I have…hic…hiccups

Have you ever experienced that sensation of walking into a room and forgetting what you went there for? In our house we say “Go back to where you first thought of it.” If I did, I’d spend half my life in the shower. Apparently there is a medical reason for it. Entering or existing through a doorway creates an “event boundary” in your mind. This causes the activity of the room you left to be filed away and gets you ready for the activity of the new room. Sometimes recalling the ‘activity’ you’ve left is difficult because your brain has ‘compartmentalised’ it…or you could just be having a senior moment.

As I write I have hiccups. I don’t get them very often but when I do I wonder if the neighbours can hear. I have loud hiccups, I have a loud sneeze. If I don’t warn people it’s coming they tend to get a fright. Apparently I sneeze the way my Grandmother did, I wonder if it is heredity? Away, back to hiccups. I just googled them and read about them on Wikipedia. I know, too much time.

It is the rush of air into the lungs as the diaphragm constricts that closes the vocal chords and causes the ‘hic’ sound. It is an involuntary reflex. I rather like the meaning behind the medical term for it. Synchronous diaphragmatic flutter, or singultus, from the Latin singult, the act of catching one’s breath whilst sobbing.

 Then there’s a long technical explanation of why it happens and the old wives’ tales about curing it. Holding your breath, someone giving you a fright, breathing into a paper bag etc. I don’t like the idea of intranasal vinegar, that sounds like torture. Sugar under the tongue was found to work in 1971. Putting the tongue in traction sounds a bit drastic. Eating dry bread or crushed ice. I find drinking water continuously without breathing works, closing the eyes and blocking the ears probably does no medical good, but it adds to the drama.

Longevity of hiccups is a quirky and somewhat amazing statistic. Charles Osbourne had hiccups from 1922 to 1990 and is in the Guinness Book of Records. His condition began when he dropped a 300lb hog on himself whilst attempting to slaughter it and continued, with a hic every ten seconds, until 1990. He married twice and had eight children, but was unable to keep his false teeth in. There, aren’t you better for knowing that?

In some cultures having hiccups means people somewhere are talking about you or you are being thought about by someone very close to you. I always thought that caused burning ears.

Well what do you know, writing a blog cures hiccups too! Perhaps I should write to the medical establishment….oh no, wait a minute. It doesn’t.


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