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Many prescriptions, but still no hiccup cure

A St. Petersburg girl's weekslong case will get national television attention this morning.

By Mary Jane Park
Published February 16, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG - Everyone, it seems, has the cure for hiccups.

Hundreds of readers inundated the St. Petersburg Times with suggestions after reading Thursday's story about Jennifer Mee, the 15-year-old who started hiccuping three weeks ago and can't stop.

Her story will get even bigger exposure this morning when she and her mother appear on NBC's Today show, along with medical experts who will offer their advice.

The show was one of dozens of offers that poured in from national television and radio outlets such as ABC, CBS, CNN and Inside Edition.

The family chose to go with Today because its producers offered medical assistance, Jennifer's stepfather, Chris Robidoux, said Thursday.

"That's the reason we're doing this, to try to get her some help."

Jennifer tried dozens of Times reader techniques, including one suggestion that she swallow a big dollop of French's mustard. That particular approach made Jennifer gag, but it didn't stop the spasms.

Early Thursday, Jennifer met with a pediatric neurologist. Before that, she had been to several doctors and undergone numerous medical tests.

She and her mother, Rachel Robidoux, left for New York about 3 p.m. Thursday. They were excited about the experience, but most of all they just wanted an answer.

Times readers from throughout the United States suspected deficiencies in potassium and magnesium. They recommended Lamaze breathing techniques, acupuncture and a modified Heimlich maneuver. A chiropractor offered to help. So did an acupuncturist. Several readers suggested hypnosis.

The president of a company that manufactures the Hic-Cup offered to send Jennifer one of its patented devices.

A woman from Pennsylvania wrote in sympathy; her own daughter, who is 13, has been hiccuping since September.

And lots of readers recommended Thorazine, a prescription drug often used to treat schizophrenia.

"I won't let her take it," Chris Robidoux said. "To me, that would be the ultimate last resort."

One popular recommendation called for Jennifer to swallow peanut butter. She has tried that; the Times Web site shows her with a jar of Peter Pan.

That prompted numerous readers to comment on something else: The manufacturer has recalled jars with the code 2111, suspecting that it has been contaminated with salmonella.

Readers were right to worry.

Chris Robidoux said he became ill after he ate from the pictured jar on Wednesday, before learning of the recall.

Sure enough, the family had bought a jar of the affected spread.

Mary Jane Park can be reached at 727893-8267 or park@sptimes.com.

Fast Facts:

On TV

When to watch

See Jennifer Mee on NBC's Today at 7:50 this morning (WFLA-Ch.8).

 

More of readers' hiccup remedies

Readers offered an avalanche of hiccup remedies. Some told of similar cases that required surgery or prescription medications, but most offered "tried and true" home remedies. Here's a sampling:

- Stand on your head.

- Eat bananas, as this reader's boss had a 6-week bout attributed to a low potassium level.

- Take a wedge of lemon, pour a packet of sugar on it. Wet all the sugar with Angostura bitters, or hot sauce, bite into the lemon and suck it dry.

- Have someone stand behind the hiccupper and block her ears by pushing down the flaps of the front of the ear while she slowly drinks a glass of water.

- Drop four or five lit matches into a glass of warm water and drink it.

- Have the person with hiccups stand facing another person who then flips a quarter into the air. The one with hiccups watches the coin as it goes into the air and as it falls to the ground.

- Stick your finger down your throat to induce vomiting.

- Eat boiled eggs.