LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – In this ‘Wear the Gowns’ segment, THV11 put a former employee of Disney World in a gown. No, not like on that a princess would wear, and it’s certainly no fairy tale.
Vernon Upthegrove put on Christmas banquets at Disney World for thousands of kids, but he retired to Arkansas to be closer to one kid.
“My youngest grandson is the reason I came down here,” Vernon said.
But Vernon's also gotten very close to the staff at the CHI St. Vincent Wound Center.
“I did not take very good care of myself. “
Before leaving Florida, he'd gotten up to 250 pounds and was diagnosed with Type Two Diabetes.
“And i just pretended it would go away but it didn't.”
Pretending may work for Disney, but not for diabetes.
“Well I had an undiagnosed foot sore.”
Fearing complications that included amputation, Vernon lost weight and got on medications. And he began going to the CHI St. Vincent Wound Center which treats those foot sores in a hyperbaric chamber.
“It increases the oxygen delivery to the tissue,” Wound Center Medical Director Dr. David Dean said.
“Diabetics can have a wound tomorrow when they did not have one today.”
In Vernon's case, he enters the chamber two hours a session for 20 sessions and combines that with artificial skin grafts.
As good as the treatment has been, it's still demanding.
“When I first had this problem, If I had gone in and said, 'what's going on here?', I would’ve saved myself a lot of wear and tear,” Vernon said.
But on he goes, putting on the gown. He is hooked on that “Magic Kingdom,” the kind only a child can create.
“I’ve got a seven-year-old grandson that likes to play with grandpa. Likes to go to the park. Likes to take walks. Likes to chase grandpa around the apartment. I don't want to lose that. Nobody does.”
The CHI St. Vincent Wound Center is located just across from the main hospital, and while they're very proud of what they can do for diabetics, they'd much prefer it you wore the gown, and catch it early.