Flesh-eating bacteria tip of iceberg for injured Qld dad
"HE IS in excruciating pain and he was vomiting last night."
Seven months after his life-changing workplace accident, Gavin Boekel's recovery is slow and painful - and fraught with hurdles.
The Gatton dad lost his left ankle and right leg when he became trapped in machinery on his family's farm in May.
His wife, Rachelle Boekel, said "on paper", Gavin had lost both legs.
"On his right leg, out of the 11 tendons he should have, he has one," Rachelle said.
Though doctors created a fake right leg for Gavin, his leg has been swelling up to the point where "his toes were not visible".
"He can't move it up and down, he has no control over it; it's just a heavy weight," Rachelle said.
"There is no flexibility in it, he can't pull it back and, because there isn't enough circulation in it, it swells up huge - you can't even see his toes some days."
Rachelle said doctors were preoccupied with his lower right leg, when they discovered he had further injuries.
"They were so busy concentrating on that, they didn't actually realise he had an impact muscle on the top of his right thigh," she said.
"On his hip-joint, the blade had actually stuck into him - the doctors thought it was healing great on the outside but they didn't realise it was an impact muscle."
Rachelle said the state of Gavin's muscle was similar to how it might have been if he had jumped out of a plane without a parachute.
"Doctors explained it to me and said it was like the parachute didn't open," she said.
"The muscle actually explodes in every direction - it's not connected anymore as a muscle."
His left ankle also took a turn for the worse as a "flesh-eating bacteria" infected his injury.
"He has had six operations to remove part of his shin and eventually his knee because of a flesh-eating bacteria," Rachelle said.
Since moving back into the family home, Gavin has been in better spirits.
"He seems better having the kids' noise around him and stuff like that but he sleeps a lot because he is still very sick," Rachelle said.