Greg Torkington is your typical Aussier battler. The former coal miner and Collinsville resident has just been through the toughest health journey of his life but that hasn’t slowed him down.
In April this year he was chasing his dog, Rip, around the yard when he kicked his toe on a concrete slab. When things took a turn for the worse, Greg was rushed to Mackay Base Hospital and has since had his leg amputated just below the knee.
“The dog was buggerising around the yard, so I decided to chase him when I kicked the top of my toe on a concrete slab,” he said.
“I cleaned it up myself and thought ‘she’ll be right’ but three to four days later it looked a bit red, so I went up to Collinsville Hospital to get it checked out.
“The doctor had a look and said it didn’t look too good, so he sent me to Mackay Base Hospital.”
Greg is a type-2 diabetic of 20 years and so a kick to his toe can be very serious. Once at Mackay Base Hospital he was sent into surgery where they amputated half of his toe. He was sent back a second time to amputate his full toe in hopes it would heal. Greg then returned to Collinsville with a planned appointment in Mackay a few weeks later.
“I came back into Mackay to get my toe checked and found out that I had a heart attack that I didn’t feel,” he said.
“They also had another look [at my toe] and said they needed to take off from below my knee. And here I am.”
Through all this Greg has had the support of Nurse Manager Rural Stepdown Kaylene Chetham. It’s her job to support patients from rural communities while receiving care at Mackay Base Hospital.
“I helped Greg with anything he needed including the discharge process, navigating through all the areas of the hospital and organising transport to get home,” Kaylene said.
“But Greg is very independent.”
During his stay at Mackay Base Hospital, Greg has been cared for by a range of different departments, with Kaylene’s support.
“We have had input from cardiology, orthopaedics, surgical, rehabilitation, psychology and occupational therapy just to name a few, she said.
“Before returning to Collinsville, Greg and his wife also had a telehealth handover meeting with the Mackay Base Hospital rehabilitation team, Bowen Hospital and Collinsville Hospital. Queensland Ambulance Service has also helped by transporting him home to Collinsville and Think mobility has provided Greg with lifestyle and mobility aids until he gets his own.”
It has already been a long journey for Greg, but he says the support of Kaylene and staff ‘has been magic’ and they have helped him feel like a part of his treatment.
The journey is long from over, but Greg is now back in the community he loves and is being cared for at Collinsville Hospital until renovations are done to his home to help make it more accessible. The end goal for Greg is to get a prosthesis for his leg, which he continues to work hard towards.