Nine days ago on November 5th, I got the hiccups. I tried the usual cures like holding my breath, drinking water, then went online and found a bunch more cures like, breathing into a paper bag, pulling on my tongue. I found I could stop the hiccups but, they were back again within minutes.
After three days I went to the doctor, who prescribed some muscle relaxant. Didn’t help. I did go for a 50 mile bike ride on Sunday, and if nothing else, the hiccups seemed less noticeable when riding my bike.
On Monday, I went back to the doctor, who sent me to the local ER for a more thorough check up. They had me lay on a bed for several hours, with about a dozen electrodes attached to every part of my upper body, this in turn was hooked up to a machine to monitor all my vital functions.
My resting heart rate is 38 bpm, and just about every doctor or nurse that came into the room, remarked, “My God, is your heart rate usually that low?” And I would have to explain that it was because of all the miles ridden on my bike over the years. For most of my life it was 36 bpm but due to my age it has gone up slightly.
My heartbeat pattern was steady as a rock, and blood pressure was normal. They took a chest x-ray and my lungs looked normal. In other words they could find nothing wrong, except that I had hiccups. The doctor prescribed some medication called, Chlorpromazine.
After a trip to the pharmacy I was close to a hundred dollars poorer. On arriving home I went online to see what this drug was. I am reluctant to put anything in my body without knowing what it will do to me. Are the side effects worse than the symptom?
I found that yes it was prescribed for hiccups, but was mainly used to treat schizophrenics. No real dangerous side effects that I could see, so I took it. I soon realized why they give this stuff to schizophrenics, it has the effect of a pharmaceutical lobotomy.
It stops people thinking crazy thoughts, because it stops all thought. I sat in front of the computer screen, reading stuff, and not understanding a word of what I was reading. Writing was totally out of the question, I struggled to answer a simple email.
I had a strong memory of what this felt like from many years ago as a teenager in England during the 1950s. I was forced to go into a mental hospital as a voluntary patient. “Forced to go as a voluntary patient,” may seem like a contradiction, but I was told if I didn’t go voluntarily, all it would take was a judge and a doctor to commit me, and it would then be almost impossible to get released.
They did that shit back in the 1950s to young kids who didn’t conform to what was considered normal behavior. They did it in Britain, and also in the US. I was given Electro Convulsive Therapy. (ECT) This consists on an electrode placed on both temples, and an electric current sent through your head for a few seconds. It sends the patient into a convulsion. Hence its name. (See "One flew over the cookoos nest.")
The after effect on the patient, is one of not being able to have a single creative thought. So you don’t have crazy thoughts because you have very few thoughts at all, and you walk around like a fucking zombie. A frontal lobotomy is a more drastic and permanent step to achieve much the same ends.
This morning when I woke I didn’t take the Chlorpromazine. My hiccups still come and go, no better, but no worse either. My thoughts were, “I need to get some writing done.” This is the first step. I will keep you posted.
Update 11/18/13: Friday evening the 15th November, after 10 days of almost continuous hiccups, the symptoms got so severe I could not eat, and at times had a hard time breathing. Then right before I went to bed, the hiccups quite suddenly stopped, and I felt normal. I got a really good night’s sleep and have not had hiccups since. Thank you for all the remedies, some gave me brief relief. I’m sure they will also be of help to others who come across this piece in a search.