Atrium Health Patient Experience

News | one year ago

A Caring Doctor-Patient Relationship Helps Woman in Her 90s Stay Active

Knee pain wasn’t going to stop 93-year-old Lenora from skydiving and traveling, so when her pain worsened, she trusted the experts at the Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute for her care.

You might not expect a woman in her 90s to go indoor skydiving, travel to New York City to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rockettes, renew her driver’s license for another five years and drive herself to Myrtle Beach— a 3 and ½ hour trip. But if you got to know Lenora Callihan, you wouldn’t be surprised.

Lenora is a very active 93-year-old resident of Harrisburg, North Carolina, who loves shopping, traveling, baking blueberry muffins (her specialty) and playing cards with friends every three weeks. “I think staying active keeps my mind going,” she says.

However, the pain from knee arthritis that began about five years ago could have prevented Lenora from doing many of the things she enjoys. Ever since the pain started, she has been seeing Dr. Katherine Foster for regular steroid injections in her knee to alleviate the pain. Foster is a primary care physician who specializes in orthopedics and sports medicine at Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute.

Lenora first met Foster eight years ago for treatment of a torn knee ligament, and in the last five years since she began having knee injections, they have developed a great relationship.

“Dr. Foster has so much caring and compassion – she is really interested in your health and the way you feel,” says Lenora. “She takes the time to talk and make you feel comfortable. She acts like you are her only patient for the day. Her staff is so nice as well.”

The admiration is mutual. “She is a very sweet lady. She comes every three months, and during the visit we talk about our families. She brings us cookies and has even made the office a chocolate cake.” says Foster.

Foster cares for a wide age range of patients, from 6-year-olds with a broken arm and teenage athletes who suffer concussions and ankle sprains to adults with tennis elbow, chronic tendinitis, plantar fasciitis or back pain, just to name a few of the wide-range of conditions she treats – anything that does not require surgery. Foster believes that Lenora is one of her oldest patients. 

“I enjoy getting to know my patients,” Foster says. “I’m glad to be able to help Lenora enjoy her active life. 

Lenora says she looks forward to heading to the beach when the weather gets warmer and hopes to make a fourth trip to New York City one day. However, she’s not sure that she’ll go indoor skydiving again, even if her granddaughter encourages her to do it once more.

Learn more about orthopedic and sports medicine care at the Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute.