Smile Politely

Dispatches from isolation: May 26th

This column offers a glimpse into how people in C-U are working and spending their time during the stay-at-home order. You can read previous installments here. Have questions, or want to suggest a person for this series? Email us at

How are you spending your days in isolation?


8 a.m.

My alarm goes off. I live in a DSC CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement) or group home, with seven other adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. I have to get up each morning at 8 a.m. to take my medicine while our nurse is available. After I take my medicine, I go back to bed and relax. 

9:30 a.m.

A twin size bed in a small bedroom is pushed against a wall with windows overhead. The duvet is black with white polka dots. Photo by Gillian Dabrowski.

Photo by Gillian Dabrowski.
I wake up for real this time. Normally, I’d already be at work at DSC on Philo Road, but we haven’t been able to go to work since the end of March. I miss going to work. I get up and make myself oatmeal for breakfast.

10:30 a.m. 

Some of my roommates and one of our staff take a walk around our Urbana neighborhood.  It’s hot today, so we decided to take a walk before lunch. We all go together for walks right now and its about the only time I or my roommates leave our house. I miss getting to hang out with friends and family. I also miss getting to meet new people through the profiles I write for Smile Politely.

11:30 a.m.

I’m eating leftover pizza for lunch today. The pizza is left over from a Memorial Day pizza supper yesterday. It was a different kind of Memorial Day weekend than usual.  But my dad brought pizza over to my group home, and a Michelob Ultra for me, too. It was nice to have a reminder of what I might usually be doing with my family.  
I talk to my family and friends on the phone right now, but I can’t go visit my parents across town. The service provider that runs my group home, and other homes in town, has asked that if we go visit our family, we stay there instead of coming back to the group home. I miss my family, but it makes sense. We’re trying hard to protect each other and decrease the spread of the coronavirus. 

1:30 p.m.

Today is my sister’s 31st birthday! I FaceTime with her on the phone and tell her happy birthday. She lives in Holland right now. She and her husband have to stay inside their house a lot, too.

3:30 p.m.

View of a living room from a couch. There is a TV mounted above a fireplace. There is a black chair on the right of the image, and the photographer's feet are resting on a coffee table in front of the fireplace. Photo by Gillian Dabrowski.

Photo by Gillian Dabrowski.
I like to watch Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel. Sometimes I watch TV by myself downstairs, or one of my roommates watches with TV with me. Sometimes I join in on Community Choices Zoom sessions in the afternoons. It’s a way I can still see people I know and have some fun with them. My favorite sessions are the Women’s Group on Mondays and Quarantinis on Fridays.

6 p.m.

A red paper plate sits on a round table. On the plate is a cheeseburger, a small section of an ear of corn, and pasta salad. Photo by Gillian Dabrowski.

Photo by Gillian Dabrowski.
I eat dinner with my roommates. Tonight our staff made hamburgers, pasta salad, and corn on the cob. 

7 p.m.

Most of my days seem the same right now. I sleep more than usual and watch more TV than usual. In the evenings I listen to music or watch videos on my phone in my room. Tonight I’m listening to the Phantom of the Opera. I’m glad that I have people around, but it can still get boring. I’ll be happy when I can go back to work, hug my parents, and see my friends in person.
Love you, Champaign-Urbana. Stay safe everyone!
Gillian Dabrowski is a C-U community member, young adult with I/DD, and Smile Politely contributor.
Top image by Gillian Dabrowski.

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