Why do people love Santa? There is, of course, his big bag of gifts to be happy about. But, we think the real reason is deeper than the presents. You see, Santa and Mrs. Claus are happy old souls who give of themselves year round to make others happy, sharing their joy with people around the world.
That’s why when we met the Mest family of Potosi — who also share their obvious joy of life with those around them — we knew the story was bigger than John’s new shoulder and Denise’s new custom knee.
“I wouldn’t give up playing Santa for all the money in the world,” says John.
Denise agrees. In fact, she began playing Santa years before meeting her husband. John got his start playing Ol’ Saint Nick for the General Motors Company. The happy couple were married in 2009 and have been playing Mr. and Mrs. Claus together ever since.
Then last year, Denise’s debilitating knee pain forced her to consider her options. She wasn’t ready to give up her day job at Non Metallic Components, Inc. in Cuba City. On top of it, John was fighting severe shoulder pain that limited his movements and made his everyday life difficult, including his work at Swiss Colony in Dickeyville.
“I couldn’t raise my arm anymore, and when I did move it at all, it made terrible crunching noises,” says John.
But, thanks to the remarkable skills of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Joshua Lindsey and the Orthopedic Institute at Southwest Health, John and Denise are looking forward to a pain free stint of Santa and Mrs. Claus appearances once again this holiday season. For them, it really did save Christmas.
“My doctor in Dubuque was going to send me all the way to Iowa City for a total shoulder replacement, so I’m really glad to have Dr. Lindsey close to home. I was back at work just five weeks after surgery, and my shoulder is feeling strong and pain free.”
“With shoulder arthritis, the joint is destroyed by years of wear and tear, inflammation, or injury,” says Dr. Lindsey. The goal of shoulder replacement surgery, he says, “is to restore the best possible function by removing arthritis, balancing the muscles, and replacing the destroyed joint surfaces with artificial ones.”
In Denise’s case, she would have had to travel even farther yet to get the same care she did at Southwest Health. That’s because only our own Harvard trained Dr. Lindsey offers the ConforMIS knee, a completely custom knee replacement that meticulously matches each patient’s unique anatomy. Other so-called “custom” knee replacements require the surgeon to shape the leg bone to make off-the-shelf parts fit. But, this computer-designed, 3D printed knee is perfectly tailored to fit just one person. The result is a better fitting knee that feels better and works more naturally.
You would have to travel to Minneapolis or Chicago to get knee surgery this advanced.
“My knee feels great. Better every day. And we couldn’t be happier with our care,” says Denise.
“You can tell Dr. Lindsey is really good at what he does, and I liked that he was so personable. Finding Dr. Lindsey turned out to be great for both of us.”
“The more I got to know him, the better I liked him,” says John. “It’s like he’s a brother. He’s so comfortable to be around.”
As for Santa and Mrs. Claus, the jolly couple is delighted to be suited up once again and getting ready for the holidays.
In addition to their passion for putting on the holiday magic, the Mests are living life to its fullest. When not at his day job, John is hard at work doing carpentry and restoring his 1949 Chrysler Windsor, which he likes to call “Santa’s other sleigh.”
Denise’s clear passion is her two rescue dogs, Daphne and Tina, who sometimes tolerate wearing reindeer antlers. Together, they’re a pair of canine pals who would appear to be two of the most well-loved dogs this side of the North Pole. ∆