On hiccups


Oh diaphragm,

you – hic – dome-shaped mass of muscle just below my lungs

that pulls down to pull in air, relaxes to push it out.

You work – hic – perfectly, most of the time.

Except for now.


Did I swallow air or eat too fast or drink too much or – hic – is this merely some result of an amphibian ancestor's gil control? Whatever it – hic – is, it’s annoying. Really.

Caused by your contraction, just half of you (odds say the left) that starts to – hic – suck in air, until that’s cut short when the glottis, which – hic – resides in the small space between my vocal cords, snaps shut.

Wham. Three-hundredths of a second after the air intake starts

it’s – hic – ended so suddenly I make this sound.

Wait for it.


Maybe the phrenic nerve, you know, that controls you, diaphragm, and talks with the brain about what’s going on in my neck and body is – hic – irritated. Or the vagus nerve, connected to the larynx, may be upset.


Dare I say the resulting outburst is – hic – childish?

I can – hic – sometimes make you go away. Overload the phrenic and vagus nerve systems or interrupt my breathing.

Bite a lemon, pour a spoon of sugar on the back of my tongue, get scared, hold my – hic – breath.

Often nothing works. Except for a spoon of my friend, peanut – hic – butter.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, one doctor calls it: I control my breathing and think about moving the smooth, nutty food through my mouth and down my throat. And just like that

they’re gone.

Until next time.