An Interview with Marian, a patient of Dr. Johnstone’s

An interview with Marian J., a patient of Dr. Johnstone’s who recently visited ROI. She shares about her experience at Rainier Orthopedic Institute and with Dr. Johnstone in a short interview.

1) What did you notice when you walked into Rainier Orthopedic Institute?

On my initial visit to Rainier Orthopedic Institute I noticed the light, airy, calming environment.  At that time, I decided that much thought had gone into trying to make a patient’s first perception of the clinic a positive one.

2) If you are comfortable, would you mind sharing why you were seeing Dr. Johnstone?

In the past Dr. Johnstone had treated me for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tendonitis in both wrists.  The outcomes for both treatments was positive, so when I was diagnosed with Cellulitis in my right forearm/elbow my rheumatologist recommended that I see Dr. Johnstone about x-rays of the bones and joints near the cellulitis.

3) What was the outcome of your appointment? Do you feel good about it? 

As part of the Cellulitis, I developed a raised lesion near my elbow.  Dr. Johnstone wanted me to come in again so he could evaluate the lump.  He followed up with treatment until he was certain that the infection causing the lump and cellulitis was gone. 

4) Would you recommend Dr. Johnstone to your friends and family?

I would highly recommend Dr. Johnstone to my family and friends.  I am so very confident in his ability to diagnose and treat patients in a kind, caring manner.

5) What was the best part of your visit that day?  

The best part of my visit was when Dr. Johnstone looked at my hands and asked how my wrists were doing.  I consider empathy to be an outstanding and necessary trait for a great doctor!! 

***Thank you Marian for your time to this interview. If anyone else wants to share about their RO experience. We’d love to hear from you. You can always email:***

Little Beau – Patient Experience

Beau just turned 5 years old on June 18th. She is the youngest of 3 girls, born at 3 pounds, she is the feistiest of them all. She LOVES to dance, sing, art, her family, and is obsessed with babies. She is always the kid jumping off of things, willing to try anything, and is pretty darn tough. 

Beau has had several broken bones. Previously, she had broken her forearm and most recently she fractured her wrist – which landed her an appointment at Rainier Orthopedic Institute. The first time she fell off a bed, and put her arm out to catch herself. This last time, a neighbor kid was pushing her in a stroller in her cul-de-sac (playing house), and she fell out of the stroller and landed on her arm. 

Michelle, Beau’s mom, found out about Dr. Puttler because many of her friends’ children have been to him before. He also has seen many of many of Michelle’s friends and her own husband for his knee issues. Michelle noted that, “A teacher’s husband at our children’s school had a lawn mower accident, and sure enough Dr.Puttler was the one to put him back together!”

During Beau’s time with Dr. Puttler, he did her x-rays and put her in a cast.

“Every time we have been to Rainier Orthopedic Institute, it has been a breeze,” says Michelle (Beau’s mom). “The staff is always very helpful and keeps us informed on the status of the doctor. I have never had to wait more than few minutes, and they have always made time to get us in right away when there is a concerning matter. Even at times when we have been in the ER with an injury, Dr.Puttler has taken his own personal time away from his family to get online and view x rays and let us know his opinion on what we should do. We really trust and value his opinions and advice.” In fact, many of Dr. Puttler’s patients report this kind of care from him – Michelle is no the first to tell of us how he goes above and beyond for his patients.

Following her x-ray and casts, Beau has, for the most part, been able to resume her activities like normal. Her mom notes, “We are always telling her to keep 2 feet on the ground to try and prevent a re-break, or a new injury.” She added that Beau, “is a wild one.”

A special note from Beau’s mom:

As a mom when you see your children in pain, you will do anything you can to try and make it better. When you can’t, it’s such an amazing feeling to know that there is someone who genuinely cares about your family, and knows what to do. I
remember walking out of the office thinking how lucky we are to have him as a
doctor, and how easy the process was to get my daughter on her way to being well

To conclude, in asking Michelle (Beau’s mom) if she would recommend Dr. Puttler, she responded, “All day, every day. I do all of the time.”

Michelle would like to leave Dr. Puttler with a special thank you:

“I would like to tell him that he is more appreciated than he knows. I know that the moms that I know, that know him feel the same. It’s so reassuring to have someone that we know will get us answers, or do everything in his power to get us to someone that can help us. His value and dedication to his patients and work are one of a kind. Can’t thank him enough for making us feel like our family is taken care of!”

In capturing little Beau’s experience from her mother Michelle, it became clear throughout this process that Michelle’s words are more profound and impactful than any re-telling of the story – so we decided to leave the story in Michelle’s words.

This is Beau and Michelle’s personal testimony to the quality care you will receive at Rainier Orthopedic Institute!

Also, Beau just received a trampoline for her birthday, and she fell off of it and broke her arm again. Who did she go to? Of course, Dr. Puttler. Despite Beau’s attraction to thrill, it doesn’t get her down. Check out a picture of Beau and how proud she is of her cast.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection – Patient Spotlight

Lisa Anderson, an active mother and grandmother, was a recent patient at Rainier Orthopedic Institute. She has been an avid soccer player since she was about 29 years old. She enjoys running, hiking, golfing, snowmobiling and skiing. All this activity took a toll on Lisa’s body and her ability to play competitive sports so she found herself in Dr. Charboneau’s office.

Lisa Anderson came to Rainier Orthopedic Institute with a torn left hamstring and tendinopathy. Lisa suspects that excessive amounts of soccer as well as trail running caused it. She noted that her job of sitting at an ill-fitting workstation probably contributed as well. She was referred to Dr. Charboneau from someone at Olympic Sports. After seeing Lisa, Dr. Charboneau did a Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection and referred Lisa for more physical therapy.

In describing her experience at Rainier Orthopedic Institute, this is what Lisa said, “I am so happy to have found Dr. Charboneau. I have been to multiple places – chiropractors, physical therapists and sports doctors – over the last four years and not one doctor would MRI my leg or treat my pain as a serious condition. Most doctors wanted to treat me with medication. My hamstring was so painful that my torn rotator cuff surgery didn’t even compare to my leg pain. And this had been going on for years.” She went on to say that, “The left leg that Dr. Charboneau applied PRP to is in great condition now – 100%; however, I have been getting my other leg treated for tendinopathy. It was not a candidate for PRP. This leg may take longer to heal, but Dr. Charboneau recommended that I see Lyle at Olympic Sports for this and he is helping me immensely. I have had 1 week of no pain.” While Lisa is still getting back to her regular physical activities, she has decided to take up a bit more golfing and hiking to “take it easy.” Lisa is quite the impressive athlete and still able to have an active lifestyle thanks to Dr. Charboneau’s work and referrals.

When asked what she would tell other patients who are going to do the same procedure she was sure to say that it is definitely worth it, but to be sure to follow the recovery guidelines and physical therapy. It’s been important for her successful recovery.

Her favorite part about working with Dr. Charboneau at Rainier Orthopedic Institute was that Dr. Charboneau really listened to her and didn’t treat her with any age discrimination. Lisa has had some past experiences with doctors who like to assume that based on a person’s age, they should quit the activities they enjoy. This would be hard for Lisa to do. Lisa finished saying that, “Every person I dealt with at the institute was kind and professional.”

Lastly, when asked how she would rate Dr. Charboneau on a scale from 1-10 (1 being the worst and 10 being the best), she would “rate her off the scale past a 10”, she said! Well, likewise, Lisa – thank you for being an off the scale patient at Rainier Orthopedic Institute and giving us the feedback of your experience!

Check out a few pictures of Lisa doing the things she loves below. Be sure to consider Dr. Charboneau if you are an individual (all activity levels including athletes and non-athletes) with joint, muscle, and tendon pain or dysfunction.

Patient Spotlight – First Medicare, Outpatient Total Joint Surgery for Rainier Orthopedic Institute

Jack Philbrick, a retired urologist, was the first outpatient Medicare surgery conducted by a Rainier Orthopedic Surgeon. In January of 2018, Medicare approved outpatient total knee surgery, and Dr. Steedman suggested that Mr. Philbrick would be a good candidate.

Dr. John Steedman completed this surgery on January 29th at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington. Just after surgery we had the opportunity to check in and interview Mr. Philbrick to see how he was doing and ask him a few questions about his outpatient total knee surgery. So for those of you considering this surgery, here is some questions and answers for you to consider.

What was your surgery for?

Left total knee replacement.

What was your injury from?

He first injured it when playing football in high school.

What made you want to have outpatient surgery?

Dr. Steedman brought up the possibility that he might be able to do something like that – being a physician himself, Dr. Philbrick was worried about hospitals (sick people and the flu, particularly). He didn’t want to have surgery and be exposed to the flu. He jumped at the opportunity to have outpatient surgery. Several years prior, Dr. Steedman did an arthroscopy on his left knee so he had full confidence in his doctor. He had also heard of others who had a total joint knee operation from Dr. Steedman, and they confirmed that he was fantastic.

How was the process?

The process couldn’t have been smoother according to Mr. Philbrick. He says he went in, the nurses were great, the anesthesiologists were great, and Dr. Steedman always gave him a lot of confidence (he noted in particular his nice, comforting smile). “It couldn’t have gone better!” Mr. Philbrick continually mentioned throughout the interview.

What did you enjoy most about the process?

Being able to leave the same day, and walk out of surgery. To quote Mr. Philbrick, he stated, “I was dancing around. I was feeling so good.”

Was there any pain?

He noted not having any pain in the knee until the next day. Ever since surgery, he has only taken an anti-inflammatory and Tylenol. “It was a very smooth surgery,” he said.

Is there anything you would want to tell others who are considering outpatient surgery?

“I would highly recommend it!” The only advice he passed on was to ”mind your doctor and mind your wife”. What he means by this is that he felt so good in middle of night, he decided to get up and get some cookies, he tripped on something and his wife had warned him to rest. The point was that he felt so good, but should have listened to wife. This was less than a day after his surgery. I reassured Mr. Philbrick that I think we are all guilty of eating cookies when we shouldn’t, however…

Additionally, Jack noted that having a spinal anesthetic, rather than a general anesthetic, helped him not have any nausea, disorientation and he believes it helped speed up his recovery.

Mr. Philbrick is no ordinary person, him and his wife do the Camino De Santiago walk across Spain every year. You read that right, ACROSS SPAIN. And do you think he is going to miss this year? Certainly not. This is why he wanted to get his outpatient surgery done right away. He is not anticipating any problems and plans to walk across Spain with his wife this coming September. He is incredibly grateful to Rainier Orthopedic Institute, Dr. Steedman, his care team and physical therapist for his successful total knee outpatient surgery. Below you can see a few pictures of Mr. Philbrick and his wife during the Camino De Santiago in years past. Mr. Philbrick, we hope you get to eat cookies at midnight on your Camino De Santiago this coming September and we are grateful for sharing your outpatient experience with us!

Super Mom – Super Doctor – Dr. Megan Charboneau

Dr. Megan Charboneau has been in practice for 7 years. Moving from Wisconsin, two of those years have been with Rainier Orthopedic Institute.

Dr. Charboneau has two little ones that keep her very busy. She has a three year old daughter and 1.5 year old son. Her little girl is quite the chatterbox and is becoming very independent with lots of, “I can do it by my own self.” Her son adores his sister and is mom’s snuggle buddy. He gives the best hugs. Gushing about her kids, Dr. Charboneau ends with, “Hearing their little feet run my way each day when I get home from work always puts a smile on my face.

It’s always refreshing to be reminded that doctors are normal people too. In talking about exercise, Dr. Charboneau notes that spin class is her favorite. But relating to others who find themselves parenting, she notes that “Since having little ones, my activities have changed. They now include family walks, hikes, bike rides and running around parks.”

As previously noted, Dr. Charboneau is from the Midwest so it makes sense that when asking about food she says, “I’m a Midwest girl so I love a good steak, and don’t forget the potatoes. Our church dinners and family holidays always featured chicken’n’dumplings and dressing, which I learned to make from scratch. These are now becoming part of our Northwest Christmas dinner tradition.” Sounds like we all might want to join them for Christmas dinner!

When I asked about talents, Dr. Charboneau replied, “Does baking a cake count? I am happy in the kitchen and enjoy trying out new recipes, especially for cakes.” During the fall she tried out a three-layer pumpkin cake with pecan pie filling and cinnamon cream cheese icing. When she told me this, my mouth watered!

Dr. Charboneau doesn’t stop with baking, parenting, cooking and hiking. She tries her hand at many other things as well. She said she has a never ending to do list and usually gets a wild hair to add things to it that are a bit outside of her skill set. As such, she’s learned a lot of “how to’s” and many more “how nots”. She’s dabbled in refinishing furniture, building herb gardens, painting, homemade pasta, sewing Halloween costumes, and crafts with the kids.

It’s fun to see what doctors do on when they aren’t in the office. Sounds like Dr. Charboneau does a bit of everything – on top of being an amazing mom, wife and doctor. Be sure to check out the fun pictures of her little ones!


Patient Spotlight – Porter R.

Porter R., a second-grader and recent patient of Rainier Orthopedic Institute had surgery on his left arm. After wrestling with a friend at his friend’s house, his mom got the call that Porter was hurt and it seemed like a broken arm. Porter’s mom says, “It was so scary because I wasn’t there when it happened.”

After coming in to be seen at Rainier Orthopedic Institute, Porter’s mom admits he was nervous, but also excited he was going to have a cast. Jeremiah Brack, PA-C, did all of Porter’s visits and Porter had his surgery with Dr. Neal Shonnard. What Porter remembers most was how wonderful everyone was. Porter’s entire family loved the pre-op nurse. They said she made him feel comfortable and she even set up a stuffed raccoon named Doug with a cast on the left paw (just like Porter’s). The cast was bright green, the same color Porter requested. Porter’s mom noted that he loves stuffed animals and still sleeps with Doug every night.

This family was so grateful to Rainier Orthopedic Institute for the care of their son. As any parent knows, your children are your most prized possession. When it comes to orthopedic care, you want nothing but the best for them. When reflecting on Porter’s experience at ROI, his mom said, “I can’t say enough good things about Rainier Orthopedic Institute.”

She also told this story:

“I think he was really comfortable with everything that happened because they got down on his level and talked to him, not just me. The anesthesiologist was fantastic and explained exactly how he was going to put Porter to sleep. He turned it into a game of trying to blow up a balloon. That was probably Porter’s favorite part and he still talks about how he almost blew up the balloon before he fell asleep- and I think that’s the part he was most anxious about.”

This story is worth highlighting because there are so many people involved in the care of the patients at Rainier Orthopedic Institute. Everyone at ROI seeks to meet the needs of the patients to the best of their ability. For Porter, it meant making him feel comfortable (and even involved a stuffed raccoon). This is one of countless stories about the quality care at Rainier Orthopedic Institute. ROI’s goal truly is your optimum recovery and patient satisfaction.

See the pictures below to show Porter’s journey through surgery at Rainier Orthopedic Institute:

Best Doctor Joke Award goes to Dr. Puttler

In light of Veteran’s day in early November, Dr. Puttler seemed the most fitting to feature on our blog next. Did you know Dr. Puttler was in the U.S. Army for 15 years serving our country? During that time, he served as a Flight Surgeon for a Special Operations Aviation Unit, Orthopedic Surgeon, and as the Commander of the 102nd Forward Surgical Team while deployed for a year-long tour in Iraq in 2006. He looks back on this season with gratitude for being able to serve his country and says the following, “I appreciate dearly the service and sacrifice of the men and women, and their families, who wear or have worn the uniform of the Armed Forces of the United States.” Thank you Dr. Puttler for your service to our country and your continued service to your community through orthopedics.

Additionally, Dr. Puttler, who has been with ROI for eight years, shares a little bit more about his personal life in this post. It was apparent through Dr. Puttler’s interview that nothing matters more to Dr. Puttler than his family. His favorite trip ever was his honeymoon to Bora Bora with his wife of 12 years (and counting!). When asking about his family and children, he was beaming talking about his kids. Dr. Puttler said, “I have three wonderful daughters. They are the light of my life and motivation for nearly everything that I do.”  Dr. Puttler’s daughter’s participate in a wide range of activities, to which Dr. Puttler enjoys watching. His daughters participate in fast pitch,soccer, wake boarding, wake surfing and one is even an equine triathlete with her horse, Wills. His favorite sport that they participate in together, however, is snow-skiing.

Do you have a hard time pin-pointing your favorite exercise? So does Dr. Puttler, as he honestly noted. However, important to note is all the activities him and his family enjoy doing, wake-boarding, wake-surfing and snow skiing. So it’s definitely not his lack of active exercise, but perhaps that he has too many good options! That being said, Dr. Puttler has been an avid snow skier and water skier his whole life and continues to enjoy these activities with his children, as he teaches them what to do and what he used to be able to do.

His favorite food is a good barbeque meal and Dr. Puttler and his family appreciate their long haired German Shepard Dog, Champ. They say that he patrols the yard and keeps them safe while they sleep.

Dr. Puttler’s best doctor advice is prefaced by his favorite “doctor joke”, which is: “I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to stop going to those places.” The best advice Dr. Puttler gives to his patients is to give yourself an honest self-assessment of your abilities and level of fitness.  Understand where you are now, and develop a plan for where you want to be.  Then, stick with it!

A big thank you to Dr. Puttler for his service to our country and for sharing about himself. If you have had Dr. Puttler I am sure you know what a gift he is to Rainier Orthopedic Institute and to the greater Puyallup valley for sharing his skills and abilities as an orthopedic surgeon.

Dr. Puttler is looking to expand his practice in the following areas: hip replacement,
knee arthroscopy and ACL reconstruction, arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and knee replacement. Don’t forget that the best marketing for our doctors is word of mouth. If you had a good experience with a doctor at ROI, share it with others. Dr. Puttler is always grateful for his patients and the opportunities he has to get to know each of them through his practice.

The Oil Behind Rainier Orthopedic’s Machine: Teri Miller

The mission of Rainier Orthopedic Institute is to provide unsurpassed medical care through servant hood, commitment and skilled orthopedic excellence. Our staff strives to deliver compassionate and ethical treatment to our patients.

There is a great team of people who make Rainier Orthopedic Institute function successfully. From the Physician’s Assistants, nurses to billing, everyone makes this place such a great place for you to receive your orthopedic care. There is one person particularly important to ROI’s function, however. You could call her the boss, because without her, Rainier Orthopedic Institute would have a hard time. Teri Miller is the administrator at ROI, and she is our next highlighted staff, because without Teri, the doctors wouldn’t be able to function at the capacity that they do.

A few things are important to know about Teri. First, she has been with Rainer Orthopedic Institute for 37 years! Before she worked at ROI, she spent some time as a hairdresser. She notes that this taught her to be a good listener – one of Teri’s best qualities and an important one as the administrator at ROI.

Teri can never remember the punchline of a joke, and even if her joke-making abilities don’t make her proud, her kids sure do. Both graduated from colleges in Washington state, moved away for some time and are now back living in Washington (one in Seattle and one in Vancouver). Her kids bring her so much life, and they also provide her with 1 grand-dog and 2 grand-cats!

In order to stay active, Teri likes to walk, hike and do palates. And if she could choose anywhere to hike, it would be in Hawaii because she has tons of family there!

When not saving the world at Rainier Orthopedic Institute, Teri enjoys spending time with her family. She loves Italian food and if she tried out for America’s Got Talent, her talent would be cooking – be sure to invite her to all your potlucks!

Teri is the oil behind the machine that is Rainier Orthopedic Institute. She keeps these doctors in line and the office running smoothly. She helps ROI live out its mission and is a huge asset to ROI. We hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit about ROI’s Administrator. Be sure to say hi if you see her running around the office while you are in for a visit!

Doctor of the Week: Dr. Neal Shonnard MD

Dr. Shonnard is our featured doctor this week on our Rainier Orthopedic Institute (ROI) blog.

Let’s start with the facts. Dr. Shonnard has been practicing medicine for 27 years, and he has been with Rainier Orthopedic Institute since its formation in 2004. Thank you for all your years of service in the greater Puyallup valley, Dr. Shonnard!

A few, fun facts about Dr. Shonnard:

1) He loves to laugh. He says that instead of making others laugh, he does the laughing, especially around his comedic in-laws.

2) Dr. Shonnard recently went to Italy where the food and views were amazing. Since his favorite food is Italian, he was in food heaven. He said that while that was one of his favorite trips ever, nothing will ever top when his family took a horseback riding trip in the headwaters of Yellowstone National Park. Talk about an adventure!

3) He is a grandpa to one and has a second one on the way! Dr. Shonnard has one grandson, George, who is 19 months and described as Dr. Shonnard’s “fishing pal”; second grandson is due in January.

4) When asking Dr. Shonnard about exercising, he had a whole list of ways he and his family like to stay active. If riding horseback in Yellowstone wasn’t enough, he also enjoys fly fishing, tennis, kayaking, sailing and skiing.

5) When I asked Dr. Shonnard what his talent would be if he tried out for America’s Got Talent, he said, “I enjoy playing guitar, although it would be a stretch to call my playing a “talent”! Maybe you can encourage him to play around the ROI office sometime!

One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Shonnard was what he stated when asked what he believes the best way to prevent injury is. He said to “stay fit, be adventurous and forgive.” I thought those were pretty great words of wisdom.

When Dr. Shonnard isn’t busy saving lives (or spines and joints) at the ROI office, he volunteers at church and likes to participate in any church outreach events that help those in need. I hope you get to spend time getting to know Dr. Shonnard when you see him at ROI. He is one of the best and will give you great care for your total joint needs. Thanks for taking the time to read about another one of our wonderful doctors at Rainier Orthopedic Institute.

An Interview with Dr. Heusch

In a recent interview with Dr. Heusch, she shared a few things about herself. This is the first of a set of interviews and blogs on our doctors here at Rainier Orthopedic Institute. These interviews are a part of a series to help patients of ROI get to know their doctors.

Here is a little bit about Dr. Wendy Heusch.

How many years of experience?

“11 years.”

How many years with ROI?

“11 years.”

What is your favorite joke?

“It’s all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone. It’s a dog joke!”

What is your favorite trip or vacation you have ever taken?

“Going to Hawaii with my family.”

How many pets do you have?

“I have three pets. They are all rescues. Daisy (cat) is 11 years old; Atticus (cat) is 3; and Gina (dog) is 9. Daisy has been blind since I adopted her at age 2. Gina was given up to a rescue due to spinal issues and I adopted her at age 8. I found Atticus as as stray. These are my three children!”

It sounds like you like working with and rescuing pets?:

“Yes, I am a member of the Cascade Animal Protection Society. I also support other animal shelters like the Oregon Humane Society and the Pacific Pug Rescue. I find it important to adopt senior animals and I have a soft spot for special needs rescue animals as I know they are hard to place. “

What is your favorite exercise?

“I love walking outdoors.”

What is your favorite meal?:

“I always enjoy a really good soup with fresh bread!”

Tell us a random fact about yourself:

“You can usually find me gardening and enjoying the outdoors in my free time. “

What would your talent be if you tried out for America’s Got Talent?

“I would try out by making raku pottery.”

What information would you want your patients to know about the best way to prevent injury?:

“I would tell them to continue to work on improving their balance and core strength. Small steps in the beginning lead to improvements over time.”

Prior to working with Dr. Wendy Heusch to learn a bit more about her to share with patients, I had known that she saw my own grandmother as a patient of hers a few years prior. I remember my grandma speaking so highly of Dr. Heusch. It was fun to get to know a little bit more about Dr. Heusch. Please check out some photos of her amazing pottery and her pets, and don’t forget to write a review of your experience about Dr. Heusch on any of the following sites: Yelp, Healthgrades, WebMD or Facebook.

Written by: Jordan Steedman, September 24, 2017

Dr. Heusch’s dog Gina!