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Mike Tasos: Diabetes is a serious disease that shouldn’t be ignored
Mike Tasos

I hate you diabetes. 

I know it’s not Christian to think up all kinds of epithets for this disease. About the only nice thing you can say about diabetes is that it doesn’t play favorites.

It’s about as useful as a housefly.

It doesn’t fight fair. Think of Nature Boy Ric Flair in his wrestling heyday, proving he deserved his reputation as “the dirtiest player in the game” every time he went South of the Border and delivered a low blow to his opponent.

Flair had his hand raised in victory most of the time. Diabetes has an even better record.

I try to limit cuss words as much as possible. But diabetes is stepping on a jagged piece of glass, hitting your thumb with a hammer and trimming a fingernail way past the quick all rolled into one big setting your hair on fire.

The Big D and I have been going toe-to-toe for some time. I didn’t give it enough props. I was big and bad like Alan Ladd. My opponent was skinny and puny like Mickey Rooney. 

You won this latest battle, but as John Paul Jones said between bouts of seasickness: “I have not yet begun to fight.”

I want a rematch. 

I wrote of my battle with a toe infection in the first column of the year. It was looking good for a while, but for some reason, diabetes gave the infection a free pass back into my toe.

Lots of folks asked about my toe and I thought all was good until I got a Ric Flair-like shot two weeks ago. Osteomyelitis is a bone infection. Serious stuff.

By all means, feel free to ask me about that second toe on my right foot.

“What toe?” will be my answer.

Chances are, you might be feeling worse about this whole experience than I do. Friday was my 63rd birthday and Mickey Mantle was right when he said: “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”

All week, friends have asked what I’m getting for my birthday?

“An amputation,” was the witty retort.

I should have never let my brother Marty in on Friday’s festivities. He calls and asks “Where’s that nine-toed blankety blank?” Only he doesn’t say “blankety blank.” Use your imagination. He conjures up swear words as creatively as James Lee Burke writes. 

That’s my family’s humor. A little twisted, but I love my brothers for it. 

The surgery and aftercare is pretty expensive. I have devised a plan to help defray some of the costs.

My ex-toe should be doing a Luca Brasi as you read this. Instead of sleeping with the fishes, the toe will be sleeping with formaldehyde in a jar on my bookshelf. I am planning on charging $100 for anyone who wants to see the late digit.

I’ll even let anyone see the spot where the toe used to call home. For that Ben Franklin, I’ll even allow pictures with the toe.

I can’t imagine anyone balking at the hundred-dollar price tag. If by some chance that happens, I’ll drop the price to $20.

As you can probably tell, I’m not exactly ready to hook a garden hose to my car’s exhaust pipe over all this. The reason: It’s a toe. A second toe, which everyone has told me I can do without. There are lot worse things that could be hedge-clippered off. God knew what he was doing when he gave us 10 of them, knowing we didn’t absolutely need the one I’m losing.

It’s a downer that the surgery will be performed under a local anesthetic. No twilight sleep, no post-surgery mule-kicker pain pills. Just a goofy-looking shoe that’s Frankenstein chic.

No bitterness here, just a little dilemma while thinking about manly footwear. I’m looking for someone who wears a size 11. I have a shelf full of flip-flops. Anyone who wants them, they’re yours. It’s going to be way too loose for them to work. I know that toe is like Bobby Cox managing the Braves.

Neither is coming back.


Mike Tasos’ column is published every other Sunday. He’s dead serious about the flip-flops. And he’s dead serious about not ignoring diabetes. Don’t mess around and think if you ignore it, diabetes will go away. It loves to get ignored and then wreak havoc. Besides, I need y’all as readers who can buy the book when it comes out. Comments can be sent to miketasos@earthlink.net. He is also on Facebook.