After four years of college football, five years of active duty military, more than 20 years in the reserves and decades on his family farm, the Marion, N.D. man, replaced his left shoulder in 2013. In 2016, because of all his activities, plus arthritis and unfavorable genetics, Danuser replaced his left knee. And just this year, the 72-year-old returned to Jamestown Regional Medical Center to replace his right shoulder.
Each time, Danuser chose Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Michael Dean. In his 26 years of experience, Dr. Dean has replaced more than 5,000 joints, including three of Danuser’s.
“Col. Danuser is a true gentleman. We hit it off from our first meeting,” Dr. Dean said. “We both like the outdoors so we had plenty to talk about. It’s been a pleasure to care for him over the past six years.”
Danuser said he has experience at bigger hospitals, however, he continues to choose JRMC because it’s more than a medical center.
“You treat your patients like they’re at a resort,” he said, saying JRMC should add a pool and hot tub and call it the Jamestown Regional Medical Resort. “The care is much more personal.”
Danuser is active in his community. He serves as a supervisor on the Saratoga Township, a member of Future Pheasants Inc., and he’s taught hunter education for more than 30 years. When he isn’t serving the community, Danuser enjoys hunting, fishing and watching Bison football.
His hobbies and civic involvement usually bring him joy. However, 50 years of pain interfered with his life. He scheduled his first surgery on his left shoulder when he couldn’t drive the tractor without pain. He scheduled his knee surgery when it felt like “torture” to shift the trucks. He scheduled his most recent surgery at the suggestion of his wife, Carol. Danuser was in so much pain, he couldn’t sleep at night.
“I knew it had to be done. And I knew exactly what Dr. Dean would say, ‘why’d you wait so long?’” Danuser said with a smile.
After surgery in January, he spent two nights at JRMC in recovery. He loved how, throughout his experience, his care team included individuals he already knew and trusted. That’s care you’ll only find at a local, community hospital, he said. Registered nurses Bonnie Bowen, Pam Enger and Rhea Miller are all neighbors who’ve known the Danuser family for decades. In addition to the nurses he knew, Danuser also appreciated the care of nurses he didn’t know, specifically Brenda Schlecht, Catie Kautz and Courtney Haag.
“When you ask for a nurse, she’s there,” he said. “It isn’t always like that in other places.”
Danuser said he’s still in pain, however, this is the good kind of pain. This pain gets better rather than worse.
As part of his recovery, Danuser returns to JRMC for physical therapy. Physical therapist Cody Champagne helped Danuser after his previous surgeries and even though Danuser jokes about the “torture chamber” he requested Champagne again. When Champagne wasn’t available, Danuser scheduled with JRMC’s newest physical therapist, Stephanie Erlandson. Erlandson joined JRMC in 2017.
“I’ve worked all over the country, but what brought me back to Jamestown was the amazing rehab team. At JRMC, our primary focus is the patients,” Erlandson said. “It’s not like that everywhere.”
JRMC especially exceeded expectations when Danuser said he mentioned how his shoulder brace pinched too tight. Occupational Therapist Amy Walz “went out of her way,” Danuser said, to modify the brace with a sewing machine she keeps in the department. Within a few minutes, Danuser said she’d improved the brace and made him more comfortable.
Danuser is not the first to compliment JRMC’s Rehabilitation Department. The physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapist and audiologist regularly receive high patient satisfaction scores. In 2018, patients ranked the JRMC Rehabilitation Department in the 90th percentile for overall satisfaction of care.
“If it was any other circumstance, I’d enjoy coming here,” he said.
Now that he’s recovered, Danuser has big plans. He and his son, Matt, are scheduled for a fishing trip in Lake Winnipeg in March.