Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Cure for Hiccups - Read All About It!

A few days ago I witnessed a miracle right in my own home. A medical miracle. We had a group of college students over for Sunday dinner. After dinner, we sat around the family room, talking in small groups, reading from The Complete Far Side, looking at photo albums, and waiting for the dessert to finish cooking. ( Naturally, I’d forgotten to put it in the oven when I should have. ) Karyn, one of our guests, had a case of hiccups. She was sitting on the sofa by Nate.


“Why don’t you go get a drink of water,” suggested a guy named Rob from across the room. (hiccup) “That usually seems to help.”

“It does?” I asked. “Has drinking water ever cured your hiccups?”

“Well, no,” he admitted. (hiccup) He looked annoyed. I think he just wanted to get her out of the room. I think he must be a lot like my mother.

My mother hates hiccups. I don’t think she’s ever had them, herself, but my sister seemed to get her share as well as our mother’s when we were kids. I can remember my mother getting really irritated, smacking my sister, and sending her out of the room until she got over them.

She didn’t smack her hard.


Pretty soon everyone in the room was talking about hiccup cures. There’s the paper bag method. There’s scaring the person. Drinking a glass of water upside down (which I’ve yet to see anyone attempt). My husband once tickled the hiccups out of me. That was before we were married. If he tried it today, I’d probably slug him as hard as I could.


Someone mentioned a young girl who was in the news. She’d had the hiccups for something like seven weeks. I told about my neighbor’s elderly father who recently had the hiccups for fourteen months. They finally took him to an acupuncturist. After working on him for forty minutes the hiccups stopped. For two weeks. Then they came back.


“I’ve heard,” Nate said softly to me, rather hesitantly, while Karyn was listening to another conversation across the room, “that if someone offers them twenty dollars if they can hiccup one more time they usually go away.”

“You’re kidding,” I say. And without pause, “Hey Karyn, Nate will give you twenty dollars if you can hiccup one more time!”

Nate squirmed a bit. Didn’t say he would but didn’t say he wouldn’t either. There’s an obvious risk involved, and Nate’s just a poor college student. And I’m a cheapskate.

A gasp from Karyn.

“He will?” She turned to Nate. “You will?” She was pretty excited. She’s just a poor student, too.

“Yes,” I insisted. “One more hiccup, and he’ll give you twenty dollars.”

She got all excited. The room was silent. We all waited.

And waited.

She couldn’t do it.

I’ve never seen anything like it.

Karyn was disappointed. (I wonder how long a poor student would be willing to have hiccups for twenty dollars.) Nate was relieved. I was thrilled.

I can’t wait to try this on someone. Maybe one of my kids. I wonder if it would work if you offered a smaller sum. Like maybe five bucks. Twenty is a bit risky. It probably depends on the individual with the hiccups. I bet my husband could be cured with an offer of as little as two-fifty. He’s a bigger cheapskate than I am.

I’d better tell my neighbor about this. They’re probably shelling out a lot more than twenty dollars for the acupuncturist. And someone should try to contact the young girl who was on the news. And while we’re at it, maybe someone should submit this to the New England Journal of Medicine.

And I’d better tell my mother about this. I think my sister is planning to visit her soon.


  1. My Grandpa used to offer me a dollar and it would totally work, so I guess I am even more of a cheapskate.

  2. I have done the "drinking a glass of water upside down" thing and it works every time. It's not that hard to do either...

  3. This was great! We would always put a tsp of sugar on the back of our tongue and then drink water. It always seemed to work.

  4. hey melinda - my sister-in-law offered my step-daughter, Kaity, $5 to stop hiccuping a few years ago - didn't work. kaity got the 5 bucks. maybe it has to be a more valuable amount!

  5. oh, and I have my own 'cure' for the hiccups - you can ask me about it if you're that interested... :-)