Saturday morning I watched paramedics roll my husband out of the room on a stretcher. And it was partly my fault.

EMT ambulance stretcher

He’s been complaining about vacation weight gain lately, so that morning I casually suggested that we go together to a class at the gym. A class disarmingly named “Body Pump.” Not “Boot Camp” or “Body Beat-Down” or “Balls to the Wall til You Fall.” It’s a weight routine, no dance steps required, and it’s one of the best workouts I’ve tried.

After he verified that he wouldn’t have to learn choreography and that dudes do take these classes, he grudgingly agreed. “But I need to eat something before we go, or I won’t be worth anything,” he said.

We ate a quick bowl of granola, drank some coffee, and rushed the kids into the van. I dropped them off at the gym’s childcare facility, and we hurried to class. In spite of arriving a few minutes before it started, the only spaces left were towards the front. We grabbed weights, bars, steps, and mats and got set up just in time for the warm up.

I took the very front spot, thinking Scott would prefer not to be closest to the mirror and the instructor. In retrospect, it might have been the best place for him. About half-way through the routine, I ran to grab some extra weights and noticed that he was looking pale. Not wanting to insult his manhood, I just smiled encouragingly at him and kept on with the routine.

But I kept an eye on him in the mirror. Seconds later, he was bent over, “resting.” Then he squatted, then sat, head between his knees, then lay down. What a great idea I’d had. I took my husband to a class that actually kicked his butt.

I knew he was in a bad way, but I also figured he didn’t want to attract attention. Someone took him a wet towel, and one of the staff came over to encourage him to sit back up. Meanwhile, I kept up with the workout, figuring the trainers would know best. They thought he’d just overheated. But by the end of the cool down, he was in a chair, moaning. I knew that feeling. I also knew there was no way he’d be able to walk out of there. He was going to have to recover right there, in the middle of the floor.

After the room cleared of people, they finally decided to let him lay flat again, with his legs up, and helped him down. That helped, but it had taken so long for him to start improving that they asked us to please let them call the squad. Five minutes later, a troop of paramedics marched in to check him out. Scott managed to get everyone laughing with his description of what happened: “I let my wife talk me into this crazy class.” Their take: he was dehydrated and needed fluids at the hospital. In came the stretcher, and out they all went.

Fortunately, their diagnosis was correct. He was right as rain by the time I got the kids settled with a neighbor and got over to the hospital ER. Two hours of shooting the breeze later, we headed home. Now I just have to convince him that the first time at Body Pump is the worst and it only gets better from here.

(For Scott’s take on it, read here [part 1] and here [part two].)

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