Disney World Retiree Puts Health First for Grandson

As seen on KTHV 11

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. “I just pretended it would go away, but it didn't.”

Pretending may work for Disney, but not for diabetes. 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.

“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.”

Learn more about Dr. David Dean and the CHI St. Vincent Wound Center.