Hiccups are one of the rarer and lesser-known side effects caused by steroids. I found that out the hard way many years ago after my first three day course of treatment at home. One liquid gram of the stuff infused on three consecutive days did remarkable things for my symptoms (I wasn’t nearly as bad then as I am now), but twenty four hours later these bastards arrived and literally did not stop for seventy two hours. Each day was worse than the previous one, and they lasted all day long. I had to try to sleep with a stack of pillows to keep my head and body upright, but they did little to help, and I doubt I got much more than four hours of combined sleep at night during that time.
I tried everything to get rid of them, but to no avail. The worst thing I tried involved food. After dinner on the first night, they seemed to subside, so I naturally attributed that to putting food in my stomach. As a result when they returned I stuffed my face with comfort food. Of course, it turned out that eating food didn’t impact them at all, so all I achieved was making myself feel like I swallowed a basketball while my body convulsed with one hiccup after another. You can imagine how that felt. We aren’t talking one or two of them either. They were repeated and countless, delivered in machine-gun like fashion, lasting for an hour or so before I’d get a brief respite before starting again.
I’ve never had to endure that torture on such a large scale since then. I get steroids infused every time I have my plasma transfers and other infusions, but those only happen over a single day. As a result, when they reappear the following day, it’s annoying, but one day is a comparative piece of cake, so I don’t mind. Besides, if they get really bad a healthy dose of THC laden MMJ temporarily puts them to sleep.
I received my last plasma transfer a couple of weeks ago, but because of a glitch in the ordering system the steroids were not infused. I did not get the same benefit from the treatment as I typically do, so I asked my neurologist if it would be worth considering taking them orally for a few days. Yesterday, I received a script of 20 pills, with orders to take 4 a day over a 5 day period. I started taking them as soon as they were received, and just finished swallowing down my fourth pill in twenty four hours. I have to admit I think they are doing a world of good, which put me in a really good mood, but something has just developed that I perhaps naively never anticipated or expected: the hiccups have started again.
I’ve reached out to my neurologist to see if tapering down to three or two pills a day would provide the same kind of effectiveness, but I doubt they will. So the quandary I find myself in is choosing between decreased mobility, strength and balance, or five days of hell.
I swore I would never put myself through this again, but the mobility and balance issues are as bad as they have ever been, particularly at night. I would like to keep them at bay so that those symptoms begin to emerge just before my next treatment, but the memories of that first experience are so vivid.
Remember, we aren’t talking an occasional burst of a few hiccups. They occur every five seconds or so. The first bout lasted close to an hour, left, then reappeared within the next hour. They aren’t bad now in the sense they are relatively mild, but as the day progresses they will become more frequent and violent in nature. They will escalate to where these five second intervals involve two or three and sometime more spasms, one right after the other. Trying to take a breath in the midst of these things is difficult, which can be unnerving. They are as exhausting as they are infuriating, and the prospects of dealing with them for several days doesn’t thrill me. And it isn’t as if I can just stay stoned all day and night. There is a thing called work.
Knowing me I’ll put up with it, but the shit we have to do to keep ourselves afloat with this miserable condition. And I’m one of the fortunate ones.