Alex's Story

Alex was a very special person, certainly to me. He was a highly respected, talented, multi-skilled engineer. He was multi-lingual, intelligent, quirky and eclectic, witty and had a dry sense of humour. We lived life to the full whether it was travelling to wonderful places around the world, eating in Michelin starred restaurants, taking part in motorsport and scuba diving, designing and making things, talking, hiking, mushrooming, foraging and, by no means least, cooking. He was my treasured partner for only 10 wonderful years even though we had known each other since childhood.

He became unwell in July 2011. One of the symptoms of his condition was dysphagia (pronounced, "dis-fay-ja"), difficulty in swallowing. We were, of course, given some leaflets about diet and enriching food, but these brochures never really explained the reasoning behind certain recommendations which did not, at first, make sense. So, over the course of the next seven months we gathered information and worked out our own strategies and recipes so as to make eating as pleasurable and easy as possible. We had always eaten healthily and we did not like bland food, so the recipes I have included reflect this. Alex also didn’t particularly like milk which seemed to be the main advice in all leaflets on how to enrich a diet.

He became severely dysphagic (pronounced "dis-fa-jik" as in "magic") in December 2011 and finally agreed to be signed off work. He had to have his oesophagus (gullet) stretched three times and eventually had a stent fitted to enable him to swallow food. This was quite extreme and not characteristic of the usual dysphagic patient.

After he died in February 2012, I decided I needed to do something positive and useful in his memory. Speaking to a number of people in the medical profession towards the end of Alex’s life, they all thought my idea of a guide of "hints, tips and recipes" we had formulated could be very useful to many people.

I doubt that you will read every page and some of you may find it too detailed. However, I hope that you find something of interest and that at least one item will help make life more pleasant for the dysphagic patient. It will all then have been worthwhile!

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