Having just recovered from a nasty case of strep throat, I was reflecting on how – aside from my annual Streptococcus infection and a few minor injuries – my health is pretty darn good.
And then I got hiccups.
For two days.
Suddenly, visions of my future with intractable hiccups flooded my imagination: (Hic.)
Maybe I’ll have hiccups for another day, or maybe for the next 40 years. Hic. That’s a thing, right? Hic. I could learn to live with it. Hic. I work from home, on my computer mostly. Hic. So, I only have to make actual human contact about once every 3 months. Hic. As long as I never have to go on another job interview. Hic. Or make any new friends. Hic. Or be pulled over for drunk driving. Hic. Oh, dear God somebody make this stop.
After 12 hours, I was desperate for relief, and found one legitimate medical journal article on the topic. Sadly, it concluded that:
Treatment strategies for intractable hiccups remain empirical; no “evidence-based” approaches or valid recommendations can be derived…Removal of offending agents and correction of conditions or imbalances that may facilitate hiccups should constitute initial therapeutic efforts. (Walsh: Palliative Medicine , 1st ed.)
Translation? Dear Hiccup Sufferer: Screw You. Sincerely, The Medical Establishment.
And don’t think you can avoid these beastly spasms. In fact, the three primary triggers of hiccups are my three favorite things:
1) A large meal
2) Alcoholic beverages
3) Sudden excitement
Hiccups are an actual medical condition called synchronous diaphragmatic flutter. However, unlike other legitimate medical conditions, hiccups don’t inspire support groups, or charity walks or – most importantly – cutting-edge research towards finding a cure.
Why are hiccups stuck in medical limbo? While just about everyone suffers through them, hiccups have never killed anybody. There’s no measurable impact on the economy. They can’t be blamed for missed days of school or reduced productivity at work.
But the good news is that when there’s no legitimate source of scientific evidence, Folk Remedies fill in the gap!
After a full day of suffering, I decided to crowd-source my Hiccup Folk Remedy. Turning to Facebook, Twitter, and a good old-fashioned Friday Night Cocktail Party, I discovered dozens of potential cures, all of which seemed way more fun than anything my doctor has ever prescribed.
In medical terminology, when one reviews the studies of others, it is called meta-analysis. On the internet, it’s called crowd sourcing.
As a public service, I’ve decided to save the CDC some time and publish my own crowd-sourced meta-analysis of cures for synchronous diaphragmatic flutter.
Treatments generally fall into four main categories, which happen to mimic the main functions of life: Drinking, Eating, Breathing and Assorted Physical Stimulation.
- Drink a glass of water from the wrong side of the cup
- Drink a glass of water from between your legs
- Drink a glass of water while bending over backwards
- Drink a glass of water through a washcloth
- Drink a glass of water while sticking your fingers in your ears
- Eat a spoonful of sugar
- Hold a spoonful of sugar under your tongue
- Eat a large spoonful of peanut butter
- Eat a Slim Jim with a Dr. Pepper
- Eat a dill pickle while lying in bed
- Swallow whole antacid tabs
- Poke your tonsils with a cotton swab
- Pull your tongue out of your mouth with your fingers
- Put your fingers in your ears
- Hold your breath
- Take big, deep breaths
- Take quick, shallow breaths
- Blow on your thumb
- Breathe deeply while lying face-down on the floor
- Hold your breath while lying face-down on the floor
- Have someone scare you
- Have someone punch you in the gut
- Have someone point a gun at your head (Americans only)
- Scream as loud as you can
- Don’t think about your hiccups
- Think really hard about your hiccups
- Tickle yourself or order someone else to tickle you
- Stimulate your clitoris (sorry, guys)
- Use a spoon to touch your uvula, or your vulva, or both if you can’t remember which is which
- Rectal massage
- Press on your eyeballs
- Pull your hair
- Immerse your face in ice water
- Stand on your head
- Smoke a joint
So, can you guess which one worked for me?