Zoom Changed My Life
Last updated: February 2022
Before the pandemic, I didn’t have any knowledge of the Zoom program. I think that is true for many on a personal level. If I did any video chats, it was Facetime with my family. Being a person with a chronic illness that is homebound a great deal of the time, Zoom has opened up a new world for me.
I no longer feel isolated when the weather, too hot or too cold, keeps me inside. When my breathing isn’t great and I have to cancel social plans, this program stops me from getting lonely. It may not be quite the same as interacting face to face, but it is a close alternative. I have attended a niece’s birthday party, a baby shower, a craft class, COPD support groups, and even though I had to do my own cooking, lunch with a friend after she moved out of state. It felt as if she was sitting across the table from me.
How it works
The program can be used with a cellphone, tablet, or computer. I find the cellphone is better for one on one communication versus several people or a group. I use my laptop when chatting with a group or taking a class.
These instructions are for being a participant in a meeting. It is free.
- Go to the download section of the Zoom website.
- Click on the appropriate download for meetings for your computer, tablets, or phones. If you are only participating in meetings (calls), signing up for an account is not necessary. However, it is free. Even hosting a personal meeting is free for up to forty minutes, so why not sign up?
- When you sign up to be involved in a meeting, you will be sent an email or text with a link to the meeting.
- To join a meeting, click on the 'Join Zoom' meeting link and follow the prompts. I try to sign in a few minutes early to address any problems that might arise.
- This will take you to the meeting access point – a square box in the middle of your screen inside the blue box it will say – 'Launch Meeting' or 'Join'.
- To launch into the meeting – click on the 'Open' link at the bottom of the screen.
- Click on 'Join With Video' below your image
- At the next screen, click on 'Join With Computer Audio'. At the top right of screen, click on 'Enter Full Screen'.
- You are now in the meeting. Say hello!
Don’t be shy
It seemed a little strange at first seeing myself on video. I got over that quickly as I socialized more. Using Zoom has truly been a life-changer for me. With severe COPD, it is so easy to feel isolated and disconnected from the outside world. I no longer feel that way. Talking to other people through video makes a difference. I feel as if they are in my home with me.
So many times people have said to me they do not know how to use it or they are self-conscious or nervous about it. Please give it a chance. It really is simple to use and it is free. Comb your hair, put on a pretty blouse or nice shirt (shoes are optional), and reconnect with the world again.
Do you use Zoom or other virtual programs? Would you join a COPD support group with Zoom? What about virtual hobby classes or having a family chat? I would love to hear your thoughts about it.
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Editor's Note: We are heartbroken to share that Carol passed away in February of 2022. Carol's storytelling and advocacy will be deeply missed, but her legacy lives on through her articles and in all the people she inspired.
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