We all have been there: you go a little overboard the night before and wake up to a dry mouth, aching body, pounding headache, and maybe a little bit of vomiting. It sucks.
Now, if you live in the Manhattan area and have a few extra hundred dollars to spend, these mornings can be a thing of the past. The Hangover Club, one of a number of “hangover cure” services cropping up around the US, allows you to order a nurse on demand. The nurse, who is guaranteed to arrive in 45 minutes, administers a medical cocktail of fluids and vitamins that the company claims will fix your hangover and give you the energy you need to take on the day.
With packages ranging from $US175 to $US249, the service is marketed towards high-powered business types who need to take a client out for a night on the town and still function at work the next day. While I am certainly not a high-powered business type, I do, on occasion, get hung over, so I saw the immense value this service could provide. I decided I had to try it for myself.
Christian Storm/Business Insider
My scientific combination for the evening.
The night before
Obviously, in order to fully experience what the Hangover Club offers, one must be hung over.
So, for the sake of science and journalism, I devised a plan to give myself a pounding, booze-induced headache. I searched online for “how to avoid a hangover,” and reversed all the instructions. Eat a full meal? Nah, just one bag of chips for me. Drink lots of water? No, no thanks. Avoid sugary beverages? Ha!
My very scientific procedure to achieve maximum hangover was a six-pack of Mike’s Hard Cranberry Lemonade, with each new bottle punctuated by a shot of nauseatingly sweet Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, all while I watched “Aeroplane” on Netflix alone on my couch.
It wasn’t my favourite mixture of beverages, but I got through it. As the credits rolled and I surveyed the aftermath through blurry eyes, I knew I had done my job. I shuffled off to bed to dream of giant cranberries chasing after me.
The morning after
I awoke to pounding headache and a telephone call from Isa, the registered nurse from the Hangover Club who would administer my treatment, saying she was close to my apartment. I threw on some clothes and hobbled downstairs, my body aching from liquor and glucose.
Isa, who was lovely and very friendly, came right into my living room and proceeded to unpack a big backpack full of medical gear, which she spread out on my coffee table. It all seemed very official and I felt like I was in good hands.
I sat on my couch as she took my vitals and ask me a series of health questions before beginning the “Super package,” which retails for $US219. The package, which is the Club’s mid-level treatment, consists of a bag of saline infused with electrolytes to rehydrate, as well as B-12 and B-complex injections, which are supposed to boost the immune system and help with energy. I was also given the option of an injection of pain reducers or anti-nausea medication. Because I didn’t feel like I was about to throw up but my head was throbbing, I opted for the painkillers.
As I sat on my couch and watched the IV bag slowly drip its healing liquid into my bloodstream, I asked Isa about what it was like to get paid to treat partiers who overdid it the night before. She said she did it as a side gig, one that supplements her job as a hospital nurse.
Isa’s on-call Hangover Club shifts last around seven hours, and she usually treats two or three patients a shift. She said her main clientele were indeed banker and finance types, as well as the hard-partying children of wealthy parents.
As we talked and my IV dripped away, I felt my headache going away. My body began to feel normal, as well. The procedure seemed to be working.
The whole thing took about an hour. When I said goodbye to Isa and headed to work, I could definitely feel the IV concoction kicking in. I didn’t feel like I could run a marathon any time soon (though, when do I ever feel like running a marathon?), but I did feel like I had gone to bed early the night before without drinking more than one beer.
However, as the day wore on, I began to feel very queasy and experienced a bit of heartburn. I also felt like I was overheating at certain parts of the day. Later in the afternoon, I started getting an upset stomach. I wasn’t feeling too hot.
Did it work?
Researchers are still trying to figure out the science behind hangovers and what exactly causes them. Studies have shown that our bodies need to process the alcohol before a hangover can truly go away. Part of that starts right away, but the hangover-related byproducts we create when breaking down alcohol don’t appear until about 10 hours after you stop drinking and can last for quite some time.
So, while rehydrating yourself (by drinking water, Pedialyte, or getting an IV drip) can help to lessen the pain from dehydration that usually accompanies a hangover, the debilitating effects of the hangover itself may remain. Science would suggest that not much actually cures a hangover other than time — not even a fancy IV drip.
When I spoke to founder of the Hangover Club, the aptly-named Dr. Maurice Beer, he told me he wouldn’t call his company’s service a cure-all, but rather a “hangover recovery accelerator.” Not only does the procedure rehydrate the body, but it also works to re-alkalize the bloodstream and hasten the processing of the toxins by the kidneys, he said.
As for feeling ill all afternoon, Dr. Beer said that everyone breaks down alcohol differently: some faster, some slower, and for some folks, not at all. He said I also may have been experiencing a “rebound affect,” where the benefits of the medicine wear off and the hangover comes back.
So, does the Hangover Club work? Whether real or perceived, it certainly made me feel better for a few hours. Beyond that, I can’t say for sure. I’d need to try it again. But don’t let that stop you from tying one on tonight and trying it out yourself tomorrow morning.
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