Hiccups

During lunchtime discussion today, I found out one of my friends/coworkers has had hiccups in the past for something on the order of 24 hours (I can’t remember if it was more). On top of that, it’s actually happened to him more than once– unbelievable! (There are often days when we discover fascinating things about him, despite his mild-mannered exterior).

After reading about hiccups in Wikipedia, I probably know more than I should ever know about hiccups, but here are a few interesting tidbits:

  • In 1988, Francis Fesmire of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine published his research on “Termination of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage.” In 2006, he was one of the recipients of the Ig Nobel for medicine for his research. Aside from being “research that makes people laugh and then think,” as the Ig Nobel folks say, the additional interesting thing about this is that there’s an episode of House where a patient who claims to be suffering from hiccups, after being told they will go away on their own, requests a specific treatment/cure that he read about, one that some guy one a prize for. Later, House throws the patient’s file on the counter, telling the nurse to make a note about “drug-seeking behavior.” Dr. Cuddy asks, “Morphine?” House answers, “No, anal-digital stimulation.”
  • As recounted by my friend during our hiccups discussion, Charles Osborne, after slaughtering or weighing a hog (I’ve found conflicting reports on what he was actually doing, but it definitely involved a hog), suffered from hiccups continuously for 68 years, from 1922 to 1990. (He obviously holds the Guinness World Record for “Longest Attack of Hiccups.”) Contrary to what we thought earlier– that he had hiccups all the way until his death– his hiccups actually mysteriously disappeared on their own in 1990, a year before he passed away. Nevertheless, he still managed to live to the ripe old age of 97, marrying at least more than once and fathering several children.

Check out this interview of a girl who had hiccups for five weeks (the video shows her after about three weeks in):