mandy grabbed her hand, looked her in the face and said "Momma, you are going to do fine."  With that Michelle inhaled and exhaled deeply and followed Sandra down the hall.

Offline TrainTrack

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #115 on: 15. November 2022, 23:14:40 PM »
I love how all of the ladies are so helpful and humble. They are so optimistic about everything. Plus, they are so supportive of everyone. In other words, they are people who I would want as a friend. Great story, very well written. Also, thanks t for the fast updates. I would never be able to write that fast.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #116 on: 16. November 2022, 07:10:00 AM »
It was going fast; then after reading your post I realized I have trapped myself in a box with a birthday party with multiple interesting characters.  Ugh.

But shit, that is what happens.  Just be a little work to tell the story.

Offline anton08

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #117 on: 16. November 2022, 09:01:34 AM »
Take yourself all the time you need, quality is more important than speed!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #118 on: 17. November 2022, 01:25:04 AM »
Chapter 52.

After the door closed, Jen turned her attention to the reception desk.  She could overhear Josie and Nicole talking in the small, cozy waiting room.

With her attention focused on Michelle moments before, Jen had missed the first part of their conversation, but she tuned back in to hear Josie say “no, Nikki, you look cute.  And now we match!”.  Josie looked up and smiled broadly at Nikki, who still had her head down. 

Nikki mumbled “I can’t believe Dr. Kendra talked me into this.  It sounded like such a better idea before today.  I bet I am going to send kids running the other way when they see me.” 

Josie replied “No you won’t.  I promise.  I mean you work in a dentist’s office, what better place to wear it?  I mean, look at me.  Hang on”.  Josie stood up and headed through the door to the reception area.  She went up to Nicole and hugged her.  She continued “really, you are going to be fine.  And you look so cute.  And this evening I will make sure to ply you with enough Jello shots and margaritas to forget all about it.”

Nikki returned Josie’s hug and told her “thank you.  You are a good friend.  And maybe I am making too big a deal about it.  But wow this is going to take some getting used to.”

The two girls released their hold from each other.  Josie said “really, it is going to be just fine.  I will email you a reminder before your appointment next month. But first, I will see you tonight!”

Nikki replied “thank you.  I will try to have fun tonight.  First though I need to make it home to change without dying of embarrassment” and headed out the front door of the office.

Jen couldn’t help but wonder who Dr. Kendra was? And who was Nicole?  Obviously someone that was brave enough to wear her facemask 24/7.  As if she had read her mind,  Josie looked over at Jen and said “me and Nikki are friends, we were before I even started working here and she started treatment here.  She is an assistant for Dr. Kendra over at Tots to Teens Pediatric Dentistry.  Dr. Kendra has been in treatment with us for about 6 months.  She convinced Nicole to come and consult with us.  Nikki and I talked about it before either of us took the plunge.  We were both nervous, but knew we needed to.  So we decided to do it together, we had our installation the same week.   Dr. Kendra had her facemask installed fulltime around the same time we got our braces.   And just this week she convinced Nikki to join her.  Nikki will be at the party tonight, and she may need a little extra looking after.”

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #119 on: 17. November 2022, 17:58:32 PM »
Chapter 53.

After her explanation of everything, Josie had returned to her desk and busied herself with some paperwork.  Jen went back to her phone.  After about 15 minutes the treatment room door opened.  Christy looked over at Jen and said “Jen, since you are here just waiting, would you come on back?  I would like to take a look at everything and check your hygiene.”

As they entered the treatment area, Jen saw Michelle reclined in the first chair.  Mandy was seated on a stool beside her holding her hand.  Dr. Cooper was busy installing brackets while Sandra held a suction tool in her mouth.  With the lip retractors holding her lips back and a bite block holding her jaws apart, even from across the room Jen could already see much of her mouth appeared silver.

Christy led Jen over to chair 4, the one furthest from where Dr. Cooper was busy transforming Michelle’s mouth.  After Jen was seated in the chair, Christy reclined her back.  Christy gently removed the elastics and facemask from Jen’s face.  She laid the mask on the table beside her and flicked the two elastics into a nearby trashcan.  Christy said “if you would please, go ahead and open wide.  None of this should hurt but if it does let me know.”  Christy took the pick and mirror in her hand and began examining Jen’s mouth.  At one point she could feel Christy gentle poking her palate around her expander.  When Christy got to the backside of her palate, Jen did feel a small jolt of pain and visibly winced.  Christy stopped, removed the tools from her mouth, and asked “did that hurt?”  Jen responded “yes, a little bit.”  Christy looked at her and said “just bear with me another minute or two, I am almost finished.”

Once she finished her examination, Christy raised Jen’s seat back upright.  She said to Jen “well, I have mostly good news, with just a little bad.  Overall, it looks like you are doing a great job with your brushing and flossing.  Your gums look healthy, and your braces and appliances are spotless.  Keep it up.  The bad news is you do have some inflammation around your two rear tads.  I won’t call it a full blown infection, but I want to keep it from that.  And don’t feel like it is something you did.  It is pretty common, especially after installation.  You do after all have a new, foreign metal object screwed into you.  I am going to give you a chlorhexidine mouthwash.  It is an antiseptic antibacterial wash.”  Christy got up from her stool and walked over to a set of cabinets at the back of the treatment area and got a small bottle out.  She then returned to her seat beside Jen.

Christy continued as she removed the small clear cup from the top of the bottle “I want you to rinse your mouth with this for the next two weeks.  Do it once per day, in the evenings after you’ve finished your braces hygiene.  Swish with it for 30-60 seconds.  Now, a couple of dos and don’ts.  Do not swallow it, spit it out in the sink after 30-60 seconds.  Do not eat or drink anything for at least an hour afterwards.  Do not get it in your eyes.  Try to avoid getting it on your teeth as much as possible.  It can cause tooth discoloration.  And just be ready for the taste” as she filled the small cup up to the first line which was marked 10 ml.  She handed the cup to Jen and said “go ahead and rinse with this.  I will tell you when to go over to the sink and spit it out.”

Jen carefully poured the liquid into her mouth, taking care to try to avoid getting it on her teeth.  The first thing she noticed was how bitter it was.  Christy was not lying, it tasted bad.  Yuck!  As she sat there with her head tilted back swishing the vile substance around in her mouth, she heard a sob come from across the room.  Jen turned to see Sandra holding up a mirror in front of Michelle’s facemask encumbered face.  As the mascara tinted tears rolled down Michelle’s face, Mandy stroked her hand and said “Momma, you still look beautiful.”

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #120 on: 17. November 2022, 23:56:01 PM »
Chapter 54.

The commotion in chair 1 had also drawn Christy’s attention.  She quickly glanced at Jen and told her to go spit in the sink and then rushed over to Michelle.  She leaned over Michelle and quickly took the facemask off her and put it aside.  She laid her hand on Michelle’s shoulder and cooed “it’s ok, it’s ok.  You aren’t the first patient to shed a few tears in here.”  Christy shifted her attention briefly to Sandra and said “Sandy, please get her some tissues.”  She then turned her attention back to Michelle and asked “what is it?  Is something hurting you?”

Michelle composed herself somewhat and wiped her eyes.  Shakily Michelle answered “Itsh jusht show musch metal.  Oh gawd, i cah even shpeak”.  Hearing her new speech impediment caused her crying to return.  By now Sandy had returned with a handful of tissues which she handed to Christy.  Christy put her arm around Michelle from one side of the chair while Mandy embraced her in an awkward hug from the other side of the chair.  Christy gently blotted Michelle’s face as she whispered “let it out, let it out.”

After quickly spitting the nasty mouthwash into the sink, Jen was unable to avert her eyes from what was going on across the small room.  She desperately wanted to tell Michelle of her own reaction to getting braces, but she was unsure whether it was her place to interject herself in the situation.  Still unsure exactly what to do she took several steps in that direction and stopped.  Christy had seen Jen out of the corner of her eye.  She turned her head in Jen’s direction and subtly nodded her head up and down.   Jen interpreted this as permission to approach.  She came over and squatted down beside Michelle and laid her hand on Michelle’s.  By now the the crying had ceased and become a defeated sniffling.

Jen looked into Michelle’s red eyes and said “I understand.  I have not told anyone this.  Not even Mel.  But the first thing I did last Wednesday when I got in my car was bawl my eyes out.  So I understand, and you aren’t alone.  But know that every day since I had my cry it has gotten easier.  And it will for you too.”

Michelle sniffled one more time and replied “really?” 

Jen said “absolutely.  I cried my eyes out.  It IS all so much.  But you will quickly adjust.  And keep your eyes on the prize.  This is just a short term inconvenience for a lifetime of better health.”

Jen’s words seemed to calm Michelle.  She looked up at Jen and said “thanck ya show musch.  Thanck ya all show musch.  I am sho shorry.  I feel lie susch a baby.  My baby is over her comforting me when that ish my job.”

Mandy hugged her mom tighter and said “Momma, did you forget how you hugged me and told me it was going to be all right when I got my braces?  I haven’t”.

This caused another tear to form and run down Michelle’s cheek, but this was one of happiness.  She shifted in the dental chair and hugged Mandy back.  She said “thank you baby.  I love you sho musch.  I am sho proud of you.  You are by far my biggesht accomplishment in life”.

With crisis seemingly averted, Christy looked at Sandy and asked “how far along did you get on wear and care instructions?”

Sandy answered “I did not have a chance to get into care.  Dr. Cooper had literally just left.  We had just gotten to instructions on how to place and remove the facemask.  I did not have a chance to get get into care, hygiene or turning her expanders.”

Christy thought for a moment and looked over at Mandy, who was still hugging her mom.  Christy asked her “Mandy, do you feel comfortable with how to care for your braces?  How about turning your expander and facemask wear?”

Mandy loosened her grip on her mom and looked at Christy.  She was nodding her head up and down as she replied “yes, yes I do.”

Christy then asked her “would you be willing to help your mom the next few days as she learns the ropes?”

Mandy replied “absolutely, I was already planning on it.  Momma has been turning this torture device of mine every night, I figure it is time for some payback” as she giggled and gave her mom a big smile.  Jen noticed that Michelle actually cracked a smile back at her.

Christy then announced “then I think we are about done here.  I am sure Michelle is ready to go home.  Will you escort Michelle and Mandy up to Josie to make their followup appointment.  I will put together our standard care and hygiene package.  It will have instructions on everything as well as the break in schedule for your facemask.  I will put your facemask and elastics in the bag.  If you would go ahead Sandy and take them out front, I will meet you there with the care package.”

Sandy looked at Christy and innocently asked “doesn’t she need to put her facemask on before she leaves?”

This seemed to draw Christy’s ire.  She responded forcefully “No.  She absolutely does NOT need to put on her facemask before she leaves.  She will have plenty of time to get used to it over the next two weeks.  At home.  Not here, not now.  And if Dr. Cooper finds out and gets mad about it, you can tell him it was my call and he can talk to me.”

Offline bracessd

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #121 on: 18. November 2022, 17:58:30 PM »
I'd love to be Michelle's husband!

Online Charlie0186

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #122 on: 19. November 2022, 18:36:59 PM »
Honest question, am I getting too bogged down in the details?

Honest answer: yes, for some readers.  But probably not for readers on this group IMHO (H for hubristic).

I'm writing a novel that's scarily similar in some respects to your story -- I promise it's parallel thought development based on my own research into orthotropics.  I was already busy with the first major structural edit of mine when I started reading your work.

I relate to your question.

I'll probably end up excising some of the more devotee-oriented aspects of my novel as it stands currently.  It makes more sense to me to rewrite them as vignettes for this forum.  They are definitely too much for everyone else to have to wade through.

I'm enjoying your writing, and appreciate your putting yourself 'out there' for us.

Offline kelly-Marie

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #123 on: 19. November 2022, 19:41:45 PM »
I am enjoying the Jennifer  story I think its very good the level of detail is good it really fleshes out the characters for us. I admit I don't go into as much detail as you partly because I'm not as skilled at writing as you are. Charlie0186 where will your novel be published? I look forward to reading it when your ready to release it.  Thanks in advance  kelly

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #124 on: 01. December 2022, 16:37:41 PM »
Chapter 55.

As Sandy, Michelle, and Mandy headed out the door towards reception, Christy went and grabbed a bag from a cabinet.  Jen identified it as identical to the bag she had left with the previous week.  As Christy busied herself filling it she looked over at Jen.  She said “thank you for that.  There is nothing I could have said that would have calmed her down more quickly.  I think the fact that you are a patient here, and not an employee, makes it even more credible.  And everything you said was the truth.  So again, thank you.  And I didn’t realize that getting your braces had impacted you like that.  Thank you for sharing.  I think Dr. Cooper sometimes forgets about the emotional aspects of this and focuses solely on the mechanics of everything.”

Jen replied “you are welcome.  I wasn’t sure if I should get involved, but I thought sharing my experience might help.  And yeah, I am not proud that I had my little come apart in my car last Wednesday, but I did.  If it were’t for Mel, I might have marched right back in here and demanded Dr. Cooper remove everything.”

Christy looked over at Jen and said “well I am glad you did jump in.  It helped tremendously.  And I am glad you didn’t march right back in here.  I know it is hard, especially at first, I know first hand.  But it is worth it.  Would you walk with me to reception?  I want to see Michelle out.  And I need to apologize to Sandy.  I bit her head off and it wasn’t her fault.  She was just trying to follow the rules.”

Jen followed Christy out the door and made the short walk down the hall into the reception area.  There they found Mandy, Michelle and Sandy huddled around the reception desk.  As they walked up Jen heard Josie saying “I have been wearing mine full time now for two weeks.  You will get used to it in no time.”  The arrival of Christy and Jen turned the attention of the group to them.

Christy looked at Michelle and gave her a broad metallic smile from behind her facemask and said, “did Josie get you all fixed up with your next appointment?”

Michelle answered “yesh she did.”  Upon hearing her lisp again her face reddened. 

Jen jumped in and said “Michelle, it gets better. By Monday I bet you hardly notice it, and I bet no one else will either.”  It was a bit of a white lie Jen knew, but she thought it would help.

Michelle answered “thank ya show musch.  And Joshie was telling me she hash been wearing her facshmashk full time for two weeksh.  Surely I can manage fourteen hoursh a day.”

Christy replied “you absolutely will be able to.  And you know, Josie isn’t the only one wearing her facemask full time.  Diane and I also got ours installed on Monday, so there are three of us here in the office doing it.  Four if you count Dr. Cooper’s wife.”

Sandy smiled pensively and added “and within the next two weeks, I will be joining the club.”

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #125 on: 06. December 2022, 01:06:34 AM »
Chapter 56.

Christy said “well, I think we are about done here.  But before that, I do need to apologize.”

Christy solemnly looked at Sandy and continued “Sandy, I am so sorry I snapped at you.  You were just following instructions.  I hope you will accept my apology.  I was out of line.  And Mandy and Michelle, I need to apologize to you two as well for doing it in front of you.”

Sandy’s face brightened and replied “thank you, it is ok.  You were right.  But thank you.  Apology accepted.”

Michelle was next to speak, she looked at Christy and then Sandy and said “you don nee to apologizsh to me.  Inshtead I need to once again thank you.  And I am shorry for my little come apart.  I caushed it all to happen.”

Christy looked at Michelle and replied “no, you did just fine.  No apology needed.  It is a lot to come to terms with.  You did great. How about I walk you and Mandy to your car.  I can give you some do’s and don’ts, and I will carry your bag with all your goodies. Sandy, why don’t you and Jen go on back to the treatment room, and I will grab Dr.  Cooper when I come back in and we can finish up for the day?”

As Christy, followed Mandy and Michelle out the door of the office, she was going over foods to avoid.  Jen looked over at Sandy and said “after you?”  Sandy smiled and turned to walk down the hall back to the treatment room.  Once there, Sandy gestured to chair one and asked Jen to please have a seat, then rolled a stool over by the chair.  Once Jen was seated, she asked Sandy “so, you are going to get braces?”

Sandy looked over and replied “oh boy am I ever” and went silent again.  Jen was curious what that meant.  Sandy read the look on her face and continued “so yeah, Monday afternoon Dr. Cooper did my my exam and imaging and worked up a treatment plan.  Tuesday morning I got a mouth full of spacers.  I have put just about every appliance known in the world of orthodontics in a patient’s mouth at one time or another.  But never all at the same time.  I guess I am just lucky.”

This only served to pique Jen’s interest more.  She asked Sandy “so, what all does that entail?”

Sandy continued “well, I will be getting upper and lower expanders like Diane.  A herbst appliance like you have.  A tongue crib like Allison has.  Because of my crowns, Dr. Cooper wants to band all my lower teeth.  He is worried brackets might not bond on them securely enough.  That is one thing I have never done, put full bands on a patient.  I didn’t even realize it was still a thing.  So, I have a mouth full of spacers.”  She opened her mouth and showed Jen her lower arch.  Jen could see a little blue spacer between each and everyone of her lower teeth.  She then tilted her head back, and showed her upper arch, which “only” had four spacers.  Sandy continued “they are killing me. As much as I dread getting everything installed, at least I can get these little devils out of my mouth. And I only have the four up top for my herbst.  At least I am not getting bands on my top teeth, they would be so much more visible.  And of course I am getting reverse pull headgear.  Everyone gets headgear it seems like.  Dr. Cooper asked the lab to put a rush on my appliances, they will probably come in late next week.  And then it is B-Day for me.  I guess I am glad I am doing it, but wow…”

She was interrupted by Dr. Cooper opening the door and entering the treatment room with Christy right on his heels.  With a big smile on his face he looked at Jen and said “Ms. Collins, it is wonderful to see you.  And thank you for coming in on short notice.  How was your first full week of braces?”

Jen heard what Dr. Cooper was saying and answered “there were some struggles, but things have gotten easier.”  But while she had been replying, her focus was on what was in Dr. Cooper’s hand.  It did not look like the Crane appliance she had googled online.  Instead, it looked like a neckbrace melded to a Delaire facemask, complete with the headstrap. She thought to herself “what in the world is that?  And what have I gotten myself into?”

Offline Braces1234

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #126 on: 22. December 2022, 12:05:55 PM »
I really like the fact that they are getting braces just to encourage their friends

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #127 on: 08. February 2023, 02:12:22 AM »
Chapter 57.

Dr. Cooper seated himself beside Jen and said "before I talk to you about this new protraction device, I would like to take a look at things.  I am going to go ahead and lean you back."  Once again, Jen was leaned back in the chair.  Sandy inserted a set of cheek retractors in Jen's mouth as Dr. Cooper admired his handiwork. As he started the exam, he said "Christy explained that you did have a little irritation around your back tads.  The antiseptic mouthwash should clear that up.  And she said your hygiene looks great, which I agree with.  I don't see any major points of irritation from your herbst appliance or the hooks for your facemask.  Have they been bothering you too much?"

Jen answered back the best she could with both the cheek retractor and mirror in her mouth "the fir few dayz were bah, but wax really helped.  Thingsh seem to have calloushed up in my mah now.  Mah fashmash is still sore on my chin some mornings.  And turning mah exspander still feels strange."

Dr. Cooper reassured her "that is common.  Most patients experience it.  It is nothing to worry about.  And it will continue to get better."

He leaned back, done with his exam, and gave Jen's braces and appliances a clean bill of health.  Reaching over and grabbing the neckbrace from the counter he said "well, other than the slight irritation around the tads, everything looks great.  You are doing a great job."  As he was picking up the strange looking brace, Sandy removed the cheek retractor from Jen's mouth and raised her chair back up to a seated angle.

Dr. Cooper held out the neck brace in front of Jen and continued on "so, you mentioned that the Delaire mask was still causing you some irritation on your chin.  I think this might be a solution to that problem.  You might notice this is not exactly what you saw online.  I have had my wife Allison wearing it at bedtime since it came in.  I noticed after the first few nights, despite attempts to tighten and adjust it, that she still had some movement between her head and the protraction arms of the device.  It was especially evident when she was sleeping and was not even conscious she was doing it.  This meant that she was not getting a consistent protraction angle or force.  So, I had the idea you see here.  I had the lab replace the vertical protraction arm on the stock Crane with this modified Delaire mask.  It eliminates all pressure on the chin.  But, with the forehead pad and head strap, it securely holds the head in a consistent position through the night.  Do I have your permission to contact Scolicare and see if they would have a problem with modifying your current neck brace with this protraction module?  We have collaborated on a few orthopedic/orthodontic cases in the past, so it would not be a completely new concept.  In the meantime, you could still wear your current facemask for daytime wear."

Jen quickly agreed.  Afterall, she was already wearing the neckbrace and facemask at night anyway.  After getting her permission, Dr. Cooper continued.  "It took Allison several nights to get used to the immobilization of her cervical spine, but it eliminated any and all pressure marks on her face.  She is planning to continue to wear it at night.  I think you will prefer this.  One thing I am having her do is wear springs with it instead of elastics.  Springs are superior to elastics as they offer a higher, more consistent force.  And while I would love it if every patient would wear them full time, I understand that is not practical for all patients."  Dr. Cooper interrupted himself and looked over at Christy and Sandy; "I am so proud of 'my girls' though for all doing it and setting such a good example" and gave them both a big, genuine smile.  He turned back to Jen "you are doing the right thing.  I think that this will make your protraction wear easier.  Which will mean higher compliance.  Speaking of which...' as he walked over to chair 4 and picked up Jen's facemask.  He came back and sat down and pulled out his phone.  He asked Jen "so, about how many hours a day are you wearing your mask?" 

Jen did the math in her head and responded "for the last week I am getting in about 12 hours a day." 

Dr. Cooper tapped a few times on his phone.  After looking at it a moment, he looked at Jen and smiled.  "You nailed it, according to the app, you have averaged 11 hours and 41 minutes a day.  That is the good news.  The bad news is that I really need you to get in 14 hours a day while you are undergoing active expansion and the suture is open.  Can I count on you to wear it at least 14 hours a day for the next 3-6 months at least?"

Jen had her doubts, but answered "I will do my best."

Dr. Cooper assured her "I am sure you will get your time in.  Success of your treatment is as much in your hands as mine.  And I know that you don't want to go through this whole process for nothing.  Plus, the more you wear it, the shorter the length of time you might have to wear it.  So it is a win/win.  With that said, I do want you to start wearing springs instead of elastics. Sandy and Christy can show you the routine at the end.  Now, speaking of opening that suture."

Dr. Cooper looked over at Sandy and requested "Sandy, would you get a couple of Ibuprofen and a bottle of water?" 

As Sandy stood up to go to the cabinets Dr. Cooper turned his attention back to Jen.  "So, the key to increasing the size of your airway is getting your sutures to open.  This will allow us to both widen your palate with the expander, and open it with forward movement from the protraction forces.  The sooner we can get that suture to split,  he quicker you will start to breathe easier.  Maybe get you off the CPAP sooner rather than later."

By now, Sandy was coming back with the Ibuprofen and water.  Dr. Cooper continued "I am going to have you take a couple of ibuprofen if you haven't already, and I am going to make some turns on your expander.  First though, at least temporarily, I am going to cut the archwire between your upper to front teeth."  Once Dr. Cooper had snipped the wire, he continued "I am now going to start making turns.  I want you to tell me when you start feeling it in your nasal cavity and under your eyes.  Did you take any pain relievers before you came in today?"  Jen shook her head 'no' nervously.  The doctor continued "then in that case, go ahead and take a couple and Sandy will recline you back down."

Once Jen was reclined back in the chair with her mouth open, Dr. Cooper inserted the wrench into her mouth.  As he made the first turn he explained "I am making turns now.  It will feel strange, maybe even a little uncomfortable.  Once you start feeling the pressure behind your nose, raise your hand and let me know."  After the 4th turn of her expander she raised her hand and Dr. Cooper removed the wrench from her mouth.

He looked at Jen and asked "so, do you feel it behind your nose?"  She nodded her head up and down.  He asked "do you feel it under your eyes?"  She placed her right index finger under her right eye and responded "I feel it here, I don't feel it under my other one."

Dr. Cooper said "good, we are making progress.  Go ahead and open back up and I am going to make a few more turns.  Raise your hand when you feel it under your other eye please." 

As Dr. Cooper made turns 5 and 6, Jen was in pain.  Her eyes were watery and her lip was quivering, but she let the doctor do his job.  On turn 7 she felt pressure under her left eye and raised her hand.

Dr. Cooper removed the wrench from Jen's mouth and told her "you did great; you are doing great."  As Sandy raised the chair back up Dr. Cooper outlined Jen's new turning schedule.  "Jen, I really want to get those sutures open as quickly as possible.  We just expanded your palate by almost 2 millimeters.  I want you to start turning your expander 4 times a day; twice in the morning and twice in the evening before bed.  I expect your suture to split in the next 5 days.  You will likely feel a pop, and you should notice a gap between your front teeth. Once the suture has split, decrease down to 2 turns a day, each at night before bed.  Then, at your next appointment, we will assess where we are.  Again, you are doing great.  In the meantime, we will contact Scolicare and get to working on your new neck brace with integrated protraction module.  I am going to leave you with Sandy and Christy to finish up; and I look so forward to seeing you at your next appointment."  With that, he gave Jen a big smile, stood, and walked out the door.

Christy came and put her arm around Jen and asked "how are you feeling love?"

Jen winced a little and answered "my mouth is on fire.  I was looking forward to tonight, I'm not so sure if I am up for it now."

Christy's face was dead fallen "don't say that.  That ibuprofen will start to help soon.  Let's go ahead and get your facemask back on.  I will show you how to use the springs that Dr. Cooper wants you to start using."

After a few moments of explanation, and practice runs in the mirror, Jen had it down and had her facemask back on.  This time though it was attached with stainless springs instead of the elastics she had been using.  And much more pressure on her face.

She looked at Christy and said "I'm not sure I am going to manage with this.  How do you do it?"

Christy responded "I will give you a few tips tonight.  At Josie's birthday party.  See, I am blackmailing you.  You have to come to the party to find out" and laughed. She continued "but seriously, I do hope you come; I will be sad if you don't" and gave Jen an exaggerated pout; then giggled again.  She grabbed the bottle of antiseptic mouthwash and handed it to Jen. "Remember to swish with this every night. Sandy, would you mind finishing up in here? I will walk Jen up front to reception and give her some tips on living with the springs."

Sandy agreed cheerfully despite the barking that Christy had done earlier, and said "no, you two go on.  I am as eager as anyone to get out of here today.  It has been a long day.  Heck, it has been a long week, especially knowing I have my own braces and expander install coming up so soon."

Offline TrainTrack

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #128 on: 08. February 2023, 04:04:31 AM »
It’s nice to see an addition to a really good story after practically 2 months. Keep up the good work.

Offline anton08

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #129 on: 08. February 2023, 08:02:17 AM »
It is not so easy to wait for Sandy´s treatment. What a story!

Offline bracessd

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #130 on: 08. February 2023, 17:31:19 PM »
Keep up the good work mr_90proof, I'm enjoying this story

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #131 on: 16. April 2023, 22:12:58 PM »
Chapter 58.

Jennifer hurriedly made the walk across the parking lot to her car with her head down. She was still insecure about wearing her facemask in public; and was trying her best to make it to the safety of her vehicle without being spotted.  As she opened the driver door, she thought about how brave Mel was to wear her’s to work. 

Once in the safety of her car, she flipped the visor down and studied her reflection in the mirror.  Nothing looking different.  But it sure felt different.  She felt a level of pain and pressure she had not yet felt in her brief treatment.  It was a combination of pain in her mouth from the aggressive turns of her expander; and the increased pressure on her chin from the new springs connecting her facemask to her expander hooks.  She gingerly reached up to attempt to remove one of the springs from her mouth.  As she grasped it and tried to unhook it, the pain intensified.  She let go of it and received a minor amount of relief.  The second try went no better.  She decided she would just keep it on until she got home; regardless of any embarrassment she might feel from being seen by other drivers.  She hoped that Mel’s gentle hands could help her get the mask off so she could get some relief.

Arriving in her drive, she pulled in and parked behind Mel’s car.  She hurried to the front door, head down once again.  Opening the door, she saw Mel sitting crosslegged on the couch wearing her own facemask, a book in her hands.  The opening of the door had attracted Mel’s attention.  She looked over at Jen and noticed the pained looked on her face.  Concerned she asked “Hey babe, how did your appointment go? Is everything ok?”

Jen made her way to the couch and curled up beside Mel.  She went to lay her head on Mel’s shoulder.  In the process she bumped her facemask against Mel, causing a lightning bolt of pain to shoot through her mouth.  She let out a little gasp.  Mel wrapped her arms around Jen, and with concern in her voice asked once again “hey, are you ok?”

Jen, trying not to move her mouth, mumbled “I feel like I am dying here.”

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #132 on: 16. April 2023, 23:50:26 PM »
It's nice to see another chapter of this story.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #133 on: 17. April 2023, 19:22:59 PM »
Chapter 59.

Mel squeezed Jen tight and asked “what happened?  And what can I do to make it better?”

Jen nuzzled closer against Mel and said “Dr. Cooper turned my expander 7 times, and my mouth is on fire.  On top of that he wants me to wear springs instead of elastics.  He said they provide a stronger and more consistent force, but they hurt so much more than the rubberbands.  I tried to take them off in the car but it hurt too much and I gave up.  Could you see if you can take them off for me?”

Mel released Jen and grabbed her by the shoulders, turning her towards her so that they were face to face.  She responded “of course I will, let me see what is going on here. Open up for me.”

As she looked past the facemask and springs into Jen’s mouth, Jen told her “the springs just slip over the hooks like an elastic.  But when I fumbled with them all I did was ratchet up the pain.”  Mel responded “hang on, I have an idea.”

A few seconds later she returned from the bathroom with a pair of tweezers.  She fluffed up a pillow at the end of the couch and had Jen lay down with her head slightly propped up.  She got down on her knees on the floor beside Jen and told her “open up, let’s see if Momma can make it better.”  Leaning over at the waist, her back held rigidly straight by her omnipresent backbrace, she delicately extended the tweezers towards Jen’s mouth.  Reaching in she grasped the first of the two springs and gentle pulled it off the hook, leaving it attached to the mask.  She quickly repeated the process on the other side.  She gently removed the mask from Jen’s face and laid it on the coffee table beside her.  She looked down into Jen’s eyes and asked “any better?” 

Jen returned her gaze and answered “yes, thank you so much.  I don’t think there is anything you can do about this pressure in my mouth from the expander though.”

Mel leaned over and hugged Jen again, whispering “I am so sorry my baby’s mouth is hurting.  Maybe I can do something.”  She leaned back up and quickly removed her own facemask, laying it on the table beside Jen’s.  She leaned in and gave her a very gentle kiss.  She then told her “let me get you something for the pain.”

Jen said “I already took two ibuprofen at the office, I probably shouldn’t take anymore.”

Mel answered “that’s ok, I have a little something else in mind” as she got up and headed to the kitchen.

Jen could hear Mel in the kitchen.  She heard glass clinking together, and then heard the sound of a cork popping out of the top of a bottle.  Mel rounded the corner with a full wine glass in each hand, and a bendable straw stuck in each.  She came over and handed one to Jen and said “I don’t know if you want a straw or not, but I am so used to using one all the time, it feels weird when I don’t.  Take this and let me get one more thing” as she sat her own glass on the coffee table beside the two masks. 

Jen took a sip of wine through her straw as she watched Mel walk over to the kitchen table and grab her purse that was hanging on a dining room chair.  She set it on the table and rummaged through it for a moment until she pulled a brown bottle from it.  Jen thought it was a vitamin bottle.  Mel came back to the sofa, picking up Jen’s legs so she had a little room, and sat with Jen’s legs across her lap.  She looked at Jen and said “I have something that might help if you want it.”

Jen asked “what is it?” 

Mel smiled and said “a gummy, a special gummy that might dull the pain.  It is delta-8, a half of one might help if you want.”

Jen responded “I didn’t know you liked those?  I have never had one.  I mean, I smoked a little pot back in college, but I haven’t had anything like that in twenty years.  Is it gonna zonk me out too much?  And is it legal?”

Mel unscrewed the cap as she replied “Yes, it is legal.  Heck, I order them online and they ship it to me in the mail.  And no, it won’t zonk you out too much.  But it will relax you.”  She took one of the gummies out of the bottle and bit it in half.  She reached over with the half still in her fingers towards Jen’s mouth.  Jen obediently opened her mouth and Mel placed it on Jen’s tongue.  As Mel chewed the half she still had in her mouth she said “half for you, and half for me.  It will take about an hour for it to kick in. In the meantime, get ready for your massage.  We are going to start at your feet and work our way up from there” as she wrapped her hands around Jen’s right foot and gave her a sly smile.

 

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #134 on: 18. April 2023, 16:09:13 PM »
Chapter 60.

As Mel massaged her feet, Jen let out a contented sigh and said “that feels so good. And I just realized something.  I have been so absorbed in my own little pity party, I didn’t even ask you about your day.  So, how was your day?”

Mel grabbed Jen’s foot and tickled her sole.  Jen tried to pull it back,unsuccessfully, and started squirming.  She exclaimed “you know i am ticklish.  Quit it.”  Mel quit the tickling and started laughing.  She looked at Jen and told her “my day was interesting.  But it just got a lot better watching you squirm.”

Jen asked “so, what does interesting mean?”

Mel answered “ well, you know Friday is brace fitting day.  Today, I got to fit one of my coworkers with their own brace.  You have met Lilly our receptionist.  She has a curve in her thoracic and cervical similar to yours.  So, I fit her with her own Wellington brace.  It looks almost exactly like yours, it just doesn’t have nearly as beautiful and sexy model to wear it as yours does”. Jen let out a little “awwww” as Mel continued.  “Dr. Wellington has prescribed 16 hours a day wear for the cervical extension for her, so she is going to have to wear it to work once she has finished her break in period.  She is pretty bummed about that.  I promised her it would be ok, that I was very close with someone that has to wear one, and she is living her best life.”

With that, Mel pinched Jen’s toe and leaned over and kissed her again.  She then continued “at the end of today I had my monthly exam.”  She went back to rubbing Jen’s feet.

After a few moments of silence, Jen asked “well, how did it go?”

Mel replied “it went fine.  Hang on.”  She lifted Jen’s feet and stood.  She looked down and said “I will be back in a minute” and went into their bedroom. Jen was curious what was going on, but laid there in silence wondering what in the world Mel was up to.  A few minutes later, Mel emerged.  She was not wearing her top anymore, her colorful brace on full display.  But now, attached to it, was a white cervical extension.  As Jen instinctively sat up in confusion, Mel answered her look.

“I was so jealous of how sexy you look in yours, I had to get one for myself.”  She came and stiffly sat down beside Jen.  She turned her whole body towards Jen on the couch, who sat opened mouth and speechless.  “Actually” Mel continued “Dr. Wellington said he thought he spied a little cervical rotation developing in my neck.  So he prescribed me this for 12 hours a day.  I can’t wear it at work due to how strenuous it can be at times.  So I will have to wear it pretty much all the time I am with you.  I hope you still think I am pretty.”

Jen leaned over and wrapped her arms around Mel and gave her a tight embrace.  She leaned back and stated “you are the most beautiful person in the world”.  It was her who leaned in and initiated the kiss this time.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #135 on: 20. April 2023, 01:14:43 AM »
Chapter 61.

After a long, passionate kiss; both ladies leaned back for some air.  Jen ran her finger along Mel’s cheek and told her “you really are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.  Neck brace or no neck brace.  But, it is going to take some getting used to.  And don’t think I am going to let you slack on wearing it.”  She smiled broadly, the herbst appliance in her mouth much more visible than normal.  She continued “and I seem to remember someone chiding me to wear mine.  Payback will be fun.  Speaking of wearing mine, hold on.  Let me go get mine on.”  She stood and headed towards their bedroom, unbuttoning her blouse as she walked.

Mel stiffly rose from the couch and followed her.  Having deposited her blouse on the bed, Jen reached the dresser and picked up her brace.  She unfastened the velcro and aligned it on her backbrace.  As she tightened the thumbscrews that held the two together, Mel lifted Jen’s hair and said “let me help you”.  As Jen finished tightening the screws, Mel gently wrapped the neck brace around Jen’s neck and fastened the velcro straps.  Looking in the mirror, Jen saw two very attractive ladies; albeit in full hip to chin scoliosis braces.  She grabbed Mel’s hand and said “well, don’t we make quite the pair.”  Mel moved in tight behind Jen, caressing her bottom, and responded “yes, yes we do.  And while wearing this feels the furthest thing from sexy, helping you into yours turns me on so much.” 

Shifting around in front of Jen she continued “and again, we do make quite the pair; the most beautiful pair; even in our braces.” Stiffly and gingerly, she leaned in to give Jen a kiss and bumped her forehead against her partners.  She pulled back as Jen gave a little laugh.  Mel said “wow, this is going to take some practice.  Let me try again.”  She awkwardly leaned in, this time managing to give Jen a peck on the lips.  Pulling back Mel made the observation “I never really considered how hard it would be to kiss someone when neither person can turn or bend their head.”

Jen walked over, drew the blinds and dimmed the lights.  Returning, she grasped Mel’s hand.  She led Mel over beside their bed and looked her in the eyes.  She instructed Mel “lay down, and I will get you comfortable with some pillows.  And then we can practice.”

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #136 on: 20. April 2023, 05:49:57 AM »
Chapter 62.

An hour later Mel and Jen, each still bound rigidly in their braces, lay in bed embracing each other.  Each of them was sweaty and disheveled.  Mel looked into Jen’s eyes and said “well, it is a little different.  But we can make this work.  So, what do you want to do?  Are we going to Josie’s party?”

Jen looked at her and replied “an hour ago I would have said absolutely not.  But I am up for it now.  I don’t know if it is you; or the wine and gummy, but my mouth isn’t bothering me nearly as much as it was. I am up for going.  But I don’t think either of us need to drive.  I know I don’t; I think that gummy is working.  I can’t believe you never told me you had these.”

Mel laughed and responded “well, I used to have one a couple of nights a week just to wind down.  And especially after my ortho appointments.  But here lately, you have been my drug of choice.”

Jen reached over and squeezed Mel.  She told her “that feeling is mutual; but maybe we need to have each other and the gummies together more often.  I feel so relaxed.  But, if we are going to get over there by 8, we better get cleaned up.  I am going to shower.  Would you join me?”

After showering and putting on their undershirts, each of the ladies put on their backbraces, sans the cervical extensions.  As they applied makeup, Mel asked “so, what kind of party is this?  A tea and crumpets type of party?  Or a dancing on the bar type of party?  I guess my question is really how formal is it?  What do we need to wear.”

Jen answered “I don’t really know.  I doubt it is either.  But Josie mentioned Jello shots; so it might end up being a dancing on the bar party.”  This caused Mel to laugh.  Jen continued “I think I am going to wear a sundress.  That seems like a good compromise, a little casual and a little formal at the same time.  You know I think you look ravishing in that pink floral dress you wore the first night.  And it has some sentimental value to me.  You should wear that.”

After finishing their makeup, they went into the bedroom to finish dressing.  Mel walked over and picked up her neckbrace and began to connect it to her backbrace.  Jen looked over at Mel with a surprised look on her face and asked “are you going to wear your neckbrace?  I mean, we can get our time in over the weekend.”

Mel cut her eyes over towards Jen, unable to turn her head and said “yes, I think I am.  I am just going to jump into the deep end of the pool.  I need to get used to wearing it, and I need to get my time in, so I can kill two birds with one stone.  Plus, what kind of example would I set for my favorite patient if I scrimped on my time the very first night?  Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty nervous.  But I will have you beside me if anyone points and stares.  But all the girls at Dr. Cooper’s know we wear scoliosis braces. It will be fine I’m sure.”

Jen said “not only are you the best nurse in the world, you are also the best patient in the world.  But I think I already told you we are in this together.”  With that she walked over and picked up her own neckbrace.  “You are correct, I will be right beside you tonight.  And I will also be wearing mine.  Would you help me put it on.”  Mel finished fastening the velcro around her own neck and stepped in front of Jen.  She leaned in and kissed her.  She took the brace from Jen’s hands and answered “yes, I would like that.”

Dressed and waiting for the Uber that was in route, Mel and Jen sat side by side on the couch.  Jen said “I know we gave Josie a card earlier, but I feel like we shouldn’t arrive empty handed.  Should we stop somewhere on the way and get her something?” 

Mel answered “I think your sentiment is good; but I am not sure I am quite ready to roll into Costco with my neckbrace and facemask on.  Why don’t we grab a couple of bottles of wine out of the pantry and give them as a gift.”

Jen answered “that is actually a great idea.  Wait…. You are going to wear your facemask too tonight?”

Mel picked Jen’s facemask up off the table and answered “yes, of course.  I don’t think we should show up at our orthodontist’s party without them.  And I am hoping that they gave you some extra springs I can wear instead of rubberbands.  That way we can match. Here, open up and let me put yours on.  I will be super gentle.”

Jen was taken aback, she herself had not planned on wearing either her neckbrace or facemask out tonight.  But she wanted to make Mel happy; and she also couldn’t let her go it alone.  She shifted her body around and answered “yes, they gave me some extra springs” as she picked her purse up off the table.  She removed a small ziplock bag from her purse from which she then withdrew two small springs and placed them on the table beside Mel’s mask.  She then shifted around to face Mel and opened her mouth. 

Mel gently but quickly put the springs back on her hooks, using the same tweezers she had used earlier to remove them.  Once the mask was secured to Jen’s face, Mel leaned back and said “you look beautiful.  How does it feel?”

Jen reached up and absently touched the chincup of her mask.  She said “well, it doesn’t feel great.  But it feels better than earlier.  I think it will be bearable for tonight, but I might have to prescribe myself a few more drinks to make it through the night.”

Mel patted Jen’s hand and said “you are such a good girl; sexy, smart and funny to boot.”  Mel then picked up her mask and handed it to Jen.  She told Jen “now if you would please, would you put my mask on with the springs?”  Once secured Mel said “wow, this is pretty intense.  These springs must be stronger than the ones I tried when Christy come over last weekend.  No wonder my baby was hurting when she got home today.”

Jen rubbed Mel’s hand and told her “look, you don’t have to wear the springs.  Dr. Cooper hasn’t told you to; and you don’t have to do it for me.  Especially if they are hurting you.”  Mel returned Jen’s caress and responded “no, I don’t have to.  But I want to.  After all, you don’t have to wear a horrible herbst appliance like I do.  But you do, for me.  And that is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me.  So I am going to do this.  For you.”  At that moment, Mel’s phone pinged.  She looked down and said “our Uber is here.” The ladies both stood and slung their purses over their shoulders, and then each grabbed a bottle of wine.  Jen went and opened the door and asked “are you ready for our big adventure?”  After Jen locked the door, Mel reached down and took Jen’s free hand in her’s.  She looked at Jen and said “and with my facemask on; maybe I won’t embarrass you with any over the top displays of public affection.  Even though I want too” and winked at Jen.  “Come my lady, your chariot awaits” as they turned; hand in hand; and began the short walk to the uber at the curb.




Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #137 on: 20. April 2023, 19:27:14 PM »
Chapter 63.

Once at the car, Jen opened the rear passenger door of the little Honda SUV.  She told Mel "hand me your wine.  It will be hard enough getting in with both hands.  Be careful and don't hit your head on the door frame."  Mel handed her the bottle and turned so her back was facing the open door.  She stiffly and gingerly lowered herself until her rear end was resting on the edge of the bench seat.  She asked Jen "now what?"  Jen responded "I don't know exactly, I haven't tried getting in a vehicle yet with my neckbrace on either.  But, from getting in and out of bed enough times, lean forward, slide your butt back a little, and then swing your legs in".  As this was happening, the Uber driving was looking on wide eyed in the mirror.

Mel managed to follow Jen's instructions and successfully got in the vehicle.  She cut her eyes over towards Jen and exclaimed "Success!  But I am not sure I can scoot over.  Can you get in from the other side?"  This broke the Uber driver's trance.  He quickly asked "can I help you ladies?"  Before he even received a response, he was opening his door and getting out.  He quickly opened the driver's side rear door as Jen walked around the back of the SUV holding the two bottles of wine.  As she approached he said "if you will hand me those, I will hold those while you get in." 

As Jen tried to replicate the process of getting in the vehicle, the Uber driving could not keep from staring at the strange sight in front of him; two very pretty and elegant ladies wearing obviously stiff restrictive body braces and also sporting metal braces with very noticable masks on the their faces.  Once Jen was in the car she cut over eyes towards Mel and shrieked "Yay! We did it!  Challenge number one is in the books.  Now for number two, getting my seat belt on without being able to see what I am doing." 

Before they could reach for the seat belt though, the Uber driver leaned in a little, getting a good look at the two of them in the backseat.  Each of them was leaned back awkwardly, looking up towards the headliner.  After handing back the bottles of wine, the driver said "my name is Kevin, and I will be your driver tonight.  Could I adjust those headrests a little, it might be a little more comfortable for each of you."  Jen cut her eyes towards him and answered "thank you Kevin.  I am Jen and that babe beside me is Mel.  And I would love it if you would adjust the headrest forward some, maybe I will then be able to see where we are going."

After carefully adjusting the headrests forward; behind careful to try not to invade their space too much but still taking it all in, Kevin got back into the driver seat.  Sitting there, he could not take his eyes off the ladies in the back. He asked them for their destination.  Jen pulled her phone from her purse and quickly told him the address. As he pulled out into the residential street Mel noticed he couldn't take his eyes off them; he was looking in the rearview mirror more than he was looking at the road in front of them.  She said "not to be rude Kevin, but I would appreciate it if you would watch the road a little more; especially with this precious cargo in the backseat." 

The Uber driving quickly turned his attention back to the road.  Mel noticed his face turn red in the reflection in the mirror.  He stammered "I am so, so sorry.  I didn't mean to stare.  I was just wondering what happened.  Were you in an accident?"

Mel answered "you are forgiven.  And you aren't the first person who will be curious I'm sure.  But no, there was no accident.  We actually are both being treated for scoliosis.  That is what the neck brace you see is for; and why we had trouble getting in the vehicle.  Our braces extend down to our hips.  This is actually my first night wearing mine; I can already see there are going to be some challenges.  But this babe beside me is going to be my guide, she has had her's a good bit longer" as Mel reached over blindly and found Jen's hand.  Jen then interjected "Mel works at the scoliosis clinic; that is actually how we met.  And she did fit this torture device on me.  And she is quite the taskmaster about wearing it."  They each settled back in the seat and tried to get as comfortable as they could as Mel continued "and these fetching masks we are wearing are part of our orthodontic treatment.  The clinic I work at and my orthodontist have a working relationship.  As a professional courtesy, they offered me braces for essentially free.  So, I couldn't turn down such an offer.  I didn't really understand all it would entail, but here I am."  Jen said "aww babe, you look cute in your braces.  Doesn't she look cute Kevin? In fact she looked so cute I had to go and get a set for myself" and laughed.

Kevin could see no other way to answer than "yes, she does look cute.  You both do.  And you are both really brave.  Again, I apologize for staring, it's just not every day you see two beautiful women wearing such, well, things."

Jen replied "thank you Kevin.  And really, I know they aren't cute.  And that is not why I got them.  I got them because of Mel.  After meeting her, we quickly became best friends.  Maybe even inseparable" as she paused and squeezed Mel's hand.  "So, I had this monstrous scoliosis brace I was prescribed to wear, and Mel was a life saver. I couldn't have done it without her.  She was going through orthodontic treatment.  And I had already been urged to start but had resisted.  But seeing how easy she made it look, I decided to join her.  But she tricked me.  It is not easy" and laughed.

Mel animatedly responded "don't blame me; you are the one that surprised me with them."  Jen quickly responded "you know I am kidding babe.  There is no one in the world I would rather be poked, prodded, bent, expanded, scraped and squeezed with than you."

Kevin responded "well, I think that is great.  And you have a great attitude about it.  I mean, sometimes all we can do about life is laugh, right?"

Mel answered affirmatively "yes, sometimes laughter is the best medicine. And maybe a little wine.  And a gummy".  This caused Jen to snort laugh.

Kevin once again apologized "again, I am sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable earlier.  Can I offer an olive branch?  I am going to be working all night.  But, if you would like, I will give you a ride later at no charge if you would allow me.  It will be an off the books ride; Uber doesn't need to know anything about it.  I can give you my cell number if you would like."

Mel responded "you don't have to do that.  And again, your apology is accepted.  You were not rude at all, in fact quite the opposite.  And it is human nature to be curious.  You don't have to, really".

Kevin responded "please, I want to.  Really it is no imposition."

Jen answered before Mel could offer further protest "well Kevin, if you want to; I will take you up on your offer on behalf of both of us.  Who am I to turn down a random act of kindness?  And I will try to pay it back somewhere down the line.  So, thank you."

After Kevin had given them his number, he continued "I don't want to pry, but I do have some questions about your orthodontics. My fiance has been talking about wanting to fix her teeth for years. She actually had a couple of consults.  She was wanting to do the clear aligners, but they told her she wasn't a candidate.  She said they told her she needed braces; and I think she said something about an expander too. She keeps saying we can't afford it.  But we can; and I would love for her to be happy with her smile.  I honestly think she is scared of having braces as an adult.  What can I tell her to try to convince her?  I love her, and I want her to be happy.  And I know a new smile would do that."

Mel and Jen sat a moment thinking.  Then Jen said "that is a pretty complicated question. What if you didn't try to convince her at all?  What if we did?  I would be more than happy to talk with her, even meet with her.  I would tell her the good, the bad, and the ugly.  But I would also tell her it is worth it.  I might could even recruit a friend or two to help" as she thought of Mel and Christy.

It was now Kevin who protested "no, I couldn't ask you to do that.  That seems like too much."

Jen answered "it absolutely wouldn't be too much.  You don't know our friend Christy.  She would talk to a rock about orthodontics and teeth.  She is completely infatuated with all of it.  She is the hygienist and therapist at Dr. Cooper's, so she knows more about it than either of us.  And on top of that, she is in treatment too.  I know she would jump at the chance to try to talk someone else into braces.  In fact, I could ask her tonight.  We are actually headed to a birthday party for one of their staff; Josie.  She is in treatment too.  Actually, all of the gals that work there are in treatment or will be soon.  Heck even Dr. Cooper's wife is in treatment too.  They all have braces and wear a mask like these or very similar.  That is the main reason we are wearing them tonight; we are trying to be good patients and stay out of trouble.  So, while it IS unusual to see an adult out wearing one, there are probably more out there in bathrooms and on bedside tables than anyone would realize.  So, please, give us a ride later. And I will talk to Christy about it at the party.  And in the meantime, talk with your fiance and let us know some times that would work for her.  In the meantime, I have your number, I will text you a link to Dr. Cooper's website; and a link to a blog I started explaining the process.  That reminds me, I need to talk to Christy tonight about updating it."

Kevin glanced in the mirror briefly and said "really? That would be great.  Thank you so much.  And now I will leave you two in peace, we will be there in about 10 minutes."

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #138 on: 21. April 2023, 00:31:57 AM »
Chapter 64.

While Mel and Jen chatted in the backseat, Jen occasionally glanced towards the rearview mirror.  True to his word, Kevin was keeping his eyes on the road and not on them.  At one point Mel said to Jen “well, driving is definitely out of the question wearing this” as she gestured to the brace around her neck.  Jen answered “drive?  It is hard enough just riding wearing this thing.  I hope we aren’t too awkward and uncomfortable tonight.”  Mel patted her hand and said “if need be love, we can take them off.  But I really want to try to get through the night with mine.  I have made it a challenge to myself.  I need to wear it.  And so do you.  But if it gets too awkward and uncomfortable, there will be no judgement from me if you need to take it off.”

She was interrupted by Kevin, who said “we are about 3 minutes away.  Once we get there, please let me get the door for you.  And again, I apologize if I embarrassed you or made you feel uncomfortable earlier.”

Mel responded “Kevin, it is fine; you didn’t do anything wrong.  I am not sure how much either of us will be wearing all of this out in public; but if we do I am sure we will get stares.”  Jen then said more quietly to Mel “maybe we can ask the girls tonight how they handle it.  I know they get looks.  Josie even said as much; that it made her embarrassed at first.  But they seem to be doing fine now.”

The car slowed and came to a stop in front of a compact, well kept two story home in a residential neighborhood.  It appeared there were lights on in just about every room as well is in back.  Kevin stopped on the street in front of a concrete walk leading up to the front door.  The driveway was full of vehicles.  Kevin looked in the mirror and said “ladies, we have arrived.  Please let me get the door for you.”

Kevin stepped out and opened the driver’s side rear door first.  Once open, Jen scooted over and swung her legs out of the vehicle.  She tried to stand, but fell back into the seat.  Kevin reached out his hand and asked “can I give you a hand?”  Jen took his hand, and leaning forward at the waist to avoid hitting her head on the door frame, pulled herself up and out of the vehicle.  She shifted around towards him and said “well, that was certainly awkward and embarrassing.  But thank you for the help.  Mel may need a little too.”

Kevin walked around the vehicle, followed by Jen.  Kevin opened the passenger door, and put his hand out towards Mel.  Mel repeated a similar process as Jen and pulled herself out of the vehicle.  Once standing, she too thanked Kevin.  He then reached into the backseat and pulled out the two bottles of wine.  Handing them towards the ladies he said “here, you don’t want to forget these.”  Each took a bottle from him and Jen said “thank you for the ride.”  He responded “no, thank you for riding with me.  And again, I apologize if I made it a little awkward at first.” Mel jumped in and said “hmph, I don’t think you made it awkward at all.  We had a very pleasant conversation, even if it was a little off the beaten path.  I mean; it isn’t every day you have riders jump in wearing such exquisite evening wear as we have on” as she gestured towards the neck brace and facemask and did an awkward pirouette.  Kevin laughed out loud and said “you ladies are awesome.  And you both do certainly look exquisite.  I hope you have a great evening.  And please, text me when you are ready for your ride.  I am not sure where I will be; I may be in the middle of a fare across town; but I will shoot you back a text with how long away I am.”  With that he gave a faux bow, and walked back around the car and got in the driver’s seat.

Jen and Mel turned towards the house.  Jen grabbed Mel’s hand and said “well, our first public interaction in all of our gear went ok.  But I am nervous about this party.  What will everyone think?  And say?”  Mel squeezed Jen’s hand and responded “I can’t say I am not a little nervous too.  But remember, a lot of the girls in there are wearing facemasks too. I am sure we will get some questions about our scoliosis braces.  But who cares if someone does say something inappropriate?  We have each other.  Now let’s get it in gear, based on the number of vehicles and the music I hear from the backyard we are missing a party.”

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #139 on: 21. April 2023, 19:48:14 PM »
Chapter 65.

At the door, Jen reached over and rang the doorbell.  For good measure, she knocked on the door as well.  They stood there about 20 seconds when Mel turned her body towards Jen and asked "I wonder if they could hear us?  Maybe they are all outside.  Should we walk around back?"  Jen replied "I don't know, maybe."  She rang the doorbell and knocked again and said "let's give it a couple more seconds."  At that moment the door opened and the music became louder.  Mel turned her body to see Christy standing in the doorway with a shocked look on her face.  Christy quickly composed herself and screeched "YAY!  You did make it!  I was worried your mouth was hurting too bad Jen."  With that, she gave her a hug; feeling the hard unyielding plastic and metal brace under her clothes. She then turned to Mel and said "you get one too" and gave her a hug as well.  Christy said "come inside please.  You are the last ones to arrive.  You know some of the gals here, and I will introduce you to a few more people. Come on, follow me."

After passing through the foyer they entered the den.  On the couch were two people sitting very close together, talking intimately.  Jen instantly recognized Nikki; her pink facemask was hard to miss.  Beside her was a guy that looked around her age.  Their attention was so focused on each other, they didn't notice the three ladies approach.  Christy stopped in front of them and said "ladies, I would like you to meet Nikki and Matt.  Nikki and Matt, this is Jen and Mel." 

This broke the trance between the two on the couch; and they turned their attention towards the three ladies.  Nikki seemed a little startled and said "oh, hello.  You snuck up on us." Jen stepped over and put her hand out and said "it is nice to meet you Nikki."  She then extended her hand towards Matt and said "and it is a pleasure to meet you as well."  Matt extended his hand, shook her hand very gently, and responded "it is nice to meet you.  I am Matt Garrison; there are two of us Matt's here tonight. So if you hear somebody say 'Mattie G'; they are talking about me."  He then said absently to no one "I hate that nickname."  Nikki turned her head towards his, laid her hand on his thigh, and responded "No, it is cute."  As this interaction unfolded, Jen couldn't help but think there was something between these two.  She stepped back out of the way, and Mel stepped forward extending her hand.  She repeated the process of handshakes and introductions with Nikki and Matt.

Thinking back to Nikki's reaction to her facemask earlier in the afternoon; and Josie's comment that Nikki might need some extra love tonight; Jen said "Nikki, that facemask looks too cute on you.  You know, they are all the rage this season" as she gestured towards Christy's facemask, then Mel's and finally her own.  This drew a guffaw from Christy, and a small laugh from Nikki.  She looked at Jen and said "thank you; it definitely takes some getting used to.  And I know I look horrible in it."  Matt looked Nikki squarely in the eyes and laid his hand on her forearm. He said "no, you don't.  You are gorgeous."   

Christy broke the tension that everyone was feeling between the two when she said "everyone else is out back, let's leave these two lovebirds alone" as she turned and walked towards a set of french doors at the back of the dining area.  Jen could see a fair number of people out back.  Christy stopped beside the dining room table.  On it was a birthday cake, and a half dozen or so wrapped boxes and giftbags.  She looked at the gals and asked "can I take those bottles of wine off your hand?  I can put them in the kitchen."

Jen responded "actually, they are gifts for Josie.  Can we put them on the table with the rest of the gifts? I didn't think ahead and get her anything; and neither of us was brave enough to go shopping on the way over here wearing our facemasks and full scoliosis braces. So we got her a couple of bottles of wine out of the pantry.  But don't tell her that; we spent days thinking of the perfect gift" and smiled. 

Christy said "of course, of course.  Just set them anywhere there. And speaking of wearing your facemasks; thank you.  Each of you.  You two are such model patients.  And I don't mean to pry, but do you wear your neckbraces out much?"  She turned toward Mel and said "and I didn't even realize you wore one; I only saw Jen in her's the other day."

As the two ladies set the bottles of wine on the table, Mel answered "well, I just got mine this afternoon.  So this is all new for me; but I figure I need to get used to wearing it one way or the other.  Plus, what kind of nurse would I be if I didn't set a good example for my favorite patient?"  She stepped over and wrapped her arm around Jen's waist.  Jen then answered "this is the first time I have ever worn mine out of the house.  And today is only the second time I have worn my facemask out. But we are in this together, all the way in this together" as she wrapped her arm around Mel's waist.  "I am expecting to get some looks; our Uber ride was pretty interesting; but it worked out in the end" Jen continued.  "Our rider couldn't take his eyes off the freak show in the back seat at first; but after talking a little while things actually seemed pretty normal.  Actually, something came up in our conversation I need to talk to you about later tonight; I think you would be all for it."

Christy gently slapped Jen on the arm and said "stop that; you two are the furthest thing from a freak show.  Ya'll are too cute together is what you are.  And it is so awesome you have each other to go through all of this with.  I will admit; it was a bit of a shock to see each of you tonight wearing everything.  And maybe it gave me a bit of PTSD thinking back to wearing a Milwaukee brace myself for six years.  But I get it; I got a ton of stares back then; and I have gotten a ton of stares this week since I began wearing my facemask full time.  And a few awkward, even inappropriate, questions and comments.  But the heck with those folks, I am doing this for me, not them.  I know all of the other girls have had some of the same; we have talked about it at the office.  Speaking of which; let's go outside with the rest of them.  Maybe you can help me figure out what is going on with Josie. She is usually leading the charge towards the margarita machine; but tonight she says she isn't in the mood to drink."

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #140 on: 22. April 2023, 01:42:58 AM »
So, this story got much more complex and much longer than I thought it would.  But it is relatively close to being done.  There are a lot of possible spin offs with the characters in it.  Any interest in their stories?  Or are you as tired of them as I am?

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #141 on: 22. April 2023, 02:52:31 AM »
If you feel the story is finished, end it however you want.

You can also just leave it with 'To be continued someday' so you can come back to it if you want and move on to a different story.

Someone may feel like they want to do a spin-off with some of the characters, or maybe use them to extend the story beyond what you have written.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #142 on: 22. April 2023, 21:54:36 PM »
Chapter 66

As Jen and Mel followed Christy out onto the back patio Christy said "I will make some introductions and get you both a drink; I will start with my Matt".  Maybe it was the accountant in her, but Jen quickly assessed the scene and did a headcount.  Seated around an outdoor table to her left, Jen saw Sandy, Allison, Diane and an older gentleman whom Jen guessed was Diane's husband.  Allison and Diane were wearing facemasks.  Diane's looked the same as from Monday; a blue Grummons mask.  But the mask on Allison's face was different.  Tonight she was wearing a Petit facemask; the chincup and forehead pad were a light blue floral print design. 

To the right was an outdoor bar.  Clustered around it were 9 twenty-something year olds; 6 women and 3 men.  One of them was Josie, though she had her back to them.  Beside her was a man with his arm wrapped around her waist.  Jen assumed this was Josie's husband. The group was bantering back and forth at each other.  Due to their apparent similar ages, Jen guessed the rest of the group were friends of Josie's from outside of work.  Everyone seemed to have a drink in front of them or in their hands except for Josie.  Behind the bar was a man with a salt and pepper beard that Jen pegged as being somewhere in his forties.  Even with Jen's feelings towards Mel; she couldn't help but think the tall, rugged looking guy was awfully handsome.

As the ladies followed Christy she made her way towards the bar.  Allison saw them however and she gave a wave and a loud "Hey ya'll!".  Christy stopped and turned towards them.  Christy said "you know that motley bunch of ladies over there; and that debonaire chap is Diane's husband Peter." Jen and Mel smiled over at them and waved.  Jen exclaimed "I will be over to talk shortly" as Christy continued on towards the bar.

Once near the bar, but still outside the crowd of people clustered around it, Christy stopped and asked "so, what do you girls want to drink?"  Mel asked "well, what do you have?".  As Christy started naming off a laundry list of drinks, Jen stopped her and said "how about we start off with the house specialty?"  Christy smiled and said "excellent idea.  The margaritas here are to die for."  She walked over behind the bar and wrapped her arm around the handsome man standing there and asked "can we get two top shelf margaritas for my friends?"  Christy then gestured for the ladies to come over closer.  There, Christy said "Mel and Jen, I would like to introduce you to the best bartender in the world.  This is my Matt, not to be confused with the other Matt" and laughed.  Christy kept talking "he is awfully handy to have around.  In addition to being a first rate bartender; he is also my yardboy and general handyman." She then held up her hand in an exaggerated motion like she was going to whisper and said "and I am also sleeping with him."  This caused Christy to burst out in laughter.  Matt took it all in stride shaking his head.  Looking down at Christy he said "don't make me cut you off young lady."  This caused more laughter from Christy. 

Matt turned his attention to Jen and Mel.  He said "it is a pleasure to meet you.  I am Matt, I am this crazy things husband; not just some piece of meat she keeps around for her own pleasure."  This caused Christy to laugh even harder than before.  He continued "Let me whip you up a couple of margaritas.  Salt or no salt on the glass?"  Mel answered "surprise us".  Matt smiled, and Jen noticed he too wore metal braces.  He answered "as you wish, but first, let me get you all a little treat."  He reached into the minifridge built into the bar and withdrew three red jello shots.  He handed one each to Jen and Mel.  The third he held up above Christy out of her reach and said "are you going to behave yourself?"  Christy stepped over and hugged him, burying her orthodontically encumbered face into his chest and replied "yes, I promise."  She stepped back, looking up into his eyes, and playfully said "Now gimme!".  Matt handed her the shot. 

Christy held the little cup up towards Mel and Jen and said "I'd like to make a toast. To my new friends!".  Mel and Jen stuck the little plastic cups out so they all touched.  Christy then said "now, down the hatch."  She leaned her head back and deftly maneuvered the plastic shot cup over the bar of her facemask and between the springs protruding from her mouth and plopped it in her mouth.  Jen watched as Mel tried unsuccessfully to lean her head back.  Mel said "dang it, this neckbrace is an adjustment."  Despite not being able to tilt her head, she got the shot down.   When it was Jen's turn, she lifted the little shot cup up towards her mouth.  As she went to put it in her mouth, she hit her facemask.  The little plastic cup collapsed in and the jello shot popped up and out of the cup, landing on the ground.  Jen's face turned as red as the jello.   She twisted around at the hips to see if anyone other than Christy and Mel had seen her mishap.  Christy noted the embarrassment on her face, and said "hey, no problem.  It didn't get on your dress.  We have plenty more."  She went over and grabbed another one from the minifridge.  She walked back over to Jen and told her "open up."  Jen did as she was told and Christy popped the shot out of the cup and into her mouth.  Jen swallowed the shot and said "thank you.  That was so embarrassing."  Christy replied "it absolutely was not.  I promise you I will do much more that is much more embarrassing before the night is over.  Is that your first time trying to eat something wearing your facemask?  Because it is different; it takes a little practice.  And not only that, I can only imagine it is even harder wearing the brace."  Jen thought for a second and answered "yes, I guess it is the first time eating in my mask.  I have been using a straw to drink when I wear it.  But I haven't tried to eat anything.  And as for the neck brace, everything is harder with it on." 

Christy looked at her sympathetically and said "well, I am sure you will get the hang of it.  Speaking of practice..." Christy grabbed another jello shot from the fridge and handed it to Jen "the only way I have found to get better at something is to do it."  Being much more careful this time, Jen opened her mouth and maneuvered the cup over and around her facemask and springs.  She successfully popped the shot into her mouth and swallowed it.  She looked at Christy and said "thank you, those are awfully good.  But I also think I could get in trouble with them."

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #143 on: 23. April 2023, 17:05:32 PM »
Chapter 67.

Christy waited until the girls had their drinks; margaritas, salted glasses, and of course a straw in each.  Matt had also made her one.   With glass in hand, Christy loudly cleared her throat trying to draw the groups' attention.  It did not work.  She then loudly exclaimed "attention everyone, attention everyone".  Once the group had turned their attention towards the trio, Christy said "I hate to interrupt the fun, but I would like to introduce you to a couple of our friends.  This is Jen and this is Mel."  Christy went person by person introducing everyone.

Once done, Jen looked at Josie and said "Happy Birthday Josie!"  Then surveying the entire crowd she told them "and I will go ahead and apologize if I forget a few names.  I am pretty bad at it, especially after a few cocktails."  Mel then piped in, also wishing Josie a happy birthday.  Noting the looks on a couple of faces, to break the ice Mel then said "and yes, while it is very subtle and easy to miss, we are in treatment over at Dr. Cooper's; that is how we met these dynamos."  This drew a laugh from one of the girls.  Jen and Mel looked at Carrie as she smiled, displaying a set of metal braces on her own teeth.  Looking back at them she said "well then, you ladies fit right in.  Braces seem to be more contagious around here than Covid ever was."  One of the girls, a pretty blonde named Jamie, took two steps backwards and asked "do I need to keep 6 feet away from everyone?  I don't want to wake up in the morning with braces."  Carrie answered "no, you should be safe.  But you better not pass out tonight."  This drew a smattering of laughter from the group.

Christy took charge of the party once again.  Looking at the group in front of her she said "everyone is here, let's go ahead and start making our way inside so Josie can blow out her candles and open her presents."  Looking over at the table she loudly said "did ya'll hear that?  Let's go ahead and start making our way into the dining room."  As the group at the bar filed by, Christy stopped Josie and said "but first, you need to come with me.  I need your help with one of your presents".  Christy then led Josie inside and around the corner out of sight.

Not having had a chance earlier to give a proper hello to Sandy, Allison, or Diane; nor meet Diane's husband Peter; Jen took a detour and headed over towards the table with Mel in tow.  As she approached, she saw everyone standing up.  But Allison really caught her attention.  She awkwardly rose from her chair, hopping on one leg.  As she was reaching for a pair of crutches that Jen had missed seeing earlier, Jen noticed a black leg cast on Allison's right leg.  It started at her toes and disappeared upward under her dress.  As Diane helped Allison get the crutches under her arms and then maneuver around the table, Peter grabbed Allison's drink for her.

With Sandy in the lead clearing a path, Allison crutched behind her, with Diane and Peter bringing up the rear.  They stopped as they got to Jen and Mel.  Jen said "ladies, it is great to see you!"  Sticking her hand out towards Peter she said "and it is a real pleasure to meet you.  And this is Mel" gesturing to her girlfriend standing beside her.  After the brief introduction, Jen turned her attention to Allison and asked "What happened?".   Allison looked at Mel and Jen and answered "It shounds crazhee, but I don't even really know.  I woke up Wedneshday morning at 5:30 like normal and notished my right leg was killing me.  When I went to stand up my leg jusht buckled.  Rob took me to the doc in a box right away.  Shomehow I managed to get a stressh fracshure in my patella AND the socket of my tibia, as well ash having shome ligament damage.  Sho, they slapped thish gigantic casht on me for the next 6 to 8 weeksh.  It goesh all the way up to the top of my thigh, and it sucksh.  Chashing after my kidsh ish hard enough with two good legs.  And I can't drive.  It really sucksh.  The good newsh ish they said I don't need surgery."

Jen hugged Allison and said "I am so sorry.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do."  Allison responded "thank you, I don't think there ish anything. Well, unless you have some bubble wrap you could wrap me in, I sheem to be an acshident waiting for a place to happen lately."  Jen wasn't sure what this meant, and she didn't have time to ask as the crowd continued to make their way inside.

Jen and Mel were the last ones to enter the dining room.  It was a tight squeeze with nearly 20 people there, but the crowd parted to let Allison through so she could take a seat at the far end of the table.  Sandy pulled another chair in front of her and helped prop her leg up on it.  Jen noticed that Nikki and Mattie G had come to the dining room from the den as well; he was standing behind her with his hands on her hips.  The look on Nikki's face was one of happiness and contentment; a very different look than the one Jen had seen on her face earlier in the afternoon at Dr. Cooper's.  The group made small talk and sipped drinks as Christy's Matt lit the 26 individual candles on Josie's cake.  Jen then noticed what was on the cake.  It was a big, white toothy grin with a bracket on each tooth.  Across the top it said "Happy Birthday" and along the bottom it said "Josie!!!"  Jen thought to herself that Christy must have been in charge of buying the cake.

Jen and Mel were taking in the scene from the edge of the crowd; their backs toward to the den.  They didn't see Christy appear from around the corner, but they saw several people turn and look that direction.  So, they did the same.  Jen saw Christy, a big smile on her face behind her facemask, walking towards them with Josie on her heels.  It took several steps to notice that something was different with Josie.  She had a huge smile on her face.  And her pink facemask was gone.  Once in the dining room, Josie slipped around the table so that she was standing in front of her cake with her husband Todd behind her.  Christy then said to the group "Dr. Rob didn't want to impose on us tonight; but he did have one surprise present for Josie.  He is letting her out of facemask jail for the weekend!"

From across the crowd Nikki shouted "hey, it is my birthday too!  I want out of facemask jail!."  Carrie coughed and uttered "Bullshite! We celebrated your birthday last month."  Nikki made an exaggerated pout.  That quickly turned back into a contented smile as Mattie G rubbed his hand up and down her upper arm. 

It was then that Todd, Josie's husband, said "Thank you Dr. Cooper.  But are you sure this isn't a present for me instead of my smokeshow wife?"  It took a second for everyone to grasp what he was saying.  There were several laughs.  Then Josie realized the innuendo in his comment, and the look on her face changed from one of elation to irritation.  She turned around and softly hit Todd on his chest.  She chided him "don't be inappropriate!".  He looked back at her innocently and asked "what?  I have just missed doing this for the past two weeks" as he leaned in, put his hand behind her head, and gave her a big kiss.  Despite Josie's irritation just moments before, once their lips met she responded in kind.  They stayed locked together for several seconds.  Finished, he pulled back, looking in her eyes, and said "happy birthday babe, I love you so much."  This drew "awws" from several of the women around the table. Jen noticed that Mattie G leaned down and briefly kissed Nikki on the top of her head as the rest of the crowd launched into singing Happy Birthday to Josie.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #144 on: 24. April 2023, 04:25:34 AM »
Chapter 68.

After Josie had finished blowing out the candles on her cake, she looked around at the crowd with a smile on her face.  She said “thank you all for throwing me such a great party.  I feel so loved.  And some of ya’ll have been asking me why I haven’t wanted a drink tonight; if something was wrong.  Nothing is wrong.  It’s the exact opposite.  It has been so hard keeping this a secret since I found out Tuesday.  But I think this is the perfect time to let the cat out of the bag. 

I am pregnant. 

Me and Todd are going to have a baby!”

The crowd erupted in excitement, especially from the women.  All were talking over each other at once, excitedly clapping and shouting out questions and congratulations.  It took several minutes for everyone to settle down enough to be heard.  It then became a steady stream of hugs, congratulations and questions for Josie; and excited conversation all around.

It was about 20 minutes before some semblance of calm was restored.  Josie looked at the crowd and once again thanked them.  She then said “This really is the best night.”.

Christy slid over beside Jen and said “this is so exciting.  I guess I need to go ahead and start planning the baby shower now.”  Jen laughed and asked “did you know anything about it?”  Christy replied “absolutely not. That floored me.  Remember me asking you to see it you could figure out what was wrong with Josie? I guess this answers it; she is gonna be a mama. I am so happy for her and Todd.”

Christy then realized in all the excited that the birthday cake and presents had been completely forgotten.  Christy slid over by the table and said “ladies and gents! Ladies and gents!  This is so exciting, and we have all night to celebrate this incredible announcement.  But Josie still has some presents to open; and there is cake and ice cream for anyone that wants it”.

After all the presents had been opened; and the cake was nothing but some leftover crumbs and icing, the group broke back into smaller groups.  Josie filtered around talking with everyone, Todd by her side.  Out back, Matt had set up a folding plastic table with beer pong.  There was a competitive game going on between two couples.  Carrie was a very engaged onlooker; alternately cheering them on or good naturedly trash talking.  Christy had cleared off the dining room table; and there now was a game of Never Have I Ever being played there.  Both games and their participants were being lubricated by margaritas, beer and jello shots.

Jen and Mel sat watching on inside; laughing out loud at times at of some of the antics they saw and questions they heard.  Nikki was in the thick of it; a margarita in front of her; seated across from Mattie G.  She seemed to have completely forgotten about her facemask; the one that just hours before had bothered her so much.  On one of her turns, Nikki looked across the table into Mattie’s eyes and said “Never have I ever kissed a girl with braces”.  The statement was clearly aimed at Mattie.  And while Jamie did drink, drawing several raised eyebrows around the table, Mattie just smiled back at Nikki.  He didn’t drink, meaning he had never kissed a girl with braces.   He then felt a foot brush against his.  The other players at the table were oblivious as the foot, Nikki’s foot, seductively ran up his leg towards his inner thigh and then back down it.  Looking at him, Nikki sensually lowered her head, bit her bottom lip and then said “we might need to do something about that.”

It was at this time that Josie made her way over to talk with Jen and Mel.  Due to how loud and raucous it was around the table, Jen and Mel stood up and walked into the kitchen.  They each hugged Josie and told her how excited and happy they were for her.  Josie told them that she might have some questions  along the way about her pregnancy, and Jen said she would be there to offer any answers she could.  After they had finished with baby talk, Jen asked “it’s none of my business, but what is the story with Nikki and Mattie?  They act like they are in love; but Mattie just said he has never kissed a girl with braces, which Nikki most obviously has.  Just confuses me.”

Josie shrugged her shoulders and responded “I am as confused as you.  I tried to set them up together last year, and there just wasn’t any spark there.  I mean, I think Nikki may have a little crush on him.  And they have always been friendly towards one another.  But I always got the sense that Mattie just wasn’t that attracted to her, um, sexually.  But tonight they can’t keep their eyes, or their hands, off of each other.  Ever time I come in the room I expect to find them undressing each other.  It blows my mind.”


Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #145 on: 24. April 2023, 13:06:19 PM »
Chapter 69.

Their conversation was interrupted by a pair of bickering women entering the kitchen. There was a guy following along behind the pair seemingly trying to act as peace keeper.  The look on his face was one of exacerbation.  Jen recognized the louder, more animated of the pair as Carrie.  Jen couldn’t recall the other girls name; she was pretty but had seemed very shy earlier when they had met.  Throughout the party she seemed to just try to blend into the back ground.  Jen did remember the guys name.  He was Mike, and he was the shy woman’s husband. 

Carrie marched into the kitchen and announced “Josie, tell Maggie she can not leave!  This thing is just getting started.  And they won the last round of pong, the champions can’t just pack it in and leave; they have to defend their title!”  Maggie ignored this outburst and looked at Josie.  Head lowered she meekly said “Joshie, thank you for inviting us.  We had a great time, but I really need to get home.  And again, congratulations.”  As she spoke, Jen noticed her lips made a few unnatural movements; it seemed as if she was trying to talk without showing her teeth.  . 

Josie looked over at Maggie and said “aww, don’t leave!  It is only 10 oclock.  What do you have to do in the morning?”  Maggie answered “um, nothing really, i jusht need to go home and take my contactsh out.”  Once again, like earlier, Carrie coughed and uttered “bullshite!”.  Josie looked over at Maggie and asked “do you have your glasses with you?  If so, take them out here.  If you need, I have an extra empty contact case and saline in my purse.”  Maggie seemed flustered having had her bluff called and said “no.  I mean yes I have my glasses.  But no, I need to go home.”  Josie looked at her with concern and asked “what’s going on, what’s wrong.”

Carrie didn’t give her a chance to answer, chiming in immediately “she is scared to put her headgear on here. So she is going to go home and hide.  Which is dumb.  Just look around.”  At the mere mention of the word headgear Maggie’s cheeks got red.  At this point Mike interjected himself a little deeper into the drama.  He put his hand on Carrie’s arm.  Sternly looking her in the eyes, he forcefully said “I know you are best friends and you are just riding her, but be nice to my wife, she is still sensitive about her braces.”

Carrie backed down, apologizing “I’m sorry, I’m sorry Maggie.  But there is no reason to go home.  I miss my friend.  You never want to leave the house anymore since you got braces.  I thought we were doing this together?  But I hardly see you anymore because you are always holed up at home hiding.”  She unslung the bag that was over her shoulder and started unzipping it.  She continued “I am about to put mine on.  Heck, half the people here have to wear one.  Look at Nikki over there.  I haven’t seen her laugh this much since, well, maybe ever.”  Eyes still downcast Maggie said “i just don’t think I can.  Mine is so much worse than yours.  It looks like a train derailed on my face.”   Josie told Maggie “no, it does not look like a train derailed on your face.  There may be a few more pieces to yours, but it means you don’t have to wear these awful lip shredding hooks like the rest of us.  If I put mine back on, will you do the same and stay a little longer?  Really, I think you are making this out to be a lot bigger in your mind than it really is.  We are all friends here.”

Despite trying her best to hide her smile, Jen had noticed that Maggie did in fact have something in her mouth and on her teeth.  But her smile didn’t seem to be quite as metallic as everyone else’s at the party.  Jen wondered if Maggie had clear braces, which surprised her as she remembered Christy saying that Dr. Cooper hated using clear ceramic brackets.  She was curious about this.  The statement about there being extra pieces to her headgear piqued her curiosity as well.  It seemed like Maggie’s treatment was a little different than what everyone else here was undergoing.

Head still down Maggie responded “no, I absolutely am not going to let you put yours back on.  You just got a break from it.  And it is your birthday.  And your baby celebration.  I am not letting you do that.”  By now, Carrie had attached a blue delaire facemask to her own braces and looked at Maggie saying “see, no big deal!  Please stay!”

Mike now took charge of the conversation.  He reached down and put his hand under Maggie’s head, gently cupping her chin.  He lifted it up so that she was looking into his face.  He told her “kitten, they are right.  You don’t have to leave.  I know how much the headgear bothers you.  And I know it is uncomfortable and inconvenient.  But it is going to be just as uncomfortable and inconvenient at home as it is here.  And you are too incredible; beautiful, funny, sexy, smart and sweet; to hide away from your friends for the next year.  Have you had fun tonight?”

Maggie replied “yes of course.  I have had a blast.  Well, until this conversation”.  Still looking at her husband, she let a smile slip onto face, revealing she did in fact have clear brackets on her top teeth.

Mike continued “then why don’t we stay and you can keep having fun.  Put your headgear on, for me if nothing else.  Because I want you to be happy.  I will help you with it, and I will be beside you the whole night.”

Mike looked at Josie and asked “do you think Mrs. Thomas would mind if we used the upstairs bathroom?”  Josie answered “I am sure not, just ask her.” 

Mike scanned the dining room and den and did not see her.  He stepped out on the back patio and saw her and Mike behind the bar in conversation.  He approached the bar and said “I am sorry to interrupt.  But Mrs. Thomas, can Maggie and I use an upstairs bathroom?  I need to help Maggie with her braces.”

Christy turned towards him and answered “NO!  You can not call me Mrs. Thomas.  I am Christy.  Mrs. Thomas is Matt’s mother.  But yes, of course you can use the upstairs bathroom.  Is everything ok?”

Matt answered “yes, everything is fine.  I need to turn Maggie’s expander and help her put her headgear on.”  Christy beamed and said “I am so proud of her.  And she is doing so good.  Please tell her I said that.  And aren’t you just the sweetest.  Do you need a hand or do you have it under control?”  Matt replied “I should be fine, I have been doing it every night for the past month.  Thank you” and he turned and walked back inside.

Once back in the kitchen Matt walked up behind Maggie.  He leaned down with out a word and gently kissed her on the lips.  He then told Maggie “let me go out to the truck and get your bag.  Meet me at the stairs”.

It took less than a minute for him to return with Maggie’s purse and a bag from the orthodontist.  Jen recognized it was the exact same bag that every patient at Dr. Cooper’s seemed to leave with.  This made her think back to earlier in the afternoon, and she wondered how Michelle and Mandy were doing.  She wondered if Michelle had been able to come to terms a little better with her braces.  Her thoughts were broken when Mike once again leaned in and kissed Maggie.  He looked at her lovingly and said “come on, I will take good care of you.”  Taking her hand, he walked her up the stairs, around the corner and out of sight.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #146 on: 25. April 2023, 01:29:08 AM »
Sorry if it has gotten too complicated to keep track of everyone.  It has gotten hard for me to tell the story coherently.  But by chapter 75;  maybe a couple sooner, we will have a conclusion of sorts.  Just as an FYI some of ya’ll might have noted my tribute to the original OG’s.  Carrie, who isn’t embarrassed or ashamed of her braces and headgear.  And Mike, the chivalrous knight who protects his wife (spoiler alert), right before he bones her in the bathroom while she is wearing her complicated headgear.

Offline anton08

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #147 on: 25. April 2023, 05:14:31 AM »
... and Maggie wont forget to change her contacts into glasses as well...

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #148 on: 25. April 2023, 16:59:22 PM »
Chapter 70.

Jen looked over at Mel and said "I am going to go find Christy; I need to talk to her about a few things.  And maybe get another drink.  Care to join me?"  Mel said "of course babe".

Jen and Mel found Christy out by the bar.  Once there Mel looked at Matt and asked "care to refresh a few drinks?"  As Matt took their glasses, he responded "two top shelf margaritas coming up mi'ladies."  As Matt worked on the drinks, Jen said "Christy, have you heard from Michelle?  Any idea how she is doing tonight?"  Mel asked "who is Michelle?"  Jen then realized that she had not told Mel about her earlier.  After explaining what had happened at Dr. Cooper's that afternoon Mel said "aww, I hope she is doing better."

Christy answered with "no, I haven't.  I should have checked in with her; but I have been so focused on this party it completely slipped my mind.  I didn't even think to grab her number before I left this afternoon."  Jen said "well, I have her cell number.  Think it is too late to send her a text?  Heck with it, I am going to do it."  She pulled out her phone and typed:

J: Michelle, this is Jen Collins; from Dr. Cooper's earlier today.  I apologize for texting so late.  But I am here with Christy and we are thinking about you. We hope you are doing well and your mouth is not hurting too bad.

Jen slipped her phone away and said "well, at least she will know we are thinking about her.  Now, I need to recruit you for something.  I already volunteered you, but I think you will like it.  Earlier tonight on our Uber ride, our driver Kevin talked about how his fiance wants to fix her smile, but he thinks she is intimidated by the idea of getting adult braces.  I told him I would be happy to talk to her about it.  And I told him I had a friend I thought would be more than willing to assist.  That friend is you.  Care to try to talk someone into starting treatment?"

Christy smiled and said "is it that obvious I am obsessed with teeth?  Ok, maybe that is a rhetorical question. Absolutely, I would love too.  Just let me know what I need to do."

Jen pulled her phone back out.  She typed up a message to Kevin telling him that her and Christy would love to talk to his fiance about orthodontic treatment.  After hitting send on the message, she copy and pasted links to Dr. Cooper's website and the blog she had put together and sent those as well.  Her phone then pinged.  She looked down and it was a response from Michelle.  It said:

M: Thank you for checking on me.  I am pretty miserable.  And this facemask sucks.  But thank you for checking on me.

Jen held her phone up so the other ladies could see it.  Mel said "aww, poor thing."  Christy cocked her head and said "I have an idea.  It worked with Josie last Saturday.  Maybe it will work tonight."  She pulled her phone out and handed it to Matt and said "babe, will you take a picture of the three of us please?"  To Mel and Jen she said "squeeze in here and give me a big smile."  Matt took a picture of the three of them, big metallic smiles visible behind the facemasks on each of their faces.  Matt showed Christy his handiwork and Christy exclaimed "perfect!".  After adding Michelle's number to her contacts, Christy typed up a text of her own to Michelle:

C:  I promise it will get better.  You are doing great.  And it might not seem like it tonight, but having to wear a facemask is not the end of the world.  Try to get some sleep tonight; and we will check in with you tomorrow. 

She attached the photo of the three of them at the bottom and hit send.

Christy looked at the two ladies and said "well, that is two good deeds done.  Now, I have a question for the two of you.  What is it like having to wear those scoliosis braces?" 

Jen went first, telling Christy her story.  She included the highs and the lows.  She finished with the fact though that by now, she was completely used to wearing the back brace; that she oftentimes forgot she was even wearing it during the day.  She finished by saying that the cervical extension was not so easily ignored, but it was tolerable.  Mel then gave her story.  She included a lot of clinical background; tidbits from research papers, and what she had seen in her patients.  Once done Christy asked "so, those braces you are wearing are actually able to improve curves without surgery?"  Mel confirmed that was the case.  Mel then asked "you seem pretty interested Christy.  Any chance I could schedule you a consultation?"

Christy balked "no, I just am curious.  Well, actually...  I have told you how I had to wear a brace?  It never improved my spine, it just kept it from progressing and getting worse.  I still have scoliosis.  And I have noticed my back has started to bother me a little more the last few years."

Mel jumped in "you absolutely need to come see me.  At least get a consult.  Spinal curves do not fix themselves.  In fact, just the opposite.  They usually get worse with age.  And letting it go just makes eventual treatment longer and more intense.  At least come in and see what Dr. Wellington says.  He might be able to just prescribe you a stretching and exercise protocol that can improve things."

Christy responded "knowing my luck, I doubt that is the case.  But I will make a deal with you.  If you two will schedule a set of myofunctional therapy appointments with me I will come see you at Dr. Wellingtons.  Do we have a deal?" 

Mel smiled and said "yay! Of course we have a deal".  Mel stuck out her hand and shook with Christy.  She then said "I am going to hold you to this.  There will be no 'I had too much to drink last night' tomorrow morning" Christy laughed.  She then said "I may regret it, but I am a woman of my word.  I do wish that I knew what it felt like to wear one before I jump in with both feet."

Mel took a step back and looked both Jen and Christy up and down.  She walked over and put her hands on Jen's hips; then repeated it with Christy's.  Jen and Christy looked at each other with confused looks on their faces.  Jen raised her eyebrows and shook her head back and forth, letting Christy know she didn't know what was going on either.  After roughly measuring each of the ladies up Mel said "Christy, you and Jen are really close to the same size.  Why don't you try Jen's brace on?  I know that Jen would love a little break from it anyway.  And you could get a feel for what it is like.  What do you say?"

Christy asked "would that not be weird?"  Mel smiled and said "no, it wouldn't.  And Christy, we are at a birthday party where half the guests; adults; are wearing orthodontic headgear.  So, even if it is a little weird, aren't we already in that neighborhood?" This drew a laugh from Christy.  She said "ha, I guess you are right.  How about we go upstairs?  You can let me see what I have gotten myself into."

As they made their way up the stairs with Christy in the lead she said "before you strap me in, let me slip into the restroom and tinkle."  At the top of the landing they turned right.  As they approached the closed door to the bathroom they heard noises from inside.  There was a mix of guttural noises and moans emanating through the door.  Christy stopped.  She turned around, a wide-eyed horrified look on her face.  She held a finger up to her lips and gestured with her head for the ladies to keep following her. 

She opened the door to her bedroom.  Once they were all in the room, Christy looked at the two ladies and asked "Are Mike and Maggie doing what I think they are?  In my bathroom?  In the middle of a party?"  The two ladies both agreed that it did sound like the couple was in fact having sex in the bathroom.  Christy said "I probably should be mad at them.  But you know what, I am not.  Maggie's confidence and self-esteem have just been battered since she got braces.  I am glad she is having a good time.  At least it sounded like she was having a good time.  I might be having to plan two baby showers here pretty soon."

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #149 on: 25. April 2023, 22:03:45 PM »
Chapter 71.

Earlier...

In the upstairs bathroom, Mike handed Maggie her purse.  She sat it down on the vanity and dug around in it; pulling out a contact lens case, saline, and a case which held her glasses.  She sat everything over to the side.  Maggie then pulled the plunger up on the sink so nothing could slip down the drain if she had a mishap.  Mike watched as she then leaned over the sink and cupped her left hand under her right eye.  With her other hand she placed her index finger in the corner of her eye and pulled it taught in the direction of her ear.  She popped her eye open, and the hard contact lens that had been in her eye landed in her cupped hand.  She rinsed it off and placed it in it's case.  She repeated the process with her other eye, though this time it took two tries before the lens popped out of her eye and into her hand.

As Maggie removed her lenses, she wished she could still wear soft contacts.  She really hated wearing the hard contacts.  They had been a thorn in her side for almost ten years.  They were expensive and uncomfortable.  They took much more maintenance than soft lenses.  And she couldn't wear them for more than 8 or 10 hours before they just got too uncomfortable and she had to remove them.  But as much as she hated them, she hated wearing her thick glasses more.  So she put up with them, she had no choice.  She just wished she could wear soft contacts again.  But her eyesight had deteriorated in her teen years.  She had high myopia and severe astigmatisms now, which meant that soft contacts just wouldn't correct her eyesight enough for her to function anymore.  Ever since she got them, it seemed her life revolved around her hard, rigid gas permeable contact lenses.  Well, that was until she got braces.

With her contact lenses in their case, everything was a blur to Maggie.  She reached over towards the vanity and blindly groped for her glasses.  Mike reached out and put his hand over hers.  He whispered "I've got them."  Gently, he slid the thick lensed myodisc glasses onto her face and the world came into focus for her.  She looked at her husband and embarrassingly said "thank you."  He looked her in the eyes, which appeared smaller in the thick lenses, and softly answered "you are welcome".   He gently kissed her. 

Every night for the past month had been a similar experience.  Every night she would remove her contacts, and he would then help her with her expander and headgear.  And every night he had to look on as his beautiful wife tried to disappear into the floor.  Even in front of him, the man that loved her, the man that would die for her, she was mortified.  For reasons that Mike could not understand, Maggie had never realized how beautiful she was.  He could still replay the first time he saw her in his mind.  He knew right then she was special.  He thought she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen then.  And he still felt that way.  If anything, he found her even more beautiful now.  But she didn't share this opinion of herself.  And since getting braces he had seen her self-esteem plummet even more.  He had tried everything he could think of to try to lift her spirits and get her out of her funk, but so far nothing had worked.  He hoped that time would help heal her fragile psyche. 

This was all despite the fact that Maggie had clear braces on her top and bottom teeth; of course except for the molar bands; but they weren't very visible when she smiled.  But she so rarely smiled since she had gotten them, it didn't really matter that her braces were actually very discreet.  And despite the fact that she did have the expander screwed into her mouth, she had overcome her lisp very quickly. Maggie had been terrified of getting braces, and she had absolutely refused to start treatment if she had to wear all metal braces and the very visible facemask hooks that Dr. Cooper normally used on patients.  So he made some compromises in his treatment plan for her.  He had fitted Maggie with clear braces, and he had developed a protraction method that eliminated the need for the hooks.  But, like most things in life, compromises come at a cost.

With her heavy, thick glasses now on her face, Mike picked up the wrench.  Without saying a word, Maggie leaned her head back and opened her mouth as far as she could.  Mike made one turn on her expander.  And then a second.  Once he was done, he enveloped her in a hug.  Maggie replied very softly "thank you."  After holding Maggie for nearly a minute he released her; his vulnerable, scared and hurting wife. 

He picked up the facebow.  Even though he had been doing this for a month, it was still tricky.  Unlike a normal facebow that slid into molar tubes from the front; this facebow had a u-shaped bend at each end of the prongs that went into her mouth. It actually slid into the backside of the molar tubes.  More than once Mike had thought it was very much like a fish hook being impaled on each side of his poor wife's mouth.  Maggie opened her mouth, and Mike carefully inserted the facebow.  Being careful not to poke her; he had done so a couple of times in the past already; he placed the facebow as far back in her mouth as he could, all the way past her molars.  He then slid the facebow forward, into the tube on one side of her mouth, and then the other.  He then reached in with his fingers and locked the spring activated mechanism that would keep it from sliding out of the tubes accidentally on each side.  This was to keep from possibly injuring her; maybe even putting out an eye; if the facebow slipped out during sleep, sports, or other activities.  Sandy had been very adamant when she was teaching them how to install the headgear that they must latch the headgear on; patients back in the 60's and 70's had actually lost eyes because of them.

With the modified facebow installed, Mike looked down at his wife.  She had her head down, avoiding eye contact.  He kissed her on the forehead and said "you are doing great." He then picked up her red Petit facemask from the counter and placed it up to her face.  Just as the facebow had been modified where it went into Maggie's mouth, the other end was modified as well.  The outer bow had been shortened, and there was a double bend in each end.  It looked like a little W at each end of the facebow.  Mike took an elastic and hooked it on one of these litte W bends, then attached the other end to the horizontal bar on the facemask on that side.  He took another elastic and repeated it on the other side.  He picked up one more pair of elastics and put them on as well, except this time he crossed them across to the other side of the facemask, increasing the force from the elastics.  With the four elastics now in place, Maggie grimaced; the facemask pulling the facebow forward, the facebow pulling her maxilla forward.  They were almost done.  Mike leaned in again and kissed Maggie on the top of the head and whispered "you are doing so great."

The final step was to strap everything in place.  Mike picked up the Interlandi headgear and gently fit it over and around his wife's head.  The white plastic c-shaped plates that lay in front of each of Maggie's ears clashed with the black straps, and her strawberry blond hair and lightly sunkissed skin.  From the counter he picked up more elastics.  These were larger, and much stronger, than the ones he had used earlier.  He hooked one to one of the two hooks that had been integrated into the chincup of her facemask, and then hooked it to the second post of the c plate of the Interlandi headgear.  He repeated this on the other side.  Then he took another of these stronger elastics.  He hooked it to the chincup and then hooked it to the 4th post on the c plate, increasing the force being exerted on Maggie's chin. Again, he repeated it on the other side.  She now had 4 strong elastics pulling up and back on her poor chin, magnifying the discomfort she felt.  Dr. Cooper had explained they needed to try to control Maggie's prominent chin while bringing her maxilla forward, and thus the need for the interlandi headgear.  But, he told them, they could use the chincup of the facemask to accomplish this and avoid another separate appliance.  And the interlandi would eliminate the need for the headstrap that other patients wore at night to secure their facemasks.  And that was the last thing that Mike had left to do.  He reached over and grabbed a strap from the table.  He snapped it to the forehead pad of Maggie's facemask, and then snapped it onto the top of the c plate on each side of his wife's head, securely holding the mask to her face.  Finally, his wife was wearing her headgear.  The same headgear she would need to wear for at least 34 hours this weekend to catch up on missed time from earlier in the week.

Maggie turned and looked at herself in the mirror. Between the glasses, facebow, facemask, and interlandi headgear little of her face was actually visible.  A tear welled up and ran down her face.  But with her heavy glasses trapped beneath the intimidating mass of straps on her head, and knowing how hard they were to get back on when she had her headgear on, she didn't even try to wipe her eyes.  Mike saw the hurt and embarrassment in her face.  It was the same thing every night.  He wished he could do something to take away her pain. 

Mike slid up against Maggie and nestled his face in her neck.  He kissed her low on the neck and then whispered "I." He then moved up a little higher on her neck, managing to avoid the strap from the Interlandi, and he repeated the kiss.  He whispered "love".  He then made his way up to her ear.  After nibbling on it for a few seconds he whispered "you".  Without saying a word he started working on unbuttoning her top. Despite the glasses and headgear, he still found this creature the most seductive thing he had ever seen.  And if he was being honest with himself, seeing her so vulnerable was a turn on for him.  He had tried this before at home in the past month, and Maggie had always rebuffed him.  Once she had even asked him "how can you even look at me when I wearing this?" With her headgear on, she wanted to hide from the world, even from him it seemed.  Since getting her headgear, intimacy between them had become a thing of the past.  Mike realized that Maggie found herself too ugly to make love, and this broke his heart. 

But for whatever reason, tonight was different.  Maggie turned, and actually looked up at him.  She then reached down and grabbed his belt.


Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #150 on: 26. April 2023, 17:02:09 PM »
Chapter 72.

Christy stood before Mel, wearing an oversized T-shirt of her husband's.  Jen stood off to the side behind Mel, flexing her neck from side to side.  Her brace lay on the bed beside Christy's dress.  Mel looked at Christy and instructed her "raise your arms please."

Mel walked over to the bed and picked up the back brace, leaving the cervical extension on the bed.  She stepped behind Christy and opened the brace up wide.  She told Christy "this is the first time I have put a brace on someone while wearing a cervical extension, I definitely am not as flexible as normal.  I apologize if I poke or prod you too hard."  She then maneuvered the brace around Christy's body, taking care to not jab Christy with the clavicle outriggers of the brace.  Once the brace was snugly wrapped around Christy's torso, Mel went to tugging and pulling on the undershirt.  As she did she explained to Christy "normally, you would be wearing a snug, almost compression type undershirt like you saw Jen had on.  This helps eliminate any fabric bulges that could cause chaffing or discomfort underneath the brace.  I can't promise I can get them all out from this baggie shirt, but I will try."  Once she was satisfied with her efforts, she stepped back in front of Christy and snugly secured the three straps of the brace.  As she was tightening the brace she noticed the look on Christy's face.  Mel reassured her "you are doing fine, just breath."

Once finished, Mel stepped back to admire her work.   She asked Christy "well, first thoughts?"  Christy said "wow, instant posture.  And waist trainer.  All in one."  This drew a laugh from both Mel and Jen.  Mel said "you just thought instant posture, let me attach the cervical extension."

It was then that Jen noticed movement out of the corner of her eye.  The ladies had not closed the bedroom door, and from where she stood Jen could see down the hall.  The movement she had caught was Mike stepping into the hallway.  Christy quickly tapped Mel on the back, and with her head gestured down the hall.  Both Mel and Christy took a few steps over, poked their heads around the door and silently looked down the hall.  They saw Maggie emerge from the bathroom after Mike, her hand in his.  She had a glow about her, and there was even a slight smile on her face, just barely visible behind all the orthodontic gear on her face.  Mike and Maggie did not notice the ladies down the hall discreetly spying on them.  Once in the hall Mike quickly turned so he was facing Maggie.  He gave her a hug.  Though barely audible, the three ladies in the bedroom could hear him tell her "I love you.  You look beautiful.  Everything is going to be ok."  He then pulled back and kissed her on the top of the head.  Turning, his hand still entwined with hers, he led her down the hall to the staircase leading downstairs.  Maggie halted.  Mike turned around once again and looked her in the eyes.  He said "it is going to be ok.  Carrie will be so excited that you are staying."  With those words of encouragement, the ladies could see Maggie take a deep breath, and then start down the stairs.

Christy exclaimed "aww, they are so cute together.  And did you see that?  Maggie was even smiling.  No, I can't be mad at them."  Mel and Jen, moved by what they just saw, hugged each other.  Mel looked at Jen and said "I would like to kiss you so much, if it weren't for the facemask dictator over there."  Christy busted out laughing and said "hey, I'm not that bad.  And look, I don't just talk the talk, I walk the walk.  You can't argue that."  This drew a laugh from both Jen and Mel.  Picking up the cervical extension, Mel said "we'll see if you are still so chipper once I strap this bad boy on you."

Once the cervical extension was secured, Christy said "wow, this is different.  I feel two inches taller.  And I can't see the floor.  You two are troopers."  She then reached up to her neck to unstrap the neck brace.  Mel stopped her and said "why don't you try to do a few things wearing it, and then I will take it off."  Christy went to cock her head, and realized immediately that was impossible.  She asked "like what?"  Mel instructed her to sit down on the bed.  Christy complied.  Then she asked Christy to lay down in the bed.  It was at this point that Christy realized she took getting in bed for granted.  After a couple of attempts, she finally managed to literally fall into bed.  It was very awkward.  Once there she tried to wiggle and roll around to get comfortable.  As she did Jen told her "it takes a little time to get used to it, and the right combination of pillows to get comfortable."  After several seconds of watching Christy struggle, Mel instructed her to get out of bed.  Christy made several unsuccessful attempts to sit up.  She asked "how???", her voice on the verge of panic.  Jen came over.  She rolled Christy over on her side and bent her waist at a 90 degree angle so her legs were extended over the edge of the bed.  She then told Christy to use her arms to push herself up to a sitting position. This worked, and Christy was back upright, sitting on the edge of the bed with her feet back on the floor.

As she stood, Christy looked at Mel and said "I get it.  This is hard.  But, I think I have had enough.  Can you please take this off me please?"  Mel moved over and unstrapped the neck brace from her neck, then undid the thumbscrews and laid the cervical extension on the bed.  She picked up Christy's dress and handed it to her.  Confused, Christy asked Mel "I thought you were going to take it off after I tried a few things."  Mel answered "I meant the cervical extension.  Why don't you wear the back brace for a little while, until we leave.  I want to give bae here a little break.  She's earned it.  It will be discreet under your dress, and it will give you a better feel for what it is like."  Then for good measure she said "hey, you were the one that wanted to try it on."  Christy nodded her head in submission and slipped her dress back on.  She stepped over in front of her full length mirror and took herself in.  The facemask on her face didn't even register in her mind anymore, she had become so accustomed to seeing herself wearing it.  But she did study the reflection of her torso very closely.  She could see the brace barely visible around her underarms, but like Mel had said it was largely discreet.  She wondered what the reaction would be if some of her guests realized she was wearing a back brace.

Jen walked over beside Christy.  She put her arm around her and said "you are rocking that brace. So why don't we head back downstairs.  You need to check on all your party guests.  And I think we are all interested in how Mike and Maggie are making along."

Back downstairs, the ladies found the inside of the house devoid of people.  As they made their way to the dining room they saw everyone outside on the back patio.  They walked out to find most of the crowd clustered around Mattie G and Todd, each of whom were seated and each tuning an acoustic guitar.  Josie came up to the trio and said "Nikki talked them into playing.  She seems to have Mattie wrapped around her finger tonight."  Christy said to Jen and Mel "they are really good, they used to be in a band when they were in college. I think they both sort of played their way through school."  Josie added on "aww thank you! I am pretty biased, but I think they are pretty good too.  And yeah, all those gigs really helped my Todd pay for his way through school."  After a few seconds of silence watching them tune up, Josie said "again Christy, thank you so much for this party."  She reached in quickly and hugged Christy.  When she did, she felt the hard brace that was wrapped around her body.  Josie released Christy and looked at her quizzically.  Christy said "I am trying out Jen's brace.  Maybe I am a weirdo, but I was curious what it is like."  Josie sat there a second thinking and replied "hmm, that's pretty cool.  Hey, I need to go check on Maggie.  I am afraid that Carrie is going to literally talk her ear off."  As she walked away the three could see Carrie in the background, in her blue delaire face mask, talking and animatedly gesturing in front of Maggie.  They couldn't hear what the conversation was about, but they could see that Carrie was very excited. Carrie then started jumping up and down and gave Maggie a big hug.

Christy looked at Mel and Jen and exhaled.  She said "Josie didn't make a big deal about that thank goodness."  Jen said "Christy, I have found it is a lot like braces.  Most people are pretty indifferent.  They are so consumed with their own personal issues and lives they don't care.  There are some that have questions or comments.  But most of those are from people that have gone through it in the past and want to tell you their experience, or are questons from those thinking about starting themselves.  I think a lot of us come up with these outrageous, embarrassing scenarios in our heads; I know I did before getting my scoliosis brace AND my orthodontic braces; but they don't come true.  They are just fears."

Christy looked over at Jen and said "you know, you are completely right.  I didn't know I was friends with Yoda, wise one she is."  Mel laughed and said "she is a LOT prettier than Yoda.  But you know, come to think of it, he might could have used a scoliosis brace himself.  But enough of this philosophical introspection.  Maybe I am just nosy, but I am really curious what has Carrie so worked up."  Jen and Christy followed Mel's gaze and saw Carrie, despite the lack of music, grinding up against Maggie.  Mike was looking on laughing hysterically.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #151 on: 27. April 2023, 16:51:03 PM »
Chapter 73.

Behind the bar, Christy stood with her husband listening to the music.  She watched on as what she thought of as 'the youngster's; Josie's younger circle of friends; drank, danced and had fun as Mattie and Todd played for them.  They were in the middle of a slow ballad, a 'love song'.
 
Maggie had her face, or at least the facemask that was securely strapped to her face, resting on Mike's chest as they slowly swayed to the music.  Christy looked over at Matt and said "I am so glad to see her having fun despite her headgear.  It has really been tough on her.  I know it hurts her physically.  But the emotional side of it has been even tougher on her."  Matt said "you are so sweet" as he moved in behind her and put his hands on her hips.  He immediately felt the hard shell that encased her.  He said "you know how sexy I think it is when you wear your corset.  Did you get a new one for me?"  She answered "well, it certainly is making me suck my belly in.  But no, I am wearing Jen's back brace.  I might as well tell you now.  I agreed to schedule a consult at Dr. Wellington's.  You know I still have scoliosis, and my back has been bothering me some lately.  And in light of that, I was curious what it was like to wear one of their braces.  And Jen was ready for a break.  So here we are.  Temporarily, at least I hope, you have a back brace girl again." 

Matt turned Christy around in his arms and kissed her on the forehead.  He said "that wouldn't be the end of the world.  I still remember when I met you in college.  And you were wearing that awful Milwaukee brace.  I know you hated it.  But, and I have never told you this, it was what made you stand out and why I first noticed you.  No, it wasn't sexy.  But you know what, the way you handled it was.  I know how much adversity it presented you.  And maybe me too.  Do you remember it took me five tries asking you out before you agreed to a date?  But despite that, you put on a brave face and lived your life.  I think that is one of the reasons, just one of many, that I fell in love with you.  I was as happy as you were when you finally got to take it off for good, but only because it made YOU so happy.  I had no problems with my little back brace girl.  In fact, I have some very fond memories of you in that brace; and even more fond memories of the first time you let me take it off you."  He then winked at her. 

Christy gently slapped Matt on the chest and said "you will always be a pervert won't you?"  She had a huge smile on her face as she said it though.  Matt said softly "I want you so badly right now."   Christy blushed.  She said "there will be time for that later tonight.  But first, I want you to dance with me."

Across the patio, Jen and Christy stood beside the table.  Allison, Sandy, Diane and Peter were seated around it as they had been earlier.  The group had been chatting before the music kicked in.  Then everyone turned to listen and watch.  Before the music had started though, Mel as satisfied her curiosity about what had Carrie so excited.  They had overheard the tail end of that conversation.  Carrie had finally convinced Maggie to go on a three day couples vacation to New Orleans. It sounded like she had been trying to convince Maggie to do it for weeks, as a way to cheer her up and lift her spirits.  It would be Mike and Maggie, and Carrie and her husband Doug.  They had overheard Carrie say that Doug was out of town for business, thus why he was missing, but that he would be sooo happy.  Finally, right before the music started in earnest, Carrie hugged Maggie and exclaimed "I am so happy I have my friend back!"

The group at the table noticed as Matt led Christy out on the improvised dance floor.  The couple danced for several songs.  To Mel and Jen, it was very obvious that Christy was wearing a back brace.  She was very stiff, being held rigidly immobile from her hips to her shoulders.  But, no one else seemed to notice.  And while they knew that Matt had to realize it, he had his hands all over Christy after all, based on the way he was looking at her he didn't care.  And while they knew that it must feel strange and awkward to Christy, it appeared she was having a wonderful time despite it.  After a couple of dances, Matt leaned in and hugged her.  They turned and headed over to the table, a slight glow on them from the slight perspiration on their faces.

Once over at the table Christy asked "so how are all of Cooper's hens doing?".  Christy immediately noted the quizzical look on Jen's face.  She responded "it is an inside joke.  Everyone that works at Dr. Cooper's, except for Dr. Cooper of course, are female.  So I jokingly refer to it as 'The Hen House'.  It is 'Cooper's Hen House', and we are all 'Cooper's Hens'.  That is a little play on the fact there is actually a bird called a Cooper's hawk.  Anyway...  It is a little self-deprecating humor I guess, but we all actually take a little pride in it.  At least I do.  Though I guess in real life I have never seen a bunch of chickens or hawks; or any bird really; wearing headgear. Ok, I may drunk".  This drew laughter from those at the table.

Sandy was the first to answer Christy's original question.  She said "I have had a great time.  Thank you."  Christy answered "it is my pleasure, and it is the least I could do after snapping at you earlier today. I still feel crappy about that."  Sandy said "it is perfectly fine.  It is water under the bridge.  I have a feeling I am going to be pretty snippy and short with everyone for a little while after I get my braces.  And my expanders, and my bands, and my herbst, and my tongue crib, and my headgear.  Wait, is there another new orthodontic appliance they invented this weekend?  I am sure I will get that too.  See, I am already getting snippy and short, and I don't even have them yet."  This brought a round of laughter from around the table.

Diane replied "Sandy, you are going to do fine.  And if you need to take it out on anyone, take it out on me.  Mama here can take it.  And I am the one to blame anyway, I think I am the one that pushed you over the edge."  Sandy said "I will keep that in mind.  But I am glad you did.  I need to do it and putting it off just was delaying the inevitable."

It was it this point that Allison chimed in "Shandy, if mishery loves company, then the two of ush can hang out while you are getting ushed to them.  There ishn't much that I don't have in my mouth.  And now I have thish wonderful leg accshessory.  Jusht 8 months after getting out of that horrible long arm casht I had last year.  You will do fine.  And you have a whole group here to lean on.  Shpeaking of leaning on... Christy; Sandy and I have to be leaving soon.  I had a great time, but Rob ish on hish way to pick ush up.  He ish only a few minutes away.  I am afraid after only 4 hoursh of keeping the kidsh he is about to pull hish hair out.  They don't lishen or follow instructionsh nearly as well as hish pashients.  From what I heard in the background, it shounded like they were shwinging limb to limb in the back of the Tahoe ash he drove." 

She awkwardly got up out of her seat, Diane again helping her with her crutches.  Sandy, Diane and Peter also stood.  Diane said "Christy; Pete and I also had a great time.  Thank you.  We are going to help Allison out and into the truck, and then we are going to hit the road too.  It is way past our bedtime.  But we had a great time.  I don't want to interrupt Josie and all her friends over there.  When there is a little lull, please tell Josie how grateful we are that she let us all share in her birthday, and now baby, celebration."

Christy said "thank you all so much.  But before you leave, I need a hug."  She went around and hugged everyone.  She got a couple of looks, but no one said anything.  She volunteered "yes, I am wearing Jen's back brace.  I am going to have a consult with Mel here soon, and knowing my luck I will end up in one of these things.  I wanted to see what it was like."  Diane said "good for you, I know you have mentioned your back hurting several times over the past few months.  I am sure they will get it all sorted out for you.  And with that, fair winds and following seas" as she turned towards the patio doors and the group made their way inside.

The four left by the table watched as the group departed, the group matching the pace of Allison as she crutched along. Once they saw that Allison had successfully navigated her way across the concrete patio and up the step safely inside, Jen looked over at Christy and said "well, I guess we are the last old people you are stuck with.  But we too probably should be going.  This is turning into a college fraternity party it looks like."  Christy said "you don't have to leave.  You are more than welcome to stay in the guest bedroom upstairs.  And two more things.  Number one, you are not old.  Because if you are old, that means I am old.  So, no, you are not old.  And number two, this will not turn into a college fraternity party, at least not for long.  I may get the evil eye, but I am going to shut this down pretty soon.  It is already closing in on midnight, and I am sure the neighbors don't want naked people running around the neighborhood at 3 or 4 in the morning.  And also, me and Matt have something we need to attend to" as she raised her eyebrows and smiled at Matt.  He simply shook his head back and forth and said "what am I going to do with you woman?"

Jen and Mel laughed.  Mel said "well, the back brace certainly didn't seem to act as a deterrent.  But, I do need to repo it and strap Jen back in.  I am sure she has missed it.  Especially the cervical extension.'  Jen rolled her eyes at Mel.  Christy answered "no, my Matt was totally ok with it.  But he met me back in college when I had my other scoliosis brace.  So I didn't think it would freak him out.'  Matt wrapped his arms around her and lovingly teased her by saying "my little back brace girl..." 

Jen responded "Aww...  And I am sure you won't need a brace. But if you do, you know it won't be a big deal between you two.  Not that it would have otherwise. And thank you for the offer of the guest bedroom, but I need to get babe here home and comfortable in her own bed.  Remember this is her first night in her neck brace.  Excuse me, cervical extension.  That does sound much less imposing than neck brace.  It will take some pillows, and maybe a little petting, to get her comfortable."  Mel smiled and said "hey, I am the one who is responsible for inappropriate comments and awkward displays of affection!."  Christy looked over at them and said "you two are nuts!  The cutest, sweetest nuts.  Now, how about we get upstairs and you take this shell off me?"

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #152 on: 28. April 2023, 20:11:31 PM »
Chapter 74.

Back upstairs in the master bedroom, Jen sent a text to Kevin asking where he was, they were about ready for their ride.  She then waited for a response.  Standing beside the bed, Christy removed her dress, laying it by the cervical extension still laying there from earlier.  With her dress removed, the brace cradling Christy's upper body was on full display.  The clavicle outriggers swept up under her armpits, holding her shoulders back, thrusting her chest forward.  From across the room, Jen noticed Matt looking on hungrily with lust apparent in his eyes.  Before Mel loosened the straps and removed the brace she asked Christy what she thought of it.

Christy replied "well, it certainly feels different.  And I was definitely not able to forget I was wearing it at any time, like Jen said she did now sometimes.  And it is starting to dig in and feel sore in a few places now.  But it wasn't honestly as bad as I thought.  I do feel like I am standing up so much straighter.  And I feel a little self conscious about how much it sucks my waist in, and how much it pushes my boobs out into the world.  But some women pay lots of money for that don't they?" and laughed.  Mel giggled too and answered "yes, I guess you are right.  Maybe we have been marketing this wrong the whole time."  This drew a laugh from everyone, even Matt who broke out of the trance he seemed to be in earlier.

Mel moved over and quickly undid the straps.  She stepped around to Christy's backside and opened the brace up and carefully removed it from her body.  Once the brace was off Christy remarked "wow, as strange as it felt when you put the brace on me, it feels even stranger now being out of the brace.  Maybe I was starting to get used to it."

Jen said "that is exactly how I feel now.  It feels normal to me when I am wearing it.  But when I take it off it feels unnatural.  It took a few weeks to get there though, along with maybe just a few tears and moments of self pity.  But now, it really isn't that big a deal."  Then her phone dinged with a reply from Kevin.

K:  I just finished dropping a rider off about 40 minutes north of where I dropped you off earlier.  Are you still at the same address?  Once you confirm the address, I will head that way.

Jen, without even consulting her partner, shot a response back.

J:  Absolutely not.  I am not going to take over an hour out of your night, probably one of your busiest and most profitable nights of the week, to drive all the way back down here.  I will hold you to a raincheck later, when it is better for you.  But I absolutely refuse to take you up on your offer right this minute.  I will schedule us a ride through the Uber app.  I really do appreciate the offer though, and I will let you fulfill it some other time.  On another note, I really look forward to chatting with your fiancé about adult orthodontics.  Half the women here have braces.  So you can imagine, that has been a big topic of discussion around this party here tonight.  BTW, what is your fiancé's name?

K:  Well, thank you for being so thoughtful.  I do appreciate it.  And tonight is one of my busiest and best nights.  But I am still completely willing, even eager, to come and get you two.  But I also won't fight you over it. And I totally will honor a raincheck.  Just text me when you need a lift.  As for my fiancé, her name is Shelly.  We spoke earlier tonight, and I brought up her having another orthodontic consult, at your orthodontist.  I told her it wouldn't cost anything, and that there were a couple of patients that wanted to talk to her about it.  She was pretty conflicted.  On one hand I could sense her nervousness, maybe it was even fear; but on the other hand she also was excited about it, and the idea of having the smile she has always wanted.  So, thank you for that as well.

J:  You are so welcome.  And thank you for the ride earlier, and the future ride I am going to hold you to it.  Please have Shelly call Dr. Cooper's on Monday, or you can do it for that matter, and talk with Josie.  Actually, maybe you should do it for her.  Offer it to her as a present you are giving her, because you love her and want her to have the smile she has always wanted.  That might make it easier for her to say yes to.  Either way, Josie will get you two all fixed up.  Then, Christy, Mel and I can talk, text or even meet up with her to try to dampen any fears she has.  But I will also be honest about what she would be getting into. Have a great evening!  And stay safe on the roads!

K: Thank you.  That is a wonderful idea.  Thank you for that perspective.  I'll call on Monday.  Have a great rest of your evening and weekend!

Jen looked up to find everyone looking at her.  She had been consumed by her phone the last few minutes and had been oblivious to anything else around her.  Mel smiled at her and asked "you arranging a booty call for later?"  Jen laughed and responded "no dummy, that was Kevin.  He is way north of town, and I told him NOT to take an hour or more out of his night to come pick us up.  But just for that comment, I am going to make you schedule us another ride."  Mel pulled out her phone and started working on it.  Jen continued "By the way Christy, he said his fiance Shelly is open to a consult.  They are going to call Dr. Cooper's Monday and schedule an appointment."

Christy answered "Yay!  We can always use another player on team braces.  Now, about that Uber, please just stay here.  There is a perfectly good bed next door.  And I can scrounge up some extra pillows."

Mel piped in "too late, I have already scheduled us a ride.  It will be here in 9 minutes.  I need to go ahead and get baby girl strapped back into her armor."  Christy said "well, I guess I can't fight you and make you stay.  Matt and I will leave you two to it.  I will meet you downstairs to see you out and offer you a proper good night."

About 5 minutes later, the four of them stood downstairs chatting.  Jen once again said "thank you again for inviting us Christy. I think I can speak for Mel when I say we had a great time.  And thank you for granting me a brief pardon from scoliosis prison.  I will say though, all things considered, tonight went a lot better wearing all this than I feared " as she gestured to the neck brace and then the facemask.  "It definitely isn't something I want to do all the time, but it is good to know I can do it."  Mel stiffly hugged her and said "it is because you are a badass, I have told you that before."  Jen hugged Mel back and said "no, it is because I have such a fantastic partner, one going through the same thing, that holds me up when I have my moments of weakness."  Mel leaned in and put her facemask up against Jen's and made an exaggerated puckering noise and 'kissed' her.   Mel said "that will have to do until we get home, away from Christy's prying eyes, and we can take these off."  Christy laughed and said "I have said it before, I will say it again.  You two are too cute."  Mel's phone than pinged at her.  She looked up and said "our chariot has arrived."

As Christy walked the two out to the street, she noticed the black Ford explorer.  It was older, beat up, and looked like it might have some duct tape and clothes hangers holding some of it together.  There was a loud knocking noise coming from under the hood, and there was blue smoke coming from the exhaust.  Mel and Jen had noticed the same, and Jen looked over and said "it is only a 15 minute ride, we will survive."

Christy watched as the Explorer pulled away.  She then turned back towards the house.  She now had to evict some guests. 

Once out on the patio she loudly announced "alrighty everyone, it is that time.  You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here!  But seriously, please do start wrapping it up.  It is after midnight, and it is way past our bedtime."  Josie stood and said "Christy!  Thank you so much for tonight!  It has been the best!"  She then turned to her other friends and said "you heard the lady, it is time for us to make like trees. If you want, we can move this to my house."  She then turned and noticed Maggie, who was sitting in Mike's lap, her headgear obscured head resting on his chest.   Josie continued "but I completely understand and won't be offended if some of you need to go home."

The next morning Christy woke up later than normal.  She sensed immediately she was alone in bed.  Her and Matt had been up for quite a while after their guests had left.  The sunlight was pouring in through the blinds.  And while she was still basking in a glow, she also noticed she had a little bit of a headache and hangover.  She slid out of the bed, slipped a robe over her body, naked except for the facemask on her face, and headed towards the kitchen.  There she found Matt cooking breakfast.  He turned and said "you rascal, you spoil all my plans.  I was hoping you would keep sleeping and I could surprise you with breakfast in bed."  Christy went over and hugged him and said "you are the best man in the whole world."

They ate in the living room, curled up next to each other on the couch.  The TV was on in the background, but it was largely ignored by the couple.  As they ate, Christy as usual had to be very careful to avoid her facemask and springs.  Matt looked over at Christy and asked "any idea when Dr. Cooper might let you out of that?"  Christy said "actually, I think he would do it whenever I asked.  He might be a little disappointed, and he is happy I am doing it, but he didn't make me do this.  I did this for Josie.  But you know what, I did let her out last night.  And obviously, I know how to remove it.  And you have been such a good boy, maybe I will take it off this evening.  For both of us" and winked at Matt.  She said "I will have to be extra careful with this bear trap still screwed in my mouth, I don't want to hurt you."  Matt looked at Christy and said "that is a risk I am more than willing to take."  The bulge under his robe confirmed to Christy that he was not just saying it to be polite.  She looked over at him and said "well, stay on your best behavior the rest of the day you pervert, and we might see what happens." 

Christy then noticed a story on the TV.  There had been a huge wreck on I-5 the night before.  It had involved almost a dozen vehicles, one of them a semi.  There was an on-scene reporter there filming in the daylight as police and tow companies still worked to clear the wreckage and open the interstate.  There were demolished vehicles piled into and on top of each other still, almost 8 hours after the wreck.  With smoke still wafting up and charred crumpled wreckage littering the roadway, it looked horrible.  The on-scene reporter announced there had been 11 injuries, 3 life threatening, and sadly 4 fatalities.  The reporter then announced they had video of the wreck from the previous night.  As the dark, grainy, shaky video played Christy thought it looked even worse.  There was a huge fire, crumpled vehicles, and good Samaritans trying to help who were largely held back by the flames.  The reporter announced the video was shot just shortly after the wreck occurred, taken by a bystander, and before fire rescue and police had arrived.  Between the poor quality of the video and general chaos, Christy did not notice the black SUV.  Only it's back end was visible, the front end of the vehicle completely crushed and hidden beneath the semi-trailer that lay on top of it.

Offline TrainTrack

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #153 on: 28. April 2023, 21:24:33 PM »
Please no… I am really falling for these characters.

Jen looked over and said, “It is only a fifteen minute drive, we will survive.”

If what I think happened happened, I may lose it. You said there would be a close by chapter 75 and that was chapter 74. Please, go on, just to see if I’m wrong.

You’re a really good writer. This is starting to remind me of your other story, First Time Home Buyer, which I really enjoyed.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #154 on: 28. April 2023, 21:51:22 PM »
Thank you.  I actually came back to post "The End - For Now".   Then I saw your response.  I knew it was a cruel way to end things, but that was the plan. Your response has changed the plan.  I will go ahead and include Chapter 75. 

I have been so motivated to finish this story, at least this volume of it, mainly because I have another story I want to start.  And I want to continue the story you mentioned, First Time Home Buyer.  I have the main plot in my head, I just need to get it put down into words.  I haven't decided which to work on first, but it might make more sense to launch back into Home Buyer since it was left hanging precariously.

Offline TrainTrack

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #155 on: 28. April 2023, 22:03:51 PM »
Thank you! I’m very glad you chose not to end it there. I really enjoyed the other one, and there is plenty you can do to it. I enjoy reading your stories, you don’t skip things for the braces part. It’s a full story which is fun to read.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #156 on: 28. April 2023, 23:40:19 PM »
Chapter 75.

After breakfast, Christy lounged on the couch.  Matt was in the kitchen cleaning dishes.  Christy had earlier tried to help him, but he had nudged her out of the kitchen, saying "no, you go relax.  I am trying to be a most extra good boy, hoping for a treat later" and winked at her.  She laughed.  He then playfully slapped her on the bottom and said "now get, let me work in peace" as he gave her a big metallic smile.

As she lazily flipped through the channels, not much was on that she was interested in on a Saturday morning, Matt came in and plopped down beside her.  He put his arm around her shoulders and said "so sleepy head, are you ready to put me to work some more?  I was hoping we could go to the Depot and get some things.  I was thinking we could work on a couple of the projects out back you have been wanting to do.  It is going to be a pretty day, and I have the most beautiful foreman in the world to tell me what to do."

She leaned into him and said "you really are on your best behavior.  And I would absolutely love that."  Still leaning in she said "I would love to kiss you right now if I didn't have this fence in the way.  But later, after I get some more work out of you, I think we will be able to do something about that."

Several hours later, the couple was hot, sweaty and a little dirty in the backyard.  They had made good progress on the new flower bed and crushed marble landscaping that Christy had been wanting to install.  They were finishing up the flowerbed, side by side on their knees, each planting flowers in the soft new dirt.  They came to a stopping point, all the containers that held flowers now empty and laying scattered about around them.  Matt took his finger and dabbed a little dirt on Christy's nose and said "I am ready for a break boss. I will fix us up a little late lunch.  And a couple of cold drinks.  A nice cold Moscow Mule sounds pretty good right now.  Or a seabreeze.  Or both! What do you say!"

Standing to admire their handiwork Christy responded "that sounds incredible.  All of it.  And thank you so much for this! I think it looks incredible."  Matt stepped over and put his arm around her waist and answered "of course it looks incredible, an amazing architect came up with the plans."  He started toward the patio doors and said "come on, let me fix us some drinks.  We have earned them."

While Matt worked on the drinks and lunch in the kitchen, a braces friendly turkey and swiss pinwheel alongside a fresh chopped tomato and cucumber salad, Christy excused herself to the bathroom to freshen up.  Once in the bathroom she wiped her face with a towel to get the dirt and grime off.  Even after a week, she realized it was still a chore to clean her face wearing the facemask.  She made a decision.  One that she thought would elate Matt.  She opened the drawer and removed the small dental pliers she had used to remove Josie's mask the night before.  She first removed the springs from her mask, using the pliers to uncrimp the ends that had held them securely on previously, and lay the mask aside.  She then bared her teeth.  She realized this would be a little trickier doing it on herself than the previous evening.  But she took her time and was very careful and deliberate not to damage her braces.  Eventually she was successful in removing the springs from her mouth.  Then she had another idea on how she wanted to surprise Matt.  She took a pair of elastics and attached the facemask back to her face. 

As she entered the den, she noticed Matt had once again outfoxed her.  He was already sitting on the couch; and had their lunch and drinks on the table in front of him.  He looked up at her and said "I know I am a barbarian for eating in the den, but it is the weekend.  Plus, it lets me curl up a lot closer to you than those kitchen chairs do."  He didn't notice she was wearing elastics on her facemask instead of the springs of the past week.  Christy said "well, just for that last comment, I am not going to give you any grief about it."

She sat down beside him and said "it looks great.  But first, let me do something."  He wasn't looking at her directly, his attention focused on the table.  But he noticed in his peripheral vision that his wife was fiddling with her mouth.  Hoping there was not something wrong with her braces, he turned and asked "is everything ok?"  She smiled at him and then removed one of her elastics from her mouth.  She repeated with the other side and laid the mask on the table beside their food.  She said "no, nothing is wrong, exactly the opposite."  She leaned in and gave him a big kiss.  This time, she beat him to the punch, running her tongue into his mouth.  After the two made out for several minutes, Christy leaned back.  She said "thank you for lunch.  It does look good.  But there is something else I have been craving to put in my mouth."

An hour later, the two lay in bed cuddling.  Lunch was still on the table downstairs, long since forgotten.  As they lay there Christy realized she hadn't checked her phone in hours.  She had sent Jen a message that morning and hadn't even thought to look for the reply.  When she looked at her phone though, she saw she had no messages from Jen.  One from Josie, one from Allison, and one that looked like spam.  But none from Jen.  That is strange she thought, Jen usually was prompt in her replies.  And it had now been hours.  She shot her another one.

C:  Just checking on you two love birds.  Let me know everything is ok.

Back downstairs they sat at the kitchen table, working on assembling a new bird feeder.  But Christy was distracted.  She just felt something was wrong.  She still had not heard back from Jen.  So, she picked up her phone and dialed her.  It went straight to voicemail.  She then tried calling Mel.  The same, it went straight to voicemail.  Worry was welling up inside her.  She sent a group text to all the girls from the office asking if they had heard from Jen or Mel. When they all responded they had not heard from them, Christy looked over at Matt and said "I think something is wrong. Nobody has heard from Jen or Mel."  He looked over and said "I am sure they are fine.  They are probably out; at the beach, shopping, maybe somewhere they don't have service."  As Christy sat there worrying, the news from that morning ran through her head.  The huge wreck on I-5.  On a stretch of I-5 between her house and Jen's.  As she replayed the video in her head, she saw the black Explorer.  Matt looked up when he heard his wife crying across the table.  He rushed over to her and comforted her asking "what is it?  It is ok."  Christy latched onto him and wailed "Jen and Mel... they were in that wreck.  I know they were. They left in a black Explorer.  There was a black Explorer in that wreck.”  He continued to comfort her, holding her tight in one arm while stroking the back of her head with the other.  He said "no, I am sure it is ok.  I am sure they are ok.  And when they text you back we are both going to laugh about this.  But in the meantime, I will call around to hospitals and see if they were admitted."

Christy willed herself to calm down some, the tears coming to a halt.  She was completely focused on Matt as he dialed the various hospitals in the area, asking if either a Jennifer Collins or Melissa Saunders had been admitted recently.  After each call, he would hit end and smile at Christy and say "nope, they are not there.".  In the middle of the fifth call though, Christy could see the change in the expression on his face and she launched back into tears.  He rushed back around the table and held her.  He softly said "I am so sorry baby.  They were admitted to Baptist at 2 am this morning.  They wouldn't tell me anymore over the phone.  I am going to drive you there right now."

Christy tried to compose herself as they approached the front desk of the hospital.  She had cried most of the 45 minute ride, and her eyes were red.  Matt did his best to hold her as they walked.  At the reception desk, Matt said "hello, I am Matt Thomas, this is my wife Christy Thomas.  We are here to see Jennifer Collins and Melissa Saunders.  We were told they were admitted this morning. We are friends of theirs" and thinking it might help to get more information he added "and my wife is one of their medical providers."  Matt intentionally used this approach; one of ‘hey we are here to see a friend that broke their arm’ to try to keep Christy calm.  And to keep himself calm.  By now, even he was worried that the worst case might be the truth.  The attendant on duty typed some things into her computer.  She then picked up a phone and dialed an extension.  The attendant said "there are two people here to see Jennifer Collins and Melissa Saunders."  She turned her attention back to Matt and Christy, and with a forced smile on her face said "someone will be here very shortly, if you would please just wait there" as she gestured over towards some metal and vinyl seating.

Christy couldn't sit, she paced back and forth as Matt looked on feeling powerless to do anything. After about three minutes a voice interrupted them.  A woman, apparently in her 50s or 60s, had approached them.  She asked "Mr. and Mrs. Thomas?  I understand you are here to see Miss Collins and Miss Saunders? My name is Amelia Lockhard, if you would please, follow me."  When Jen saw her, the first thing she noticed is that she was dressed in a lady's business suit, not in scrubs.  Jen instantly knew this was a horrible sign and the knot in the pit of her stomach intensified.

As they entered what was apparently the woman's office, tears had again begun to slide down Christy's face.  Miss Lockhard asked for the couple to sit in the seats in front of her desk.  Once everyone was seated Miss Lockhard locked on with sympathy and told the couple "Miss Saunders and Miss Collins were in an accident last night.  They were admitted here at 2:02 am.  I am sorry to be the one to inform you, but both of them passed earlier this morning."

Christy broke down. Crying hysterically, she buried herself in Matt's side, hugging him so tightly it hurt.  She was repeating over and over "it is my fault, I should have made them stay."

The End.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Jennifer
« Reply #157 on: 29. April 2023, 02:48:56 AM »
Hope ya’ll enjoyed, even with the way it ended (I still think a Soprano cut to black type ending would have been interesting; maybe for another day).  I plan to write a story or three somewhere down the road involving many of the characters introduced in this story.