>Was My Mother Right? Can a Hickey Kill You?

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An Indian Lady by Thomas Hickey

I’m afraid that this Sunday series on snippets of wisdom I gained from my mother is going to end up being rather short due to lack of material, but hopefully they’ll be inspiring while they last. Therefore, as I continue to honor my mom’s memory and her wicked sense of humor, I provide you today’s piece of wisdom from the grave:

“Don’t let boys give you a hickey because it can give you a blood clot that can travel to your brain and kill you.”

So this potentially life-saving tip was delivered unto me when I was about 16. At the time, I was in possession of a hickey that I thought I was hiding pretty well.  In retrospect, I think probably not. Knowing my mother, it is unlikely that it was simple happenstance that led her to produce this hickey hokem out of thin air. Anyway, for once, don’t ask me why, I believed her. I wish now that I’d let boys continue to give me hickeys and had believed her about staying out of the sun instead, but youth is wasted on the foolish.

After that point, even though it was not always easy, I, as a general rule, didn’t allow boys to give me hickeys. Occasionally, I’d get one anyway (shrug) and then sit and worry that I was going to die until it healed.

Years passed. I thought my hickey days were over. I got married with this hickey wisdom secretly nestled deep within my psyche just waiting for the day I could impart it to my daughter were I lucky enough to have one.

One day my husband and I were wrestling around and he attempted to hold me down and give me a hickey. I fought for all I was worth but, him being bigger and stronger, he got me in a hold that I couldn’t escape and started to suck on my neck while I screamed and thrashed (and my husband insists that I insert here that I also was giggling.  He doesn’t want my readers to think he’s some sort of hickey pervert or something). Finally, realizing that death was imminent, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “NO! STOP!  I’m going to get a blood clot to the brain and die!

That was all it took to break the suction because apparently you can’t suck on someone’s neck while lying on the floor holding your sides and laughing hysterically.  In my mind, attempted murder is no laughing matter, but that’s a fight we’ll discuss on another day.

So, that brings me to the question.  Was my mother right?   Can a hickey kill you?

It is difficult to get a clear answer. I checked on Snopes, from whom all urban myths are blown, and they don’t even address this urban legend. WikiAnswers says, “Yes.” But doesn’t give any more information than that.  ChaCha and Ask.com both say “No.” They assert that a hickey is merely a bruise from broken capillaries in the neck and that you can’t be killed by a hickey any more than you can be killed by any other bruise.

But it appears that my mom may have been right.  MSNBC Weird News reports that on January, 21, 2011, a New Zealand woman was partially paralyzed after suffering a stroke as a result of a hickey on her neck.  She didn’t die. They gave her some blood thinners and I guess she’s all better now.

While, in fact, this is the first, (and, my husband insists that I insert, “only”), medically documented case of a hickey causing a blood clot to go to someone’s brain, this wouldn’t have fazed my mom at all since she considered herself prescient. If she were here, she would smile knowingly at me, and I would roll my eyes just like I did at most things she told me.

So there you have it.  Wisdom to live by. And, Mom, because I know how much these words mean to a mother even if they are a little late in coming, “You were (maybe) right.”

Oh, in case you are wondering, I chose the painting called “An Indian Lady” by Thomas Hickey because even if hickeys don’t kill you, pictures of them are just yucky.  And maybe I can redeem a post about hickeys with some lovely artwork.

Don’t forget about Man Candy Monday tomorrow.  I’m afraid it may be the first and the last because I fear there will be nowhere to go but down after him.

Have a happy Sunday!

Oh, and if you share this on facebook I might consider having a giveaway.  I’m thinking about giving away one of these if it looks like there might be enough interest.  Susan and Anne swear by them.  I want one myself, but I’d be even happier if one of my readers got one.  They are supposed to be the best and unbeatable for the price.  All you have to do is click the little “f” underneath this post.

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18 thoughts on “>Was My Mother Right? Can a Hickey Kill You?

  1. >When I was in kindergarten, my friends and I wanted to know what it was like to drink from the hampster's nifty water bottle. One of the teachers saw us and then told the other teachers in a very loud yet somehow confidential sounding voice that people developed Spock ears from drinking out of hamster bottles. We were so very scared for about a month. Mean old man or smart teacher? You decide. I already know what I think.Susan

  2. >I'm afraid I need clarification…is it only neck hickeys that can kill? Are other locations safe?? Or can those be deadly too….?? Inquiring minds want to know…….

  3. >Oh, darn it! My mother passed away and took this knowledge with her. Since she apparently was the one with the foreknowledge that someday one woman in the entire history of ever would actually have this happen, I'm assuming she knew all the other details as well. The lady who was paralyzed got her hickey on an artery in her neck, so I'm thinking it has to be on the neck in order for the clot to be able to get to your brain. The article says the clot went to her heart and gave her the stroke, but that would have been a heart attack, not a stroke. So I don't know.

  4. >Susan, that's a great story.I once knew a man who might have been my husband that had a mother who told him that when he lied his ears turned red. After that, when he lied he'd cover his ears instantly giving himself away. He didn't figure it out until he was a teenager that this was how his mom was figuring out when he was lying.

  5. >Well, just to be safe, I shall limit all hickeys to regions not in the neck and not near any major arteries. That ought to work. And is more fun anyway, I hear…..LOL at the red ears; I wonder if my boys are young enough to try that on……

  6. >Sad to say, I have a daughter I may need to try the ear thing on. And Susan, when I was teaching third grade I had pretty long hair. I told the kids it was to hide the eyes I had in the back of my head that allowed me to see what they were doing at their seats while I was writing on the board. They weren't quite sure what to make of that. I figured I'd take any advantage I could get. And I'll enter. Susan already has a face scrubber. Granted she'd have to walk to her kids' bathroom, but I'd have to go all the way to the store. That's much farther.

  7. >I shared your link on facebook because I have been intrigued by that face scrubber since reading the OIl of Olay post ;-)Ironically as I am trying to post this my dh attacked my neck! He hadn't even looked at the screen to see your post! He is the only one who has ever given me a hickey and I remind him I do not want evidence of his love to show 🙂

  8. >I believe I am going to have a giveaway as soon as I figure out all the rules. There are rules, don't you know. serendipitoussecrets: I said the same thing to my husband so he left these stretch marks instead. I think I might have preferred the hickies.

  9. >Laughing so hard there are tears in my eyes!! And this, after I passed over your blogpost 3 times because I thought it said "hickory" and I kept thinking, "what the h*ll is a hickory?". I finally had succumbed to my own curiosity, and began to read your blogpost when I discovered the word was actually "hickey". So glad my curiosity got the best of me!!

  10. >Tabitha, I wouldn't risk it. There's a lady in New Zealand who is wishing she'd had my mom to tell her not to get hickies. Although the way I heard it is that if you swallow gum it stays in your stomach for seven years. Yuck.

  11. >Kristy, I'm glad you stuck with it. One day I'll have to do a piece on my GRANDMOTHER'S wisdom that warned that if you ate a watermelon seed it would sprout in your intestines.And I'm glad you did that. I'm looking into the details of having a giveaway. It isn't as easy as it used to be.

  12. I shared your link on facebook because I have been intrigued by that face scrubber since reading the OIl of Olay post ;-)Ironically as I am trying to post this my dh attacked my neck! He hadn't even looked at the screen to see your post! He is the only one who has ever given me a hickey and I remind him I do not want evidence of his love to show 🙂

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