How icare helped change Wayne's world — a new shoulder brings new skills

When Wayne Cobbin’s wife, Maggie, of 42 years was diagnosed with a rare form of Parkinson’s disease in 2014 the couple was naturally distraught.

Wayne pictured outside.

Wayne Cobbin

After much soul searching, they decided to move from Sydney to the small country town of Berry to be closer to her family. Maggie was going to need around-the-clock care and Wayne was forced to retire from his job.

Maggie finally succumbed to her illness in 2018 causing Wayne to feel a huge sense of grief. Together, they had raised four children and had successful careers. Wayne now felt he had a void in his life and wasn’t sure what the future held.

A new lease on life

"My old employer called me out of the blue one day and offered me some casual work. I didn’t hesitate to say yes because I had always loved my job as a lift mechanic and I was very keen to get straight back in to it to keep me busy," said Wayne.

Visiting schools around Western Sydney, Wayne was responsible for ensuring the safety of elevators designed for school children with a disability. He had always been hands on and loved the process of checking the hydraulics and making sure they were sufficiently oiled, so that moving parts were working the way they were intended to. At age 69, he didn’t have to hang up his tool kit anytime soon.

Things take a turn for the worse

But in January 2019 Wayne was once more forced into retirement. Climbing over a handrail one Friday afternoon to reach a lift, he tore a ligament in his right shoulder. The injury wasn’t immediately obvious to him and he completed his work. It was during a visit to his local GP that the severity of his injury became apparent. The damaged ligament had torn and atrophied and could not be reattached. He was going to need a complete reverse shoulder replacement.

With the support of his employer, Wayne reached out to icare to begin the workers compensation process, and in June 2019, Wayne had surgery to repair his damaged shoulder. icare, he said, was fantastic from the start. Surgery was followed by intensive physiotherapy and group exercise sessions all organised and paid for by icare.

"My case manager was empathetic and very caring. Just talking to her on the phone made me feel confident that everything would be ok. I was surprised by what was available to me and that helped me maintain a positive attitude," he said.

This optimistic approach has meant that, despite his age, Wayne is on his way to a full recovery. icare arranged for him to see an exercise physiologist who has tailored an individual exercise program for him which will help him to get back to his pre-injury status.

"I can’t go back to my old job as a lift mechanic but I’m not ready to stop working. icare is helping me to find another vocation and paid for me to get my Responsible Service of Alcohol and Responsible Conduct of Gambling certificates and to learn bar skills. They are helping me out with my resume too. I love talking to people so I’m hoping to get work in a local pub now that I know how to pour a beer." said Wayne.