Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Spoonful of Sugar?

Miss T-

Do you know any good--and when I say good I don't necessarily mean perfectly-and-scientifically-proved-to-be-effective, but possibly folk-lore-ish or wives'-tale-ish--remedies for the hiccups?

The other day I was babysitting. I got the hiccups. The little girl looked at me and said, "Why did you do that? That noise?"

Have you ever been queried about the why of your hiccup? I thought to myself, "Now why did I do that?" Hiccups have always been so puzzling, even when people try to explain it away as some spasm of the epiglottis. I couldn't give her much of a good reason other than "I guess my throat feels like laughing but it can't catch it's breath."

Fortunately these little hiccups were not the loud, uncontrollable, horrendously embarrassing, and to top it off painful hiccups. These were just the little ticklish ones that pop out without much rhythm. After a few tickle hiccups, they stopped. The girl said, "Oh! I guess you're all out of hiccups now." I guess I was.

But I remember a day when I was not all out of hiccups. In fact it was many a day full of hiccups. Tenth grade, 2nd period, Mr. Melby's Algebra II class. Daily, daily, DAILY, we're talking every day, I got the hiccups. It was so odd. The first few days when it happened, I timidly raised my hand, with my other hand covering my mouth in case an embarrassingly loud hiccup tried to escape, and begged to go to the drinking fountain. My only known method of trying to "run out" of hiccups was to get a drink of water, flip my head upside down, and try swallowing in that manner. Mr. Melby kindly let me each time. But when it happened day after day after day, we finally arrived at the point when, at the first sounding of hiccup he would motion with his arm, without looking away from the whiteboard, and mumble "Away you go Miss Cutler." Out of the room I would bolt, trying to get all those hiccups out of me. I tried and tried that drinking upside-down remedy. Many days it seemed to work. And on the days when it didn't, my desire to believe that it truly was the cure led me to drink and flip and drink and flip for upwards of three whole minutes. I would walk to back to class really slowly, making sure that no sneak attack hiccups jumped out. What a silly episode for a 16 year old to deal with in a peer pressure filled institution known as high school.

It's safe to say I no longer have a routine batch of hiccups. Guess I'm finally all out?

I do still get the hiccups upon occassion, and I was just wondering. Does anyone have any other good remedies? Have you heard tell that Mary Poppins' spoonful of sugar doesn't only help medicine go down, but also the hiccups? Let me know. I'm itchingly curious. What if this episodic routine of hiccups is something that comes back every ten years? I've got to get some new remedies to try, just in case.

-Love your hiccuping sister.


  1. sorry but the anatomy TA in me wants to remind you that it is not a spasm of the epiglottis, but rather a spasm of the diaphragm by the phrenic nerve. but of course i do not have any remedies.

  2. I remember that weird episode in your life. That should be part of some research some where because it would indicate the brain is involved????

  3. In Physical Science 110B at BYU, there was a girl that hiccuped one LOUD high pitched hiccup every class period. At first it was sort of weird...and people would chuckle, then it became very entertaining (it was best when my teacher was trying to pause for dramatic effect--and then the hiccup would come shooting out), then it became weird again...because I could NEVER find who it was. I remember one time hearing it and standing up in the middle of the medium sized auditorium to look for her. That's when I realized I was alone in my quest to identify the hiccup one else seemed to care who it was. But I wanted to put a face with a hiccup, maybe go talk to her about it, and learn about her mysteriously scheduled involuntary condition.

    Anyway...I never found her. No one ever told me who it was...and I will always wonder how many times I passed her on campus, did I sit next to her in the library, maybe she was in my ward, maybe I threw an interception to her in intramurals, maybe she was supposed to be my friend...and worst of all, what if she was faking!?

    It seems that one thing is sure, in your case and mine, mystery always follows the hiccups--why? We may never know.