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Part 1: V.R. Orthos
This is a story of recreational orthopedics and is strictly fantasy. (Or it is until it at some point in the future it happens?)
"Will you look at this ad?" I asked.
Sue, my wife, read "Have you ever had fantasies that were unfulfilled in real life? Of course you have. Be it sensual pleasure, recreational orthopedics, adventure or anything else you can imagine, I can help make it come true. My name is Vernon Roger Orthos and I can help you fulfill your fantasy. How you ask? A very good question. And one that I am more than willing to answer. Call VR Orthos and Co. at (xxx)xxx- xxxx"
"This has got to be a joke honey." Sue said. "I mean I've never even thought about a company being out there that would even dream of fulfilling the fantasies he mentioned, let alone the ones that were sort of implied. The cops would investigate and probably come up with some way of locking this Mr. Orthos up."
"Yeah, " I agreed, "but what if..."
Sue said "Tom, you can't be serious if you're thinking what I think you're thinking."
"Why not?" I said. "Tell you what, I'll call the Better Business Bureau and get some kind of background on this operation and then go from there."
"Welllllll, " started Sue.
"Look, " I asked, "if I/we detect anything that doesn't gel, we forget it. OK?" "Yeah, I suppose." Sue acquiesced.
That was the start of an adventure like we had never imagined and a change in our lives that allowed us to fulfill needs that no one but us had even imagined we could fulfill.
My name is Tom Johnson and my wife's name is Sue with the same last name, imagine that. Anyway, this ad got me to thinking, Why would someone put an item like "recreational orthopedics" in an ad in a newspaper unless he knew what it was and who he wanted as clientele? As far as I know this is kind of a select group of strange type people who want to be put into casts or braces for the fun and pleasure of it. Believe me, I should know cause I am one of them. I've been ridiculed just enough at even the thought of having it done to me from close friends and family that I swore never again to trust anyone with this fantasy. So, I would put this fantasy/fetish aside and get on with my life. I might as well have gone out and chased an airplane. This was part of me. Why? I'm not certain. I'm in my thirties now and thought I should be over it, but I'm not. When did it start? I'm not even sure of that, probably in my teens somewhere. I kind of remember a girl in high school with leg braces and all the attention and help she received. Maybe it was jealousy that started it. I don't know. I used to follow her. Now days I'd be called a stalker. I never did talk to her and I think I missed out on something.
Pretty much from then on I'd sort of keep track of people with broken arms, legs or braces or whatever happened to fit into that category. I wanted something but not to really hurt myself. You see, I'm allergic to pain. Ok, who isn't, but I still wanted to feel that feeling and experience it at least once.
Football was my greatest pleasure in high school with girls as a close second. One of the other guys on the team managed to break his arm and like, wow, did he get the girls. I mean you'd have thought he was God's answer to whatever their needs were. I think the big attraction to the girls was this chance to practice mothering someone. Well, my friend sure didn't fight them off or say "go away". Jealousy, yeah maybe that's what started it. Well, fortunately a few games later I was handed the ball, doing an end sweep, nobody around, an open run to the goal line and.... You guessed it, I missed that guy coming up behind me. They said the break wasn't too bad but that the season was over for me. NOT TOO BAD!!!! I was in a cast from foot to crotch and practically helpless. Boy, was I lucky. That mothering instinct lasted for the rest of the year even after the cast came off. All I had to do was limp just a little bit and you want to talk about attention. I wanted to be in a cast the rest of my school life. However, it really would have interfered with my summer water sports activities. So my high school days ended and college loomed ahead.
Sports were not my goal but then neither was any particular "career". I took general classes to the extreme and tried to cover all my bases until some MAJOR came to me. When I was a junior I met Sue. Big deal. She was cute enough and had a good figure but no showstopper. We met in the student union. I was sitting at a table by myself, still searching for a career, when she stopped and asked if she could sit down. Why not. Then something clicked in my head that she was having some problems sitting down. "Can I help you?" I asked lamely. "Thanks." she said. "Getting around with this cast is sure a pain in the cast." Oh, oh, a comedian. So I asked the standard question "What happened?" She explained that in February, it was now the end of April, that she had slipped on the steps heading for class and had broken her leg. Not that big a deal but bad enough to require a rod in her femur and pins in her lower leg. After two months of almost straight bed time and not being able to attend classes she rebelled when they said she would have to stay in bed at least 6 weeks more. "That was where I drew the line." she said.
She had a good friend take notes in class and even talked the instructor into letting her take tests and record oral reports from home. She lived in the same town as the school. But six weeks more, no way! They were going to remove the cast if she promised to stay in bed and not move around much but if she insisted on going back to class, wellll.... And so here she was in fiberglass from toe to thigh on her right leg. She'd gotten them to make it a walking cast and she got around pretty well with just a cane for support. Her biggest hassle was driving. "What a pain. I have to get in from the passenger side, slide into the drivers seat with the cast across the console. Have you ever tried to get a car into gear with an automatic shift in the console between the seats with a fiberglass tree trunk in the way? My advice, get an older and bigger car." I told her no. "Good." she said. "Oh, by the way I'm Sue, how do you do." "Johnny Cash fan huh?" I asked.
Well we saw more of each other, the cast came off and I had to admit she had nice legs. But that cast of hers for having been on for three and a half months sure hadn't affected the tone of her leg muscle and there were no scars where the "pins" had been pulled. After college I became a "Graduate of General Studies", which meant that I hadn't found my MAJOR but was good at all the general type stuff which qualified me for just about nothing or maybe anything. Sue and I kept seeing each other and decided a snow skiing trip was in order. Why? Who cares, It was something fun to do.
The ski trip came off really well and when we got there I proposed. Why? I don't know, it seemed like the thing to do. Her answer, yes. Well the weekend went well, skiing all day and other activities at night. All in all an excellent vacation, even after I broke my ankle. Stupidity should cover how. We were off the slope at the lodge, skis put away, walking up stairs to an outside deck to watch other people ski and to rest up. Well I slipped, managed to wedge one boot in a vertical position as I went horizontal. End of that tale.
At the hospital, with Sue by my side, there was some discussion about the type of cast. One team said pins and short, another no pins and long. Finally they approached me and explained the virtues of both. One was surgery the other wasn't but healing and cast time would be longer. I looked at Sue and she asked how much longer and they said about twice as long but that the second cast would be a short walker and then possibly a brace till it was completely healed. So, we asked to be alone to talk it over. She said "Tom, do you remember the day we met?"
"Yes." I said.
"Well you remember the cast I was in?"
"Well, that cast was a fake and I used it to get attention and to make me feel better."
Well, I was blown over by this revelation. "Why tell me now?"
"You see, we're engaged now and I want to be totally open with you and this is also an opportunity for me to really be with someone else in a cast, and I love you and I'm running on and on and on...."
Ok, I didn't totally understand but at the same time I did. I mean that old longing of mine was still there, I'd just been keeping it hidden. "Total truth, " I said, "is that I was kind of leaning towards the long term myself, and I do understand, I think, how you feel. But we can talk more later."
So, a long cast, short cast and brace kept me busy for about five months. During that time Sue and I were married, with a short cast, and went on our honeymoon. Well we had talked and found out that we both enjoyed this casting/braces thing but still thought it best to keep it to ourselves. Sue had some "toys" hidden away that I didn't know of. She spent much of the honeymoon in a SOMI brace which she put on before we got to the hotel we were going to stay in.
We got excellent service. Me with my cast, her with her brace, poor kids to have so much trouble and just married. We survived. After several years of marriage, casted and/or braced, we were just as excited about each other as when we were first married. I really believe that this "bizarre" lifestyle we enjoyed actually helped our relationship immensely. There were something's we did together like go for drives and visit other cities in our "toys" and in general enjoyed ourselves. But, we still did all this in secret. She had mentioned reading about this sort of stuff with her friends and they were totally aghast at the mere thought and thought that anyone who wanted to do that really needed a psychiatrist. Same with my friends.
We'd explored a few sites out on the internet and participated with stories and such but this was not as fulfilling as we wished. The sites were great and well run but still somehow, not enough. Now this ad shows up with a potential for people like us, unless of course it was being run by some perverted type person. Well, I called the Better Business Bureau and they said that there had been no complaints filed, the company had been in business for about six months and it appeared legitimate. I talked to Sue and she agreed that we might as well see. What's the worst that could happen, ooh, we shouldn't think of that. I mean that if there was any uncertainty at all, we bail. We called, made an appointment and went to it.
The receptionist it turned out was Mrs. Orthos, mid forties, very nice and genuinely glad to meet us. This lady alleviated some of our nervousness. She had us fill out a questionnaire which asked for our backgrounds, preferences on this and that and asked us to be completely honest, with them and ourselves. After reading them she reached behind her and picked up some forearm crutches and asked us to follow her. She was wearing two long leg braces. We asked her what had happened and she said "nothing".
We were led to an office where a man sat behind a desk. "Thank you Margaret." he said. "And thank you for coming Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. Would it be all right to dispense with formality and may I call you Tom and Sue?" We nodded agreement and he continued, "My name is Vernon Roger Orthos and it is a pleasure to meet you. My friends call me VR and I hope that you will also. It must have taken quite a bit of courage and discussion to decide to even try out my services here."
At this point I said "Well Mr. Orthos, uh VR, I must be frank and let you know that I did do some looking around before we decided to get more information from you directly." He'd been looking at our filled in questionnaires as I was talking to him. "Good for you Tom, never buy a pig in a poke or some such thing. Anyway, what did you find?" he asked. "Actually very little, you've been in business about six months, no complaints and also apparently no, or not many clients."
"Too true, entirely too true, but those I do have are very best. Let me just say again that I am glad you are here. Let me explain why and what I am offering. I was once what you could call a "Captain" of industry. I owned and ran several successful companies and have "made my fortune". You would think that the respect of my peers and the success of my companies and my marriage would have made me a happy man. Well, not quite, I had a quirk in my nature that I didn't understand and even worse denied vehemently. I did not have a fetish and I was not perverted. My quirk may sound familiar, I wanted to experience being in casts or braces till I couldn't move. Why, sexual fantasy? Perhaps, but if I couldn't move, with who.
"Well, I finally confided with my wife and I was amazed, she understood to the point of expressing that she had also felt the desire. Not to the extent that I felt it but to a point. She had been a nurse in the past and did the sleuthing part to find out how to go about getting things we needed. Here we were, wealthy, and sneaking around like kids with a secret that no one should know about. Silly isn't it. Anyway, Margaret found out that we weren't the only ones. Like you we surfed the web and made a few contacts, if fact, you two could have been one, I mean we all had our nicknames.
"We reached a point where we were in contact with several Orthopedic types, surgeons, orthotists and people like that who shared the same interest but kept it hidden. Like I said I've got more money than I could ever spend and since Margaret and I couldn't have our own children we decided on this course of action. I purchased a small hotel up in the mountains, it is my own private resort and I invite people to stay with me there. Margaret suggested we make it a recreational orthopedics resort and advertise for clientele. Many of the professionals we have made friends with enjoy the application of casts and making and applying custom orthosis for others than in actually using them themselves. Much of what is done is not by medically trained people at all. Just people who enjoy it on either side of the experience. Let me say here that although all of our attendants may not have formal training, they are trained. They may just be people interested in both sides of our interest or med students who want hands on training.
"The first time Margaret tried out her braces I thought she was going to have an orgasm. I mean it, she had a look of absolute enthrallment from the experience. It's hard getting her out of them now. In my case, well lets just say that being ministered to by someone you love while you are cast from toes to chin to fingertips and have no control over what they decide to do is, well, invigoratingly satisfying."
Well Sue and I just sat there completely enthralled by the story. We felt a bond with this man that was like that of family you knew you could always rely on. He continued "I am also in contact with other establishments which deal with the sensual eroticism or other fetishes but act only as a referral for them. My love is the ROR, the Recreational Orthopedic Resort. Which brings us back to you two. Does this sound like something you would like to try out?"
We both were still a little stunned but ready and willing, so we nodded yes and asked about costs. He said that any materials costs, rooms, board and incidentals were to be covered by us but that they would not be extravagant. The "professional" help was, for the most part, voluntary and had no cost attached. There were full time employees to handle the day to day functioning of the place. The facilities were available by day, week or month. There were riding stables, lakes and many kinds of outdoor recreation available too. After all just because part you has been rendered unusable for a time is no reason not to enjoy the outdoors. We said we would like to make a reservation. He asked "So, what type of recreation are you interested in?"
The details done, deposits made, we went home. "What have we gotten ourselves into?" Sue asked me.
I said "I don't know but for some reason I can't explain I trust the Orthos and feel like we are going to have some memories to last a long time." I didn't know just how prophetic that statement was going to turn out.
We arrived at the ROR and it just so happened that the Orthos were also there. Margaret came out on braces and greeted us warmly. VR was wheeled out in a wheelchair. Apparently his fantasy included a cast from toes to chin leaving only his arms free. He had bars between his ankles and knees that kept him quite secure. He smilingly shook our hands and made some introductions. "This is Ron Abernathy our manager." He welcomed us and hoped we'd enjoy our stay. We then met Annie Ridahl who handled guest accommodations including any extra help needed by a guest depending on what they were having done to them. Sounded good to me. We were then escorted around by Annie who showed us our rooms. The rooms were large and much like any other fine hotel suite. She explained "the rooms are kept pretty standard and are customized depending on the guests "needs".
"Very classy" I told her.
"Thank you." she said "We try our best to cater to our guests needs in every respect from privacy, if desired, to social gatherings and just plain fun." As we headed down to complete the registration and set up what we were going to do we ran into a man with a fiberglass cast around his body and out to the fingers of both arms. Attached to this were four rods that went up to a circle of metal around his head. From this pins extended to his skull. I'd heard of this, it was a halo cast, but the arms were an added accessory. This was Mr. Smith. It seemed this was his wife's fantasy that he be this way for a solid week so he would learn to depend on her more.
He had a twinkle in his eye as he said "Got away from her again, had to see something besides just the room. Good thing I convinced her to put on these sweat pants or being out here could have been embarrassing. Nice to meet you two but I've got to run, she wasn't that far behind."
As he headed down the hall we all started giggling. As we continued our tour we found Mrs. Smith. She was in an electric wheelchair cursing a blue streak. Seemed she'd almost caught him, but he made a sharp turn down a hall and when she tried to follow the chair had somehow wedged itself and she was stuck. As we arrived she laughingly said "Could you help me get back on track here. My husband left me stranded, said he needed to get out and away. This getup sure got in the way."
As we helped free her we inventoried her "getup". It consisted of full leg braces, a back and neck brace, and also included arm braces. The chair was controlled by a joystick that controlled speed and direction including turning. "Last we saw he was headed outside to get some sun." we told her. "Oh well, " she chuckled "he'll be back." Then she headed back to her room.
"Well, you really seem to have an interesting array of guests." I said. "Mr. and Mrs. Smith are the sweetest people on earth. They come up here, spend a week periodically acting like kids and head back to the world happier than ever." Annie said. So much for not having clients. We passed many people as we headed back to the main office. People in things from as simple as a foam cervical collar to complex bracing or casting like Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
In the office we were greeted by a man in a white lab coat. Annie said "This is Dr. James." "Pleased to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and please call me Fred." Sue and I took to Fred right away. Annie excused herself and told Fred to call her when he was finished.
"So, what do you think so far?" Fred asked.
"Well, it's really something. Everyone we've met seems to be enjoying themselves." I said.
"You've met the more outgoing guests who gave up on their inhibitions a while ago. We still have some guests who come in get set up and never leave their rooms, although since some of them are in traction units it does make sense. For the others though we try to get them more comfortable and accepting of who they are and not be so concerned with what others think. Believe me, this place is as valuable for some people as the Betty Ford Clinic is for people with other problems that they need to come to grips with. So, any other questions before we start talking about what is going to happen?"
Neither Sue nor I could think of anything major, but I did ask how the food was. "Now that's a question that seems really important to me too, but not many ask. They just wait in terror afraid we hired an institutional chef. Actually the food is excellent. Not perhaps the best that exists but more than acceptable. You'll get to meet Charlie later. Any others? No. All right then lets start with you Sue. You said that you wanted to be in what is formally called a Risser cast with a shoulder spica and left arm cast in pink fiberglass, correct?"
Sue said yes, with a little anticipation in her voice that was easy to detect.
"Isn't anticipation a wonderful attribute people have, especially when it's something they've wanted for a long time. Tom, Sue decided that you should be in what is called a Whitman cast. Correct?"
"Well, I suppose, I mean I did leave it up to her. Could you tell me more about it?" I asked. "Sure. The Whitman used to be used for external fixation of a hip fracture or after hip surgery. They do other things now. The cast basically runs from about your armpit down to the hips, to leg casts that typically have one long to the toes and one to just above the knee. In this case the leg casts will both be long, all the way to the toes. Your legs will be spread to where they are from 60 to 90 degrees separation. Sue said wide, so before we cast you we'll put you in traction to get a little more spread."
I looked at Sue and asked "What am I, a wishbone?"
"Don't worry Tom. I promise we've never broken anyone before. The actual casting will be done by orthopedic students from schools around the area and supervised by an actual doctor. Trust me, you are in no danger unless you really want to hurt yourself. As for the wishbone, after the legs are spread we will incorporate a bar between your knees and ankles to hold the legs in place. The casting is scheduled for 2:00 PM for you Sue and for 4:00 for Tom. Although Tom will need to show up at 2:00 also so we can get him stretched out and relaxed for the casting. It's almost 11:00 so unless you have any more questions, Annie's on her way."
"Just one." I said. "What color did she choose for my cast?"
"Why what else but matching pink."
Annie took us back to our rooms and told us to relax and that a light lunch would be held on the terrace. She admonished us to eat light as the casting was still stressful to some. We just looked at each other and I said "PINK?"
"Well dear, you did leave it up to me and I did want us to match when we went out."
"But, pink? Please, can I change it to light blue, white, black, anything BUT pink."
"Sorry, but it was my call. Next time you can pick." Next time? We were going to be here a week and do something totally crazy, at least to some, and she was already anticipating a return?
"Well, ok but you're really going to have to make it up to me later!"
"Why, my soon to be casted dear, I intend to make it up to you as best as I can!"
The light lunch took too long and the wait till 2:00 took forever. The anticipation was really wearing on my nerves. Sue seemed to be in the same boat.
At 2:00 we showed up at the waiting room. They asked if we wanted to watch each other get casted? We looked at each other and said yes at the same time. They took each of us to a dressing room. They had me put on a stockinette body sock that extended actually to my shoulder and beyond my toes. I felt like I had on the jammies I wore as a child except that these were more like a second skin and much more comfortable. I was then taken to the casting room. They put me on this torture rack. I was laying down. They set my legs in this spreader, for lack of a better term. A wide belt was placed across my waist and my legs were strapped in. They moved my legs apart asking me to tell them when it got uncomfortable. At about 70 degrees I said whoa. Sue just chuckled and said she could get me to spread them wider.
Well, I guess I had an emotional reaction to what Sue said because a blanket was thrown across my hips. "Sorry." I said.
"Don't worry about it, it happens quite often. It just doesn't show up the same on women." I was told.
"Now Tom." it was Fred, "We will widen the angle about 2 degrees every 10 to 15 minutes until we reach a full 90 degrees per Sue's orders. We'll put these supports under your arms and tip the table so you can watch and, if you like, tease Sue."
This was the first I'd seen Sue since we went to the dressing rooms. She had on a large turtle neck stockinette, and was already being strapped into the casting frame. There were supports under her shoulders, and lower back. Her legs were on a table. They first put a cervical traction unit on and then a pelvic traction unit. They then started to stretch her.
"Go for 6 feet!" I called out. She didn't say anything but she looked content. Next, her arms were strapped to the sides of the frame. Next, the supports under her shoulders and lower back were removed. She was being held straight simply with the traction. She shuddered a little as they wrapped her in casting wrap. Start at the waist, down over the hips, back up the body to the shoulders and part way out on the left arm. She stifled a moan. The stockinette had been pulled up over her face and then her neck and chin to the back of her head were wrapped. Ok, part one.
Now with the fiberglass. Six inch wide rolls were dipped into water one at a time. Again start at the waist, down to the hips up to the shoulders but not out the arm. This was repeated several times till the wraps numbered about six. Next the shoulders and neck to the back of the head done in smaller fiberglass in a figure 8 wrapping style. Finally the body, hips to chin was done. The stockinette was turned down and finished, same with the hips. Sue chuckled to herself.
"How's it feel Sue?" I asked.
All she could say was Oooohhhhhh. In the mean time I had been spread out to about 82 degrees with 8 to go. They started to make preparation for my cast and let Sue's set up for about 20 minutes. They then released her from the rack and set her on a high chair with a back she could lean into. In pink she was beautiful. Cast wrap on the left arm, elbow to 90 degrees, cast. Next her arm was pulled up to about 5 degrees below shoulder level and brought across her body so that her hand was straight out from, but below shoulder level. Casting the arm to the body took only a few minutes and then a bar was placed from her hip to just in front of her elbow towards her wrist. Back to me.
"95 degrees. Well Sue, should we widen him some more or is this enough?" he asked chuckling.
"He's fine." she said, "How do I look, Tom?"
"You look beautiful honey. Pink is definitely your color."
"Now we'll find out if it's yours. He's all yours doctor." she said laughing.
Back flat, left leg freed and casted, in pink, from toe to crotch, back on the rack. Right leg, same operation. Now the section of table under my behind and lower back was removed. Casting thigh to hip across stomach to other hip to thigh and back again slowly moving up my body. God, but this feels incredible and looked to see if I'd said it out loud. Sue was the only one looking and she smiled, so, I guess I did. The cast was now up to my armpits about 6 layers thick. Next the bar was placed between my legs and casted in.
"Ok folks, if you'll pardon the expression. That's a wrap. I just love to say that." everybody moaned as Fred finished. "We'll leave you two pinkos here to finish setting up and then assist you back to your rooms so you can get ready for dinner."
"Dinner? How are we supposed to..."
"You'll see." he said.
About 20 minutes later after the casts had set they helped Sue on with some pants and shoes she'd chosen earlier and I got a sweatshirt and pants that had been appropriately split and then re-attached with velcro. Some wardrobe? Sue could walk like a normal person, almost. But, what was I going to do, walk on my hands?. The answer came rolling through the door. It was a modified wheelchair, electric, changed to accept a casted body like mine, cool. Well, they helped me into it and I said this works now but Sue isn't that strong or in any condition to help me.
"That is why I am here." it was a Annie. "For the duration of your stay you only have to ask and assistance will be provided for every need, including toilet assistance. Remember that you are very special to us and will be well taken care of.
Well, we went to dinner, had a great time. Margaret and VR joined us at our table. It looked like a convention of survivors from some accident. We had a ball. That night, back in our room I asked Sue if we were crazy.
"No, I don't think so, and you do look good in pink. Is your cast comfortable, mine feels like it's a part of me already. I miss not being able to move my neck, arm and back, but the other feelings are a mega turn on." she said slipping out of what clothes she had on.
"Well, I miss the motion of hips and legs and back but it's the toilette end that will probably do me in. The cast feels great and felt great while they were putting it on." While I was saying this Sue came over and removed the sweats.
"Oh, look who wants to play." I took her in my arms and kissed her awkwardly. What other way could I kiss her dressed as we were. The rest of that one night was one neither of us will ever, ever forget.
That was 6 months ago. Our week at VR Orthos ROR was one we'll never forget. In fact, we both work there now and the stories we could tell would really catch your interest. Well, why not. We'll make this the fist installment and see where it goes.
Part 2: The Tour
Six months ago my wife Sue and I responded to this ad: "Have you ever had fantasies that were unfulfilled in real life? Of course you have. Be it sensual pleasure, recreational orthopedics, adventure or anything else you can imagine, I can help make it come true. My name is Vernon Roger Orthos and I can help you fulfill your fantasy. How you ask? A very good question. And one that I am more than willing to answer. Call VR Orthos and Co. at (xxx)xxx-xxxx" It took us on an amazing adventure of discovery and a great deal of fun. It also resulted in a new employment opportunity.
My name is Tom Johnson and my wife's name, as already mentioned, is Sue. Our time previous to going to work for V.R. Orthos at the Recreational Orthopedics Resort, to be referred to in the future as the ROR, is covered in a previous story. At the end of that dissertation I mentioned the possibility of future stories. Well, the response has been enough to encourage me to regale you with another tale and others will follow based on interest(believe me this gives me a chance to improve my writing skills for the Great American Novel I'm writing, yea, right). So I figured to keep people's interest by giving you a tour of the ROR from my and my wife's points of view.
As I said of our first visit we were given a short tour, told of the other opportunities (ie. horseback riding, hiking and other outdoor stuff) but without much in the way of detail. You're not going to get a great deal on exactly where the ROR is located because it is a private resort and invitation requires the approval of Mr. Vernon Roger Orthos and his wife Margaret. On our first visit we did not understand Margaret's input into the "invitation".
Margaret is an absolute sweetheart. Had she been able to be a mother, I'd have liked her to have been mine. Since she couldn't she just seems to love and care about anyone and everyone. And I cannot even once have argued about her judgment of people. She treats everyone with respect and always on first meeting someone treats them fairly. The trail this new person follows is their own choice, fair and honest and up front with her and you earn her love and respect.
Follow the other trail and she is still polite but you feel like you need a rock to crawl under. This trait, I believe, has kept the clientele at the ROR of a certain level or caliber. I have yet to meet anyone at the resort that I did not personally like and I believe it has to do with Margaret's uncanny abilities to ascertain a persons "qualities". I feel like I've been moved to higher plane or status because of her acceptance. And, she fits in well at the resort. At work and even in public she wears long leg braces, KAFOs, just about all the time.. What would she think if someone should find out she really doesn't need them? I don't think it would make any difference to her. She is very secure in who she is and I don't think I can say more about my respect for this woman who is kind of the "mother" at the ROR.
V.R. is much like his wife in his thinking. His recreational orthopedic thing is leg casts. He will only wear them at the resort. He says "they have a way of slowing someone down". You'd never know it when he's at the resort. I've seen him horseback riding with two long leg casts and ride better than I could without the casts. But then, I don't ride well anyway. The only real changes he required for riding included some supports for the casts attached to an Australian stock saddle which has a deeper seat and is a little more secure. V.R.is much like is wife when it comes to deducing whether a person is of the "type" that would fit in at the resort.
Between the pair, the screening process for the ROR's clientele is as good as, if not better than, a high level security clearance check. So much for the mom and pop of the ROR. Not many argue with their decisions as they are always thinking of the resort and the guests.
The resort is located up a canyon at an elevation of maybe 5 or 6000 feet. (Since I said it is located up a canyon and the elevation, that would kind of narrow it down to the Rockies and west. Unless it is in Canada. Good luck on your guessing.) High enough for a decent snow fall, required for the sleigh rides and snowmobiling, but not so much that they get isolated. The drive takes about an hour and a half from the city. The people in town know the resort's there and that is a private resort and so, do not disturb the resort or it's guests. It is really located in a great area of the country. The drive itself wanders up a canyon with pines on the hillside and aspen trees and the usual brush and grasses. I'm no botanist. I love the feel, it seems as if your, well, how to explain it properly is hard. It's almost like going home or at least to a place you love to be. The scents, the mountains, it feels as if they're welcoming you. Anyway, there's a turnoff about 40 miles out of town and up the main canyon you go. You can tell you're getting higher because the country changes. Things get a little more rugged and the air gets cleaner, sharper. There are mountain jays, hawks and even occasional eagles viewed among the peaks along with the sparrows, crows and other birds. Wildlife is abundant. Deer, squirrels and quite an assortment of animals are all in the area.
When you enter the meadow where the resort is located you wonder how they found this place. The meadow occupies about 100 acres of ground. Most of it hasn't been disturbed very much. The main lodge, garages, stables and utility buildings are all located near the entrance to the meadow with only a fire road running through and out of the other end. Naturally a stream runs through and keeps everything green and lush. A bridge must be crossed to get to the buildings. Other than that the stream is undisturbed. Looking up the meadow you can see what looks like a dam. Beaver built it at some time in the past and it has been built up over the years to create a small lake, that if people want to, they can fish for the native trout or just canoe around on. The previous owners admitted that the original beaver dam was there even before they bought the property and that really the dam is as natural to the area as the trees. Since the property line is up against a designated primitive area, it's doubtful that the place will ever change much.
The lodge is built of logs. When, we're not absolutely sure. The original was probably built in the early '20s but there have been plenty of additions and improvements over the years by previous owners. The Orthos made additional changes and enhancements geared specifically for our clientele. There are a total of 25 guest rooms so the place never really gets overly crowded. All doors are double to allow for the guests ease of movement. All hallways are 5 feet wide, minimum. The lodge has two floors and the only really modern convenience is the elevator, and even that is one bought from an old building so it fits right in. There are also ramps to all decks at all levels, even the second floor. The place is built sturdily and safety is the number one priority since the guest are, shall we say, vulnerable. There is a main deck out front that is probably a good 20 feet deep and 60 feet wide and covered. There is one in the back even bigger for gatherings etc. There are also permanent quarters for the regular staff and quarters for the visiting staff.
The kitchen is huge and could probably make enough food to keep an army company well fed. Charles "Charlie" Bailey learned his trade first in the military. Fortunately he overcame his military training and actually attended several schools of cuisine preparation. That's just a fancy name for cooking schools. I think I've put on 20 pounds since coming here and everyone of them was delicious. Charlie can prepare everything from SOS (chipped beef on toast for you civilians) to Beef Wellington with the same ease and care that most people do to making toast and jam. It's the best.
The staff consists of Dr. Fred James and various assistants who come and go. Fred is a an orthopedic surgeon by trade and training. He also knows and has training as an orthotist. So this makes him a perfect fit for the ROR. He enjoys his job and really isn't into the recreational therapy like most of us here. He will, once in a while, let his hair down and join a party with some kind of brace or cast but he has no real preference on types. Oh well, nobody's perfect.
Annie Ridahl, what can be said of her? She literally keeps it all running. Her boss, Ron Abernathy, would never admit it, except to some of us, but he says he could probably leave for a year and everything would still be running fine when he returned. I don't know about that, but Annie is one of the best. She is constantly checking on the guests, accommodations and everything that the guests and staff need to be comfortable. She likes to show up at parties in her own custom Milwaukee brace or maybe just a two or four post neck brace. She has a nice neck to show off such jewelry.
Ron Abernathy, the best. Handles all the logistics such as food, laundry and etc.. Takes care of reservations, procurement, maintenance and all the little things needed to run a resort. He likes his job and it shows. He happens to own a pair of leg braces attached to a back brace. Although he does like upper body casts as well.
Joe Arnold is the maintenance man and chief grounds keeper and outdoor activities director. Again a man of conscience. He handles outings for the guests. This covers anything from canoeing to horseback riding to hay rides. It may not sound like much, but suppose you want to go out in a canoe and you're in a cast from armpit to toes, double leg braces or some other restrictive type of cast or brace? You'd be glad Joe handled the arrangements. He seems to miss nothing to make the client comfortable and feel safe no matter what the activity. His other job is maintenance of the facilities, electrical, plumbing, whatever. Joe handles it all and loves doing it. He, believe it or not for someone as active as humanly possible is, likes to be completely immobile. I mean a cast from toes to the top of his head to his fingers. Total stoppage. He doesn't do it often but he has never had to worry about some lovely young lady who's willing to take care of him through his "troubled time". Yea, right.
Of course you are probably all interested at least a little bit in the clinical side of the ROR. In other words where you can get plastered, glassed and/or braced to your hearts content. The clinic is attached to the main lodge. It consists of two casting/brace rooms, a waiting room, dressing rooms, a supply room (where most of the goodies are) and a machine shop. A MACHINE SHOP!!!! So, you think maybe braces and orthosis grow out of the ground. They are made from raw steel, leather, plastic and other materials. The place manages to keep several orthotists-in-training around and they have a ball building something to suit a persons needs, wants and desires. They are all very conscientious about the fit of the final product. This is their career they're training for. The same goes for the casting room staff. All very professional. Get plastered here and you've been plastered by the best.
Each casting/bracing room has a casting table and a casting frame. Which is used depending on the type of cast being put on and for brace fittings. For legs, arms and most upper body work the table is used. For things like full body casts or leg to hip spica type casts then the frame is used. The frame gives support but allows the casting crew more access without having to move the victim, ah patient, ah guest that is. Also on hand is a good selection of off-the-shelf orthotics. From foam cervical collars to HKAFOs, they've probably got it somewhere. But why go for off-the shelf when custom is so affordable. AND, what you pay for you can take with you or make arrangements for it to be stored at the ROR for your next visit.
One of the reasons that the casting/bracing rooms have two setups is so that couples can be there to see each other get done up or if arrangements have been made, you can encase your partner yourself. Of course you will be supervised because of the liabilities possible and you will also have as much assistance as you need. If you have a significant other who enjoys the same entertainment you do, like I'm so fortunate to have, you'll understand.
Well, there you've got it in a nut shell. You really have to see it to believe it. So when you see the V.R. Orthos ad, give it a try. You won't be disappointed.
OK, now that I've done my PR work Sue said she wanted to take over. Alrighty, my love, the floor, or keyboard, is yours.
As Tom has mentioned in passing, my name is Sue, how do you do. Silly intro, but what the heck. I'm the skeptic of the two and had the most concern about going to the ROR in the first place. But after meeting everyone and going through the absolute horror of anticipation of fulfilling a desire like I had. Wow, it was worth it. After I'd been placed in the body cast with my left arm in spica and watching Tom enjoying his double hip spica cast and the following week we spent. Woof, I'll never ever forget it.
I'd like to spend some time talking about some of the guests we've had at the ROR and I'd like to start with the two couples who actually helped get the resort on it's feet, so to say.
As was mentioned in the first story we met the Smiths and I'd like to tell you what I know of them. At one point we mentioned that it appeared that V.R. Orthos and Co. did not have many clients and at the lodge we saw quite a few. Well, the truth is that the clientele is limited, over the last six months we've worked here we've seen maybe 200 different clients. That doesn't sound like much but consider that most stay 1 to 2 weeks and that there are only 25 rooms available which means maximum over six months could not exceed 1 week times 25 rooms (occupancy at 2) times 26 weeks and you get 1300 which sounds big but allowing that some people show up more than once during the time and stay for as long as a month and 200 is pretty steady business because most is repeat. Long sentence, huh.
The lodge actually only started about a year before we started and has been building up slowly to get the type of people they want. It seems to be working out just fine.
The Smiths, Ellen and Ray, like most of the ROR's guests, are simply the best. They're in their late fifties but you wouldn't believe it to see them. These are grandparents that act like newlyweds. Hope Tom and I are like that when we hit our late fifties. They got started in this partly because they are good friends of V.R. and Margaret. Good enough that Margaret actually told her secret desire to Ellen and hoped she wouldn't alienate a good friend. Well, surprise, surprise but didn't Ellen have fantasies along the same lines, but Ray, no way at all could she tell him. Well V.R. kind on confided his fantasy to Ray and Ray confided to V.R. and pretty soon the four of them were sitting around talking about their fantasies to each other! It was actually the Smiths that convinced V.R. to look into the resort. On a vacation the Smiths heard about some resort property available up in the mountains and so the problem of a location was solved. Now, how does one get the professional staff for such a place. Margaret, because of her past working as a nurse, sent out some feelers. One thing led to another and Dr. Fred James somehow found out and made inquires and the rest is history. Ellen and Ray were still quite closet recreational orthopedic types as were the Orthos. How to get it going? Both couples were bashful. They wanted to get into the game but were hesitant. It took Dr. James to break the ice. A meeting was planned for how the lodge would handle such things as "patients". Ellen, Fred, Margaret and V.R. just about dropped their jaws on the floor when Fred James, their eminent medical reference shows up with a cast on one arm and a combination back and neck brace.
Dumbfounded, V.R. said "Fred, what in God's name happened to you."
"Nothing." Fred said.
"Then what..." started Ray.
"Somebody had to get it started and since I'm the medico, I figured why not? I told my colleague who did the cast and bracing that I wanted to surprise some close friends. Tell me, do you think it worked?"
"Why you sneaking..., I'd say it worked just fine." said V.R. chuckling.
There was so much excitement in the air that they just had to embarrass him by making him remove his shirt so they could see the full cast and braces and examine them. Fred said later that he felt like a prime Holstein on the auction block.
The decision was made that the resort would get the materials it needed for the casting/bracing rooms and the machine shop first. Margaret stated that she was definitely first on the list for Fred to make something for and it would be the christening that the ROR deserved. Ellen wanted to be second. They planned a week visit during which time Fred would cast, measure and manufacture the toys that both Margaret and Ellen wanted. Ellen graciously conceded that Margaret must be done first.
The major staff components had also been filled by this time and the basics of the ROR were up and running. The kitchen was in operation, housekeeping and all the basics of the resort were in operation.
The big week finally arrived and both Margaret and Ellen dressed appropriately for the occasion by wearing shorts and "T" shirts. V.R. and Ray also seemed in the holiday spirit. Fred hadn't let them in on just how the casting rooms would be set up. On arrival they got set up in their rooms and hurried down to the casting room. Dr. Fred was there waiting and smiling and making little comments about getting a couple of old ladies plastered.
The decision had been made that both ladies would be fitted with long leg braces. He separated the couples one to each room, casted Margaret and then Ellen, removed the casts and everyone went to lunch to allow the casts to dry. No big fanfare, just a lot of fun and comments on how things had progressed and how, when the ladies had the casts on how their husbands teased them, staying out of reach naturally.
After lunch Fred took his leave and said he had some tinkering to do down in the shop.
Both couples went out on the main deck, sat down and just enjoyed the afternoon sun. There was a breeze bringing them scents of pine mixed with sage and all of the outdoors that their senses could absorb. Around 4:00 in the afternoon The Smiths and Orthos were requested to return to rooms again. Way to soon for anything to be done so they must have messed up the casts and needed to do it over. Well, at least the afternoon had been enjoyable.
On arrival, Fred asked Margaret to climb up on the table. He then left the room and returned with a pair of long leg braces, unfinished of course but ready for a fitting before finishing. Margaret was enthralled. As Fred strapped the braces to her legs Margaret uttered a deep sigh of contentment and enjoyment. More was said with that one sigh than could have been spoken in hours. After the measurements were adjusted and the fittings finalized the braces were removed and taken back into the shop. When Fred returned saying that Ellen's fitting would be tomorrow and that Margaret's would also be done tomorrow he noted the somewhat disappointed look in Margaret's eyes.
"Anything I can do to make the night a little more tolerable? " he asked.
"I don't know, but I've been waiting so long and it's so close..." she said.
He looked at V.R. and company and said "Well, maybe we should just do something so you will be better prepared for the bracing and make the evening a little more interesting."
"What are you going to do, put my legs back in casts for the night?" she said laughing.
V.R. said "Why not?".
"But..." Margaret stammered.
"Come on Fred, do your thing. Two long leg casts for the lady. How about you Ellen? Then Margaret won't be alone in her captivity."
"I'm game." Ellen said.
So, while the two ladies received nice new fiberglass appendages, the men went out and found two wheelchairs to roll them about in. Margaret decided yellow was her color and Ellen settled for light blue.
"Very colorful." Ray said as both ladies were helped into their chairs.
"I think this is fun." Ellen said. "Now the boys have to cater to our needs."
Everyone laughed about that.
The evening was a big success and next morning Margaret had her braces. They started with a pair of shoes to which the braces were attached. The shoes could also be changed as needed or desired for a fashion statement. The ankle was hinged and could either be locked or left free. Ankle straps were also a part of them to add stability. Up the leg to the calf support which included a support strap around the leg. Knee hinges, a double hinge type, which also had automatic locks. The knee pads were of a soft leather, as were all the straps used on the braces. There were two thigh bands and an ischial ring. The ischial ring was a padded ring which rested against Margaret's buttocks and was attached at the top of the brace.
Fred had told her that the rings weren't necessary but Margaret jokingly said she needed the support for a sagging fanny. Didn't I tell you she had a sense of humor? Margaret also required all straps use buckles and no velcro. The were rather Spartan things, but they were what she wanted and so she got them. She was almost in tears when she first stood up in them and heard the knee locks click in. It was also decided that the ankles be locked at first. A few more final adjustments and Fred said she could relax while he worked on Ellen's.
Ellen's were done that afternoon. Her's did not include the ischial rings but other than that were pretty much the same design. Ellen's color of choice was a dark chocolate leather while Margaret chose soft doe skin color.
Both women used standard crutches at first, but after a few days of practice forearm crutches were introduced and quickly assimilated.
All too soon the vacation was over and both couples prepared to depart. Ellen sighed deeply as she put her leg braces and crutches in a storage locker to keep safe till her next visit.
"Margaret dear," Ellen called "it's time to put the braces away till next time."
"I don't think so." Margaret said. "I do believe that I will take them with me. I do believe that I shall even wear them to work and other places. I do believe that I enjoy these braces far more than I ever thought that I would. I feel as if I will not be a complete person without them. Therefore, they are going with, and on, me."
"Well, I believe that you have found something out about yourself that you've been denying for some time, I do believe." said Ellen.
"You know, I do believe that you are correct Ellen." said V.R. "This is something that I hadn't expected. So, Margaret, does this mean that you fall into the WANNABE category?"
"Oh my goodness no." Margaret replied. "A pretender is as far as I believe I want to go but I find nothing wrong with my using my braces as often and as I choose. It seems to me that everyone has something that they enjoy more than any other, like a pair of shoes, a piece of jewelry or a comfortable shirt or jacket. Well, I've found mine and I will use them often and when I please!"
She was rewarded with a unified cheer of support for her decision and was using them when Tom and I first met her. I doubt if we've seen her more than maybe a couple of weeks out of the last six months when she wasn't wearing them. Usually it's when she goes swimming or on an occasional hike. Do we think it's strange? Well, maybe a little at first, but then we tuned in on her way of thinking and had to agree. I mean, I've got friends that have a favorite jacket that should have been tossed years ago and is ugly as ugly can get for a jacket. But still they keep wearing it. Why? Comfort, security, familiarity? Who's to say they're wrong? Not me, I'm still waiting for Tom's and my next weekend off. I get to plan the entire thing. From what he wears to how he wears it. I've got it all planned.
Margaret is the only one who wears here "jewelry" away from the ROR. The rest of us do occasionally but not full time like she does.
Ellen now is a different story. At first she wouldn't wear her jewelry away from the ROR but over the last year she has accumulated a lot of hardware for use at the resort.
As mentioned when Tom and I first met her, she was in and electric wheelchair chasing down her husband, Ray. She was braced to the max with leg, arm and back. A really unique neck brace, which she designed, caught our eyes, but we didn't talk to her about it till later.
She said she had always wanted to wear braces of any and all kinds. The leg braces finally did go home with her. Her excuse for having them? She used her age and degenerative knees sometimes required assistance. Pretty good reason, huh? Anyway she next wondered if a back brace would be something to try. She talked to Margaret about doing it together but Margaret assured her that she had found what she wanted. So Ellen was left on her own.
A few conferences with Fred and a custom TLSO was fabricated. Full clamshell body brace. Ellen loved it and it didn't interfere with her wearing her leg braces except for a little while as she was getting her balance adjusted since her back wouldn't move. She first wore it in the spring, nice cool weather and it was very comfortable. But then in July she about melted down.
It was decided to do a sort of modified Milwaukee brace that would not include a neck support. The brace involved a strap that went under her arms and met with shoulder pads tied to the straight bars from the hip piece. It was much cooler and still very comfortable.
It did take a while to get the straps under her arms to stop chafing but the solution to that was a rigid shoulder strap from mid back that was custom fitted to the piece that sat at the top of her chest and was tied again to the back by shoulder straps. Isn't technology wonderful!
Since she now had lost some use of her hips she decided that the leg braces should have a way to be attached to the back brace. An auxiliary piece was designed that could be attached from the leg braces to a hinge and up and onto the hip piece of the back brace. By being a separate piece it allowed her to be able to use the leg braces without the back brace and vice versa. Then she wanted something for her arms. At this point a wheelchair was strongly recommended. I mean, really, could you see a person in a brace from their feet to the top of their chests, arms in braces, using crutches? Good luck. So, an electric model that didn't require the use of her hands has introduced. These arm braces consisted of a wrist and forearm brace which also went across the palm of her hand and around the thumb also immobilizing the wrist. This is turn was connected to an upper arm brace by a hinge that could be set to different angles or unlocked completely. This allowed her to adjust her arm so it would be comfortable when placed on the chairs armrest. The wrist piece was also adjusted so her hand would be in the right position to run the controls without having to move the wrist. And so, hips unlocked, legs on the chair's rests, arms locked, hands at the control and she was off. She loved it.
But her neck? Of course she wanted the entire banana. What a gal, you had to love the way she got into this. Well, you see, a standard neck brace has a chin support and one at the base of the skull in back. Result...neck doesn't move, mouth is held shut. Oops, did we mention she had trouble breathing through her nose. When very young she managed to break it and at the time her parents didn't have insurance and so the nose mended very, very poorly. The result was a conference with Dr. Fred and a group of orthotics students. The result was a different kind of brace, and this style still does not exist anywhere else that we know of.
Instead of just a couple of bars, like a two or four post neck brace. to hold the piece at the back of the head, a custom piece was molded from plastic, reinforced, and padded that fitted from the top of the back of the back brace tight against the neck, it then runs up the neck and along the sides up to and around the ears to about an inch above the ears. This a then attached to a rigid strap, or halter that went around her forehead. It's kind of along the lines of the halo but without the pins and also that is tight against the head. The entire object of a neck brace is to keep the neck from moving right? Well, with the tight fitted piece at the back of the neck pushing the head up and the side supports on the neck keeping any tipping from side to side along with the forehead piece it seemed the ideal situation.
The top chest piece of the back brace along with the shoulder straps holding her chest and lower neck in and the fitted piece around her forehead, well there didn't appear to be any way she could move anything on her head and neck except for her jaw. Well, almost. There was just enough space to allow her to jut her chin out and her head would tilt back some. For 99.9999999 percent of the cases where something like this would be called for, like say, someone with a neck injury, jutting out your chin to force your head to move would not have been something that would be tried.
But, then there's Ellen. So, a special piece that actually went into her mouth was developed. It was removable so she could eat with no problem and it caused no breathing problems. It actually joined to the back of the head portion of the brace at four points. Two at the neck which is what kept her from moving her head when she jutted out her chin and another above the ears that helped hold the piece in her mouth. It consisted of a custom fit piece that fit the roof of her mouth with another piece which joined that which went up between the gums and lips. There were two heavy, and I mean heavy, wires that came out on each side of her mouth and attached to straps that attached, as said earlier, above the ears and on the back of the neck. To eat, she would unstrap the device at 4 places and it basically fell out. Sounds loose doesn't it. But when it's put back in, the piece that goes between the gums and the lips is, well spring loaded. This way when the upper straps are attached it does a kind of cam action (Don't expect an in detail report from me, ask the guys who designed it.) that pulls the piece between her lips and gums in towards the piece in the roof of her mouth. The wires attached to the straps act like a spring and this helps to keep her from tilting her head and also keeps the lip/gum piece from pressing overly hard against her gums. Also when the upper ones are attached there is a cam action that locks the outer piece to the inner piece and actually lifts her head a little like a traction unit would do. I don't understand all the mechanical stuff and so I just kind of summarized what was told to me the way I, and I hope you, will understand it.
It works great. Other than her jaw, she doesn't seem to be able to move her head or neck if she really wanted to, and believe me, after she was through trying to move she really needed it because her neck muscles were worn out. And besides, It really doesn't look any stranger than a complicated headgear on an orthodontics patient. Except for the leg braces and crutches she usually leaves all her other toys at the ROR.
So that's the story of the Ladies of the V.R. Orthos Recreational Orthopedics Resort. I'll let Tom tell the rest of the story of the Men, V.R. and Ray because it's boring and it's a guy thing. As ladies, we show a little more interest, ingenuity and talent in our jewelry.
Thanks a lot Sue, you get all the good stuff. Oh well, share and share alike. The men, and unfortunately I really have to include most of us, are boring. Ray will do pretty much anything Ellen tells him to. He just has a lot of fun wearing the things and pleasing his wife. What a character. He told me though that the upper body arm and neck cast he was wearing when we first met was just about his undoing. I mean the assistance he needed to go potty just about embarrassed him to the point of constipation. But, he survived and has since set down a few, and I mean very few, rules of entrapment. He's having a great time though and never misses a chance to come up.
V.R. likes two long leg casts made from either plaster or fiberglass. He says the plaster seems to mold to him better and feels more comfortable but the fiberglass will take more abuse, like when he goes riding. Occasionally he will have a spica cast with both legs. He prefers to keep his hands and arms free for use.
Like I said, the men are BORING. It takes, and I hate to admit it but, the ladies here seem to come with the most imaginative ideas on what to do. They are what makes it fun for us guys. I wouldn't change the arrangement for the world.
Well, work calls and I must answer. I am still wond
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