Journey with Parkinson’s: (Part 1) Another Side of Life

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” J. R. R. Tolkien

“We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery.” H. G. Wells

Introduction Parkinson’s changes us in many ways: it makes us stronger by default, it makes us more mindful because of what’s happening to us, it makes us more empathetic due to way we live, and it definitely leaves us asking questions. Parkinson’s definitely has changed me because I never once thought about writing a blog on life and this disorder. I have lived as a scientist and educator. Thus, for whatever it’s worth, Parkinson’s has positively changed and influenced me over the years.

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Albert Einstein

COVID-19 Pandemic and Trying to Explain the Gap in Time: We have all been living under the darkness of COVID-19; thus, life has been different, complicated, and, at times, challenging. We have all changed living in the presence of this new coronavirus named SARS-Cov-2 (aka, COVID-19). 

The next two posts will attempt to bridge together the last several months of inactivity on this blog site. Part 1 is entitled “Another Side of Life”, and it focuses on writing this blog and it describes my teaching, and other writing activities. Part 2 is entitled “A Different Side of LIfe”, and it describes my research and publishing papers.

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” Abraham Lincoln

My Work and Writing Comes in Several Forms: A short overview of what I do for a living and for fun.

Blog posts- These days, I contribute to writing in my own personal blog and the site.  Contributing to both sites has been a priority for my spare time these past few years. By contrast, 2020 has been a year of change, and I have been writing extensively through different forums and working on several different projects that have been total “time-sinks.” 

“Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.” John Lennon

Teaching- In March 2020, teaching changed everywhere from live-in-the-classroom to some on-line-type-format. We use Zoom, and I have adapted the three courses I teach to be on-line. The easy way would have been to post the powerpoint and tell the students they are responsible. However, that seemed somewhat irresponsible. I have tried to incorporate as many of my classes’ classroom events/features as possible in on-line versions. Adapting to an on-line format came with much stress and angst. You staring into a computer screen to lecture, not a classroom full of students. Since the Spring semester ended on-line for my undergraduate course, I had some confidence that I could convert the two medical school courses into something acceptable to the students. At least, my contributions and lectures.

The two panels below are examples of some of the lecture and work material given to the first-year medical school class this fall in their Immunology and Hematology blocks, respectively (if interested, you can to click on each image to see them in more extensive detail). There was a relatively big learning curve moving from the live-classroom to a live-on-line-format. Nevertheless, this took much time away from writing on the blog. Saying that, teaching medical students is my job and a very important part of my life’s work.

“Time is the coin of life. Only you can determine how it will be spent.” Carl Sandburg

Instagram- As part of the above-mentioned medical school courses, I host and maintain two different instagram sites, specifically named insta.immunology and insta.hematology. The students tell me they enjoy this first-order-type question format; typically, they would scroll through the images/questions-answers early in the morning as they prepare for their day to begin. Shown below are three such examples, with the far-left image the first clue, then the middle panel asks a question or gets one to respond somehow, and the far-right panel gives an answer (if interested, you can to click on each image to see them in more extensive detail). Since Instagam is a cell-phone based program, writing and preparing these posts were both stressful and very time-consuming.

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” Jim Rohn

Quotes– For several months this Spring/Summer, I wrote quotes for each day and aligned them with an appropriate picture. Why? I have no real explanation except to say I used them to calm my nerves in the growing darkness regarding COVID-19. Thus, reading these words provided me with a kind of a ‘literary salve’ to deal with the growing concern of the pandemic.

Given below are twelve such examples of quotes aligned with a photograph: the first four deal with life-in-general, the next four are concerned with Parkinson’s, and the final four highlight COVID-19, respectively. Please note: You may have to click on each individual quote-picture to get them expanded enough to read the script.

“We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.” Jeremy Irons

Part two entitled “A Different Side of Life,” is coming on-line soon, and it describes my research and publishing papers.

“Time is clearly not our natural dimension. Thus it is that we are never really at home in time. Alternately, we find ourselves wishing to hasten the passage of time or to hold back the dawn. We can do neither, of course, but whereas the fish is at home in water, we are clearly not at home in time–because we belong to eternity.”  Neal A. Maxwell

Cover image by Frank Winkler from Pixabay

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