Vicki Hooks
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The Milwaukee Brace
By Vicki

Chapter 4

The Dinner

When I got home I realized that I had worn my brace for almost eight hours. I actually was starting to get used to it and it didn’t bother me quite as much. I was just about to take my brace off when the phone rang.

“Hi Kim,” Dan said. “How are you doing?”

“Well you might not believe this but I have had my brace on for almost eight hours. I went to the mall today with my friend Jan. It was a little scary to be out in public. I got the feeling most people noticed that I had a brace on. They have to look closely to see my throat mold and neck ring but I am sure they did,” I explained.

“That’s true. They tend to notice more so when you bend over or have to do something that is not easy in a Milwaukee brace. How about dinner tonight? I can pick you up.”

“Sure. I can’t wait to get out of this brace anyway,” I said.

“Hmmm. Why don’t you wear it. That way you can up your hours. I thought you wanted to reach 23 hours,” Dan said.

“Well I guess so. I suppose I could wear a dress over it. I don’t have any skirts that fit at the moment. I don’t want to go out in sweat pants.” That evoked a laugh from Dan.

“Okay, I will be there around six.”

I thought about taking my brace off, but decided to tough it out. I was just about to change when Dan arrived.

“Hi Kim, you still have your brace on I see. Before we go I think I should raise your neck ring to the proper height. Remember, I set it lower than normal.”

I was a bit shocked at the thought of having the neck ring even higher but agreed.

“You don’t even need to take your brace off. I can do one bar at a time just with a screw driver. You will have to take off your clothes.”

I undressed and then Dan unscrewed the screws that held my front 1 ¼ inch wide bar. He placed the top screw one hole higher and loosely tightened it. He repeated this for the remaining two screws and tightened them all. I could tell immediately that the neck ring has higher in front. The occipital pads were now too low. He repeated the steps for each of the ¾ inch wide bars that ran from the neck ring down my back to my pelvic girdle. I just couldn’t imagine how raising the ring so slightly could make such a difference. I could barely move my head.

“It’s so tight Dan. Is this really the right position?”

“Yes it is. You will get used to it. You have had it too easy. You should not be able to move your head to the extent that you have been able to,” Dan explained.

“I hope I can stand this,” I protested.

“You will. Once you go 23 hours a day for a week or so you will feel much more comfortable.”

“You are assuming that I intend to go 23 hours,” I said. “I have a job after all.

“You are hooked on this. Deep down you want to experience what your girlfriend did in high school. Nothing says you can’t wear your brace to work.”

“You are enjoying this aren’t you?” I asked.

“Well kind of. You do look really sexy in that brace.” We both laughed.

I couldn’t believe that I had agreed to go out to dinner wearing my brace. The new and higher position of my neck ring was very uncomfortable. I went into my bedroom and found the dress I wanted to wear. It was a short black sleeveless style. It was very stretchy fabricate and not tight fitting. There was no zipper. I could just put it on over my head. I wanted to wear pantyhose and my five inch heels. I tried to put on my pantyhose and found that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t reach my feet. I called Dan.

“Can you help me put on my pantyhose. I can’t reach my feet,” I explained..

“Sure Kim,” Dan said.

He slipped my feet into the legs and gently pulled them up to above my knees. I was then able to reach them and pull them up the rest of the way. Since my brace was on I couldn’t get the pantyhose under it so I just pulled them up over the brace. The panty part stretched enough to do that. I slipped the heels on by stepping into them and went to touch up my makeup. I was missing something. I took a look in the mirror and saw the front bar of my brace. My dress had a scoop neck and quite a bit of the bar could be seen and of course my throat mold. I really needed something around my neck. I got a lovely gold chain and threaded it behind the two bars at the back of my neck ring and behind that enormous bar in front. It made me look a tiny bit better. I spritzed some perfume on and went out to the living room. So many things were really difficult or impossible to do with my brace on.

“Wow! You look gorgeous,” Dan said.

“Even with my ugly neck?”

“Absolutely,” Dan replied.

We headed for the restaurant. I was acutely aware of my higher neck ring. My back was so rigid from my hips to my head. We went into the restaurant and I knew people wondered what the ring around my neck was and why there was a wide metal bar running down between my breasts. We were led to a table and Dan helped me get seated. It took some effort for me to get comfortable. I could not rest on the chair back as it forced me to lay back and look up at the ceiling. I had to sit straight up unsupported. I could not look down at the table unless my chair was a little further back than normal and I bent at the hips. I had to hold the menu up to read it.

We ordered drinks and looked over the menu. Eating and drinking in my brace was quite different than it was when I could bend. I had to bring everything up high since I was forced to always look straight ahead. Nevertheless we had a nice meal.

“You are doing really well in your brace even with the higher neck ring,” Dan said.

“I guess I will get used to it. It feels a little better now,” I said.

“Good,” Dan replied.

“One thing I don’t like is not being able to rest my back on the chair,” I complained.

“Well that’s typical for Milwaukee brace wearers. The brace is supporting your back and the straighter you sit up the more comfortable you will be,” Dan said.

“I don’t have much choice do I?”

“No you don’t,” Dan replied as we both laughed. “You are starting to learn more of how your friend in school must have felt.”

I certainly agreed.

After Dan left that night I got undressed. I managed to get the pantyhose off by yanking them. I also got off my bra. After removing my makeup and earrings I slipped on my nightie. I was so tired I figured I might be able to sleep in my brace. The only confortable position was flat on my back with my head resting on the occipital pads. I fell asleep quickly. I was really tired.

The Next Morning

When I woke up the next morning I immediately realized I had my brace on. It was so confining. I thought of my friend at school waking up like this every day for three years. I removed my nightie, brace, tank top and panties and headed for the shower. It felt a bit strange having so much freedom of movement. I shaved my legs and took a long hot shower. I brushed my teeth and prepared to get dresses. I was due for my period and inserted a tampon. I then put on my panties, bra and a clean tank top. I was reluctant to get back into my Milwaukee brace but I was resolved to do it. Before I did, I put on a pair of socks and sneakers. After my brace was back on I out on a pair of shorts that had an elastic waist band and a sleeveless top that barely covered my brace. Once again I felt the confinement of the brace and that damn neck ring holding my head up. I put on some makeup and a pair of earrings, my watch and rings. It was then that it occurred to me that I had worn my brace for 23 hours the day before. Could I do it again? It was Sunday and I had another 24 hours before I had to go to work.

I needed to do some grocery shopping and considered keeping my brace on. I looked in the mirror and could see that because of the neck line of my top that a considerable length of my front bar was visible and of course my neck ring and throat mold. I made a quick breakfast, grabbed my purse and headed for me car. Driving was yet another challenge because of my limited neck movement. I had to use the mirrors rather than turning my heads around. I was very careful and didn’t have a lot of trouble. I got out and headed into the supermarket. Shopping was not hard except when I had to get something on a low shelf. I was able to get down on one knee and bend over enough to reach the items I wanted. I headed for the checkout with my cart.

“That looks really uncomfortable,” the checker said noting that I couldn’t bend over except at my hips. ”How far does that bar go?”

“All the way down to here,” I said pointing to the bottom just above my pubic bone. “I have two more bars in back that attach to my neck ring. They attach to a rigid pelvic girdle that runs from just below my breasts to my hips. It is fastened by three straps. It is like a shell around me.” I pulled my hair back to show her the two bars in back.

“Do you have to wear that all the time?” she asked being very curious.

“I wear it 23 hours a day. The only time I am out of it is when I bathe,” I explained. It wasn’t a lie since I really did have it on for the past 23 hours.

“I hope you don’t mind the fact that I asked.”

“No it’s okay,” I replied as I paid.

When I got home I put away the groceries. It seemed like my brace wasn’t bothering me as much as I thought it should. I guess I was adapting. I guess my body was adapting to being completely rigid from the hips to my head. Even the slight back pain had experienced occasionally seemed to be gone. I was even a bit less aware of the neck ring, but it was still a constant reminder that I had the brace on. The worst part was not that I couldn’t bend, but that I couldn’t look down. I went into the bathroom, used the toilet and removed my tampon. It was showing a little blood and I knew I had my period. I inserted a fresh one and placed a panty liner in my panties just to be on the safe side.

I spent the rest of the day doing chores and after I made myself some dinner I watched TV until it was time for bed. I made it through another night in my brace. The next morning I had the satisfaction of knowing that I was able to wear my brace for 46 out of the last 48 hours. Could I do this 23/7? I had to go to work and so that was not an option at this point.

For some totally inexplicable reason I couldn’t wait to get back into my brace when I got home from work. I had no difficulty sleeping that night and had gone another 16 hours in my brace. I did that every day until the next weekend. I was so excited that I had over 48 hours where I could wear my brace full time.

Next, Kim meets the women Dan mentioned who is a double above the elbow amputee hook user. Will Kim go full time in her brace?

Chapter 5

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