Some people believe that science has no idea what causes the hiccups. The truth is that science knows all kinds of things that cause the hiccups (carbonated beverages, laughter, stress, brain cancer, and more exciting things). But science doesn’t usually step in to do something about it until things get crazy bad.
For instance, a guy named Charles Osborne had hiccups from 1922 to 1990 and earned a spot in the Guinness World Records for the longest attack of hiccups. A few years back in 2007, a teen from Florida named Jennifer Mee got famous for hiccuping 50 times per minute for more than five weeks (unfortunately, she is also kind of famous for committing murder, which leads me to believe that hiccups can also cause craziness). Not to be outdone by the Yanks, Britain’s own Christopher Sands hiccupped every two seconds from February 2007 to May 2009. The only reason they stopped was because doctors found the cause of his hiccups to be a tumor, so they took it out and bam! They stopped.
Some cultures believe that hiccups are caused by being the object of someone’s thoughts (in the USA, we say that such thoughts cause a person’s ears to burn). But for my wife, the cause of hiccups has almost always been stress-related.
During our first year of marriage, she had a job that stressed her out to no end. Her manager was on a perpetual cigarette break, her schedule often included late nights followed by early morning shifts, and her coworkers were not always friendly. She got the hiccups every day, and usually multiple times during the day.
Let’s talk for a minute about the various home remedies for hiccups. Some people believe that a glass of water drank upside-down (or from the opposite side of the cup as normal) will cure them. Others stand by holding their breathe or eating a spoonful of sugar. But my favorite home remedy has always been scaring someone.
There’s something fun about trying to jolt a person’s hiccups away. Sometimes it works.
This was my standard offer for my wife during that first year of marriage. For some reason, she never took me up on it. Maybe because she is smarter than I am by an order of magnitude and she realized that since stress caused her hiccups, more stress would only speed them up. And yes, I often ignored her protests and scared her anyway, and yes, her hiccups would just pick up their pace.
But after almost ten years of marriage, we figured it out. I am the cure for her hiccups, but it has nothing to do with scaring her.
Lately when she gets the hiccups, I give her a hug. Just a hug. It doesn’t even have to be all that long of a hug. And her hiccups disappear.
I’m actually kind of proud that my hugs are so calming that I can stop her hiccups. I’ll take it as one more proof that she and I are perfect for each other.
How often do you get the hiccups? What do you do to get rid of them?