The Man Who Can’t Stop Hiccupping Review: Did You Try Having A Glass Of Water?

January 12, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

4hiccuping300THE MAN WHO CAN’T STOP HICCUPING: Tuesday 12th January, BBC2, 10.35pm ALERT ME

When you see 25-year-old Christopher Sands doubling over in pain, vomiting and collapsing behind the wheel, you soon realise his condition is a tad more serious than this tongue-in-cheek title suggests.

Hiccupping for over two years and undergoing every possible treatment including acupuncture, hypnotherapy and oxygen chambers, NHS doctors are totally baffled by Chris’s condition. And so is Chris. “I’ve had a brain scan, heart scan, two tubes down my nose and they still don’t know what’s wrong.?

He has even resorted to an extreme homemade remedy, downing as much water as possible to deny himself oxygen.

Born with a weak stomach valve that has caused him difficulties keeping food and water down, Chris believes his accompanying heartburn lead to his non-stop hiccupping. After an operation to repair the valve, which doesn’t stop the hiccups, you start to feel compassion for the man who says, “You can only be proactive for so long until there’s nothing to be proactive about.?

One scene leads to another and somehow the Japanese media, namely “World Astonishing News,? gets hold of Chris’s unusual plight. It’s definitely astonishing enough for them; before you know it a doctor decides to fly out free of charge to Lincolnshire with a promise to cure him in eight days.

One look at his Hello Kitty dictionary, however, and you wonder whether this man is playing by the book. Or rather the right one, as he ominously pulls a musty tomb from inside his jacket. This ‘secret medical journal’ (apparently) contains cures his family has passed down from one generation to the next. Not revealing its pages to anyone, it could just as likely contain his weekly shopping lists.

This is confirmed via the next scene where we see Chris screaming in pain as the doctor pins him down and sticks needles in his torso. “He’s absolutely punishing me, but you can’t fault his kindness,? his forgiving patient deliberates. But only for so long, though – the doctor’s final method, involving sticking a six inch needle close to his heart, isn’t quite convincing enough for Chris and his mum, who swiftly send him and his secret book on the next flight home.

Chris does, eventually, meet a doctor in the slightly safer conditions of a hospital and undergoes an MRI scan that points to the cause of his suffering. A surgeon, wearing a hat with multicoloured smiley faces, seems confident he can perform the operation that could change Chris’s life. But, for once, it’s a source that can be trusted.

You have to admire the bravery and determination of the man who has spent over two years searching for and enduring every treatment he can find to rid him of a bodily function that causes most of us no problems. But you also believe in the aspiring musician, who says, “I’m not letting the hiccups control my life – my life is going to control the hiccups.? And – minus the help of a Japanese doctor – he just might be on his way.

emmaking. says:

this might sound really stuipd but i guess it could be worth a try? if you havent tryed it already? why not sook on a hard boiled sweet? ; my papa was in hospital getting kemo for his cancer and the treatment he tend to getting started causing him hiccups for up to 1week sometimes 2 and the only thing that could help take them away was sooking on a hard boiled sweetie. i hope you find something to help soon enough, i dont like to think what your going through xx

Neil Livsey says:

I had the very same tumour removed fifteen years ago next month… it also took around three years to detect and could not be completey removed as it was to dangerous… the symtoms i had was like a hot poker being pushed down through my body on the left hand side… this condition is so rare and thats the reason why it takes so long to find… the headaches after the operation usualy came after the fluid released its self from around the wound and down the back of my neck.. these were so painfull they reduced me to tears. I have constant pins and needles and aching down the left hand side of my body.. the operation was carried out by Doctor Marks at Leeds General Infirmary in February 1995….

Thanks Neil Livsey

Neil Livsey says:

I had the very same tumor which was removed in exactly the same way … did not suffer with hiccups but was in immense pain when i moved my head suddenly… very much like a hot poker being pushed down my left hand side from my neck to my feet…. this also took around three years to find from gp to it being removed by Doctor Marks at leeds general…. i was told by doctor Marks that this condition was very rare and the only time he had come across it was in reference books at university…. and in the very same way they could not remove the complete tumor as it was too dangerous to do so …. the headaches after the operation were so intense that i was reduced to tears… but these go after about 3 years unless of any sudden head movements….and it has permantly affected feeling/sensation down my left hand side of my body … if i squeeze my neck just under my ear its like an elctric shock running all the way to my fingers… hot feels cold and cold feels hot to touch …. this is fifteen years after the operation almost to the day !!!
the trouble is with it being such a rare condition by the time its been found the nerve damage is done and then its to late !!

Thanks Neil Livsey

Bally says:

Shame NHS Doctors failed to detect a life threatening Brain Tumour for Two and half years even though a layman can search over internet that hiccups condition can be a result of that. More shameful is that it was detected within a day in Japan.

Is this what we expect from NHS? Do they actually care for Human Life of more about saving costs of tests and showing more profits for their hospital trusts?

Steven says:

Dear Emma,

your review is absolutely fantabular. It s even better than the show itself. I prefer reading your reviews than watching the actual thing!!! Keep up the good work…!!!

Steven