For more than three weeks, despite medical tests and home remedies, a teenager has been hiccuping. A lot.
In fact, Jennifer Mee is hiccuping close to 50 times a minute, stopping only when she’s sleeping.
The 15-year-old has had blood tests, a CT scan and an MRI since the fits started Jan. 23. Drugs haven’t worked. Neither has holding her breath, putting sugar under her tongue, sipping pickle juice, breathing into a paper bag and drinking from the wrong side of a glass.
And, yes, people have tried to scare them out of her.
According to the National Institutes of Health, hiccups can be triggered by anything from spicy foods to stress, and they can start for no reason at all. They’re caused by involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, which causes the vocal cords to close briefly, making that distinctive sound.
It’s painful, Jennifer told NBC’s “Today” show Friday, trying to talk through her hiccups. She said the rapid contractions hurt in her back and chest.
Jennifer’s mother, Rachel Robidoux, turned to a newspaper for help, but the suggestions of hundreds of readers have failed.
“I’m just looking for some answers where somebody’s gone through this,” Robidoux told the St. Petersburg Times. “At this point, we’re willing to do anything.”
To see the suggestions from the readers of the St. Petersburg Times, click here.