Guess What, I Love You! God.

I’m having flashbacks back to when I was 18 and recording my first LP “Blood, Sweat and Blues” in our family’s unfinished basement. I completed 22 songs in I think 2 months, from late October to late December. I tracked all of the instruments and vocals and was still extremely Protools/audio engineering/recording illiterate and uneducated. I must have been out of my mind — probably still am out of my mind.

It was originally a double LP, but I didn’t have the budget at the time to release hard copies for merchandise in a double album format; so I condensed the content down to 13 tracks.

Looking back, I guess I cherish that time more than anything else, which in retrospect now I find odd since I had just gotten over the absolute worst illness of my life the previous year and was still kind of out of it. That story is a book within itself. I’ll spare you of details for days, but I’ll give you a short synopsis on one of the highlights in my life’s story.

Back in the spring of 2011, I was a junior in high school. Within a month’s time (about April or May), I had lost about 25 pounds — I dropped down from around 152 to 128. I became extremely depressed, anxious and my life became a constant panic attack 24/7. I couldn’t eat about 90% of the time, and when I could, the nausea was unbelievably horrific — whether it was psychological or not to this day I still do not know and couldn’t tell you. All I know is that it was very, very real. And I had no idea what was going on.

It got to a point where I wished I would have had cancer because then at least I would have known what was ailing me. This went on for months before a proper diagnosis was charted in August. I think I was admitted for testing at the hospital anywhere from 8–10 separate times within the period of a month or two. And this is all while I am rehearsing 8–10 hour days as a lead in the broadway libretto “All Shook Up” — a two and a half hour non-stop, heavy dance and vocal show. Reflecting back it all seems like a dream… but it wasn’t. It was nightmare.

So here I am missing rehearsals as the lead in this show, with one absence away from the understudy taking over for me. I was so stoked for this role, and I had worked my ass off to get the part. But my health and whole world was literally coming undone within me. I was in trouble and I needed help. And then this happened…

Assuming this was about the tenth time I went to the hospital for testing, one of the many upon many doctors who had seen me finally decided to follow her gut instinct on the matter and made a decision to diagnose me based on her hunch and the symptoms I was having. This was risky, but I was desperate for answers and healing of this vicious and hellish ailment. She decided to treat me for giardia, a microscopic cluster of parasites found in third world countries and/or from drinking dirty water in the wild. And no, I have never been out of the country (USA) in my life and no I hadn’t been camping. But apparently I picked it up somewhere.

So what was the treatment? 4 pills — I believe 2000mg each of antibiotics… all at one shot. And I am somebody at this point who can barely think straight and get down a few bites of a sandwich without feeling like my GI tract was going to regurgitate out the wallpaper of my intestines.

So I ask her what’s the chance of me vomiting all of this up almost immediately after consumption? She answers in her professional, practitioner tone “very high… I suggest you’re near a bathroom out by the cafeteria for at least an hour after you take them. Try to eat a banana first.”

I couldn’t even eat half of the banana. I was sacred. Actually, this may have been the scariest moment of my life. Words cannot even describe what I was feeling in this moment. My situation was so unfathomably “off” that I couldn’t really confide in anyone else. Everybody thought I was crazy, even my loving parents to some extent who were there with me every step of the way. All of my friends thought I was crazy. The doctors thought I was crazy… and at the end of the day I thought I was crazy. Hopelessness doesn’t even begin to describe it all, nor depression or any of the other usual/cliche psychiatric terminology. I literally felt like every part of my being was dying inside and out. I really thought I was going to die.

And I’m sitting here, in a cafeteria, “supposed to be” having the summer of my life doing what I love to do — pursuing all of the dreams and aspirations that a very driven seventeen-year old wants out of life. But I’m in tears like a baby, with my mother near me 24/7 helping and driving me because I am too sick and in panic to operate an automobile. As a maturing male in teen years who was at the peak of trying to develop some kind of definition of independence for himself — this was beyond debilitating and degrading.

And I’ve got the cup with the four big red pills still in it. I don’t know what to do. What if this doesn’t work? What if my body rejects this antibiotic? What if it keeps it down but doesn’t do anything?

At that moment, I begged within my spirit so desperately for God to give me a sign in this hour of darkness. I needed something… I was on my last whim.

It all was too much — and I had to pee.

So I got up in my total despondency to go “do the deed.” I opened the door to the bathroom, went to the nearest urinal and… yeah, you know.

Now for the guys reading, you obviously understand where I am coming from when I say that the wall is literally right in front of your face when you are using one of these things to go. I saw the wall and didn’t think anything of it. It was just a plain, blank white wall — like all of the other countless plain, blank white walls that I’ve stared at while taking care of business. When I was done, I obviously looked down to zip-up/belt-up and what not, flushed and then lifted my head back up to turn around and walk away — and then this happened…

“that time God literally wrote to me on a wall in a hospital bathroom” — Jason Damico, 2011

I didn’t see Him write it — it was just there when I looked back up. It was as if it seeped out of the wall or something. I was in shock. Don’t hold it against me, but I don’t even think I washed my hands…

I ran out and told my mother what happened. She knew I asked God for a sign just moments before. She couldn’t believe what I told her I saw… so she went into the public men’s restroom to see for herself. When she came back, she looks at me in total awe but confidence and said immediately “take the pills.”

I took the pills. I didn’t throw up. The doctor got it right. And overtime I eventually made a full recovery from all of the madness. I went back to rehearsal that day, finished up the last week of rehearsals — kept the part and completed the show till the curtain fall of closing night. I was still in an extreme amount of intrinsic physical and emotion pain, but I got through it — by the grace of God.

And this is just one story. Believe me, there’s many, many more.

Thanks for reading,

#document — J

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