It is an honor (although an intimidating one) to follow the great and wonderful oneTVslave in recapping this show. Her sensitive and compelling recap is a hard act to follow, so I want you all to know I’m considering shooting some testosterone into my own belly to give me that extra boost of energy and creativity that I’m going to need. I’m not all that keen on knowing I could be killing off my sperm, however…oh wait, being of the female gender, I just realized I don’t have any sperm. Well, then I’ll just have to be honest and say the thought of injecting anything into my belly is not high on my To Do list. Perhaps I’ll just muddle through and see what I can do simply with hard work, focus and determination…and jelly beans. Hey, everyone’s got their weakness, and mine happens to be jelly beans…the old-fashioned kind, not the weird-flavored ones called Jelly Bellys®. I hate those. Anyway, I’ll try to get through this recap without any hormone injections, steroids or supplements. Will I be able to do it? Will my husband be nagging me to stop, and sabotaging my effort as I go along? Let’s begin and see what happens, shall we?
We’re introduced to 34-year-old Scott, who lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Timona, and their three kids and a dog. He supports this brood working as a door-to-door salesman selling such things as toilet paper, paper towels, soaps, and air fresheners. What the hell? When was the last time you bought toilet paper from a stranger standing at your front door? I find it amazing he can support himself, let alone his entire family. Gah!
Scott shows us a picture of himself when he was on the college swim team, and says his stomach has eaten his neck, chest and shoulders. He also says his six-pack abs have morphed into a keg. Well at least we know he’s got a sense of humor. I have a feeling he’s going to need it if he wants to stay married to Timona…she seems a little tightly wound. We learn he’s “terrified of getting old.” He says that part of the aging process is loss of energy, and that he gets tired every day around 3:00pm or 4:00pm. So do I, but I have to admit injecting myself with drugs has never crossed my mind, is that just me?
It’s Timona’s turn to face the camera, and she tells us she’s a little nervous about the medications. She wants Scott to be healthy and safe. With these last three words still hanging in the air, we see Scott stuff a greasy, cheesy, bacon-y hamburger into his mouth. French fries are also sitting in front of him, so I think it’s safe to say we know where those extra pounds have come from...this is just lunch, too. Yikes.
I Can See For Miles - (Day One)
He meets with Dr. Alan Miles, a board-certified, anti-aging doctor. I wasn’t aware such doctors even existed. Dr. Miles asks what Scott hopes to get out of the program, and Scott says he used to have eight-pack abs (hey, a minute ago they were six), and the oblique muscles to go along with them, and he’d love to get all that back. We learn the levels of testosterone and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) naturally decline in men as they age. Many people claim to have had great success in programs that boost these levels, saying they have experienced regrowth of vital organs, enhanced sexual performance, elevated moods, stronger bones, smoother firmer skin, reduced body fat, increased muscle mass, higher energy levels, improved cognition, sharper vision, and regrowth of hair. Phew. I’m exhausted just typing all that. Excuse me while I take a nap and consider going on Dr. Miles’ anti-aging program.
As Dr. Miles gives Scott a complete physical, he begins doing something under the paper gown that I’m sure Scott is going to wish wasn’t shown on national television. I think it was probably a prostate exam, but ack, I would be a much happier person if I hadn’t seen that. Moving on (desperately trying to distract myself), Scott learns his testosterone and HGH levels are below normal, so Dr. Miles clears him to participate in the program. Dr. Miles tells us every patient who has participated in this program has experienced a regression to their younger years. I begin picturing Scott running around in diapers with a pacifier in his mouth…I seriously hope we’re not talking about regressing that drastically. He says their performance is better in every way…mentally, physically, and sexually, hooray! Okay, I added the ‘hooray,’ but I know you were thinking it, too. *wink, wink*
Care To Make A Deposit?
Apparently there is quite a debate going on in the medical field with some experts believing aging is a “curable disease,” while others say it’s a simple fact of life. With so much controversy surrounding anti-aging medicine, it is important that Scott have a general practitioner follow his progress. Dr. Bill Pullen will be involved in Scott’s program, and he begins by warning Scott that patients with high levels of testosterone can experience mood disorders and aggression. Also long-term complications of metabolic problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease are quite possible. However, he’s not too worried about these concerns in a 30-day program, but warns these can be “big, big, big problems” in a longer-term regimen. He continues by saying prolonged testosterone usage can impair fertility, and suggests Scott may want to visit a sperm bank and consider freezing some of his sperm so he has something to “fall back on.” At this point, I expect to see Scott bolting out of the doctor’s office, clutching his crotch, screaming at the top of his lungs, so I’m quite shocked to observe him passively sitting there, nodding his head, as if he’s discussing the doctor’s choice of using the color mauve in his office decorating scheme. Scott says that even after hearing all the warnings, he is still eager to continue with the anti-aging plan. Dr. Pullman says there is a lot of debate for and against this type of experimenting, and says he’ll be monitoring Scott along the way.
Timona tells us since Scott wants to have another baby, she is concerned about the possibility of sterilization, or low sperm count. She goes with him to the sperm bank, and laughs when Scott tries to get some clarification from the nurse how the sperm ends up in the lab cup. It’s nice to see the sperm bank is like any other bank, and offers it’s members reading materials. In this case, however, the magazine covers are a little more titillating than something you might see on Money Matters. I’m happy to report the cameraman leaves Scott alone with his cup and magazines, but Scott seems disappointed Timona leaves, too. Her parting words are that she didn’t “buy into this,” and with that he’s on his own.
Afterward, Scott and Timona consult with Dr. Jaroslav Marik, a fertility expert, and he informs them Scott’s “numbers were about 80 million per CC.” He tells them this is very good news, adding that when they see 60 million they are happy. He seems so enthralled with sperm, I half expect him to break into song, “Every sperm is sacred/Every sperm is great/If a sperm is wasted/God gets quite irate.” Scott is visibly proud of himself, and sits up a little taller in his chair. He is given three anti-aging rules.
Dr. Miles Isn’t Just A Doctor, He’s A User - (Day Three)
- Weekly injections of testosterone.
Daily injections of HGH.
Comprehensive “cocktail” of nutritional supplements.
- Strict diet and exercise.
- Weekly physician monitoring.
As Scott and Dr. Miles discuss the anti-aging program, Dr. Miles admits he’s been personally participating in the program for about eight years. He’s currently taking everything Scott will be taking. The first thing that comes to my mind as I’m watching this, is what happened to the prognosis of having sharper vision…why does Dr. Miles still need to wear glasses? I’ll answer this myself, and just guess that perhaps he’s got an astigmatism or something. The second thing that crosses my mind is that Dr. Miles looks kind of creepy to me. Now, is this just the way he looks, or is this because of the program? Anyway, Scott receives his first shot, and says he feels like he’s jumped out of an airplane without a parachute. Eek.
You Gotta Know How To Work It
Morgan talks with a woman, Carol Ferris, who belongs to an organization called Walkers Club of Los Angeles. At first I thought we were going to be shown various people racing with their walkers (you know, those thingies with the wheels that some of our elders need to walk with). I get it now, though…it is a club for people who simply walk, instead of run. He asks what her secret is to staying young, and she answers, “not being married.” Ha, ha, good one, Carol. She thinks all the anti-aging programs are just “crap.” Carol poo-hoo’s the idea of spending a lot of money on this kind of treatment, and I have to admit, I think she’s got the right idea. She says life is simple. “You eat correctly, exercise, think happy thoughts, and you’ll be fine.” Morgan asks how exercise has changed her life, and her response is, “well, I’m still alive at 69, and I’m going to beat you at a race-walk.” With that they’re off, and she does indeed beat him. She looks fabulous, by the way, and I only hope that I look that good when I’m 69 years old, which is many, many years from now, ahem.
Scott organizes all his medications in one of those plastic cases with all the dividers. It’s shocking to see just how many pills he’s sorting through. As Scott is whining about taking 22 pills at one sitting, Timona makes it known she thinks he’s being a wimp.
They arrive at the Los Angeles Swimming Stadium, where he will begin exercising for the first time in 14 years. Heather, his California-cute, perky cardio-trainer has her work cut out for her, and she starts him off swimming laps to compare his time against his college glory days. His time today is 1:11, compared to :47 in college.
What About Bob?
Next up is the gym, where we meet his trainer, Bob. Oh my, let’s just say Bob is a BIG MUSCULAR guy. He’s saying something about pumping Scott up, but to be honest with you, I am momentarily distracted by all the bulges on him…on his arms, what were you thinking? The following day, Heather is back, walking briskly with Scott, stopwatch at the ready. She runs him through some typical calisthenics, not giving him sympathy when he mentions his body is not liking the exercise. Back at home, when Heather mentions he needs to increase his exercising to five-to-six times a week, Timona is quick to say, “we’re up to doing things, but it’s got to work with the whole family schedule, too.” She tells us later that she’s not going to tolerate Scott being psychotic about working out…and that if he does, it’s not going to work out for the family. She wants him to eat better, and she wants him to work out a few times a week. She says they have such a busy life, they don’t need to be fighting about this program. She married him pudgy, she’s pudgy, and it’s okay with her. Scott tells us his wife is unhappy with him spending seven-to-eight hours with Heather. I’m guessing he means seven-to-eight hours a week, not a day. Because if he’s spending that much time with Heather, it’s no wonder Timona is upset about this. He talks about how stressful the past few days have been because he feels his wife is jealous of Heather. Ooh, you can bet she wasn’t happy hearing that when this episode aired. I’ve got a solution for you, Timona. Exercise WITH Scott, and then you’ll both benefit from the exercise, and you’ll be spending more time together…not apart. Mr. Rose and I trained for, and ran, a marathon, and one of the added benefits was all the time we spent together with nothing better to do than talk. It might sound awful, but it really was a good thing.
Psychologist Dr. Debra Mandel confirms that oftentimes when one partner begins an exercise program, the other person can begin to feel threatened and insecure, going so far as to sabotage the progress. Right on cue (isn’t it amazing how reality tv personalities are so good at that), Timona begins ranting to Scott something about 2:30pm, and she had to call him at 3:30pm. Frankly, all I hear is, “blah, blah, blah,” and it appears Scott might be having the same reaction, because he hangs his head and starts rubbing his eyes and face with his hands. There’s some more, “blah, blah, blah,” until eventually he apologizes, and she seems momentarily appeased.
Timona’s Mouth Gets A Workout - (Day 9)
Heather and Scott are working out by the pool, and as they begin the warm-up, Timona interrupts them to talk about a time conflict the following day between Heather and Dr. Pullman. (Does Scott do anything without Timona supervising?) Heather politely tells Timona she’s trying to keep him focused on the task at hand, but Timona insists they discuss the conflict. Suddenly Scott says, “Heather, I know cardio is a concern of yours, but don’t be rude to my wife like that, please.” Now I didn’t see or hear anything, anywhere near rudeness, so I’m thinking they must have edited something out. Either that, or the testosterone is hitting Scott a little hard today. Heather says she doesn’t mean to be rude, but all they’re doing is talking. She continues by saying that she doesn’t need people giving her crap about scheduling when none of this is her fault. I think she’s being pretty restrained, and as Timona is continuing to press the issue, I see a pigeon strutting behind her head. Ooh, how I would looooove to see said pigeon suddenly fly over her head, and let loose. I’m not feeling the Timona love…she seems incredibly bitchy, and controlling to me. The way she hovers around Scott all the time, it gives me the impression she’s not there for support, but to keep an eye on Heather and keep Scott in line.
On Day 10, Scott returns to Dr. Miles, who says he can see a difference in Scott already…I’m thinking Dr. Miles is not only a doctor of anti-aging, but also a doctor of bullsh!t. Scott has lost seven pounds, though, so he’s on his way, but I have to wonder how much of the seven-pound loss is simply from eating better and exercising. It’s like those miracle drugs advertised on television. Eat healthy, exercise and take this one little pill, and you’ll lose weight. Like we can’t figure out that simply eating healthy and exercising will cause us to lose weight…it’s got to be the pill that’s doing it. Dr. Miles injects Scott with his second testosterone injection, and Scott is on his way.
By Day 12, Scott is running a track with Heather and her stopwatch. He’s continuing weightlifting, taking his micronutrients, drinking plenty of water, and eating right. Scott says he’s feeling a change in his energy and joins his daughters on the ball field for some softball practice. It is there he gets a call from Dr. Miles, telling him he has two abnormal liver functions, which is extremely unusual. He adds that they will need to look for a cause, and therefore will need some further blood work. Scott asks the doctor if what he is doing is causing this, but Dr. Miles tells him, no, he’s never seen an abnormal liver function before. Scott is understandably concerned, and it’s obvious his daughters have overheard the telephone conversation, as one of them asks if he’s okay. He tells her he’ll be fine, and with her hands on her hips, she asks him if he took too many dosages of his “shot thingamajiggy.” Ahh, the simple words of children that say it all. *smile*
Timona joins Scott at the park, and he immediately tells her about the phonecall. She says he’s not to take anymore medications until she talks to the doctor. She says she feels they had just gotten everything all together, and this was like a bomb exploding unexpectedly. I have to wonder…do you ever expect a bomb to explode? I suppose the bomb maker does, but er, ah, sorry, my thoughts derailed there. Let’s get back on track, shall we? Later that night at home, Timona and Dr. Miles talk on the phone, and she tells him she’s concerned about Scott’s labs. Dr. Miles says again that it’s an oddity, and it needs to be diagnosed. He suggests that a gastroenterologist join the team and follow Scott’s progress. She then asks if he warned Scott about the side effects of these drugs, and he answers that he’s never had anyone have any adverse side effects in the beginning. I find the word “beginning” to be rather striking. But Timona doesn’t ask about it, and Scott is simply sitting there stunned. Dr. Miles says Scott will need to put a hold on the treatment, and have a GI “guy” look into it. Scott is hopeful his body will recover, and that his liver hasn’t suffered any serious damage. Timona cannot hold the anger in any longer, and begins ranting about how she “told him so”…she had a gut feeling something wasn’t right.
30 Days Book of Medicine
We learn the quest for youth has a down side (doesn’t everything)? *stomps feet and pouts* HGH and testosterone can cause diabetes, increased bone growth, high blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, heart problems, cancer, strokes, aggression, testicular atrophy (that one alone sounds like a deal-breaker to me), and decreased sperm production. Yikes.
Scott visits Muscular Bob at the gym, tells him about his abnormal liver functions, and brings the list of medicines he’s taking to get Bob’s opinion. I can’t help but notice Timona is sitting off to the side, arms crossed, almost like she’s making sure Scott does this correctly. I understand her concern, but I get the feeling they’ve got issues other than this 30-day program. Bob is shocked to hear Scott takes 41 pills/day. He says he’s a professional, competitive body builder, and he doesn’t take 41 pills/day. He chants the old adage, “too much of any good thing is a bad thing.” I used to tell my mother that when she declared I had to make my bed every day (it didn’t sway her). Rats!
Morgan informs us that millions of people take supplements every day, with no doctor supervision, and no idea how they may affect our bodies. It is a $20 billion/year industry, and many of them have yet to be effective. To make his point, Morgan visits an herb store, and requests herbs that will help him bulk up. The gentleman (by the way, I find it interesting he’s wearing a white lab coat), immediately guides Morgan over to something called, “Ultra Max HGH” dietary supplement. Ilene Heller, from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, tells us that we consumers need to understand dietary supplements are not regulated, and therefore we are playing roulette when taking them.
On Day 14, Scott gets an ultrasound of his liver, and visits a gastroenterologist. Dr. Rudolph Bedford tells Scott and Timona that the testosterone and HGH are most likely not the cause of his problems. He tends to believe it is probably caused by some of the micronutrients he is taking. He adds that these things do not belong in his body. This doctor doesn’t mix words.
Dr. Miles suggests to Scott on Day 15 to back down on the supplements, continue with the program and watch his liver functions. Timona wants to hold off on the testosterone today, but Dr. Miles reassures them that the shot has nothing to do with his liver. He wants Scott to have the shot today and continue to take one unit of the HGH a day. Scott agrees and says that every time he works out with Heather, it gets easier and easier. My ears perk up as I realize he emphasized the name, Heather, and lingered on it for a few seconds. Apparently the editing folks also noticed this, because the camera is focused on Timona’s face as he says it. I await some kind of negative reaction from her, but sadly, she disappoints me. She eventually agrees he can continue.
Zapatos! Tequila! Steroids!
Morgan takes a jaunt down to Mexico to determine just how difficult it is to buy steroids below the border. In Mexico, as in the United States, you need a prescription to buy steroids, but word on the street has it they are not that stringent about it. Ten minutes across the border in Tijuana, Morgan tells us, “pharmacies are as common as tequila.” Without a prescription, he is handed every drug he requests…no problem. With many U.S. colleges so nearby, this fact frightens me beyond belief. We Southern Californians are already quite aware that people under 21 cross the border regularly to drink alcohol, but I didn’t realize drugs, that in the U.S. require a prescription, can be so easily purchased. Morgan not only ‘scores’ easily at every pharmacy he visits, the employees speak English quite well, and are more than eager to help him determine what medications he should be buying to meet his needs. Morgan asks one clerk if he’ll have any problem taking the drugs back across the border. She assures him it’s no problem, but in voice over, he tells us that if caught bringing steroids across the border, it could cost you a year in prison, and a minimum of a $1,000 fine. At another pharmacy, Morgan is told that HGH is the “wonder of the world…you get younger with HGH,” and that even if you don’t work out, your muscles “will remain looking better your whole life.” With advertising like that, it’s no wonder so many people have jumped on this band wagon. In short order, Morgan walks away with several different drugs (some of which professional athletes have used to get “juiced up”). He points out the label on the Anadrol-50 bottle clearly states, “Federal law prohibits dispensing of this without a prescription.” As a side note, I did a search for this particular drug, and I received 31,000 hits in .51 seconds, of sites where it could be bought online. That’s alarming. On a lighter note, do all Mexican pharmacy employees wear black stripes over their eyes, and if so, how are they able to get any work done? Oh, those were added later to hide their identity, I get it now.
Back In the US…Back In The US…Back In The USA (not all that subtle shout out to Paul McCartney)
After Heather times Scott’s workout in the pool on Day 18, his mood inexplicably turns aggressive. I don’t see Timona lurking anywhere, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s her absence that is pissing him off, ha. Later at home, when he’s injecting himself with the HGH, he has another “outburst,” and as he angrily removes his microphone, he tells the camera, “have a good f**king night.”
On Day 20, predictably, we witness another well-timed discussion as Dr. Pullen asks Scott about his temperament, and he answers that this experiment has been much more stressful than they imagined. Dr. Pullen says that he would expect to see someone who is taking such larges doses of testosterone to begin “popping off” on people. Isn’t it amazing that just seconds earlier, we were shown two instances of Scott “popping off”? Why, it’s just incredible how these things happen!
Back at home, Scott receives the results of his most recent lab results. There has not been a significant positive change in his liver function. Timona suggests that Scott wait to take another injection, until he talk with Dr. Pullen the following day.
On Day 21, he and Timona head back to the sperm bank for another check on his sperm count. We are certainly becoming quite familiar with all things Scott, aren’t we? Am I the only one who is often surprised by some people, who seem to have no problem sharing such personal information about themselves with millions of strangers? I could never do a show like this, but that kind of leads us right back to me not having sperm, doesn’t it? Back to Scott, though. His masculine pride is firmly intact (no hidden meaning in the word “firmly”) as he informs us there was more in the cup today than last time. TMI! TMI!
A few minutes later, a nurse tells our Not-Shy-Couple that Scott’s sample is not good, and they need some more time to “spin it.” This understandably upsets Timona and she says, “I swear to God, they better find something in it, because you know what, this was my absolute fear out of all of this ****ing crap, was that this was what was gonna happen.” Scott mutters something about how they’ll just have to come back, and Timona wonders whether this concerns him at all. He wants to give them a few more minutes, and expects the doctor will be able to explain it all. He reminds her they are not “sperminologists,” and I laugh in spite of the serious situation they’re in. She’s afraid it will screw up (her words, not mine) their chances to have another baby, and he assures her it won’t.
Enter Dr. Marik, the fertility specialist, and he tells them Scott’s deposit did not contain any live sperm. He reminds them the last time his quality and quantity was excellent. Obviously something drastic happened between the two visits, and Scott asks the doctor what that might be. Dr. Marik says it’s from the medicines he’s been taking, adding that the sperm might “bounce back” over a period of time. He requests a list of medicines, doses, etc., and Scott immediately calls Dr. Miles for the list. As he’s talking on the phone, Timona is shouting her own demands at the same time. Scott tells her he can handle it, and she says he’s not handling it right. I’m willing to cut her some slack on this one…this has to be frightening. But Scott is overwhelmed by everything that has happened, and says to the camera, “…we’re being told this is nothing, and now I don’t know…look at her [points to Timona standing off to the side, arms crossed], look at her, now I’ve got to put up with that sh*t all night.”
The Taylor Hooton Foundation
We are introduced to the father of Taylor Hooton, a 17-year-old high school baseball player who committed suicide, due to severe depression while secretly taking steroids. We see footage of Taylor’s father, Don, testifying in front of the House Government Reform Committee. He says that in Taylor’s Junior year of high school, his JV coach told him that he needed to get bigger (Taylor was 6’3”, 175lbs.) in order to make the Varsity team. He resorted to taking steroids to help him achieve this goal. His father shares with us how Taylor would explode inexplicably, saying that they can experience depression while taking the drugs, but the depression gets even worse when they stop. It’s terribly sad to hear of Taylor’s struggle and how he ended his life…it’s quite clear, these are not simply herbs and recreational drugs. We would all be better off simply not dipping into this caldron. Click here for more information. http://www.taylorhooton.org/.
On Day 22, Scott tells Dr. Miles that he feels good, but that he wants to stop the testosterone and the HGH. Timona breaks down and says she loves Scott, and she doesn’t want to lose him. Scott says he has learned the body is not something to be experimented with. Freaky Dr. Miles responds by saying, “I’ve never gone into this kind of depth with somebody expressing how it impacted their lives.” What? I replay his statement, and that is exactly what he said. You’d think that would be standard practice. Timona says it has changed everything about her as a person (that’s probably a good thing).
Scott quits the anti-aging experiment with just seven days left, but who can blame him? Not me. Timona says quick fixes are just not worth it. They have vowed to work for things, and achieve successes with time and experience. Imagine that. Scott did lose 15 pounds in 22 days, but again I have to wonder if he would have had the same result by simply dieting and exercising. The next time we see him in the pool, he beats his day-one time by 12 seconds.
Morgan wonders if we Americans will ever be able to let go of the quest for the fountain of youth. He wonders why we can’t be happy with the age we are. I can only speak for myself…today is my birthday, and I am quite happy with the age I am…of course I’m not telling you how old I am…just know that I’m happy. Oh and by the way, Scott’s liver functions have returned to normal, and yes, his sperm count has improved as expected. It’s a happy day for everyone! How far would you go to stay young? firstname.lastname@example.org