Jan. 24, 2014. Hope was all but lost for Mario Perret-Gentil, 62, who was coming to grips with the reality that his lingering 10-year-old wound would never quite heal or stop hurting. That was until he discovered The Wound Care Center of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS).
A native or Curacao, an island in the West Indies, Mario moved to Boone in 1993 with his wife Diana in hopes of discovering the American dream. Shortly after his move, Mario had a conversation with a few college students who shared that they wished Boone had a fun indoor activity option during the winter months.
In 2003, while working in his yard, a stone struck Mario in the shin causing a wound that would haunt him for the next 10 years.
“Despite countless trips to the doctor and a variety of medications, my eight millimeter wound did not want to close,” said Mario while massaging his leg.
“Before I knew it, 10 years had passed and I was still suffering with a lot of pain caused by my wound. Eventually, I discovered that there was a wound care center in Boone and that the team there is outstanding.”
Conveniently located at 169 Doctors Drive in Boone, The Wound Care Center began seeing patients in 2010. The Wound Care providers include Shelly Smith, a wound-educated PA-C (advanced practitioner) and June Smith, a certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (WOCN). Harold Frazier, Jr., MD of Watauga Surgical Group serves as the Medical Director of the Wound Care Center.
“At first, Mario was frustrated and did not have a lot of confidence that we would be able to help him,” said June. “In many cases the first step to healing a wound consists of overcoming any anxiety the patient may have as well as gaining confidence in the care that we will provide.”
Mario’s wound was a direct result of Venous Stasis disease, a condition in which faulty venous valves allow blood to collect in the lower leg. At first, The Wound Care Center provided Mario with an Unna boot, which is a special gauze bandage used for the treatment of wounds caused by insufficiencies in the leg. However, the long hours and often laborious work involved in running a bowling alley left Mario with swelling at the end of the night.
“In wound care you have to diagnose more than just the wound,” said Shelly empathically. “As a team, our goal is to listen to each patient and understand their daily lifestyle in order to determine the best individualized treatment plan.”
A polymeric membrane dressing was applied in place of the Unna boot to address the swelling issue. This relatively new treatment option is designed to alleviate pain and absorb drainage. This dressing, paired with compression stockings, allowed the wound to heal and Mario to work without side effects or the need for oral medication.
“In a lot of cases, the wound ends up defining the person,” said Shelly. “It is disheartening when we hear patients say they have had their wound for so long that it has completely hindered who they are as a person. Knowing that is a reality, it is very rewarding for us when we are able to help a patient like Mario heal from a wound and return to normal daily activities.”
Mario, who enjoys the serenity of building model ships at his home after long days at work said, “This is the first time in 10 years that I have felt free from my wound and the pain. Now I can enjoy my job, my family and my hobby. I would recommend The Wound Care Center to anyone, as it has restored my health and my quality of life.”
For more information about The Wound Care Center, call 828-262-9520 or visit www.apprhs.org/wound-care-center.
For more information about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System visitwww.apprhs.org.