Cumberland Times-News

Maude McDaniel - Living

June 28, 2014

Hiccup cure you may find hard to swallow

Let’s give a cheer for one of the things in the human experience that the scientific researchers haven’t fully figured out yet: how to cure hiccups! Somehow it kind of restores your faith in the world, doesn’t it?

But don’t think they haven’t tried.

According to a recent article in the Washington Post by Meeri Kim, Internist Tyler Cymet (head of medical education at the American Association of Osteopathic Medicine) performed a 5-year study of 54 hospital patients from 1995. He found that NOTHING works to stop the hiccups. “I think the jury is in that nothing works; it starts and stops on its own, and that’s about it,” he says.

Well, have I got news for him!

I have a simple cure that works (for me) every time. Stay with me a while and I’ll reveal it, right here on this page. Free of charge, but you have to pay by reading the rest of this column. (When you only have two readers, you’ll do anything to add one.)

I offer this blessing to you simply for the good of mankind. And I won’t even expect to receive the Nobel Peace Prize because it is so simple really.

But first, let’s look at hiccups.

Basically a sudden contraction of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles is followed by the snapping shut of the glottis. At the same time you try to breathe, and goodbye Charlie! The inhalation bangs into the closed larynx, and it doesn’t have a chance.

Hiccups have a long and notable history. Napoleon, trying to invade Russia, was captured and decided to make a last stand before he died in front of his captors. He took medicine to help him along the way. Bet you didn’t know it gave him hiccups. To quote my source, “So here he was, a short Corsican kid, with a great mind and a lousy stomach” who had come up just short of ruling the world, and was totally unable to speak for himself before his enemies. Now that’s a sad story. Shortly afterward he went into exile in Elba, and you know the rest. At least, I hope you do — history is not a favorite study in today’s world. (Now, see what you miss?)

Pope Pius XII also had bouts with hiccups that severely affected his last days. And a young girl named Jennifer Mee was on the Today Show in 2007 for her hiccup history — although she later made more history that put her in jail for the rest of her life. Totally unrelated to hiccups.

Hiccups are known as an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm, or, if you prefer, a myoclonic jerk. (I knew one of those once, but I won’t reveal his name.)

Medicine calls it a “synchronous diaphragmatic flutter.” It is believed by some doctors to be a remnant of earlier human amphibian respiration, an evolutionary step to modern lung breathing. Even unborn babies get them, but, interestingly, they often get rarer as you age.

Typical cures, that seem to work for some people, are standing on your head (yours not mine), pulling your tongue, gargling, and eating peanut butter. I must say, none of them ever worked for me. Still, I haven’t had a spell in years (knock on wood), and I attribute this to a popular remedy with just one little twist that has made all the difference to me.

I hold my breath. OK, nothing new about that. But here’s the difference: the minute I start to hold my breath, I concentrate on pushing the next hiccup down in my throat, and not letting it come up out of my mouth. And I mean “concentrate.” Close your eyes if you must.

And I also mean “push!” Something like childbirth but not exactly.This isn’t something you do while watching television, or tweeting about how you’re trying a new cure for hiccups. You have to create your own little world of hiccup-rejection. You may have to go for it twice, or even three times at first. But hiccups aren’t stupid. They know when the end is near. Almost always I have managed to get it closed down after one hiccup.

This works.

Or at least it always has for me!

Let me know how it comes out for you.

Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears on Sundays in the Times-News.

Text Only
Maude McDaniel - Living
  • Very first memories of a very long life

    July 27, 2014

  • July gotcha down? Maybe these will help

    •In a hospital's Intensive Care Unit, patients always died in the same bed on Sunday morning, at about 11:00 a.m., regardless of their medical condition. This puzzled the doctors and some even thought it had something to do with the super natural. No one could solve the mystery as to why the deaths occurred around 11 a.m. Sunday, so a worldwide team of experts was assembled to investigate the cause of the incidents. The next Sunday morning, a few minutes before 11 a.m. all of the doctors and nurses nervously waited outside the ward to see for themselves what the terrible phenomenon was all about. Some were holding wooden crosses, prayer books, and other holy objects to ward off the evil spirits. Just when the clock struck 11, Pookie Johnson, the part-time Sunday sweeper, entered the ward and unplugged the life support system so he could use the vacuum cleaner.

    July 13, 2014

  • Hiccup cure you may find hard to swallow

    Let’s give a cheer for one of the things in the human experience that the scientific researchers haven’t fully figured out yet: how to cure hiccups! Somehow it kind of restores your faith in the world, doesn’t it?
    But don’t think they haven’t tried.

    June 28, 2014

  • She learned to laugh with relatives’ help

    Sometimes there are people in our lives whom we have never credited with all the influence they had on us when we were growing up.And now it is too late to thank them personally. I am about 50 years past due on this one (or two) but maybe somehow, somewhere they will get a hint of it — and — smile. Fondly, I think..

    June 15, 2014

  • Signs of aging and what comes with it

    It’s been awhile since I last informed you of new signs of old age, and meanwhile none of us have gotten any younger. (I’m working on it, I’m working on it.) I find one of the best things I can do to stay young is to read the obituaries. It reminds you that you are still alive and there are times in one’s life when that can be a serious concern. Of course, the trick is to avoid reading the obituaries for people you know, first checking the pictures for familiar faces. But for the folks you never met, they are remarkably invigorating, especially if they were older than you are. It gives you a goal in life — and we all need goals, right?

    June 1, 2014

  • Torn between failing in two different fields

    Which do I like better, singing or writing?
    That's a tough question to answer.
    Singing's got it all over writing as far as when I started (at about 5 in the church choir) but writing is certainly a close second. I have somewhere a collection of poems that I wrote from about eight on and I have the feeling that they are lost for a reason! As I remember, they were pretty awful, not at all the kind of effort an aspiring writer would be proud to quote 75 years later!

    May 19, 2014

  • Bad habits are hard to eliminate — but try

    Somebody mentioned smoking on these pages recently, so I thought I'd put in my own two cents on the subject. I started smoking in college, during exam week. The problem was that I was too busy during the rest of the year ever to stop and study for my courses — at least that is what I told myself — because I worked almost every night on the college newspaper. So when exam time kicked in, I threw some all-nighters for study. And the best way to stay awake all night (especially if you don't regularly smoke) is to, well, smoke.

    May 4, 2014

  • Trivial questions you don’t have to answer

    Every so often in this life, my mind, all on its own, generates questions that have no real answers. So I have decided to pass them on to you. I’m tired of them. If you come up with any answers, let me know. Remember when TV jealously guarded the time zone before 9 p.m. for wholesome shows that children could watch. My gosh, how many years ago was that? It seems like another world nowadays, when you can see murders, torture and rape, or those implied, every hour on the hour, somewhere on your public screen. It might be comforting then, to remember that most children nowadays are glued to their little machines with whole different worlds on them, that they can access all day long. Except that in these different worlds they also can view murders, torture and rape on demand.

    April 20, 2014

  • Rusty writes about the nature of doghood

    I am a dog.
    Therefore I bark.
    I don’t understand why it is so hard for humans to understand this.
    I mean, there are certain things that come with the territory, right?

    April 5, 2014

  • Free-range reminiscing and occasional nostalgia

    When I was in grade school, (many more years ago than when either of you were in grade school) my daily winter (fall, spring) routine included walking to school across a railroad track.

    March 22, 2014

Latest news
Must Read
House Ads