A young doctor once told Maurice he was ‘one of the fittest 83-year-olds he’d ever seen’. And yet, the cattle farmer from rural Queensland is lucky to be alive.
“When I came to Heart of Australia I thought I was healthy. I thought I was bulletproof you know,” Maurice recalls.
His GP had referred him see the cardiologist on the truck in October 2021. Like many people his age, Maurice didn’t think much of it.
“I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me. I was a bit short of wind but I thought I was just getting old,” Maurice said.
It wasn’t until he went in for his appointment in Theodore and started to realise the tests weren’t looking good, that things started to shift. When the doctor sat him and his wife Joyce down that Monday to discuss the results, Maurice was told he needed to be in Brisbane by Tuesday.
“I thought – I can’t do that, I’ve got a racehorse in the stable and cows in the yard,” Maurice said.
“And then the doctor said to me, well, if you’re not in Brisbane by Friday…you probably won’t have to worry about it.”
That reality was more than enough to shoot Maurice into gear. With Brisbane an eight-hour drive away, Maurice and Joyce managed to get themselves to the closest regional town in order to fly down that week.
Once there they realised the gravity of Maurice’s situation. He had no blood going into his brain and they’d need to replace a vein in the side of his head. Luckily, he underwent a successful bypass surgery and has since recovered well.
For so many patients like Maurice, there’s a lot to say for being in the right place at the right time.
“If it wasn’t for the Heart Truck, I wouldn’t be here to tell this story,” Maurice said, “I’d recommend anybody who has a heart to come to the Heart Truck.”
Heart of Australia began visits to Theodore due to the support of Anglo American who identified a need for specialist cardiac services in the community back in 2020. Since then, the Heart Truck has been providing regular specialist services in the small town on a quarterly basis, working closely with the local GPs and health professionals to deliver a full spectrum of care.
Since then, the Heart of Australia team have caught up with Maurice for his first check-up post operation. He and Joyce are still living and working on their cattle farm – although he’s taking it a lot easier than he once did.
With five children, ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild, Maurice’s family is thankful to have him still up and about. As for Joyce, when asked how she felt about having the truck come to town, she kept her sentiment simple.
“It’s the best thing to come out here since sliced bread.”