Tonight, I read a German version of Aesop’s Fable about The Wind and the Sun. Here is the English translation – the moral is the same: “Kindness effects more than severity”.

The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger.

Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.”

So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller.

But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair.

Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

During the summer we had a bit more time assisting Pádraig with eating and drinking. We discovered that he was well able to eat food that was not minced – especially cakes. He also managed to drink larger quantities of liquid, it just needed a bit more time.

Well, today was the first day he managed to drink sufficiently himself that he needed only one additional ‘portion’ of water via his PEG. If he continues like this, very soon he won’t need the PEG at all. Not only will that allow us to get rid of the last artificial opening into his body and thus eliminate another potential source of infection, the fact that he is now taking significantly larger quantities of liquids orally also has had a pretty dramatic effect on the mouth and throat flora: much much less thick saliva and irritating dry mouth and throat feelings.

I will never forget how hard we had to fight to get the tracheostomy removed because we were told he could choke to death without it.

Couldn’t get much more dramatic. And our insistence, and Pádraig’s gentle perseverance, more effective.