Braced for Life
by Vicki

At age 22 I graduated from college with a degree in advertising. My roommate Sue had done the same. We were very close throughout school. When we graduated she went to one city and I to another about 35 miles away. We both obtained jobs that we thought were great. Unfortunately I hated my job. I was more of a secretary than an advertising professional. I saw little advancement ahead and was becoming really miserable. I spoke to Sue on the phone almost every day. She loved her job and the firm was first class. I longed for her success. One day Sue called and was very excited. She said that there was a job opening at her firm that would fit me to a tee. She said that there was one minor problem with my getting the position, but that she knew a way around it. She didn’t want to discuss it over the phone and asked if I could come see her over the weekend. I left Saturday morning and drove to Sue’s place and planned to stay overnight as I often did. Little did I know that this was to be the start of a major shift in my life. When I arrived and we finally got down to business Sue told me about the job. It was ideal for me.

"So what's the little hitch Sue?" I asked.

"Look Beth, my company is looking for a handicapped person to fill this position. It involves dealing with a major firm that is in an industry that services the disabled community. They feel that they will have a better chance landing this large contract if they have a disabled person on the staff."

"Come on Sue, I am not the least bit handicapped," I said.

"You could pretend to be handicapped. If you did it right no one would know."

"This is crazy. What kind of disability would be required?" I asked. "Like a limp or something?"

"Beth my dear, they want something a little more obvious. At first I thought you could use a wheelchair and that would be okay, but then I realized that anyone could fake using a wheelchair. This position is very much in demand, and some people would go to any length to secure it."

I was flabbergasted. I had no idea what Sue had in mind.

"My boyfriend Ron is an orthotist," Sue continued. "An orthotist is someone who makes orthopedic braces. I spoke to Ron and he said that if you wore leg braces you would never be suspected of not being truly handicapped."

I had never heard of an orthotist, My initial reaction was one of shock.

"Sue, you must be joking. No job is worth that much. I'm not going to hobble around on crutches."

"Beth, please lets talk about this. It won't really be as bad as you think. Think of all the special attention you will get from people."

Sue and I talked about this crazy idea for several more hours. Sue became more and more convincing and I reluctantly agreed to see Ron. We met Ron after his shop closed. I was really shaken when I saw all the braces and artificial limbs in the shop. I was thankful that Sue hadn’t suggested that I chop off a leg or an arm. I must have been bonkers to even consider this scheme. Ron said that he would make me a pair of long leg braces as a favor to Sue. He was really interested in a long term relationship with her.

"Well what do I do?" I asked Ron.

"Beth I want you to strip down to your bra and panties."

"Huh? Are you some kind of pervert? I thought these things were for my legs?"

"Yes Beth, but I also need to measure you up above your hips. To be accurate I need a perfect match to your body without clothing in the way," Ron said.

Reluctantly I submitted to being measured. Ron took all kinds of measurements including tracings of my legs all the way up beyond my hips. Here I was in my bra, panties and pantyhose with someone I didn’t really know measuring me all around. Sue said that Ron was a professional and had to do this all the time.

"Beth, I am making you a pair of long leg braces that are attached to a pelvic band," Ron said. "There will be locks on the knees and the hips. When you stand, you will not be able to bend your knees or your hips. That will make you walk very convincingly as a severely handicapped woman. In fact you will actually be very handicapped while wearing your braces. Forget about climbing stairs or using the escalator. Even curbs will be a challenge. Sitting down and then getting up again will not be easy."

I just couldn’t believe what was going on. I had seen people using braces and crutches and they all seemed to have a great deal of difficulty. The thought of being unable to bend my knees or hips for long periods of time scared me. I remember pictures of polio children of the fifties trying to walk in those heavy braces. I remember the little girl in her cute dress standing in her braces and crutches as someone stood by her and asked for contributions.

I was about to give up this ridiculous charade, but Sue pleaded with me.

"Beth, think how great it would be to work together at a great company."

Finally I agreed to continue. Ron helped me select a pair of orthopedic shoes to be attached to the braces.

"There go my three inch heels," I said as I looked at the heavy laced shoes. They were high tops and actually came slightly above my ankles. Ron said he would work on the braces during the week and they would be ready the following weekend. I had no idea what they would look like or what I would look like in them. I was to find out soon enough. I returned to Sue’s place the following weekend. I was full of apprehension.

"Come on Beth, it might be sort of fun. Besides, you would only have to do this during work," Sue said.

Little did I know that that would be far from the case. We went to Ron’s shop for the fitting. Once again I stripped down to my bra and panties. I was not quite as embarrassed this time around. I almost stormed out of the shop when I first saw my braces. The braces looked like an instrument of torture.

"I want to explain these to you Beth," Ron said. "The braces are attached to your shoes by means of stirrups. The stirrup is riveted between the heel and sole of the shoe. The stirrups are attached to the ankle joints right here. Yours are what we call limited motion with a toe pickup. Your ankles will only move a few degrees in each direction and your feet will always be forced to snap back into one position. The lower uprights continue up to the knee joints. Here at mid calf is the calf cuff and its buckles. The knee joints are special. See these little sliding box like things? They are the drop locks. When your leg is straightened the drop locks slip down over the small extensions of the lower uprights. They prevent all motion at the knees. The upper uprights have two thigh cuffs on each brace. They are similar to the calf cuffs except they are bigger. If you had standard long leg braces they would end at your crotch and just below the hip. In your case we wanted to debilitate you even more and so we added the pelvic band and hip locks. I know the pelvic band looks heavy, and it is. It needs to be to prevent any bending at the hips. The outer uprights thus go all the way up to above your hips. The pelvic band must be buckled very tightly."

"Why couldn't I just wear one regular leg brace?" I pleaded. "Why two and why do I have to be so crippled? Wouldn't I look handicapped enough with one brace? Maybe then I could walk without crutches. I don't see how I could walk without crutches with these things."

Sue and Ron looked at each other and smiled. I really didn't know why they did that. I would find out eventually.

"Let's just say that Sue and I discussed it and we felt you would be more convincing this way. You definitely could walk without crutches with only one leg brace. With two, and especially with your pelvic band and hip locks, there is no way you could walk without crutches regardless of how hard you tried. You will also use knee pads on each knee and a tee strap at each ankle. The knee pads are required and the tee straps add a little more support at the ankles," Ron added. "We could add a back brace attached to your leg braces if you want --- just kidding. As it is you pretty much have maxed out long leg braces." I didn't think it was funny, not at all.

I just couldn’t believe that I was actually going to try these things on, no less try to walk in them. Ron laced the shoes and buckled the calf and two thigh straps. He then slipped the pelvic band around my waist and strapped it tight. He also strapped the knee pads at the knee joints. I still couldn’t believe what was going on. I reached down and felt the metal uprights, the leather work and the knee pads. I fiddled with the drop locks and saw that they slid up and down very easily.

"Now we begin your training," Ron said. "Walking will not be easy. Before we start with crutches I want you to use the parallel bars."

Ron and Sue helped me up. As I stood, the drop locks on my knees and my hips dropped into place. I could not bend at all. Although my knee and hip muscles were normal, with the locks in place they were essentially useless. My ankles weren’t much use either as the ankle joints only had a few degrees of motion. I couldn’t stand without help. I would have fallen over if Ron and Sue had not helped me. At this point I was so numb with the turn of events that I just continued to do what Ron said. I had no idea where this was going to lead. I stood between the parallel bars and held on for dear life. Little by little I was taught how I could lift myself slightly and swing my legs forward using my abdominal muscles. This was really difficult. Eventually I could maneuver along the parallel bars.

"You mean I actually am expected to wear these things all day?" I protested. "I don't think I will be able to walk at all."

"With practice you will Beth," Ron said. "Of course it will always be difficult to get around, but you will get used to it. Eventually you will pretty much forget what it's like to walk normally."

"But I will only be wearing these for work," I protested

"Oh yeah, of course," Ron said, again with a funny smile.

Next we started on crutch training. Ron brought over a pair of forearm crutches and adjusted them. At least I could stand and keep my balance with these. With a lot of help I started to use the crutches. It was very difficult, but after another couple of hours I could walk around the room pretty well. I had a lot to learn. I needed to know how to open doors and negotiate through the doorway while braced. Ron told Sue that the best thing would be for me to practice the next day and for a few days following. I had taken a couple of days off from my present job to stay with Sue. I was all set to leave and take the braces off, but Ron said no. He wanted to show me how to get in and out of a car. With Sue’s help I was able to unlock the hip locks and lower myself down into the seat. I was then shown how to unlock the knees and lift my legs into the car. Sue and I drove home. Fortunately she lived on the first floor and I did not have to climb any stairs. Sue made me keep the braces on the rest of the evening while we watched TV.

"You will need to wear your braces for 10 or more hours a day, so you better get used to them."

I shuddered at the thought. I didn’t know how I would stand them for even a few hours each day. How could I work this way? I couldn’t even cross my legs. Finally Sue let me take off the horrible things and freshen up for bed.

Sue had planned a major outing the next day. When we got up I showered and put on my bra, panties, and pantyhose. Next came the braces. Sue helped me out, but eventually I would be able to do it myself. I felt very helpless. She also helped me put on a sweater and skirt. I wanted to wear jeans to hide the braces, but Sue insisted I wear a skirt. At that time I had no idea what her motives were. The skirt was not that easy to get on. All my skirts were about five inches above the knee and I realized that very little of my braces would be hidden from the public eye. Sue helped me stand up like Ron had taught. I had to stretch my legs out so the locks would fall into place. Sue cautioned me to make sure I did this by lifting my leg with my arms. People would notice if I just stretched my leg out. I was not supposed to have any muscle movement in my legs or hips. Sue handed me my crutches. I pushed myself up using the crutches. As I forced myself upright, I heard the distinct click as the hip locks dropped into place. I was completely rigid below the waist. We went down to the car and I was once again able to get in with a lot of help from Sue.

We drove to a large local mall. I got out of the car and stood up. Once again with a little help from Sue. Was I really going to go through with this? We slowly walked across the parking lot to the mall. I had to move both legs together because of the hip locks. I learned what is called the "swing through gait." It was a lot of work, but I did it. I had to get up over the curb. There was no handicap curb cut where we wanted to enter. It took me a few anxious moments to get up over the curb. I needed to put one crutch on the sidewalk and lift my whole body up. I sort of felt proud that I actually did it without falling. We entered the mall. I felt as if every eye was on me.

"I should have worn slacks or at least a longer skirt. I feel so naked."

"Beth, you want to dress as you normally do. Just because you are handicapped doesn’t mean you have to look frumpy."

"I am NOT handicapped," I replied.

"Well you could have fooled me," Sue said jokingly.

Of course I really was handicapped at the moment and I would be so for the remainder of the day. I couldn’t very well take the braces off in public and just walk out. Wearing a skirt was actually better than slacks as it allowed me to easily reach the knee locks on my braces. Eventually, when I felt less self conscious, I realized Sue was right. I always dressed exactly as I would had I been able bodied. I loved skirts and rarely wore slacks. Of course I wore dresses on occasion, including my daring cocktail dresses. I wonder what people thought when they eventually saw me in my very short black cocktail dresses and those big ugly braces covering my legs. I was a little concerned with those dresses as I knew the lower thigh bands of my braces could be seen clearly. But I said that it was their problem and not mine. Why shouldn’t I wear what I wanted?

I know that people were probably saying, "That poor girl, being so handicapped at her age." For the first hour or so I really had a lot of trouble getting around and I felt incredibly self conscious. Every thing we did was difficult. I was exhausted. Just trying to walk around a store was difficult. The racks of clothing made it difficult to pass between them. I needed a lot more room than an able bodied person. It was very hard work. We spent almost the entire day at that and two other malls. By the end of the day I was starting to get used to the braces and crutches. In a funny kind of way it started to feel normal. At points I almost forgot I was handicapped. Sue and I got so involved in shopping for clothes and lingerie. Sue had me try on some clothes including some attractive bras. Sue tried on some panties, but I was not able to do that without taking off my braces. That would have been a lot of work. My pantyhose were over my panties and the pantyhose were under my braces. Instead I just made the purchase and hoped they would fit. Using the ladies room was something else. I had to pee so badly that I was willing to do anything. I finally was able to sit on the toilet and get my pantyhose and panties down far enough to urinate. Without Sue’s help I would have had more difficulty. Fortunately there was a handicap stall with plenty of room. Even so it took almost 15 minutes to accomplish this task. Sue said that some handicapped women have no bladder control and need to wear adult diapers. The thought of peeing in my pants really turned me off. However, I was able to use the ladies room and wouldn’t need an adult diaper.

We finally left the mall. I was exhausted. I was looking forward to removing my braces and stretching my legs. However, that was not to be. Sue would not let me remove my braces until just before bed.

"Beth, you have to get used to your braces."

When I finally did remove them I started to walk to the bathroom. I immediately fell down. Since my leg and hip muscles had been used only for a short period over the last 24 hours, and not at all over the last 14 hours, it took a few minutes for them to respond. I wasn’t prepared for that event.

The next weekend I went back to Sue’s and we practiced for two days straight. We went everywhere, to the movies, shopping, and out to dinner at some really nice restaurants. Everywhere I went I felt the stares, but I was getting used to it. Since people went out of their way to be helpful, holding doors etc., I actually started to enjoy the attention I was getting. I also felt a lot more comfortable with my handicap. While I could never forget it, it was becoming less intrusive. I said to myself, "If this job is as good as it sounds I might just be able to live with this pretense."

On Monday I went in with Sue for the job interview. I was very nervous as I crutched into the head of personnel. She was expecting a severely handicapped woman and so there was not a hint of surprise. Sue had told her all about me. The company instantly liked me and, of course, my handicap was an asset rather than a liability. I got the job. The fact that I had just sentenced myself to a very different life at work didn’t seem to diminish my excitement at this great job opportunity. I had to give notice to my present employer, but I would start in two weeks. During this time I practiced walking with my braces on whenever I got the chance. I planned on moving in with Sue. Her former roommate had left and she was desperate for someone to share the rent. I moved all my stuff in with Sue the next weekend. The lease on my apartment was up in two months and so I just got hit with one months extra rent as I had paid for a month in advance when I signed the lease almost a year ago.

My first day at my new job was great. I was introduced to everyone. By this time I was getting used to wearing the braces and they weren’t bothering me as much as they did at first. Of course, I would never really get used to them. My office was equipped with special furniture to make it easier for me. A representative went out of her way to show me the ladies room with its very special handicap equipped stall. It was extra large and there were nice bars to help in getting onto and off of the toilet. I knew I would really appreciate this. Urinating was still a major operation. Just sitting on the toilet and getting the braces unlocked was difficult. I was still having trouble with my panties and pantyhose, but I was getting better. I was a bit shaken when I was introduced to the secretary I would share. Her name was Anne. She was in her early twenties and confined to a wheelchair. She had been in a car accident a couple of years earlier. She was so excited to meet me. She said she admired me for getting around with braces and crutches. She said she tried and it was too difficult. She wanted desperately to become friendly so we could share our methods of dealing with our handicaps. I really felt guilty. However, we eventually became great friends and would go out shopping frequently. I felt really good when I was with Anne. She was so full of life and my presence made her less self conscious. We were just two severely disabled young women making the best of it. It was great to be able to exchange stories of funny situations we got into when dealing with our handicaps. When we were together we would help each other out. Even though I had difficulty getting through doors, if I got through I could hold the door for Anne. She really couldn’t help me much except that we could carry items we purchased in the bag attached to the back of her chair. That was a real help because it is very hard to carry even a small package when using crutches.

When I got home I took the braces off and sighed with relief. Other than the 40 hours a week I worked. I lived the rest of my time as an able bodied person. However, I started to know more and more people in the area from work. One day I went into the office and another girl, Amy, spoke to me privately.

"Beth, do you have a twin sister? I saw a girl who looked just like you in a local store. I knew it wasn’t you because --- I don't know how to say this --- she was normal."

I was shocked. Of course I knew it was actually me, but she didn’t. I said that I didn’t have a twin, but wasn’t it interesting that someone looked just like me. I didn’t know what to say. All the way home from work I kept thinking about how many people I might meet that knew me.

When I got home that night Sue and I talked the situation over.

"You know Beth, every time you go out able bodied you run the risk of bumping into someone you know. That would really be embarrassing, not to mention losing your job. I guess you will have to go out wearing your braces and using your crutches."

I wasn’t happy about this prospect, but I agreed that I would have to do it to maintain the cover. I was happy I decided to do this. I did in fact meet people quite often while out with Sue or by myself. The few more hours I spent in braces wasn’t the end of the world.

I was falling into a pattern, but not that uncomfortable. At least I was able to go without my braces while at home. I did start to feel a bit weak after removing my braces. Since I never used my leg or hip muscles, they were not in good shape. I found that I didn’t walk around a lot at home. One night a friend from the office dropped in to say hi. She came unannounced. Sue and I did not have time to react. When she came in she found me sitting on the couch without my braces. She immediately noticed something different and commented.

"Beth, I don't think I have ever seen you without your braces. How do you get around?"

I didn’t know what to say. Sue thought quick on her feet.

"Beth uses a wheelchair when at home. It is a lot easier for her to get around."

Of course there was no wheelchair in sight. Sue thought quick again.

"I moved it into the bedroom while I was vacuuming the carpet." "Oh, that explains it," Amy replied

We got Amy out of there as quick as we could making up some excuse.

"Beth, we have to get you a wheelchair as soon as possible. Ron can help."

I was shaken once again. From braces to a wheelchair. Would this ever end?

The next day the three of us went to a medical supply house Ron dealt with. The sales people were very helpful. Of course I was wearing my braces and they knew the chair was for me. I purchased a late model portable chair. It was black in color and had plastic spoked wheels. For a wheelchair it was actually quite attractive. I had seen many of these used by young handicapped people. Sometimes they removed the arm rests. The arm rests were removable by a snap pin arrangement. We brought it home in the trunk of Sue’s car. I really thought it would just be displayed for people who dropped by and caught me without my braces on. Unfortunately, Sue and I started to have more and more people dropping by. I wound up using the wheelchair a lot more than I wanted to. This kept me off my feet for many more hours than I wanted. Sometimes I wouldn’t be able to walk normally at all from the time I got up until the time I went to bed. When I did walk normally I continued to find that I got tired almost immediately and was starting to limp. I found that I was actually starting to use the wheelchair out of convenience. I would wheel into the kitchen to get a drink or snack.

"Beth, why don't you just get up and walk to the kitchen?" Sue asked.

I didn’t know what to say. I realized that walking was getting more and more difficult.

After a month at my new job Sue dropped the bomb. I now knew what her true motives were in getting me into braces.

"Well Beth I think it is time I came clean with you," Sue said.

"Whatever do you mean?" I asked.

"Wait a moment. I will be right back."

A minute later Sue came back carrying a pair of long leg braces. These didn't have a pelvic band, but otherwise looked like mine.

"Huh? Why do you have another pair of braces?" I asked completely astonished.

"They're mine Beth," Sue said.

"Yours? You don't need or wear braces Sue."

"Oh, but I do," Sue said with a big smile.

"I don't get it Sue."

"Well after I met Ron he confessed to me that he was a devotee of women in braces. At first I was shocked, but he explained. He convinced me to let him make me a pair of braces. At first I wore them periodically just to turn him on. However, I started to get turned on myself. Now I really get off wearing braces and displaying them in public, especially with Ron. When we go out I wear a wig as a disguise so people won't recognize me. Until we got you into this I was in braces full time except Monday through Friday when I went to work. The direct opposite of you."

"But what happened with me?" I wanted to know.

"When you called I thought quickly and made up the story about the firm needing a handicapped woman. They would have hired you anyway. Ron and I planned this whole thing. I guess you will want to stop the pretense now."

"But why did you want to do this? How would me in braces do anything for you?"

"Well I can't really explain it, but when I see another woman in braces it turns me on even more. I have been dreaming of the possibility of us both going out as handicapped women. Ron has a friend who is also a devotee and he would love to meet you. Your braced legs would send him to the moon," Sue explained.

"This is a bit much for me to handle Sue. Why did you go to the extreme of adding the pelvic band? That has crippled me ever so much more than just the long leg braces would."

"I will have one too. Ron is making me a pair of braces with even more bracing. My new braces will have a pelvic band and also be attached to a very heavy back brace. My new braces will extend all the way up to my armpits. I will barely be able to walk. I can't wait."

"I don't know what to do," I said. "I can't just stop being handicapped or I will lose my job."

"Meet Dick first and then make up your mind. I am willing to bet that you will start to get as turned on by wearing braces as I am," Sue suggested.

I did meet Dick and he was a hunk. I know he almost had an orgasm on the spot when he first saw me in my braces. The four of us went out to dinner. Sue wore her new braces and was incredibly handicapped. I thought I had it tough. The back brace made her struggle with absolutely everything. After dinner neither of us thought we could deal with walking and so the guys got our wheelchairs out of the cars and we both collapsed in our chairs. Ron and Dick wheeled us around the rest of the evening. Sue was right, she was turning me on as much as the guys. Every time I looked at her braces I got warm and fuzzy.

I went to Dick's apartment and wound up spending the night. I am sure Sue had the same great time with Ron. I knew I was hooked when Dick slowly undressed me down to my bra and braces. Of course my panties and pantyhose couldn't be removed just then, not until the braces came off. I was laying on the bed and Dick felt my legs and braces. He spent forever doing this. He was as erect as the Washington Monument.

"Oh God Beth, you are fantastic. You are the most beautiful woman imaginable in your fantastic braces," Dick said. "I love seeing you struggle so when trying to walk. I hope you stay this way forever. I would love to take care of you for the rest of your life."

I gave him oral sex while he fondled my clit with his hands. Eventually he lovingly unbuckled my braces and helped me remove them. We spent the rest of the evening making love. I didn't move my legs at Dick's request. He wanted me as paralyzed as I could pretend to be. Somehow this was a turn on for me since it required Dick to cater to my every need. He caressed all the right places and kissed me in every place imaginable. I was in heaven.

After about a year and a half living my life as a severely handicapped woman I became increasingly aware that I was having extreme difficulty walking without my braces. My leg and hip muscles had apparently deteriorated in some way. Sue asked Ron about it and he said I should speak to a physician friend of his right away. He said the doctor was a very close friend and would understand my situation. I went to see Dr. Blake that week. He examined me very carefully and told me that my leg and hip muscles had atrophied significantly from constant lack of use. He said that I would need to quit using the braces and wheelchair immediately and start physical therapy or I would become permanently disabled. Once the muscles deteriorated beyond a certain point nothing could be done to bring them back.

I spent the next week almost in tears. I realized that I risked losing my job. On the other hand I did not relish the idea of requiring braces and crutches for the rest of my life. I had to balance these things. I also loved my job and was in line for a major promotion. I came to realize that my handicap was a real asset in getting ahead. The company felt more of an obligation to someone with less than the opportunities that an able bodied person had. Reluctantly I decided to maintain my pretense for at least another few months and take my chances.

After about two years in braces I was not able to walk unassisted. My muscles were almost completely atrophied. I still wore my braces to work, but most of my remaining time was in my wheelchair. When I went out shopping I would almost always use my chair. I now know that I will probably never walk again and I will be in a wheelchair or using braces for the rest of my life.

Sue was so excited about our mutual lives in braces that she pretended to have an automobile accident. After an appropriate recovery period she returned to work in her very own braces and no lives that way full time. Sue eventually married Ron and Dick an I are engaged and plan to get married in six months. I can't wait to go on our honeymoon. I know Dick will have to carry me on the beach in Hawaii as I can't walk on the sand using my crutches and can't use my wheelchair. However, I don't care. I know I will enjoy laying on the beach in the sun in my Bikini. Even though my legs have atrophied considerable, the rest of my body is still fantastic and I know guys will look at me and probably never suspect that I really can't walk. If I had a chance to do things over, I don't think I would do anything differently. I am now truly braced for life.