A Story about a COVID-19 Survivor

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Frank & I had our marriage validated in the Catholic Church back in 2014. That is when we met Deacon Durr, the subject of this story. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we met him for the 1st time. Surprisingly, both my husband and I were at complete ease with Deacon Durr. He turned out to be such a compassionate, loving, spiritual man that would have a large role in my spiritual journey.

Hospitalized

On March 31, 2020, I read an announcement on his social media page that startled me. Deacon Durr had been hospitalized after testing positive with the COVID-19 virus. He was exposed during his work at Hospice. On account of it taking 5 days to receive the results from the test, the symptoms were getting worse. Of course, I was in shock and started praying for him. I can only imagine what his family was going through. I’ve heard many stories that paint a picture of loneliness and uncertainty when it comes to this pandemic and those affected by it.

The Interview

After things settled down and I was sure that Deacon Durr was well on his way to a strong recovery, I asked him if I could interview him for my blog. I wanted to tell his story.

I think this is God knocking on our hearts to let us know it’s time to get back to family

Deacon Durr

CB: you said you were exposed to COVID-19 while working in Hospice. What symptoms were you presenting that made you decide to get tested?

DD: I started having trouble breathing and my temperature was up. I had the test performed and it took 5 days to get the results back. It was 8 to 10 days after symptoms started before I went to the hospital. When they told me I was positive for COVID-19, they instructed me to go to the ER.

CB: Tell me about the ER visit.

DD: I went form the ER to the ICU on March 31, 2020. Once in ICU, the virus progressed quickly. I ended up with a viral and bacterial infection caused by pneumonia. They gave me the MS drug that is being used to treat COVID-19 but it didn’t work. It was then when the doctors told me I would only make it if I was intubated. My son-in-law’s father, Dr. Tim Finney, did some research on treatments and met with my doctors. One of which was Dr. Frank Rabito, a specialist in infectious diseases, who made the decision on my treatment. I had 15 doctors in all. On the 4th day after the 2nd treatment, I was completely cured. The doctors said it was a miracle.

CB: Wow, were you scared?

DD: I wasn’t afraid for myself, I was afraid for my family. My Patron Saint is St. Francis of Cabrini. I held her relic and prayed. Prayers were coming from all regions of the world! The power of prayers lifted my spirit. It was a true miracle.

CB: what do you remember after you were intubated?

DD: I remember waking up at times and I would see kaleidoscope colors all over the place. I did have a spiritual experience. I was in a large cave, there were people all over the place. They were watching a man and I heard someone say, “that is Jesus”. I saw Jesus’ hands so I knew that it was him. He asked, “where’s Eve?” Then he said “follow me” I can remember thinking that I must have died. Then I thought, Man, I have a shot at this. (meaning he has a shot at going to Heaven)

When Deacon Durr told me that I was taken aback. He is the most loving, compassionate, spiritual person I have ever been associated with. I went home and told my husband about the interview and said If he has trouble getting into Heaven, the rest of us are doomed.

DD: Then I remember hearing someone calling me, “Deacon, Deacon, wake up.It was my nurse trying to wake me. She said they had been trying to wake me for a couple of days.

CB: How did your experience make you feel?

DD: I feel humbled. It was incredible. My nurses prayed with me. Everyone was great. I will tell you that I am dedicating the rest of my life to those that died and to all of the front line workers.

CB: How long were you isolated? It must have been tough not seeing your family.

DD: I was isolated for 14 or 15 days. It was tough on all of us. I was only able to facetime with them a couple of times. It was tough not having my best friend and wife of 39 years with me. You get used to having your family with you and around. Someone to talk to and be with. However, my nurse, Megan, stayed by my side the entire time. She was velvet over steel. I did suffer from survivors’ remorse in the beginning. Many didn’t make it. ICU was full. We were shielded from each other. Before I left the hospital the nurses rolled me through ICU so I could thank the Nurses and Doctors. It was a great moment.

CB: Tell me about your support system.

DD: I volunteer at Cabrini High School. The students were Awesome! They were sending emails, dropping off cards at the hospital. The principle held a virtual rosary prayer session. Word and prayers came from Cabrini institutions around the world. Prayer is what got me through it.

CB: I have to say Deacon, that you are the most caring laid back religious figure that I have ever met. Me and my husband kept you in our prayers and are thankful to have you in our lives.

DD: Well, you know, I never judge anyone. I put myself in their shoes and try to understand them and go wherever the Holy Spirit takes me. I love helping young people.

CB: Do any of your students have nick names for you?

DD: Most of them call me Deacon Durr. Some just Deacon and some call me Big U. Uriel is my first name. It’s great. I am now counseling and marrying some of my prior students. I’m even baptizing their children. I am truly blessed.

Timeline with Homily and Scriptures

Since Deacon Durr inspires me, I decided to look up the Catholic daily scriptures and Homilies to see if any seemed fitting for the timeline.

March 31, 2020-Deacon Durr Hospitalized

God has not left me alone, because I do what is pleasing to him – John 8:21-30-The Homily

April 4, 2020-Deacon Durr was Intubated

Castaway from you all the crimes you have committed, says the Lord, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. – The verse before the Gospel.

April 7, 2020-Deacon Durr was extubated

Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father; you were led to your crucifixion like a gentle lamb to the slaughter. -The verse before the Gospel.

April 8, 2020-Deacon Durr wakes up

Hail to you, our King; you alone are compassionate with our errors.- The verse before the Gospel

April 13, 2020-Deacon Durr returns home

This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.- The Responsorial Psalms.

As I am proofreading this story, I am shedding tears. Knowing Deacon Uriel Durr makes me want to be a better person. He performed my marriage ceremony. He has prayed for me and my family. I have stood alongside him with my grandson, feeding the homeless. I suddenly realize that I am a better person for knowing him. Thank you, Deacon Durr, for all you do.

Flapper press published Deacon Durr’s story (Be sure to visit the page and like the story)

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8 thoughts on “A Story about a COVID-19 Survivor

  1. Cathy A

    A truly great story about a truly great man! I have known him for many years and is truly a man if God. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  2. Brooke Hebert

    Great story. Deacon Durr’s wife is my mom’s first cousin, so it’s a bit of an emotional read for me. 14 years ago Deacon Durr helped me through my brain surgery and gave me the peace of mind I needed to get through that difficult time. Thank you for being such a compassionate, loving person and for writing such a great story.

    Reply
  3. Judie Hebert

    I love this story. Deacon Durr has played a special part in our family. He married my oldest daughter and Son-In-Law. He baptized my grandkids, and has been a strong man of faith to our family. We prayed so much for him while he suffered through this awful virus. I know he will be a strong advocate for those dealing with this whether by care, or by living through it. Obviously God has much for him to do here, and I know he won’t disappoint God or anyone. We are involved with Cabrini, and he is so devoted to Mother Cabrini. I feel sure she was an integral prayer warrior on his behalf too. I think anyone who has the chance to know Uriel, is blessed as he is a good and faithful servant.

    Reply
  4. Jeannine Dufour

    I am so happy to read this! I have had the same experience with this kind, compassionate, Christlike man! I too prayed fervently for him and I am so happy our world will be blessed with Deacon Uriel for many years!

    Reply
  5. Melissa Taranto

    Me and my family have been so blessed by Uriel and Liz and their children or many years! I know the feeling you shared in your interview his love for people is so sincere!! Uriel and his family are truly a blessed spiritual family and shared him with many people! I have had the pleasure of having Uriel Baptize all four of my Grandchildren and I treasure that gift!! I Thank God that he spared our friend Uriel

    Reply

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