The Discovery Health Channel: Spray On Skin

Back in June of 2005, Denise and I were filmed for an episode of Medical Incredible on the Discovery Health Channel. The episode is titled Spray On Skin and featured a number of miraculous stories, including a woman who was burned in the Bali terrorist bombing and was treated with a spray on solution of her skin, instead of grafts! The episode has already been broadcasted, but you can catch it in reruns all the time. Here the account of our experience from my blog:

I'd like you to meet my new mates from Australia: (l-r) Adrian the soundman, myself, Peter the producer and Malcolm the cameraman. They were sent to our home by Beyond International to film a vignette for the television program Medical Incredible on the Discovery Health Channel. Since my miraculous healing and recovery from necrotizing fasciitis, the flesh eating bacteria, I've been contacted a number of times by producers of similar programs, but our plans always fell through. So, I didn't want to broadcast this adventure until it actually materialized. It was so much fun.

They shot me running over the hill to our house about five times, up and down our street a few times, and the entire length of Gethsemane St. twice! They shot me coming and going, as well as moving along beside me in the van. I got quite a workout. There were also family shots and what more appropriate than Denise and I relaxing in our hammock?

So, what were some highlights?

The crew flew into San Francisco and our segment was the first one they shot. They were very friendly, patient, fun and we got along very well. The moment Peter the producer came through the door, we learned that he shared our love of retro furniture and knick-knacks. In fact, they had lunch at Planet Juice and Peter crossed the street to visit one of our favorites, the Hospice Thrift Store, where he purchased a real prize: A Canonette camera.

Camille and Sue Bauman were on hand when my interview was shot. Camille was very helpful and spent time chatting with Adrian -- they really hit it off. She also took the photos of the crew filming us. One of the lights was malfunctioning so they had to fill using a large reflector, which Sue professionally handled. Peter thanked her for her work as a gaffer, but quickly added that she wouldn't be in the credits. Shucks.

I suppose my interview went well enough... a little over an hour and I only got choked up a few times. Peter later informed me that they shoot about 6 hours of film, in order to get about an hour they can use and, then, the editor works with it, which results in a 10 or 15 minute segment for the show. We planned to get some tape of me playing basketball at Gold Run School but, fortunately, the District backed out. The Glenn's had graciously allowed us to use the court, which hosts the annual GLENNBA half court tournament. So, we packed up the gear and headed over there. It was a beautiful afternoon with Melanie, Sydney and Beau there to welcome our Australian visitors with their usual hospitality and charm. Zach signed a release to become an unpaid television star and we went to work on the court. It was really cool, because they got all kinds of shots of Zach getting "nothing but net," which they will edit with snippets of me doing jumpshots, so I end up looking like some sort of marvel on the court. They also took a lot of closeups of Zach and I guarding one another, but focused on our legs and the ball being dribbled. Finally, we lowered the backboard so we could stuff it and they shot that, as well. It will be fun to see what makes it into the living rooms of millions... I hope this is Zach's big break!

Denise came home from work and they interviewed her. She was very direct and to the point... she was Denise. Then, we all gathered around the table for homemade lasagna, salad, bread and our new found mates regaled us with tales from down under. We had a wonderful time getting to know these wonderful blokes.

We were all pretty exhausted, but met early the next day to shoot a reenactment at the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. It was awesome! Steve, the PR man for the hospital, arranged to have an ambulance and three EMTs perform their life-saving techniques on me, as I drifted in and out of consciousness, spiraling into a coma. Trish, Tim and Steve were absolutely great! It was just as I remember it -- the ambulance even smelled the same! Doctor Hunter in the ER was very accomodating and they were having a slow morning, so the folks in the ER were cheerful and seemed to enjoy the deviation. It was neat, because it was sunny and bright shooting the interviews, but the day of the reenactment was dreary and rainy, just as it was when this all took place seven years ago.

We returned to our home, where the crew set up the living room to reenact me on the couch, uncomfortable and writhing with pain. They filmed me rubbing and looking at my right leg, which appears fairly normal, and they will reverse the film to make it look as if I'm concerned about my left leg. Pretty tricky, eh?

At noon, they signed our family guestbook, left us a bag of Minties (excellent) and assorted Cadbury Favourites, and they were off to film other miracles of modern medicine! I have a feeling they will also be meeting a number of folks, who see a gracious and powerful God behind their survival, as my friends and I do.

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