Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Type 1, Live! on Fear Factor

I just had to do it.

Mainly, because there was a singular lack of sane people around to talk me out of it. Everyone else was at Disney, or the FFL hotel. It was just me, so I had made up my mind to do whatever I wanted to do.

The late afternoon rain fell in sheets, turning the semi-backed Orlando sod into a lake, once again.

"Lisence, please," the girl at the stand requests.

I whip out my lisence, stand on the scales.At 5"2, I barely qualify heightwise(5" to 6"2) and at X lbs, lets just say I am at the lower end of the weight requirements.

"Come on over here."

We stand around, filling out forms. The questions are invasive, personal,not for the faint of heart.

Do you have a fear of crowds?
Do you have a fear of embarressing yourself in front of 2000 people?
Do you have any medical condition that might be aggravated by excessive jerking, etc?
Do you have asthma?
Are you pregnant?
Do you relinquesh rights to sue Universal Studios should you be injured/maimed/killed?
Do you have any issues with seeing your body in Spandex?(unforseen pscyhological effects)

And then, mini boot camp. We all do jumping jacks for five minutes, stretches for another five.(although it felt like alot longer)Apparently, the purpose of this pointless exercise was to weed out the seriously unfit among us.(of which I am one but it actually didn't weed me out)

Further selection down to ten people. We all crowd around a small tv screen to view what we'd be getting into. Due to PC and all that jazz, they've got to take one girl, and I am more then happy to be that girl.

Me. Five big, hunky guys. Yeah, I won't be winning but I figure its the showing up and trying that counts.

It's a weird feeling as we all march back to the trailer and are met by a friendly assisstant and EMT "Joe". Three of us on one bench, three to the other. We're handed another form, more legal stuff absolving Universal Studios of any blame whatsoever should we die or win a prize BTW where should we send the body/prize? Such a comforting thought. More invasive medical questions, this one asks if I have uncontrolled diabetes. I slightly pause on that one,wondering what exactly their definition of "uncontrolled" is, but I figure they just want to know if I will pass out on stage. Which is what the general public defines "control" as, how frequently one passes out(not what their a1c is,etc.) And I won't be doing that, so I check "no". EMT Joe gives us all dour looks before rattling off things that may possibly happen to us, based on contestants past experiences. Oh boy,scary stuff. Very glad my bp and pulse aren't being recorded for this. Each of us goes back to do a quick camera shot- "Hi, I'm Heidi, and I'm going to win Fear Factor because blahblahblah!"
The assistant hands us each a container of clothes and tells us to go change. So off I go to the women's changing room.

Spandex top
Spandex shorts
Waterpark shoes
Depend type, disposable underwear.Ewww.

As well as removing insulin pump, CGM, all rings,jewerly, green FFL wristband/medical ID. You don't get any of that, nothin must impede the performing of daredevil stunts.I do leave my set/sensor in,I don't figure that matters so much. Because the show takes about an hour, I check my blood sugar(298), give a correction(on the conservative side of things, I don't want to be going low in front of 500+ people) and waddle out to the main area where its jumpsuit fitting time. A crew member helps me into my jumpsuit, and if there were any previous doubts in my mind as to whether or not I was able to breathe, now there are none. It's hot as blazes, and everything is very, very tight. But on the plus side I don't look half bad in Spandex so I'm not worried about the public mortification factor. The producer comes in, runs us all through the first scene. We all go back out to the back of the stage, climb four flights of stairs. Stage crew helps us put goggles on, tighten jumpsuits even more. I ask if it possibly has to be that tight and the stage dude just says "Yes". I'm of a differant opinion,but I don't want to become a pancake should the thing fail so I don't say anything.

Lights, camera, action!

75 feet up. I walk onto the platform, grip bar.

"Pssst, Heidi!"

I turn around. "What?"(its so noisy I can barely hear him)

"Stop bending your knees, it's not time for that yet."

(I think the stage guy is regretting his assignment)

It's hot. My hands sweat profusely, and wiping them on my shorts every five seconds fails to dry them off. And I'm nervous-will it hurt/jerk when I do fall down? Things look so much scarier up here.


The platform vibrates under my feet. I bend my knees again, and attempt to death-grip said yellow bar. The platform dissapeirs. I look out over the audience, briefly, wondering if there are any other D's in attendance that day. The bar I'm hanging from slopes down, so that's even easier to lose your grip as the sweat from your palms easily slides them off.

Later, the water starts. A fine mist is sprayed at the bars, to make them even wetter and a few seconds after that begins, I'm falling falling falling towards the stage. There is no humongous jolt(much to my surprise),just like that,I'm on the ground. Everyone else falls down, and another contestant and I take the "Walk of Shame."

"So what happened out there?"

"I think I just need to go back to the gym and work on my pullups-I'll be back someday and win this!"

"I like your attitude!" (even if ain't ever gonna happen)

So other contestant and I go back to the changing rooms and wait for the show to totally end before we're released.

This clip is actually from the same day,2 shows prior(it made me decide to apply to go on FF,I was in the audience-took a video clips myself but they didn't turn out):(thankfully, I didn't have to eat any disgusting things which is what I really needed to know before I applied)

All in all, it was pretty neat, kind of like minature skydiving. I might concievable skydive one day, if it is like that. Didn't expect to win, did it for the experience. The first place prize was 4 Universal Studio tickets, 2nd place was 2. And someone in the audience gave me a thumbs up for my attempts.(I had a fan, whoo hoo!) It's kind of neat to be able to do something, even though you have diabetes,it shouldn't hold you back from doing whatever you want to do. Kept expecting the diabetes police to show up and tell me I couldn't do it,had to keep reminding myself that short of them inspecting every square inch of my body, no one knew I had diabetes and it was really none of their business as long as nothing happened.


Cara said...

You rock. That's all I have to say. :)

type1emt said...


Scott K. Johnson said...

Wow! That is AMAZING!!!! Ha! How damn cool! Way to go Heidi!