I was able to participate in a few classes until I broke my toe... but that is another story for another time. I didn’t know anyone, but like any fitness program there is a friendly banter throughout the room as people stake out their territory. The studio space is a long rectangular room. The chairs are arranged in rows facing the back wall of the studio. You begin sitting on a chair facing the instructor and once the piano man starts to play – it’s down to business.
For the first thirty minutes we work from a "sitting position" position. Tapping, slapping, stretching and a virtual free fall, not off your chair, but in your head. Mentally choreographing your own unique routine, everything is possible.
The second part of the class is choreographed dance steps. The chairs are put against the wall. And we turn to face a mirrored wall. It suddenly dawns on me that everyone has Parkinson’s. I can see it in their faces. And I can see it in mine.
Rigidity is one of the symptoms in diagnosing the disease, which may affect your facial muscles. If Parkinson’s had a face it would be a frown, and there is a disconnect between the cheerful voice and the unhappy face I see in the mirror.
The dance routine maybe choreographed, but I am in uncharted territory.
For my worst fear with respect to Parkinson’s is that my grandchildren will not know my smile.
I sing the words to A Bicycle Built for Two. The music reminds me of my mother’s piano playing. Step, step, slide, whoops, I go left instead of right, hold for two beats instead of four. I am such a klutz. I laugh. I see my smile in the mirror.
Note to self - add laughing to exercise routine.