Tim and I embarked on a new health adventure. We have been attempting to add weight lifting into our workout routine. Now, while I am quite proud of the fact that we have stuck to this for more than two weeks in a row, we are definitely the people who the Gym Rats talk about with their buddies at Happy Hour. Of course, this is where they drink healthy smoothies that are a funky green color instead of beer, which might actually be called Sad Hour. We are the weird ones giving certain machines confused looks and staring at our phones while googling “how to do a hammer strength lat pull.”
More than once we had to humble ourselves and ask for help. Of course we vetted our prospective teachers by how ripped they appeared. One of our educators was a smiley lady in her late 40’s. She regularly does these crazy moves like standing on a dumbbell and balancing, while lifting another weight. Normally I would conclude that she was probably as confounded as we were, but she had muscles in her legs I never even knew existed. She had to know what she was doing. After talking with her a little bit, I found out that she even followed some of the same trainers we follow online. Muscles? Check. Gleaning techniques from reputable websites? Check. Nice and probably won’t laugh at us? Check. She made the cut and we got to ask her about the perfect form for a dead lift.
At one point, I even had a nice older gentlemen come up to me to give unheeded advice. He told me to widen my stance, “because you’ll get a lot more out of the reps that way.” Basically, he meant to say, “I’m really sorry you don’t know anything about lifting weights and you look completely ridiculous. I’ll try to help prevent you from looking like a bona fide idiot, but there’s not much that can be done with your muck.” Instead, he was nice about it. I was grateful.
This brings me to another point. Did you know that going to the gym is some sort of secret society? I didn’t before, but now I’m sure of it. There is even a secret language, with words like sets, skullcrusher, Smith machine, reps, and so many other things that sound entirely foreign. In a few months, I’ll probably be able to put down “speaks a second language” on my resume.
Since we live in a small town, we end up running into people we know lifting heavy things up and putting them down. We see our neighbors in the weight room, parents who have kids in our kids’ classes frequent the space and we even see some of the same faces at the grocery store. I’m on the PTSA board with another mom who has the most fantastic delts, biceps and triceps. I try to spy on her workouts because she must be doing everything right with those arms of hers. Don’t worry, I don’t stare too much and it’s not THAT weird because I actually know her and talk to her. On second thought, I might be weird, but she still associates with me. For now at least. If we are both done with the workout at the same time, we sometimes sit and chat for a few minutes and drink the really bad coffee they serve at the front desk. The unfortunate part about actually knowing people at the gym is I have to attempt to comb my hair and try not to wear the same smelly shirt three days in a row.
Tim and I bumble about, but dangit we are determined. We may or may not have pipe dreams of getting totally jacked, but that would require eliminating our weekly cheat meal that usually turns in to four full days of cheat eating. We can’t all be perfect.
We may have gone a little beyond our limit because this morning Tim rolled out of bed and whimpered, “Oh, Babe, I think you are going to have to check out my groin.”
“…Wait, are you serious? You aren’t talking about…” I was half thinking this was some new form of wooing he was trying out.
“No, Babe, get your mind out of the gutter, I think I have a hernia.”
I spent half the morning googling “symptoms of a hernia.” After the forty-ninth site, okay, I only looked at two, the light-headedness came and I could feel myself starting to black out. I threw the computer over to Tim and told him to do his own damn research. I could not handle this information anymore. WebMd is not for the weary.
I got some fresh air, uninhibited by medical terms and internal anatomy vocab. My blood pressure regained some oomph, but I still had my head between my legs, praying my knees wouldn’t buckle when I got up. I was still immobile when I heard Tim frantically yell from the upstairs bathroom, “Babe! Come here. I NEED YOU.”
I had regained five percent of my composure so I snapped back into the doting nurse wife, but as I bounded up the stairs, my pace slowed. There was the potential I could be walking into a bathroom with Tim knee-deep in blood and guts. I imagined gooey red stuff all over the floor and counters, pouring out of unknown wounds. Internal organs half in Tim’s body and half out. I could not deal with that. Someone more qualified, and less faint needed to be here, but I was the only other adult around. I was his only hope for survival. So I sucked up my queasiness and continued into the horror scene that was our bathroom.
I tiptoed around the corner and peered in. A breath of relief deflated my body. No blood, no organs slipping down the walls. Tim would live. Thank. The. Lord. His face, however told a different story. Drenched in panic and fear, he sat there trying to feel around for parts of his intestines bulging out of his groin/abdominal area. “I can’t even figure out where it is!! This is where my hernia was last time, but now the pain is here AND here. AND HERE! What if it’s a tumor? Or cancer. What am I going to do? That is it, I’m done. I am going to die! I DON”T WANT TO EFFING DIE YET.”
Half listening to his rant, my mind shifted to all the possible diagnoses. I began to picture punctured spleens and severed livers. The stars came back, my knees weakened and a cold sweat erupted over my entire body. My vision clouded as I lay down on the unbloodied floor with my feet up in the air. Deep breaths, focus, stay conscious!
Please stop right now to imagine the picture.
My husband, injured and in pain, trying to diagnose himself and thoroughly freaking out. He’s throwing around terms like surgery, tumors and DEATH. He can’t figure out exactly where the pain is or where on his body he should be investigating. Reason and logic have died slow deaths and withered down the bathtub drain. I can’t hear even him anymore because my skin has turned pallid and gray. I am sprawled out on the linoleum, propping my feet up on the bathtub. I incoherently mutter and try to avoid another fainting accident. That is just one more thing we can’t afford to add to this glorious scene. I was a mess, Tim was losing his mind. When were the adults coming to help us?
We were an absolute freaking jumble. I don’t think there is help for us. Ever.
So, obviously, we did not show our faces at the gym today. Both of us managed to regain some sort of composure. A miracle, I know. Tim called his doctor and we are hoping an actual grownup educated in a medical school will diagnose it as just a pulled muscle and not a weird thing bulging out of a place it should not. It’s probably a good thing we are not medically responsible for anyone because that would mean me laying in a corner passed out and Tim spouting off random fatal discoveries.
This going to the gym thing sure is scary. And really, quite gruesome. Be careful out there.