Evan Kessler Dot Com

The Home of the Brave

Hiccup! The Musical

Posted by evankessler on May 27, 2008

A foul plague descended upon the body of one Evan Kessler this Memorial Day weekend. It was not one the famed ten plagues, but alas it is mentioned in the title of this here post. It all began Friday night, a night that seemed to be just your average Friday night at the beginning of the summer. In the early going I (the aforementioned Evan Kessler) gathered at the new bar, Barrette, on Vanderbilt Avenue with Andrea, Enisha and the one they call Kishore to partake in some outdoor drinking. After two tasty lagers, the one they call Kishore and I headed to the MET foods store and purchased a variety of groceries.

At around 6:30pm a few friends gathered together at the home of the one they call Kishore with barbecue and beer on the brain. The first to arrive was Suli followed by Lauren H which soon gave way to a bigger crowd that consisted of Jeff, Jason, Kayvalyn, Nina, Dmitry, Ahmad, Erika, and Rosario. The fire got going rather soon and just like that there was food on the grill and people were ready to inhale some meaty goodness. I can’t speak to the extent of the riveting conversation, but I think it was ample and pleasant and mostly non accusatory.

Meaty Goodness

Then it happened…sometime in between my 4th beer, my 2nd spicy italian sausage (no entendre) and my 2nd attempt at Poison’s “Talk Dirty To Me” on Guitar Hero my body function became all twisted and I began to hiccup about every 40 seconds on average. I was only slightly phased by this at first as it sort of went with the territory of getting drunk. While the majority of the party continued to play a game of quarters, myself, Jason, and Enisha continued on with guitar hero undaunted, but as the night drew to a close sometime around 1am my hiccups continued on.

For Those About To Rock…Jason’s Not Playing That Song

“At The Drive In…In The Old Man’s (hiccup) Ford”

When I arrived home I fell asleep rather easily with hiccups in tow. As I awoke on Saturday morning, the 1st full day of the three day Memorial day weekend, my first breath was met with a funny breath, a intense internal muscular motion and an accompanying sound, “hiccup,” it said. Confounded, I attempted to drink some water in the hopes that this might quell the minor plague. It did not. I decided that I should go for a walk and that maybe the fresh air would do me good.

As I began to shuffle down Union Street my body still jerking irregularly every 40 seconds or so, I received a call from Andrew Morton. He was running or more appropriately, walking some errands and asked if I wanted to come with. Determined to walk off my affliction, I decided that I would accompany him. Together we walked all the way to Lowe’s on 2nd avenue and 14th street which is way off my radar. It’s as distant a land as Narnia to little British children in a book…though Lowe’s unfortunately contained no talking lions, but I figured maybe the air would be different down in that part of town and put a clamp on my hiccup valve…or maybe they had hiccup valve clamps in the same section where they had their other hardware type clamps. Alas, they did not.

From Lowe’s, Andrew and I made our way up to 5th avenue. We decided that food was a good idea since neither of us had eaten yet. We stopped into Albanese Pizza, a pizza place I had yet to sample. I ordered the Pizza Alla Vodka and the Grandma Slice and a ginger ale. Andrew and I sat down and began to rehash our disgust over Indiana Jones and other summer movie matters and about 4 minutes into the meal-versation, I noticed something…Albanese Pizza is the cure for the hiccups. Rejoice!

Feeling a tinge of victory, the two of us proudly made our way to Barnes & Noble to celebrate the only way we know how, browse through books and then leave. Though, to be fair, Andrew bought a book about the making of Indiana Jones, proudly upping his dork level, even though I did so admire his purchase.

That’s where we split off. Andrew went home to enjoy his new purchase and I went home to prepare for my evening of revelry. For that evening, I was invited to participate the in the birthday festivities for my boss, Josh. Although I wasn’t sure I whom I would be hobnobbing with, I thought I should look and feel my best…so I lazed out for the next few hours. Unfortunately, some time around 5:30, there it was again…”hiccup,” even more pronounced…bigger, badder, meaner….”hiccup”. I could not contain my disdain for the error in my body’s basic function. It was a cruel trick played on me by the lord himself. Had he smote me for being such a poor follower of the Torah? Was I the most heathen of sinners? Maybe…but I didn’t get a straight answer when I begged the lord to tell me. I guess that means there is no god and we are all at the mercy of our bodily functions.

As I pondered the meaning and the embarrassment that would surely be cause later by these persistent breathing gaffes, I made all efforts to make them go away. Laura Bassett told me to drink ten consecutive sips of water, swallowing them all, and then inhaling ten more times and letting out a large exhale. Much to my surprise this worked. Hallelujah. Way to go Bassett!

Unfortunately, I was no Helen Keller to Bassett’s Miracle worker Annie Sullivan routine. The hiccups reappeared an hour later as I readied to take Manhattan by, “hiccup,” storm. However, in a last ditch attempt, I followed some more of Bassett’s home remedy solutions attempting the “spoonful of sugar” trick twice to no avail, as well as the previous victorious solution.

My head slung low and defeat, but bobbing up and down with ongoing spasms, I set out for Manhattan on the subway. Hiccuping along on the F train. As I sat nervously praying for an internal cease fire the woman next to me asked, “hiccups?”. My response, “yeah they’ve been plaguing me all day.” To which she quipped “I was just making sure you weren’t going to throw up.” At this point I assured her I was not about to vomit all over her…but just then…and amazing thing happened. One minute passed….Two minutes passed…Three minutes passed…nothing. I was once again hiccup free. Had the random conversation startled them out of me or was the sugar method just beginning to kick in? It didn’t matter…the hiccups seemed a thing of the past.

As I arrived at the party for my boss on the Lower East Side, I had an overwhelming wave of relief, but also an inkling of caution. Could I hold of these foul symptoms for the rest of the night? Were they gone for good? Only time would tell. I dug into the party with aplomb, chatting it up with partygoers and settling into a long hiccup free conversation with the birthday boy’s old friend Maryann, a Montessori School teacher from Connecticut. I could identify easily with her seeing as I went to Montessori School for a year as a child and knew what the deal was. Though I’m aware most people don’t like talking to their jobs we eventually got onto other things. The drinks flowed and the conversation went for a good portion of the night.

Sometime near the 11:30 hour though, that foul temptress “hiccup” reared it’s ugly head and once again took control of my esophageal muscle function…or whatever muscle it has to do with. They were upon me yet again. Though they seemed less daunting because I was embroiled in conversation and I figured they would go away. Eventually, we sat down and joined some other folks at the party. One of which shares a last name with the purveyor of this site, though I was confident we had no relation. Despite the confidence being rewarded me and the Kessler in question took a fascination with each other’s nominal similarity and riffed on that for awhile.

Random Kesslers Unite

I think it was a little after midnight when another partygoer, Ben, and I attempted to get people to move matters to a local bar. Unfortunately we had no takers and ended up at Max Fish, “hiccup”, for one more beer. I arrived had home still smarting from my bout with the hiccups but hoped that a little more rest would not allow this Memorial day weekend to be in vain.

I woke up at 6:22 am on Sunday morning, “hiccup”. Now, this is where it gets kind of gross…but only for a brief spell. There was a feeling that some food may have been lodged in my esophagus. This is what I perceived had been causing the hiccup. In my attempt to purge myself of the blockage I made my way to the bathroom and stuck my finger down my throat repeatedly. “Hooah…drip…drop…hiccup”…. Damn! “Hooah…drip…drop…hiccup. Damn…I guess that won’t do.” As I rid myself of what I thought to be causing this vexing problem I had an intense burning in my throat and chest area. Having just vomited out a thin dark brown liquid that I assumed was bile or stomach acid…I was in a bit of a panic. I wondered whether or not the emergency room was the most valid option for the next few minutes.

However, just then I came to the realization that this felt a lot like a more intense version of heartburn/acid reflux I had previously encountered. Luckily, I still had a roll of antacid tablets in my room and surmised that it would probably be a good time to use them. Upon the deployment of two Tums, the burning eased to just below a simmer and the pain more or less subsided, but one thing remained constant, “hiccup.” Ugh…this was going to be a long day.

My plan for Saturday had been to go to Rockland County with Suli for Joe D’s BBQ in the Burbs. However, I had to make sure that I’d be alright to make it the entire trip without feeling the need to vomit out more disgusting discharges. Despite an original negative diagnosis on Plan A, I decided it was too beautiful a day to let it go to waste laying in bed flailing about with every involuntary muscle contraction. Instead I would flail about in Suli’s car and in a deck chair in Joe’s backyard…and if crisis should strike, Joe’s house was only seven houses down from my house, so if I felt ill, I could just go to the old bedroom and crash out.

As I took the train over to Williamsburg, my fits continued…still as frequently as they started…nearly every 40 seconds or so, give or take. Part of me was wishing for a miracle like the one that had happened the day before. A curious stranger would ask if I was going to vomit on them, I’d say no and my hiccups would vanish into the ether. Unfortunately, no such strangers took even a passing interest in the noises or minor gyrations being made by my body. It was one of those trips that everyone minded their own business, and I can’t say I didn’t prefer it that way…but maybe just maybe the cure to the hiccups was someone caring whether or not your hiccups would be cured…like that woman on the train the day before. Oh well, I guess I wouldn’t know.

I met Suli by his car around 2:30 in the afternoon. I explained to him the situation. He jokingly remarked that listening to me with the hiccups all car ride would be annoying. Nonetheless, we made our move in the car towards Pomona, my affliction still audible. By this time the repeated muscular motion had also become a tad bit painful. Throughout the ride I took sips of water and tried to cure my disease with multiple home remedies that I had already attempted. At one point while I was attempting Bassett’s method that had worked on me the previous day, Suli asked me if I watched “The Wire”…I was in the middle of inhaling ten times so I couldn’t answer but began to crack up. I thought the infusion of laughter and break from my regular breathing pattern might help things. My hiccups seemed to skip a beat…but forty seconds later there they were again.

Rather than give up, I pressed on with the Bassett method and finished my ten breaths as Suli asked if I watched “30 Rock”. Luckily, I had finished before breaking into laughter, because from that point on my hiccups went on hiatus for a bit.

Soon after that we arrived at Joe’s place and I was feeling a little tentative about drinking. Instead I sat drinking cups of water as I sat around with several foreign and several familiar faces enjoying chips, dips, and conversation. I have to admit, I really had no part in the conversation, partially because I was concentrating on my breathing like a mom going into labor while coincidentally sitting next to someone who was eight months pregnant, but also because I had no idea what any of the conversation was about. People were talking about recent Rockland things and Rockland people and places that I did not frequent because i don’t live there anymore. It felt bizarre…but I was more concerned about letting loose once again.

Meat…Pre-Goodness

Maybe an hour or so had passed since my hiccups had been gone and seeing as though I was at a barbecue, I thought it would be safe to nurse one beer. I was wrong. I had nearly finished the one beer in hand and was about ready to enjoy a tasty burger and dog when lo and behold my enemy emerged from it’s cave beyond my throat, “hiccup. Jesus Christ!” That was the last beer I drank all day. Water was the only drink on my menu.

A little later on after Suli and I arrived Joe’s friend Katie arrived with her daughter Frankie. A bunch of went out into the yard and started playing catch. Frankie then came and joined us as we threw around the frisbee. The multiple games of catch, “hiccup”, soon gave way to wiffleball with the little girl being the common teammate on both sides. She had boundless energy and quite the affinity for swinging the bat. However, after awhile Suli, Joe, and I opted out and one of the other BBQ-ers, Chris stayed put for batting practice.

Exhausting Outdoor Activity

My problem more or less persisted throughout the day until sometime around 8pm. Joe and Suli had just finished playing hide and seek with Frankie and I was the next victim on the child entertainment hit list. It’s not like she was a difficult little girl, so it wasn’t as much of a chore as I’m making it sound, but I was sort of physically exhausted from my bout with myself that I would’ve rather stayed put. If anything I thought I would just feel worse after running around, but after approximately five rounds of hide and go seek and fifteen more minutes of batting practice, I suddenly noticed that I wasn’t doing something….

Ah….it was a pleasurable ride home when Suli and I left probably around 9pm. The simple act of sitting in a car without the hiccups felt enjoyable. To be honest though, my throat felt a bit raw from all of the muscular strife. When Suli pulled up to my corner in Brooklyn, I decided to reward myself with an ice cream cone to celebrate the latest cessation of obnoxious muscular motion. Tasti-D was sweet. Getting home to relax was sweeter. The next day was memorial day and I’d be in tip top shape to get my BBQ on one more time. The weekend would be salvaged.

To soothe my raw throat I went down to the kitchen to make myself some chamomile tea. I reached up to the cupboard to search for the teabag when suddenly…”hiccup…Jesus Christ…what the crap!” Cue Laura Bassett…”How was your day? How are the hiccups?”…”ugh, they just came back.”

The rest of the evening I sat in my room hiccuping away. I called my mom to see if she had any home remedies and pondered going to the emergency room after reading a passage in webMD that read:

Hiccups that last longer than 48 hours are called persistent hiccups. Hiccups that last longer than a month are called intractable hiccups. While very rare, intractable hiccups can cause exhaustion, lack of sleep, and weight loss. Both persistent and intractable hiccups may be a sign of a more serious health problem and must be checked by a doctor.

There are many known causes of persistent or intractable hiccups, including:

  • Central nervous system problems, such as cancer, infections, stroke, or injury.
  • Problems with the chemical processes that take place in the body (metabolic problems), such as decreased kidney function or hyperventilation.
  • Irritation of the nerves in the head, neck, and chest (vagus or phrenic nerve).
  • Anesthesia or surgery.
  • Mental health problems.

Well, none of that sounded very good to me, “hiccup”. However, I decided against the emergency room because sitting in a room with sick people for seven hours sounded none to appealing. Instead, I took my mom’s advice, took a benadryl and went to sleep.

The next morning felt like a miracle of sorts. There was nary a sound except my breathing and occasional burping…oh…and when I spoke that made a sound too. I still wasn’t feeling completely right. My diaphragm or whatever muscle it was that had constantly been moving for 48 hours was exhausted and my throat still felt absolutely raw. I spoke softly and cautiously and drank nothing but water for the early portion of the day.

At around 3pm I met up with Arby and headed over to Abbi’s Memorial Day BBQ. I had resigned myself to not drinking after the events of the previous day, but I was open to trying a beer. The BBQ itself was quite a whirlwind of activity but my activity was mostly contained to a small gust of said whirlwind that centered around the lone table. I spent most of the day conversing with Arby, Marie, Abbie,Jenny, Felecia, Robert, and the latter two’s new roommate Megan. Despite my presence, I was still not in tip top shape. Each bite of meat I partook in seemed to be bring twinges of pain while making it down my esophagus. I was hungry but also cautious. Drinking brought discomfort as well. While the hiccups had yet to re-emerge I was wary of continue activity to bring it back. However, sometimes all the fun of a memorial day BBQ can be enough to induce a little daring…though not a helluva lot when extreme discomfort is the price.

Sometime around 5pm I started with beer one. An hour or two later after no ill effects beer two was taken care of…though some uncomfortableness and fear of the H-word lingered. I was all set to call it quits on the drinking front when close to our exit at around 10:30pm I was offered a glass of wine and being the idiot I am I took it and tempted fate a little more. I was also annoying urged to attempt trying the hula hoop despite my urging that I wasn’t really feeling well. However when an entire party with your “good friend” as the ring-leader is telling you to try the hula hoop you look like an asshole the longer you hold out, no matter what your reason. So, after my half assed attempt at the hula hoop that took a long drawn out urging to induce, not only did I look like a total asshole, I felt like one too.

As a group of four or us, consisting of myself, Arby, Robert, and Megan, walked home…I was still not really feeling comfortable about the things happening inside my body not related to the reproductive system or hula hooping. However, at the urging of Arby, and much to my chagrin the group decided to go into the Park Slope Ale House for a night cap. Arby bought everybody two rounds of vodka sodas for a night cap and despite my attempts to not further tempt fate and deter everyone from accepting his attempts to prolong the evening, drunk people don’t listen to reason and once again, I was put in the position of looking like an asshole if I didn’t accept this offer. I begrudgingly partook in the nightcap because I have no willpower and had about a drink and a half before we all left the bar to go home.

I went home fully expecting the hiccups to re-emerge as I attempted to write a post for the Trendliest. However, my sleepiness took hold and rather than wait for the dreaded contraction to happen, I just went to sleep. When I woke up Tuesday morning the body of Evan Kessler felt as good as new…or at least a little worse than it’s normal self, sans-hiccups.

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