UW Health Diabetes Management: The Bauernhuber's Story

Two-thousand nine was a year to remember.


It started in January with my husband losing his job due to the economic times. With him being laid off, it caused us to question how we would be able to afford to make ends meet and provide for our two children.


Shortly after his layoff, our dog Willis became ill. We weren't sure what was wrong with him and dreaded taking him to the vet for fear of what that bill would cost us. We were then informed that he had diabetes and would need to get insulin two times a day at each meal.


Ashton and WillisI was beside myself wondering how on earth we were going to be able to afford to pay for insulin and syringes that were not covered under insurance. We certainly weren't going to put him down, so we had to do what we had to do, and learn how to put insulin into a syringe and give shots. That was very scary, to even think that you would have to use needles and give shots.


My kids were very helpful and even offered to learn how to give shots, as well, so they could help take care of Willis. I was very impressed that they were so interested in his care and were not afraid of the needles.


In November, my 5-year-old son Ashton became very ill. He had very similar symptoms that our dog had (wetting himself, extreme thirst, bathroom breaks non-stop), but I thought I was just being paranoid and overreacting.


My gut told me to take him in to the doctor, just to be sure. Shortly after he arrived and they checked his glucose and blood sugar levels, the informed me that our son had Type 1 diabetes.


That is when I lost it. I could not believe that this was happening to our family. My son didn't really understand what was going on, just that mommy was crying so it must be bad. He then began to cry.


We were told to go to the hospital immediately. In the car on the way to the hospital, after several minutes of silence and me wondering why this was happening to our family, I began to realize that if I didn't change my perspective on this situation, it was going to be worse on our son. I realized that God gave us Willis to help us prepare for Ashton's care.


When we started our training in the hospital, the staff was amazed at how easy it was for us to prepare the syringes and draw blood. They were even more amazed that Ashton wasn't afraid of getting poked every couple hours and getting shots in his arms, legs and belly. They had never seen that before.


When they commented on how brave he was, he said, "My dog has diabetes and he's brave, so I know I can be brave, too."


He never once cried about his situation and would say things like "it could be worse" and "now I can go home and Willis and I can get shots together."


It was then that I realized that I had the bravest, most positive kid that I had ever encountered. How could someone this small go through this with such poise and courage? The simple answer is Willis.