38-year-old Irishman Daniel Clavin is suffering from what is possibly one of the worst hangovers in history – he’s been hiccuping non-stop after one night of heavy drinking, two years ago. The strange condition has completely disrupted his life – the poor guy has trouble eating, he’s embarrassed to go out in public, and he sleeps alone every night.
Daniel’s hiccups began one morning in July 2011, after attending a stag party the night before. “I just woke up with them and I have no idea why they started,” he said. “I’m not a big drinker and I’d had more than I’d for some time but it was nothing out of the ordinary. Since then, I’ve tried just about everything – all the old wives’ cures – but I can’t stop.”
Living with hiccups is no easy task – they cause serious of inconvenience to Daniel on a daily basis. “Some days are bad and I’ll have difficulty eating and keeping my food down,” he said. “Other times they lock up my diaphragm and I won’t be able to breathe for 30 seconds. I spend most nights in a different room from Susan (his wife) so she is not disturbed but that’s not ideal and it puts a strain on things. I can be lying there for hours, hiccuping every three seconds.”
Man in photo is not Daniel Clavin
According to Susan, 39, the past two years have been a big struggle. “I try to block it out but I can’t sleep with it – the sound and the constant twitching of the bed,” she said. “Even when he’s having a good week, it’s hard having him back in the bed because I’ve got used to sleeping by myself. It is very tough on him and day-to-day he’s not very happy, although he tries to remain positive. It’s difficult for anyone to concentrate on anything else when he’s around. We’re desperate to find someone who can help him because the hiccups are ruining our lives.”
Despite the condition, Daniel has managed to keep his job as a software engineer. He travels to his office in Dublin twice a week, and spends the rest of his time at home in County Roscommon. “My work colleagues are very good and very tolerant and I do everything I can to keep the hiccups quiet,” he said. “I find I can control them best and hold my breath if I’m not talking. So I try to keep quiet.”
“People find it quite funny when they first meet me but then it becomes quite annoying,” he admitted. “I try to keep cheerful but the medical community doesn’t seem to know what to do for me. I’m told there’s only a handful of people in the world at the moment who will have hiccups as bad.”
The father-of-two believes that excessive alcohol may have brought on the hiccups, but they are an indication of a deeper problem. He has seen a number of experts, had two endoscopies, a CT scan, changed his diet, taken tranquilizers and consulted a chiropractor, but nothing has worked. He was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), which might be the cause. Since MS has no foreseeable cure, Daniel might just have to endure the hiccups for the rest of his life.
“They’ve taken over my life and I don’t know if I’ll ever get rid of them,” he said. “Now I’ve been diagnosed with MS and I think that’s the reason for them. The MS society say they’ve never heard of that happening before, but MS can affect your brain in lots of different ways. I’m told I’ve got a high burden of the disease and this is the only symptom so far, so I can’t complain. But MS is a progressive disease so I don’t know if I’ll ever be cured of them.”
Daniel’s neurologist has put him on a drug called chlorpromazine, which is generally used to treat schizophrenics. It hasn’t stopped the hiccups completely, but it appears to have stalled them. “I’ll have them for seven or eight days straight and then they’ll suddenly stop and I’ll be without them for five or six days and I’ll be perfectly fine. It’s been like that for several months now and I don’t know if it’s because of the drug,” he said.
His neurologist now plans to put him on an anti-epilepsy drug, to see how he reacts to that. There’s also the possibility of having a pacemaker fitted in his diaphragm, which would interrupt the signal from his brain and hopefully stop the hiccups.
I wonder if the hiccup-curing lollipop would work in his case…
Source: Irish Mirror