Updated: Dec 5, 2019
I honestly never thought I would be writing a post about using a safety button anywhere, least of all on a treadmill in a gym. Why? Because I never thought I would be at a gym. Ever.
I started going in November. I had a lot of travel coming up and wanted to build up my stamina as well as strengthen some muscles around my joints affected by rheumatoid disease. I also wanted to shed a few pounds. So, treadmill it is.
It was a normal day for me. I went to the gym around 10:30am because it's the least busy time of day. As I'm walking by the treadmills I pick out the one I want; it has to be in front of news stations I can watch and not directly below a hanging light. I bring my Kindle so that I can read while walking and the glare from the light can be a distraction. I throw my backpack and keys into a locker, lock it up, and head to 'my' treadmill. I put my water in the holder, my cell phone in its little slot, set up my Kindle on the little ledge, and plug my ear buds into the plug in case anything interesting happens on one of the 11 televisions.
Everything was fine for the first 40 minutes. I'm cruising along at a steady 4.3. I'm feeling really great, thinking I can go at least another 20 minutes, and then it happens. I drop.
But I don't just drop. My left hip had given out which tends to happen once in a while. I had previous hip surgery (not replacement) so every now and then when I'm walking, it feels like it's going to pop out of the socket and my leg loses all strength. It sounds painful, but it's more annoying than anything. But this time it happened while walking pretty quickly (for me) on a moving object, in front of 25 people.
I went down on my right knee, then my left hip, then my face! My shirt was the first article of clothing the treadmill tried to forcibly remove from my body and then I realized my pants were going next. So my shirt is riding up, my pants are being pulled down, and I'm STILL sliding backwards off the treadmill. My arms were pinned underneath my torso - and the ONLY thing running through my mind is that no one in that gym better be recording this.
Finally, the treadmill releases me to the floor. I pull up my pants (from halfway down my ass) and look around to my right. One of the employees is standing at the front desk just looking at me. I'm guessing he saw the whole thing but to his credit - he wasn't laughing. I was. I looked around to my left and a woman two machines down is just jogging along, minding her own business. I'm not sure if she saw what happened but if she did, she ignored it - thankfully. I was a bit bothered the employee at the front desk didn't come over to ask if I was okay - but he was probably saving my pride. No matter, because I had left that on the treadmill along with skin from my knee and left hip.
I got back up on that machine for a whole three minutes until my knee started burning from the material of my pants rubbing against it and thought - that's enough. I pulled my Grateful Dead baseball cap down over my eyes a bit more, walked (limped) to the disinfectant area, and cleaned off my machine.
So, ladies and gentlemen. That button is there for a reason. When I went in yesterday, you can bet your ass I clipped that thing to my shirt. Don't be like me. It's way less embarrassing to have that attached to you than almost losing your shirt, pants, and pride.