When Lenora Turner talks about the last two years and what she's had to overcome, you can hear the emotion through her Brooklyn accent. She moved from New York to Charlotte in the summer of 2015 with her daughter and fiancé. The 39-year-old healthcare professional says she liked the change of pace and the southern hospitality. But later that year, an injury to her lower left leg later threatened to put her new life on hold. The wound wouldn't heal on its own, leaving her in constant pain.
"I was literally in pain every day for a year and a half. I had swelling and trouble walking," said Turner. "I was so discouraged."
Turner was one of the estimated 6.7 million Americans suffering from a chronic wound. These non-healing wounds can be a physical and emotional burden, making it harder for people to work or leave home, and they can eventually lead to amputation. Underlying conditions like diabetes typically contribute to chronic wounds. In Turner's case, her Lupus likely affected her body's ability to heal.
There were plenty of treatment options near Turner's home in Charlotte, but for months she went from wound care center to wound care center without getting results.
"They were just reading notes from the other wound center," Turner said. "The treatments they were using were not effective and they were not listening to my pain or my thoughts. I think they were just trying to get me out of the door and get me to surgery."
She had a skin graft surgery, but it wasn't 100% successful. Part of the wound rejected the graft and that threatened to reverse the progress on the rest of the area. Now a year and half after her original injury, Turner was running out of options. That's when her physician remembered one of his patients who had success at the Iredell Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center in Statesville.
"My doctor said he didn't know why he didn't think of Iredell sooner," said Turner. "I would have gone to Raleigh at that point," said Turner. "I was desperate."
"She was very anxious," said nurse practitioner Alice Roberts about Turner's first visit, "but we always strive to make the patient feel at ease."
Roberts and the team at the Iredell Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center say treating each patient as an individual is one of the most important steps to recovery.
"They know they can ask us questions," said Roberts. "By the time Ms. Turner left, she was much more relaxed. You could see her attitude change."
The staff worked with Turner to come up with a roadmap for healing; a comprehensive plan that took into account her unique challenges and that worked with her schedule.
"Ms. Turner had swelling and needed compression and her dressings needed to be changed more than once a week," said Robin Cline, RN, clinical coordinator for the Wound Care Center. "Together we encouraged her to come twice a week and she healed. We worked with her on her appointment times to ensure she didn't have difficulty with traffic since she was coming from Charlotte."
The process took several months, but it worked. Turner's wound was 100% healed. It's another success story that the Iredell Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center can now add to its record. The Center has a minimum wound healing rate of at least 91 percent within 30 median days and a patient satisfaction rate of 92 percent. The available treatments include debridement, medication, compression therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy. It all depends on the needs of the patient.
"They go above and beyond," said Turner. "They stay within the guidelines of medicine, but it's just a nurturing environment. They hug you. They see when you're in pain. It just makes a big difference. I came in there in tears and they let me cry before telling me what they think."
Turner is still coming to terms with the entire experience. The scarring on her leg serves as a reminder of the painful 18 months before she came to the Iredell Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center. She's sharing her story now in hopes of helping someone else.
"The scarring is a struggle," Turner said. "I lost a lot of hope. Now I wish I had known about Iredell sooner. I'm so grateful to everyone at Iredell; my nurse Frances Fredericks, Robin, Alice, Andrea at the front desk. Sonny (William) helped to change my compressions and he makes you feel comfortable for each visit. I just want to thank everyone there. I want them to know they changed my life."