Girl About Globe | Hic from the sticks

Linda Kennedy

This is not a sophisticated column. I may be called a hic from the sticks. But here goes.

The problem began on a festive night out with great gal pals. We had Prosecco to start, the international female ‘usual’ and my only visit to the Magic Flute. This was accompanied by nibbles.

Half way through the evening, I got hiccups. It was impossible to make conversation when every sentence was punctuated by a hic. And that recurrence was during the initial period. Soon thereafter the hics gained in rapidity and came in the middle of every third word.

Some of the hiccups had me jumping noticeably. I was a terrible Christmas jumper, not the wearer of one.

Other times there was a lull and the table held its breath (I had already tried that), listening intently for a silence that would ratify the hiccups had gone. Then came a hiccupping spree and everyone slumped into laughter.

Thankfully we were against a wall. If there had been a table directly behind, they would have turned round and complained about being hic hassled.

NHS Choices, the medical website consulted on my phone, apprised me reasons for hiccups included alcohol, fizzy drinks and excitement. Prosecco ticked two of those boxes, and anticipation of my night out the third.

The website’s suggested solutions started with ‘breathe into a paper bag’. I did have my Christmas shopping under the table. Would my Dad mind if I hiccuped onto his new socks?

Deciding he would, I read on. Another solution was to sip vinegar. The venue was an Italian deli, so the vinegar on the table was fancy. I wondered about asking my friends their thoughts on this remedy. Could I time it right? ‘Ladies, do you think ‘balsamHIC will work?’

If medicine couldn’t help, I wondered if tech might. Was there a ‘Hic App’? When a bout struck, the sufferer would download it; the app would do nothing then, a few minutes later, when you’d forgotten, it would give you a fright with a really loud noise. There was no Hic App.

I remembered a recent newsletter from a health and fitness website I subscribe to. The newsletter was titled ‘Bouncing Back After a Food Binge.’ How about bouncing during a food binge? I opened it. Nothing. Hic.

There is, frankly, a want of hiccup-banishing tips. What’s with the lack of peer-reviewed treatments, science? No glory in papers which might conclude a condition be best treated by ‘drinking water from the other side of the glass? Not pioneering enough?  Hic hic hic.

Being irritated didn’t subdue me. Time, however, did. And so, in the hiccup-less calm of the morning after, historical research revealed some notorious cases. An American called Charles Osborne had hiccups for 68 years – from 1922 to 1990. He hiccupped 430 million times. It was the longest ever recorded attack. The cause of cessation was not noted.

I sat back at the breakfast table. Why me? Why Mr Osborne?  Did we possess diaphragms that were into pranks?

As a precaution, I barely drank any alcohol on New Year’s Eve. I didn’t want to hic my way through Hogmanay.

And I’m already nervous about food at Chinese New Year. When I start hiccupping ‘spring roll’ could double as description of my chest movement.

I really hope Trump doesn’t get them during his presidency. He’ll declare them ‘terrifHIC things, terrifHIC things’ and the rust belt will copy. Actual hicks going hic. I will hold my breath and never let it go.

Other than, I am working on a way to make the condition cool. Hic-sters.

Categories Opinion