“The Cat in the Hat” talks about Bloomhill

 by Jan Richards, July 24 2020

Reg Doeg knows a lot of people at Bloomhill. An interview with him in the Bloomhill café includes many pauses for greetings, and even a virtual hug, as clients line up for some post-yoga coffee.

Reg is a regular at the café and around Bloomhill, and is reclaiming his “unofficial role as chief conversationalist” on his return to the new Covid-safe environment.

For him, Bloomhill is the “focal point” of his life and it was tough not being around his “family” during self-isolation. But he’s back, and again making the most of his time taking part in meditation, art therapy and other classes, and chatting.

When I met him, Reg was talking with a new client, one of his favourite activities. He also says he has an “old crew” of friends who catch up. He says, “Bloomhill gives people the space to talk to someone that is not in their bubble”.

I asked Reg some questions about Bloomhill…

How did you feel when you first came to Bloomhill?

I was angry at the world, I was thinking, why me? I needed to come to terms with it. My GP told me to come here. From the moment I arrived I could tell this place had a feel about it. It was calming, a safe place. It took a while to get into things, I realized I had to open my mind.

I had an exercise and fitness assessment and realized I had a lot of work to do. Then I had to still the mind and do meditation. I had weekly appointments with my nurse, it was contact. I realized every time I came here there was someone worse off.

Reg was operated on in 2015 for esophageal cancer, which has a 1 in 10 chance of survival.

I beat the odds. My surgeon calls me his “miracle” patient.

Has there been a defining moment in your cancer journey?

Walking in the door at Bloomhill, in hindsight. I have three teams: my surgical team, my home team and my Bloomhill team.

Why was Bloomhill so important in your journey?

My needs were always surpassed, and not just for me also for my wife. They taught me that even though I’m the one with cancer I’m not the only one going through pain.

How do you manage seeking care and support with other life activities happening?
Other life activities happen. I have to be good to my body and I have to be in the right mind which means I have to have Bloomhill.

I write poetry, and I can only write here. I have my mind in a clear space here.

The changes personally have been immeasurable.

Did those close to you use Bloomhill services?

My wife did, she talked to the nurse. And she has donated her time to teach Tai Chi.

How are you travelling down the track?

Bloody brilliant. A box of fluffy ducks. (It’s a Kiwi saying about fluffy ducks being happy.)

Bloomhill offsets costs of nursing and allied health care, was that helpful to you?

Being on a pension, absolutely. I could not believe Bloomhill had no government support. It is supporting itself and succeeding because of the people involved.

What message would you like to tell to the Sunshine Coast Community?

Get here. If you or a family member have cancer and need support. Or if you have got a dollar, donate it. Public support is so important to this organization.

Do you have a message for those concerned about their health in the current Covid environment?

Listen to what the experts say, follow the rules.

Cancer patients are used to living with isolation, we have to be careful where we go, what we do. But coming back has been like coming home. Here I’m not concerned. I know that at Bloomhill they understand what the rules are and make sure they are adhered to. This is a safe place for vulnerable people.

What did you appreciate most about Bloomhill?

Everything, the whole organization - what it does, what it stands for. A lot of people need an organisation like this.

People mistakenly think Bloomhill is a place to die, but it’s exactly the opposite, it’s a place to learn to live again.

 

While he was in self-isolation Reg didn’t forget Bloomhill. He and his wife cleaned out the house and donated goods to the op shops.

In typical Reg style he says he regularly visits the op shops and makes a point of thanking volunteers for their input. And in return the shops assistants are always on the outlook for hats. His collection currently stands at 26, and even his shirtless photo  in Joe Surace’s book, Hope and Peace from Within (below), features Reg in a hat.

The Cat in the Hat is back, and he’s not going anywhere.

Magic place. Bloomhill.

 

Here I sit and reflect on life

Thinking of these people in strife

And hope that they can find a balm

That will bring them peace and calm

 

For they have come to this awesome place

Where they are treated with respect and grace

A cheerful greeting, and a gentle care

That makes the strife a little easier to bear

 

Their needs are met with a beaming smile

With discussions and talks that may take a while!

Purpose and reasons explained free and clear

Advice and direction made plain to hear

 

It may take a short or long time

For this information to brightly shine

But with the support gentle care and feeling

This place will bring massive healing.

Bloomhill

 

Reg Doeg 6.3.17

Photo Credit: Joe Surace Photography

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