Among this year’s Ig Nobel Prize winners (announced last week) is a crew of scientists who wrote two separate papers titled “Termination of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage.”
Um, in other words, if you have hiccups that just refuse to go away, despite holding your breath, eating spoonfuls of peanut butter, covering your head with a paper bag, swallowing sugar , and drinking glasses of water with your head upside down (presumably not all at once), then you should have someone stick their finger up your butt.
This from the abstract of one of the Ig Nobel winning papers:
A 60-year-old man with acute pancreatitis developed persistent hiccups after insertion of a nasogastric tube. Removal of the latter did not terminate the hiccups which had also been treated with different drugs, and several manoeuvres were attempted, but with no success. Digital rectal massage was then performed resulting in abrupt cessation of the hiccups. Recurrence of the hiccups occurred several hours later, and again, they were terminated immediately with digital rectal massage. No other recurrences were observed.
So this poor old guy has already suffered the indignity of having a tube run down his nose. Now he has hiccups that won’t quit. Someone in a white coat asks him to roll on his stomach for a moment and juuuust relax, and—yow! I particularly like the description of the hiccups’ cessation as “abrupt.” I’ll bet.
The hiccups return later, and here comes Mr. White Coat, snapping on his latex gloves.
“No, don’t worry about it, they aren’t nearly as bad this time. I can feel them getting ready to stop!”
“Of course, Mr. Smith. Roll over for me, will you please?”
No recurrences after that. Mmhmm.
Some sufferers will never again mention their hiccups to a soul. And other individuals will undoubtedly be trying whatever means necessary to induce their own intractable case…