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Author Topic: Story - And the Beat Goes On  (Read 4199 times)

Offline mr_90proof

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Story - And the Beat Goes On
« on: 22. February 2022, 05:41:47 AM »
So I probably dug myself a hole that I can’t get out of starting that other story ‘Jennifer’, but I am not one to put the shovel down.

Part 1.

Jamie woke up in agony.  She couldn’t even remember the last time she had woken up and not felt her jaw throbbing..  It was even worse after a gig.  And last night had been one heck of a gig, playing on Broad Street until they dimmed the lights at 2 a.m.  She didn’t have time to dwell on it though.  She had slept in until 9 a.m., getting a solid 5 hours of sleep, and had to be at her other job by 10:30.  She rolled over to get out of bed, coaxing a groan out of Matt laying beside her.  She got up to get her usual breakfast of 2 Aleve and a cup of yogurt.  As she walked down the short hall to the kitchen she thought how nice it would be to wake up to smell breakfast cooking; or even better yet to wake up to a kiss and a tray of breakfast in bed.

She grabbed her drink and a Dannon out of the fridge, shook two Aleve out of the bottle she kept out on the kitchen counter, and chased it down with a swallow of her Starbucks Doubleshot Mocha.  She pulled the foil lid off of her yogurt and sat down on one of the two stools in the kitchen and opened Facebook on her phone.  The first place she went to was the page of the Whiskey Wheel, the bar they had played the night before.  A lot of bars didn’t update their Facebook pages quickly, but from past experience Jamie knew the Whiskey did.  She ate her yogurt as she scrolled through the photos, smiling as she went through them.  She stopped for an extra second on one picture squarely focused on her.  She looked good she thought to her self; her fake diamond belly button ring shining below the hem of her midriff shirt and her pink tinged shoulder length blond hair flowing behind her as she played her guitar.  Looking at the picture and seeing some of the background, she thought the pic came from when they played The Devil Went Down to Georgia, but she didn’t really have time to ponder such things.  She had to get to work.

She tossed her yogurt cup in the trash and her spoon in the sink and got ready for the day.  She had a long day in front of her.  She had a shift at the Bluebell Diner from 11 - 8, then was going to have to hustle over to the east side of town to play another gig with her band.  She would be pushing it to make it on time, but she knew Nick, Greg, and Casey would handle set up.  With that she jumped in the shower, got dressed, threw her show cloths and boots in a duffle bag, and headed to work.

The first half of her shift was uneventful.  She didn’t expect great tips on a Saturday during football season, they weren’t a sports bar after all, but in return she didn’t expect to be run ragged either.  Jamie was good at waitressing.  And she made enough money to get by doing it.  But she considered herself a musician first and foremost, this was just temporary till she could support herself full time with music.  Everything was great until around 3 p.m.  She had wrapped up her last customer and had a break, so Jamie slipped out back to smoke a cigarette.  As she was smoking she was opening and closing her jaw, trying to determine if the popping she always had was getting worse.  As she neared the end of her cigarette, she opened her mouth one last time.  And it locked open.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #1 on: 22. February 2022, 06:24:26 AM »
Part 2.

Instinctively Jamie dropped her Marlboro Light to the ground and grabbed her lower jaw with both hands.  Not knowing what to do, she tried to close her mouth while pushing back and forth with her hands.  It worked to get her jaw to close, but the pain as it did shot through her entire body.  It was intense, enough to make her feel the need to sit down.  She steadied herself and sat down on one of the empty crates in back.  After a few minutes the pain began to subside and she started to gather her bearings.  About that time, the manager slipped through the back door to tell her they had a couple new parties come in and she was needed out front.  Speaking through clenched teeth, she explained what had happened.  With little sympathy, the manager asked her if she could work or not?  It was a pointed question, and Jamie did not want to find out what would happen if she said no.  So she grunted that she could, and followed him back in.  As she followed him in she slipped out her phone and sent a group text to the guys “I can’t sing tonight”, and put her phone back in her pocket.  The next hour was miserable, taking orders and welcoming customers while trying not to move her aching jaw.  And feeling her phone vibrate in her pocket.  She knew she must look and sound a little funny, but she was just trying to get through her shift.  And she knew that all her bandmates where texting her back to find out what was going on but she was too busy to reply.  Finally she got a little break and sent a reply back “I’m ok, can’t talk, will see you tonight.  Can’t sing though, adjust set list accordingly”.   With that, she finished up her shift and headed for her gig.  Luckily, the pain had subsided and she thought she would be able to make it through the night.

She pulled up to the Eastend Bar at 8:20.  She knew the guys would have everything hauled in and set up as they were planning on going on stage at 9.  As she was walking up to the back entrance, she saw their drummer Casey out back smoking.  He started her way, and asked her what was going on.  She replied, while trying not to move her jaw, that her jaw had locked open at work and she was really scared to sing.  The last thing she wanted was for it to happen again on stage.  He asked her if she was ok to play, and she assured him she was.  He asked her if she wanted a cigarette, and when she nodded no, he stubbed his out and they headed inside.  After all, the beat must go on.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #2 on: 22. February 2022, 07:31:05 AM »
Part 3.

A little after 9, they went on stage, welcomed and thanked the crowd, and launched into their set.  It was a little different than most nights, as Jennifer was one of the two vocalists in the band, but it went smoothly.  On their set break they went out back and shared a joint.  As they passed it around the one and only topic was Jamie and what was going on with her jaw.  She promised them that she would do a little research on doctors tomorrow, and on Monday she would get it checked out.  While she had eaten a horse sized dose of Aleve over the course of the day, the weed did more to relieve the throbbing in her jaw than anything.  They finished up their break, returned inside and closed out the night strong.  As they packed up and loaded out, Greg mentioned to Jamie that he had had some dental work done at the university clinic when he had chipped a few teeth in a beer bottle incident that he said was to remain unnamed.  He said he had a great experience, and they had been several thousands dollars less than the other dentist had quoted him.  This made Jamie’s ears perk up.  There were a lot of things she possessed; brains, a killer body, a sense of humor, a great voice, and real musical talent.  One thing she did not possess was dental insurance.

On Sunday morning, she lounged on the couch and researched dentists online.  The cafe she worked at was closed on Sundays.  It was her one day of rest, and they also very rarely played on Sunday nights.   Despite this, many Sunday mornings she found herself up and making breakfast for her boyfriend, despite the fact she had been out working until three in the morning.  But today Matt had stayed at his apartment; he was a cop and had recently been assigned Saturday night shift as their had been a rash of car thefts and burglaries.  She felt guilty thinking it, but thought it was a win/win for her.  She got to enjoy her Sunday morning all to herself and he made serious overtime money to put in the bank and put towards a house for when they got married.  No she thought, we aren’t even engaged, but that is where it is heading.

As she explored “dentists Nashvegas” and “locked jaw Nashvegas” she remembered Greg touting the university clinic.  She browsed their site, and found the page to schedule an appointment on line.  When asked if it was an emergency, she clicked yes.  When it asked for her preferred appointment time, she chose the earliest available on the following day, 7:30 am Monday morning.  She had to work again on Monday, and she really wanted to at least get a prescription for some pain pills before she had to work a shift.  She did have the next several nights open, so she hoped she could just rest and recuperate from her crazy weekend the next few evenings..

Around noon Matt called her and asked if she wanted to go to lunch.  Through her clenched jaw, she said “no”.  He asked if everything was ok, and she just said “my jaw, can we text?”.  He replied, “I am coming over.”  He was aware that Jamie’s jaw bothered her sometimes.  But it had never been so bad that she couldn’t talk.  He wanted to come over and check that she was ok.  Or make sure there wasn’t another guy in the apartment.  After all, Jamie played most weekend nights in front of large crowds of people.    And while nothing had ever happened, he was a little insecure that some music exec or recording artist might take his place.  In ten minutes he had made the 20 minute trip.

He came on in, the door had been unlocked, something he had been on Jamie about.  If anyone knew the importance of a locked door it was a cop.  As he entered the door he hollered out his arrival.  He heard a mewing noise in return.  He entered the small living room where Jamie was laying on the couch.  He asked her if she was ok?  She nodded her head up and down, and pointed to a pad on the table.  Her note read “my jaw locked up last night, it hurts to talk”.  He rushed over to her and sat down beside her, putting his arm around her and pulling her close. He asked if there was anything he could do, and through clenched teeth she said “this is perfect”.  About that time her phone vibrated and she received a test from the university school of dentistry confirming her emergency appointment in the morning.

Offline Lithpkith

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #3 on: 22. February 2022, 19:14:24 PM »
Thith ith gweat, I’m loving it! Thankth fow wwighting.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #4 on: 22. February 2022, 21:29:33 PM »
Part 4.

At 7:00 am the next morning Jamie found a parking place in the parking deck of the sprawling university medical complex.  The previous afternoon she had filled out all the required paperwork on line.  After wandering around for a few minutes lost, she saw a security guard who pointed her in the direction of the dental clinic.  She arrived a few minutes early.  The door to the lobby was open, but the window to the receptionists desk was still closed.  She  could see several people back there zipping back and forth getting ready for the day. As she was watching them prep for their day, she thought she saw a tall blond woman in scrubs wearing a headset, like the kind many office workers wore so they could talk on the phone handsfree.  She wondered why she would be wearing it before she sat down at her desk.

They had an electronic sign in process, so as she waited Jamie went ahead and signed in.  Promptly at 7:30 the window opened.  Just to make sure she had done everything she should have done, she approached the receptionist.  As Jamie stepped up to the window the cute brunette looked up with a closed mouth smile.  Jamie noted the name on her name tag said Alisha. 

“Alisha, I am a new patient and wanted to make sure I have done all the paperwork I need for my appointment.” 

In return Alisha smiled, revealing a set of pink metal braces, and said “of courth, what ith your name, and I will czheck the shystom”.  As she spoke, Jamie heard the lisp and noticed that there was something else in her mouth behind her front teeth, something that looked like a shiny metal grate or fence.  She was so focused on Alisha’s mouth, she didn’t immediately respond.  Alisha, blushing a little, again asked her for her name, this time simply asking “your name”. 

Jamie snapped out of her trance and responded “Jamie Simmons.”  She continued on, saying “I’m sorry, it is early and I must not be awake yet” hoping Alisha hadn’t noticed her staring at her mouth, but knowing she had. 

Alisha typed Jamie’s name into their system, and then told her “yeth, everything isth here.  Shome one will call you back ssshortly”. 

Jamie thanked her, and embarrassingly retreated to her seat.  As she sat there she thought how brave that woman must be wearing braces, especially such noticable braces, in her twenties.   Being 24 herself, Jamie didn’t know if she could have done it.  Feeling guilty about staring at Alisha’s mouth to the point it made her blush with embarrassment, Jamie approached the window again. 

As she approached Alisha looked up and asked “yeth?” 

Jamie said “i just wanted to apologize.  I know I was staring at your mouth. It was rude and I apologize if I embarrassed you.  Please accept my apology”. 

Alisha responded it “ith ish ok.  I love my brayshes.  But i just got thish tonge crib two daysth ago and I am struggling to schpeek.”  With that she tilted her head back and opened her mouth wide, pointing to the huge metal fence that was constraining her tongue.  She continued “I am not a fan.  It ith hard when your job ith speaking to people whith such a lithp.  I can’t even say my name, Alitha.  But the orthodonshist shez my speech will improve over the next two weeksh.  I hope so.  But thank you for the apolozhee ”, and smiled back at her.  With that Jamie sat back down and waited for her name to be called.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #5 on: 22. February 2022, 23:13:40 PM »
I'm enjoying your stories. And you are doing a good job writing two stories at the same time.

At this rate, you will have enough posts to gain access to the "club section" in no time.

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #6 on: 22. February 2022, 23:58:25 PM »
Part 5.

A few minutes later, a side door opened and the tall blond Jamie had noticed earlier called her name.  She was now wearing a blue medical mask over her face and a scrub hat on her head, covering the top half of her ears and most of her head.  It was hard to tell, with her wearing all that, but from across the room it appeared she was still wearing the headset.  Strange Jamie thought to herself as she stood.  As she approached, the nurse turned 90 degrees, holding the door open with her body, one arm holding a file folder and the other extended welcoming her through the door.  As she had turned, Jamie had noted a glint of metal at the corner of the nurses mask.  As she approached, she noticed their was a white plastic strip with holes in it running down the side of her face from above her ear.  There was a matching white strip coming out from her neck, with both hooked onto the metal hook she could now see barely sticking out from the side of the mask.   Oh my god Jamie thought, is she wearing headgear?  Like really serious headgear?

As she got within a few steps, the nurse spoke to her.  “Hello, I am Andrea.  I will be your assistant today.  If you would step through the door and follow me please”.  As she spoke, Jamie couldn’t help but notice that the mask seemed to move up and down over the ridge that ran horizontal across the front of the nurses mask.  Jamie was pretty certain this tall, striking blond, who appeared to be around 35-40, was wearing fricking headgear.  Jamie stepped through the door and stopped, waiting for the assistant.  Andrea stepped by her and asked Jamie to follow her.  As she passed by her only a few feet away, Jamie confirmed she was wearing headgear.  Top and bottom. She had never had braces as a kid, but knew many kids growing up that had.  One of her friends when she was around 12 or 13 had actually had to wear headgear on a sleepover she was on.  So while she had never had braces, she knew what headgear looked like.  And that was headgear.  On a grown adult.

She followed the assistant down the hall into a room with a sink and a desk with chairs on each side.  The assistant asked Jamie to sit and she then did the same.  She scanned the file and then looked up, saying it looked like Jamie had been having jaw pain,  and her jaw had locked on her the day before.  Jamie confirmed by nodding yes.  She went on and noted she had no insurance.  Jamie shook her head no.  The assistant told her not to worry about this visit; consultations here, even including x-rays, were complimentary.  She motioned Jamie to the sink, and asked her to brush her teeth.  As Jamie brushed, the assistant explained they would take a few x-rays, and while those were developing she would take a look at her teeth.  Then she would meet with the dentist and financial coordinator. The x-rays went quickly, and the next thing Jamie knew she was in a dentist chair being reclined back.  Once she got reclined and had a bib installed, the assistant asked if she was comfortable.  Jamie looked up and said “yes ma’am”. Andrea replied, “please, call me Andrea. I don’t feel old enough to be a ma’am”.  The examination went quickly and quietly, only twice did Andrea ask Jamie questions.  One was if she smoked.  She sheepishly admitted she did.  Andrea admonished her that she should really quit.  She said she knew from first hand experience how hard it was to quit, but she would be glad she did.  The second was if the popping she could see and feel in Jamie’s jaw was normal.  She nodded and said yes.  During the whole examination, Jamie couldn’t take her eyes off the headgear.  She thought back to the receptionist, and wondered if everyone here had braces. Like really serious braces.  They finished up, Andrea raised Jamie’s seat, and had her follow her to the doctors office.  Andrea knocked on the door and opened it, ushering her into the office.  Andrea thanked Jamie for her cooperation, and said Dr. Weaver will take great care of you.  With that, she turned and left the office, closing the door behind her.

Dr. Weaver stood, extended his hand, and unleashed a blindingly perfect white smile at Jamie.  She thought at least there was one person here without braces.  Dr. Weaver thanked Jamie for coming in, and he would do what he could to fix her up.  He told her he was going to go over some things, and if anything was incorrect to stop him.  He said he understood she had jaw pain, and after looking at the x-rays and the examination notes he could see why.  He said she had severe TMJ. He said her jaw locking up on her was her jaw actually dislocating.  He continued on that it would not fix itself, and would only degenerate more, getting worse over time.  He said first thing I want to do is make an orthotic, or splint, for you.  It will help you immediately by stabilizing your bite and positioning your lower jaw where it isn’t putting pressure on your condyles, or jaw joints.  I want to do this immediately.  It will greatly help with your pain, and greatly slow down the rate of condyle adsorption.  Second, you have a cavity in tooth number 14, your first molar.  I want to fill it.  It is a simple procedure, and I see you have a couple fillings already, so it won’t be something new to you.  Third, I want to refer you to one of our TMJ specialists here in the building.  I can treat you and reduce or even eliminate much of your pain short term.  But I am not a specialist in it like they are.  Something like the splint I am prescribing will help you, and might help you for years to come.  But it won’t fix the underlying cause.   They can, and with TMJ joints the earlier we can address it the better.  Do you have any concerns he asked.  Jamie replied she only had two.  Would it fix her jaw enough to sing by this weekend, and could she afford it?  Dr. Weaver said I won’t make any promises on the first one, but I think so.  For the second, I would like you to meet with Joann our financial coordinator.  She can go over the costs.  As a teaching and research clinic, our fees are below the norm.  In addition, I promise you the relief you will feel in the first few days will be worth it. 

Dr . Weaver escorted Jamie down the hall a few doors.  They stopped at one with the name plate “Joann Hall - Financial Coordinator.  Dr. Weaver knocked and then stepped inside as Jamie followed.  The doctor set a file on the desk, and then turned to Jamie and said “thank you very much.  Mrs. Hall here will go over all the costs.  If you want to go forward with treatment, and I strongly recommend it, we can get started immediately.”

Jamie thanked the doctor and turned to face Mrs. Weaver.  She appeared to be in her 50s, just a few pounds overweight, with grey streaked black hair and tortoise shell glasses.  She stood and extended her hand saying “he is always so formal calling me Mrs. Hall, but please call me Joann”.  As she shook Jamie’s hand she continued on “let me take a look at your file and I can give you some numbers” and sat back down with a smile.  As she had been speaking, Jamie had thought she had seen something metallic in Mrs. Hall’s mouth.  Her smile confirmed it, she was wearing clear braces.  Holy crap Jamie thought to herself, the orthodontist here is busy.  After looking at her file, Joann looked up and started talking.  She said “in case no one has told you, today’s consult is complimentary.  The cost of the filling would be $125.  The cost for the fabrication and fitting of the splint would be $400.  I know that may sound like a lot, but comparable services at a private clinic would run you well over $1000.  You obviously are more than welcome to get a few more opinions, but I think you will be happy with the results here.  In addition, on a personal note, I promise you it is worth it.  I started having TMJ issues about 4 years ago.  At that time I wasn’t even an employee here; I worked for a periodontist across town.  The rescue splint they made me was a life saver.  In fact, they so impressed me that I came to work for them.  I am finishing up my braces over the next couple of months” she paused and smiled “and I feel like a new woman. Do you have any concerns or questions?”

Jamie thought quietly for a moment, said she had no questions, and said she wanted to start treatment.  She then explained her job situation and the fact she had to be at work in just over an hour so she might have to make another appointment to come back.  She then stopped, and said she did have one question to ask.  With that she said “I apologize if this is a rude question, but does everyone here have braces?”.

Joann laughed and said “no, honey, in this situation it isn’t rude at all; and no, not everyone here has braces.  But most employees here have gone through or are going through some type of orthodontic treatment with the doctors in the orthodontic department.  While this is the general dentistry department, most all of us get all our dental care done here.  Including orthodontic treatment to make us both feel and look better.  I think that speaks to the quality of care here.  While we are a teaching and research clinic, and our prices tend to be lower than the private practices around here, we trust the doctors here with our own care..  And with that, I know you need to go.  But, if you have 15 minutes we can go ahead and get your impressions made for your splint, and if you can I will book you an appointment for this same time tomorrow morning.  We can get you fitted for your splint and get that cavity filled in one visit.”


Offline Lithpkith

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #7 on: 23. February 2022, 19:18:06 PM »
I’m loving thith thtowy! Can’t wait fow mowe!

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #8 on: 24. February 2022, 03:25:56 AM »
Part 6.

Once they had figured out a plan, Jamie wrapped up her first appointment.  First she got the impression for the splint made with the help of Andrea again.  It hurt a little getting the big tray in her mouth, but Andrea was very gentle.  Then Andrea pulled out what looked like a football player's mouthpiece and placed it in Jamie's mouth.  It was warm and Andrea guided Jamie's lower jaw slightly forward and asked her to bite down gently and hold it till she said so.  She didn't have much choice, as Andrea kept one hand on her lower jaw the whole time, holding it in place.  After about a minute she told her to relax and she removed it from Jamie's mouth.  She explained this was an emergency splint just for today and tonight.  Andrea asked Jamie what she did; Jamie replied she was a waitress and a singer.  Great Andrea seemed to whisper to no one, two jobs that require talking.  She said if her jaw was really hurting at work she could put the splint in and it should help a little.  But she warned she would not be able to really talk.  Just different octaves of grunts.  She told her tonight when she got home though, go ahead and put it in and leave it in until she came in tomorrow; only taking it out to eat and brush her teeth.  She then led her out towards the lobby, where Andrea stopped at a door, told her she would see her tomorrow morning, and ushered her into the treatment coordinator's office.  Sarah was a blond version of Joann, just lacking the braces and having a different color pair of glasses.  She confirmed with Jamie that she had a 7:30 am appointment the next morning to have her cavity filled and have her splint fitted.  She went over some do's and don'ts; include soft foods she was allowed to eat for the next 5 days.  She said the doctor had prescribed her two prescriptions, which one of the girls up front would call it in to a pharmacy convenient to where she worked.  She just needed to stop on the way out and let them know where that was.   One was a muscle relaxer, a 5 mg dose of flexeril that she needed to take every 5 hours, or three times a day, for the next five days. She cautioned she needed to be careful driving until she understood how it impacted her.  The other one was a prescription for a whopping 4 hydrocodone pills.  She said she was only to take one of those per day, in the evening.  She said she was in no way to operate any kind of machinery after she took it.  She said she had one for each night of the week until her Friday follow up appointment.  She told her not to take any Tylenol or drink alcohol this week while she was on the prescription meds. She asked Jamie if morning was good for that Friday appointment, and Jamie replied same time, same place.  Finally, Sarah told her the doctor strongly, strongly recommended she schedule an appointment to meet with one of the schools TMJ specialists.  Can I make you an appointment with them for one morning next week?  Jamie asked if there would be any fees for that.  Sarah replied no, as they were a different department they would consider the appointment to be a complimentary consultation.  Jamie relented and agreed to it, figuring that if she didn't agree they would badger her about it again tomorrow.  Sarah asked if she had any questions.  Jamie said just one, did she need the money to pay for tomorrow's appointment with her tomorrow.  Sarah told her no, they would bill her and there was a payment plan option.  They wrapped up, and Sarah said she hoped her jaw got to feeling better today; if not she knew it would tomorrow.

She picked up her prescriptions on the way to work and skidded into the parking lot just 3 minutes before her shift started.  The day went ok.  Her jaw was a little achy, but nothing like her last day at work.  She had taken one of the Flexeril when she went in, and another just after lunch.  She thought those must be helping.  When she got home around 8 she found Matt had cooked her dinner; some baked fish, mashed potatoes and Kraft shells and cheese; all soft foods that Jamie was able to eat in small bites.  After they finished eating she hugged him, then kissed him and told him how much it meant to her.  After they had sat down on the couch to watch TV together, Jamie took her last flexeril of the day, then pulled the big mouthguard sized splint out of her bag.  She told Matt she wouldn't be able to talk.  She laid down in Matt's lap, looking up at him with doe eyes and a pout and told him she was sure she was going to look dorky, please don't tease her.  It took a little effort as she couldn't open her jaw all the way, but she managed to get the big splint in her mouth.  Matt leaned over, kissed her on the forehead and told her she could never look dorky.  Around 10 Jamie sat up, and took her prescribed oxycontine.  After about 15 minutes she was a lump that didn't feel pain, or much of anything else.  Matt helped her to their bed, and they went to sleep for the night.

The next morning Jamie was back at the dentist.  She signed in online again, but went up to the receptionist window anyway and wished Alisha a good morning.  Jamie told her she really liked her blouse.  Alisha smiled and said she really like her hair.  Jamie noticed her lisp didn't seem quite as pronounced as it did the day before.  She waited in a chair a few minutes when Andrea opened the door and called her name.  As she walked up Jamie told Andrea good morning, and she was glad to see her.  She noticed that Andrea was dressed exactly like she had been the day before, including wearing her headgear under her mask and hat.  Andrea replied thank you, it is good to see you.  Then as they walked back into the treatment area, Andrea asked if Jamie was feeling better than the day before.  Jamie said she was. 

She first had her new clear acrylic splint fitted by the doctor, who then hurried off to the next patient.   It went quickly, and it seemed to help.  She thought she could feel her jaw relax a little immediately.  Andrea told her she might have a little bit of a lisp the first few days, but she would quickly get used to it.  She then told her it was time for the bad part, filling her tooth, and Andrea removed the splint from her mouth.  Andrea reclined Jamie back and gave her several shots of local anesthesia to numb her tooth and mouth.  She said it would take about 15 minutes for the anesthesia to take effect.  While they waited, Andrea handed Jamie her splint and suggested she practice talking some.  Jamie asked her "about what?"  Andrea suggested she just tell her a little about herself.  Jamie popped the lower splint in, it was much easier than the big bulky one from the day before, and started talking.  She definitely had a lisp, but it wasn't horrible.  Andrea told her a stranger might not even notice it. After about ten minutes though, Jamie noticed she couldn't feel her face and was really having a tough time talking.  Andrea told her she was about ready to start and removed the splint from Jamie's mouth and layed it inside a snaptop plastic box on the counter.  She said that Dr. Weaver would perform the actual drilling and filling.  She explained that she would then take over again and cure the filler and sealant, then smooth things up.  She said it should take no more than 30 minutes.  The filling process went quickly; Jamie didn't feel any pain and thought that Andrea must have done a really good job numbing her up.  In addition, Jamie realized that while Andrea was wearing her headgear again today, she had not been fixated on it like she was the day before.  She really, really wanted to ask her about it; but knew that would be rude.  Andrea said the anesthesia would wear off in the next hour or two; she should be completely clear of it by the time she had to work.  She then told her that her appointment on Friday should only take a few minutes.  They just wanted to check the fit of the splint and see how Jamie was doing.  She then handed the splint back to Jamie, and told her she was to wear it at all times except when brushing; yes even when eating. She asked Jamie if she had scheduled an appointment with the TMJ specialist. Jamie replied that she had for the following week. 

Andrea told her that was great, she really needed to.  She said the orthodontic department here is great.  With that she pulled down her mask, revealing her headgear and smiling with her clear braces.  Andrea said she was a patient herself, and it was a great experience.  As she talked, Jamie noticed she was also wearing rubberbands on each side of her mouth.  Andrea said don't worry, they don't make me wear the headgear here at work; I choose to.  After all she said, this is a dentist's office, my face stays covered all day anyway and I get in a lot of hours with it.  With that Andrea pulled her mask back up, stood up and thanked Jamie for being such a good patient.  She escorted her back out to the lobby and said she would see her on Friday.

Offline anton08

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #9 on: 24. February 2022, 16:42:00 PM »
Just having given my compliments to the author of an other story here, I do not want to miss the opportunity to give another compliment to a second author, who is doing a really good job as well, again, well written, competent and logical reacting characters.  :) Very well done as well!

Offline anton08

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #10 on: 24. February 2022, 16:46:27 PM »
And just now silly me is realising that there is the same author to both stories!  ;D ;D ;D Never mind, so the compliments go doubled to mr_90proof! :) ;) :D

Offline bracessd

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #11 on: 24. February 2022, 17:16:32 PM »
This story is great so far, nice job @mr_90proof

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #12 on: 24. February 2022, 19:40:27 PM »
Part 7.

When Jennifer got back to her car, the first thing she did was check out her mouth in the car visor's mirror.  She opened and closed her mouth several times, tilting her head at different angles and then smiled. She noticed you could definitely tell something was in her mouth when she opened her mouth, but the splint was clear so it didn't stand out like a beacon.  When she smiled you couldn't see it at all.  She thought to herself this will be manageable.  She talked a little to herself, and noticed she did sound a little different than she was used to.  But on the drive to work she sang along to the radio and realized that singing she sounded completely normal.

She felt a little self conscious that first day back at work, but nobody said anything or really even seemed to notice.  And her jaw didn't hurt for the first time in a long time.  The rest of the week went smoothly.  She adjusted to wearing the splint 24/7.  Eating was an adventure the first few times but within a few days she was even used to that; she just couldn't bite off hunks of meat and had to cut up more of her food.  They had two shows that weekend, and they went well too.  Jamie was able to sing, though out of caution she had a parred down set list and about 75% of the songs were ones Greg sung.  Before the first show that weekend she had showed the boys her new mouth accessory, and while Casey teased her calling her braceface, they didn't make a big deal out of it.  Before both shows she had removed the splint and stowed it in the plastic case Andrea had given her, and then put it back in her mouth at the conclusion of their set. 

As her TMJ appointment approached on Wednesday, she questioned whether she really even needed to go. Her jaw felt fine.  But, Dr. Weaver had told her he wanted to transfer her case to the TMJ department, and she was going to need a follow up appointment to check her splint in a few months.  So, Wednesday morning she found herself in the lobby of the orthodontic department's treatment office. They told her the entire dental department used the same system, so she didn't need to fill out any paperwork or forms, and she could use her same login name and password to sign in before her TMJ appointment.  She arrived a little before 7:30 and signed in.  Feeling like she was a pro at this by now, she didn't even bother to visit the receptionist's window before her name was called.  She followed the assistant  down the hall, where she showed her into a side office.  In the office was an older grey haired gentleman in a white coat.  He introduced himself as Dr. Shroeder and said that he was one of the professors in the department.  He said he had looked at her file and saw that she had TMJ, and was transferring her case over from Dr. Weaver.  He invited Jamie to sit down as he wanted to explain how their orthodontic clinic worked. He explained that he had been a board certified orthodontist for over 30 years, but he did not actively practice on patients anymore.  He said he was now involved in research and was a supervisor at the clinic.  He explained he oversaw and advised their resident interns in the program that were specializing in TMJ, and that Dr. Shaw would be her actual doctor.  He said Dr. Shaw was very good.  He said all of their orthodontic interns had graduated and were board certified, but they were doing one or two year internships to focus on specific concentrations within the orthodontic field.  And with that he said it was time to meet Dr. Shaw.

She followed Dr. Shroeder out to the treatment area and walked up to a chair where a young brunette in scrubs was standing; wearing a mask and black framed glasses. Jamie thought "wow she looks young, is she old enough to be a doctor?"  Dr. Shroeder introduced Jamie to Dr. Shaw, who stuck out her hand and said "Pleashure to meet you", and then Dr. Shroeder continued, telling her in case he did not see her again what a pleasure it had been to meet her, and that she was in good hands with Dr. Shaw.  Dr. Shaw asked Jamie "ready to get shtarted? I need to examine your mouth and jaw" and gestured for Jamie to sit in the chair.  Dr. Shaw asked Jamie to remove her splint, so Jamie put it in her plastic case and into her purse.  For the first part of the exam Dr. Shaw silent peered and poked around in her mouth and asked her to open and close her jaw several times while the doctor put her hands on different areas of her jaw. As they proceeded the doctor made occasional notes on her clipboard. The finale was when Dr. Shaw pulled out a scary looking device she called a "fayshbow".  She told Jamie it would give her some important measurements and wouldn't hurt.  She told Jamie to just relax, and then gently inserted something she called a "bite port" into Jamie's mouth and told her not to bite down.  To Jamie it looked a little like a metal version of her splint, just covered in putty or gum with an assembling coming off the front of it.  Dr. Shaw then picked up the big metal frame and inserted the arms on it into each of her ears.  She asked Jamie to hold the frame while Dr. Shaw adjusted a rod that rested on the bridge of Jamie's nose, then attached the bite port to the frame.  Dr. Shaw told Jamie to let go of the frame and to bite down. Once she did, Dr. Shaw swung the arms out releasing it from her ears, carefully removed the bite port from her mouth, and carefully placed the frame on the counter behind her.  She told Jamie they were done and to please follow her into a treatment coordination room.  As Jamie followed, she noticed Dr. Shaw typing on her phone as they walked, Jamie pulled her splint out of her purse without thinking.  As she slipped it into her mouth, Jamie thought "wow, I guess I am really used to this thing already".

Once in the room they both sat on opposite sides of a wood table.  Dr. Shaw removed her mask and smiled, revealing clear braces on her teeth.  She then began speaking.  "Ms. Shimmons, you have severe TMJ.  I have your x-rays from your appointment lashst week so no need for any additional.  I have however already sscheduled an MRI for you ash soon ash we are finished here.  It won't take but about 30 minutsh.  Regardlessh of what you deshide to do for treatment, ith will be good to have a basheline MRI in your file.  We will do ith at no charge as part of your conshultation.  Evenshually you are going to have to have one, and if you do ith outshide at a private practish it will cosht you several thoushand dollars.  Oncsh I have your MRI and fayshbow results, I will put together some treatment options and have them approved by Dr. Shroeder.  I am going to go ahead and schedule an appointment for you for this Friday at 7:30 if that worksh for you."  Jamie told her it did.  "Greath" said Dr. Shaw, and handed her a couple of sheets of paper.  "Oncsh you get to the MRI departhment, give them theesh.  They are in an adjashent building, and there ith a map there on the backth, it is about a 3 minute walk.  They will be ecshpecting you.".  With that, Dr. Shaw escorted Jamie back to the lobby and said "She you Friday" and flashed Jamie a braces covered smile.


Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #13 on: 26. February 2022, 03:36:00 AM »
Part 8

Friday morning found Jamie back in Dr. Shaw’s office.  After pleasantries were exchanged, Dr. Shaw said she wanted to discuss a few treatment options with her.   Before she did, she ran through some of the exam results, showed her the results of her MRI, and showed her some images of what TMJ joints and disks were supposed to look like.  Much of if was Greek to Jamie, but she got the gist of it; her jaw joints were FUBAR’d.   Dr. Shaw asked Jamie to let her run through the four options she had and hold any questions or concerns until the end of each.  She said she had also developed a treatment plan that she recommended, and she would review it with Jamie at the end.  She added that the plan had been approved by Dr. Schroeder, who had more than 30 years experience working with TMJ cases.

Dr Shaw began “you basically have four options at this time.  First, you do nothing.  You quit wearing your splint right now and let nature take its course.  And over the next few months and years you will find yourself suffering more and more debilitating pain as your TMJ joints continue to deteriorate.  Eventually, it may be 2 years, it may be 4 years, if you are lucky 10 years, your only option will be braces, jaw surgery, and disk replacement. And you will probably beg to do it, because you will be miserable.  Because once your disks are worn away, you will be on a largely liquid diet, you will have frequent headaches, and talking will be agony.  In short, you will have real difficulty functioning in day to day life.  I am not trying to scare you, just be blunt and honest.  Do you have any questions?”

Jamie said no, but than added that doing nothing did not sound like a very attractive option.  Dr. Shaw agreed that it was not.

“Second”, Dr. Shaw said “is to continue your current splint therapy, wearing a splint 24/7.  You seem to be doing fine with it right now, and you said your jaw has not been hurting since you got it.  But the splint will not fix your underlying problem.  A splint will only slow the deterioration.  I can’t accurately say how much or how quickly.  It might slow it to a crawl for good, or this might just be a speed bump and it might pick up speed again.  You will have to continue somewhat frequent followups, and it is almost a certainty we will have to fabricate progressively larger and more obtrusive splints, possibly even both upper and lower splints,  to keep things at bay.  These larger and more obtrusive splints will impact your speech and eating.  If you noticed my horrible lisp yesterday, that is where you are headed.  I wear a removable palate expander with a tongue guard, which by the way I removed before our appointment so you can understand me, and so I understand it can be socially awkward having a noticeable lisp.  I laugh it off and take solace that mine is only temporary.  In your case, once you reach a level where you need a large enough splint, your’s will be permanent or until you have surgery.  And there is a very good chance that somewhere down the road you will need surgery.  So, just like option one, you will need braces, jaw surgery, and disk replacement.  What splint therapy will do is buy you some time, but it also will not fix the underlying problem, or likely change the eventual outcome of needing surgery”.

Jamie said that didn’t sound all that great either, but she did have a few questions.  The first was what time frame they were looking at.  Dr. Shaw said she couldn’t predict that.  It could be 6 months, it could be 6 years, it might be 20 years. She asked how much splint therapy would cost.  She said it would cost around $200 on average per follow up visit, with 2 to 4 per year depending how things where progressing.  Each new splint would be $400 to $800.  She said there were a lot of variables that she couldn’t predict, and this was just a very rough estimate,  but 10 years of splint therapy would likely cost $6,000 to $10,000 at minimum, and could be more.  And she again reminded her it would not fix the problem.  Jamie repeated that this didn’t sound like a great option either.

Dr. Shaw said “the third option is braces and orthognathic jaw surgery right now.  The cause of your problem, deteriorating joints, is in layman's terms the result of your lower jaw sitting too far back and angling down too much, putting too much pressure on the joints.  We would put braces on your upper and lower arches for about a year, then surgery would move your lower jaw forward and position it in the correct position, your jaws would be wired together for about 6 weeks while you healed, then you would be in braces about 6 more months.  With surgery now, we preserve what you have left of your disks.   They are damaged but not past the point of no return.  This should then stop the deterioration and fix the problem, likely avoiding the need for double disk replacement like options one and two.  Any questions”.

Jamie said she didn’t like this option either.  She said she didn’t know if she could go through braces considering what she did for a living.  Dr. Shaw asked her what that was.  Jamie told her about waitressing, but then said the real issue was she was also a singer.  She said she didn’t think she could have braces and continue to be in a band.  Dr. Shaw said “nonsense, there are several stars in this town that have had braces; Sara Evans, Leeann Womack, Carrie Underwood, and Faith Hill to name a few; they had braces and did just fine.  I am sure you would too.  By the way, what band are you in?”  When Jamie told her, Dr. Shaw’s eye’s lit up.  “Wow, you guys are awesome.  I have seen you play several times.  I thought you looked familiar but I couldn’t but my finger on it”.  Jamie responded to Dr. Shaw that all the people she had just mentioned had already made it as stars when they got braces; she said she was still trying to climb that mountain and didn’t think having braces would help.  Plus, she said she was sure she couldn’t afford if anyway.  She asked Dr. Shaw the cost.  She responded that a ‘simple’ 18 month regiment of braces there at the university would be around $3,000; from a private practice around twice that.  She said the cost of the surgery, once everything was tallied, would run $25,000 to $30,000.  Jamie responded that this was not an option at all.

“Option four” Dr. Shaw said, “and the one I recommend, is non surgical orthodontic treatment.  I would fit you with upper and lower braces.  You have the option of clear” and Dr. Shaw smiled and pointed to her upper teeth “metal” and pointed to her bottom teeth “or clear uppers and metal lowers, just like I have. This is what I recommend for most adult patients; I feel it is the best combination of aesthetics and functionality.  However, and many patients have echoed this, by this point in my treatment I would be fine with all metal.  But starting out a lot of patients want to go with a little less noticeable option.”  She then smiled again at Jamie.  “Some orthodontists would consider you to be a surgical case only, but I am confident we can do what we need to do with braces, functional appliances, and extraoral anchorage.  It will be a longer process than the surgical route, probably 36 months or so.  But you will end up with healthy joints, no TMJ, and a beautiful smile to boot.  Any questions?”

Jamie asked if invisalign was an option.  Dr. Shaw said it was not.  Dr. Shaw said Invisalign could move and straighten teeth, but it could not address the functional aspects she needed.  Jamie then asked the cost.  Dr. Shaw said that a treatment plan like she just recommended would normally cost around $4,000 at the university. She said that is a good price, about half of what it “should” cost.  But she was saving this last part for her grand finale.  She said “Right now I can do it for free.  We are looking for additional volunteers to be part of a clinical study that is currently underway .  And participants in the trial get their treatment at no charge.  I would strongly encourage you to take advantage of this.  You are going to eventually need braces.  And if you don’t do it right now you will also likely need surgery.  So please, go and get the problem fixed.  It will take three years.  You are young and there is no reason to spend the next ten years in pain just to end up in braces and facing surgery.  Braces are not that bad.  I have had mine since my second year of dental school, and am still looking at at least another year.  Yes, I am in the dental field, but I am still a vain 29 year old woman.  And it really is not that bad”.

Jamie told her this seemed like a bad dream, and told her this was a lot of information to process. She said she would have to think about it.  But she repeated that she wasn’t sure she had the courage or confidence to get up on stage with braces.

Dr. Shaw said she understood the desire to think about it.  But she said Jamie was a rockstar up there on a stage, she had seen it first hand, and would be whether she had braces or not.  In the meantime, Dr. Shaw said she was going to schedule a appointment to check her splint and joints in three months.  She finished by saying she really hoped she would get to cancel it when Jamie started orthodontic treatment.


Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Story - And the Beat Goes On
« Reply #14 on: 26. February 2022, 06:03:41 AM »
Part 9.

The next couple of days Jamie thought about everything Dr. Shaw had said before she made up her mind.  For now, she was going to stick with the splint.  It didn’t really bother her, and her jaw was not bothering her.  She told herself she would reconsider if things took a turn for the worse.  While being honest with herself, she realized she should go ahead and get braces and fix it now.  But the idea of getting up on stage and singing with a mouth full of braces struck terror in her heart. Friday morning she want ahead and called the orthodontic office and asked them to tell Dr. Shaw that at least for the time being, she was going to continue on the splint therapy path.

They had a gig that Friday night.  It went ok, but it was a few notches below their normal upbeat raucous show.  Greg’s father had passed away two days previously.  He had pulled himself together enough to play that night, but he was definitely off his game.  The rest of them tried what they could to cheer him up, and take up any slack they could.  They knew it was hard on him, he was burying his dad the next day.  They had also cancelled their Saturday gig and called around till they found another band they knew that was free and could fill in for them; they didn’t want to get a reputation as an undependable band.  Because of the funeral Jamie had gotten someone to cover her shift on Saturday. Of course Jamie and the other guys were planning on attending the funeral and the graveside service the next day.

The next day, after the conclusion of the sad and somber event, Jamie found herself alone in her apartment at 3:30 pm with no place to go and nothing to do.  She found it exhilarating.  She could not remember the last time she could just “do nothing” on a Saturday.  Her boyfriend was working another Saturday nightshift, so she was on her own for the evening. While some might feel the need to go blow it out on a Saturday, she had the urge to do the opposite - lay on the couch in sweats and watch netflix. Around 5, she realized she did need to do something for supper.  She didn’t want to ruin her lazy evening cooking, and she was craving tacos.  She wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted; beef, chicken, shrimp, or steak; nor how many; so she decided she would head over there and look at the menu.  She could place a carryout order and have a drink at the bar while she waited. 

After she had walked through the door and was headed to the bar, she heard a feminine voice to her right call out “Ms. Shimmons”.  She turned and saw Dr. Shaw sitting at a table waiving at her.  Beside her was a tall blond that Jamie thought was Andrea, the headgear wearing assistant from the dentist office.  She thought it was her, but wasn’t 100% sure as she looked so different.  Jamie had only seen her in scrubs, and only gotten a brief look at her unmade face and with her hair covered.  This evening she was not wearing headgear, but WAS wearing a slit red dress that showed stunning legs leading down to high heels.  She had her blond hair fixed up in a curly bob haircut, her makeup looked flawless, and her bright red lipstick matched her dress.  She looked like something out of a magazine or Hollywood carpet.   Dr. Shaw was also dressed differently, wearing a white long sleeve dress that ended around her knees and brown cowboy boots.  She had her brunette hair in a messy updo and she was wearing dangly gold earrings.  She too looked like she was ready to break hearts.  Each of them had a margarita in front of them.

Jamie walked over.  Dr. Shaw said “Ms, Shimmons, ith good to see you.  Let me introdush you to my fren Andrea”.  Andrea said “actually we have met before, Ms. Simmons was the best patient I had last week.  It is good to see you Ms. Simmons.”   Jamie replied “Please, ya’ll, call me Jamie”. Dr. Shaw said “deal, as long ash you call me Olivia”.  They asked her what she was doing, and she told them she was there to place a carry out order.  Olivia asked her, if she didn’t have some place to be, to please grab a seat and then pulled out one of the two empty chairs at their table.   Olivia asked her to at least let her buy her a drink if she wanted, it was the least she could do after the bad news she had given her the other morning.  She then also invited her to join them for dinner.   She said they had just ordered their food and she would love to buy her dinner as well.  It felt a little awkward, and Jamie asked them if she was sure.  Olivia said “of coursh, pleash sit down.  We may bore you with our convershation, ith will moshtly revolve around men and teeth.  But pleash, sit down and have a margarita, they are greath here.”  Jamie thought what the heck and joined them.