In a classroom far, far, away, in a virtual world called Zoom, there was a teacher named Lori. She and her class of Parkinson’s disease warriors were about to embark on a journey they never could have imagined.
The virtual world of Zoom
Like the rest of the world, we wanted to stay connected but safe. Together, we agreed to try the virtual platform Zoom. And our small exercise group found itself stumbling and bumbling into the virtual world.
We are a diverse group, and we struggle with group communication. Navigating an online classroom was not going to be an easy thing to accomplish. However, we were determined to exercise because it is not optional. If we stop moving, it’s a long road back — a road we prefer to avoid.
As a group
Zooming into fitness was interesting at first. The plan was to have virtual classes from my home. This led to confusion, and someone actually tried to find my home. After clarifying things and providing directions to our virtual classroom, we were off on our adventure.
Our first few classes were a learning curve. Some were way too close to the camera, while others spent the class in silence after failing to click the “Join with audio” option. We even spent time trying to get the video turned on for a computer that didn’t have a camera.
As the weeks went on, we became proficient and were moving right along when a senior center asked to join our class. We welcomed them to their first class. It was going well. And then it happened: A chain of events unfolded that turned a 30-minute fitness class into a comedy show.
In 15 minutes, we had a camera pop out of the tripod and land on the floor while recording a live Facebook feed. Yes, live on Facebook, we recorded the ceiling, the floor, and me fumbling to fix it. I didn’t fix it, but I did say goodbye. However, the people watching had some great entertainment.
Returning to the class, I realized the Zoomers were frozen on the screen. The internet had crashed. Next, the screen went dark and our virtual classroom was gone. Restarting Zoom, the classroom reappeared and everyone was waiting. They didn’t leave. And despite all the mishaps, they came back two days later.
The digital classroom is not for everyone, and virtual personal training is an option. It’s not as eventful as a virtual classroom, but it has its moments. I’ve seen everything from someone toasting me with a whiskey sipping cup, to another making fish faces into the camera. Other sessions have included baking cookies and planting flowers.
There have been triumphant moments — moments when tango music and metronomes, together with tandem walking and walking like a zombie, have helped with freezing. I have cherished every minute and I wouldn’t change a thing.
At a time when uncertainty and change are everywhere, it’s nice to know that one thing is certain: True friends won’t leave you. They will be waiting for you … even when the screen goes dark.
Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.
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