TODAY viewers responded in droves to the plight of Jennifer Mee, the 15-year-old Florida girl who has been hiccuping almost non-stop since January 23.
From the moment the segment ended Friday, TODAY's switchboard at NBC was flooded with calls from viewers offering home remedies they have tried to quiet the spastic movement of their diaphragm and vocal cords. TODAY's e-mail boxes overflowed with still more suggestions for alleviating Mee's painful, life-altering affliction.
So far, nothing she has tried has worked, but her hunt for a cure continues.
"Are you surprised at the outpouring you have received, people wanting to help you guys out?" TODAY host Meredith Vieira asked Mee during a second in-studio visit on Monday.
"I am very surprised," said Mee, whose hiccups stop only when she speaks or when a combination of Benadryl and Valium help her sleep. "I knew it was going to come to this, but not this far, where everybody is sending so much [time] to found out what is the matter with me and is trying to help me."
The home remedies viewers suggested were wide ranging. Mee and her understandably concerned mother, Rachel Robidoux, have already tried many, including drinking pickle juice, lemon juice and bitters, chugging water, and holding her breath.
"How many remedies did you try over the weekend?" Vieira asked.
"Oh, Lord. A lot!" Mee said, managing to chuckle despite the seriousness of her almost month-long affliction.
Still, Mee and her mother remain optimistic that the condition will disappear as mysteriously as it started, or that medical experts will find the root cause for her hiccups and address that with medicine, therapy or even surgery.
"We have never quite understood why they start," said NBC’s chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman, a physician who has taken an interest in Mee's case. "In prolonged cases that last more than 48 hours, weeks, months — and I've seen cases where they have lasted for years — the real question and mystery is why. I think in this case, we really haven't scratched the surface yet."
Snyderman said that Mee's family needs to turn their attention more from home remedies to specialized medical facilities where she can undergo an intensive "whole body" examination that will employ MRIs and other techniques that hopefully identify the trigger for her condition.
— John Springer, contributor for TODAY