The Hangover Doctor: I Tried It

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IMG_0063Photographed by Jessica Nash.
I think I'm the only person in the office who skips the complimentary flu shot every year. I'd rather risk illness than have a needle anywhere near my body. When it comes to those sharp pointy objects, I'm simply a thanks-but-no-thanks kind of gal. I feel you should know that before reading about my experience.

Just a few days ago, I found myself smack dab in the middle of Fashion Week. This means my days were starting a whole lot earlier than usual — and lasting a lot longer, too. And, on this particular day, I was up at 6 a.m. Between meetings at the office, attending shows, and tackling several deadlines in between, I was the proverbial chicken sans head. After I finished up work for the day — around 7:30 p.m. — I headed to the 2 Chainz/Pusha T concert at Roseland Ballroom. This means I didn't take the time to relax and decompress after work before I launched into more craziness — nor did I eat a healthy dinner. We're talking a string cheese in the cab, people.

I was already fairly exhausted by the time I got to the concert (which was amazing). It was a "school night," but I still ended up having one (or two) more drink(s) than I really should have. Also, it should be noted that I danced my little butt off. It was about 2:30 a.m. by the time I got home — a solid 19-hour day.

When I woke up a mere four hours later, I felt kind of hungover. It wasn't so much that I was foggy or still drunk, but I definitely didn't get enough sleep, and I had a killer headache from not eating enough. I grabbed a coffee on my way to work, and started to feel shaky since I'm very sensitive to caffeine. Admittedly, I only began drinking coffee when I moved to New York two years ago, and it definitely affects me. In other words, I was feeling like crap.

I knew the 2 Chainz concert and NYFW craziness would coincide, so in anticipation of needing a pick-me-up, I booked an appointment with the IV Doctor, a new service offered by Dr. Nadelson and his team of MDs. He's earned the nickname "The Hangover Doctor," and I can understand why — his arsenal of on-call nurses and doctors quite literally cure you of those symptoms you would experience if you had a severe hangover: dehydration, nausea, and the general feeling that you may never move again. Before I made my appointment, Dr. Nadelson called me personally to discuss my medical history and to brief me on the service. I wasn't taking any other medications at the time (yes, not even even birth control), and I've received an IV service before. I also confirmed that I could run 10 blocks without keeling over. He told me exactly what I could expect, and I felt very well informed and prepared.

Warning: Images of me receiving an IV ahead.
IMG_0036Photographed by Jessica Nash.
When it was time to go under the needle (yes, I'm being dramatic), I was afraid. I know Cara D. made the treatment look easy, but there's still something very terrifying to me about facing any kind of medical procedure, no matter how small. But, I felt so awful and exhausted that I was willing to put aside my fear in the name of productivity. There was no way around the fact that I simply needed to be operating at 100%. My particular treatment included 200 ml of saline, as well as doses of ibuprofen for my headache, antinausea medication, and an antacid. Essentially, it was a bag of liquid magic. After 25 minutes or so (the treatment is a total of 40 minutes), I really did start to feel better. I had an appetite, and to say I was energized would be an understatement. My headache was gone, and I was ready to have meetings about meetings.
IMG_0077Photographed by Jessica Nash.
The next five hours were like a dream. I was straight-up alert — much to the annoyance of my coworkers, I'm sure. At about 3 p.m., though, my energy began to fade. While the treatment definitely erased my hangover, there was no avoiding the reality that I simply didn't get enough sleep.

But, this is one of the reasons Dr. Nadelson's service is so specific to — and successful in — New York City. We all work insane hours — hours that perhaps wouldn't be expected of us in other cities. And, to blow off some steam, we take advantage of New York's vibrant, party-'til-4-a.m. after-hours scene. As Dr. Nadelson points out, New Yorkers are workaholics: "People work harder than any other place. It’s the financial center of the world. It’s the nightlife capital of the world. We have people who are working...24 hours." Sometimes, our bodies just aren't havin' it. And, that's where the IV Doctor comes to the rescue.
IMG_0102Photographed by Jessica Nash.
Critics of Dr. Nadelson argue that his services enable alcoholics. After all, if someone can drink, wake up ill, but have the luxury of removing their night of bad decisions in 40 minutes, won't they just keep drinking recklessly?

"I’ve seen the criticism that’s out there, and they’re 100% right, and I acknowledge it. If someone calls in twice a week for treatment because they’re hungover, I’m not going to give that person a treatment," Dr. Nadelson explains. "I’m not punishing a person, but I want to help the guy out. It doesn’t mean he needs IV fluids or antinausea or any medication from me, what he actually needs is help. Because the guy may have a problem. We’ve all been there — had one too many drinks and felt terrible the next morning. Everyone’s been like that. We provide a service to fix that, to make you productive the next day. Sure, not everyone needs this, and not everyone can afford this. But, this is a good service and I’m happy to be out there. I don’t think I’m stepping over any line."

Dr. Nadelson's services start at $199 — and he limits treatment to two services per month per patient. Anyone who calls for a hangover cure more than twice receives a referral to a colleague of Dr. Nadelson's that specializes in alcohol counseling.

While it's easy to say his service enables a hazardous lifestyle, it's essentially an elective medical treatment. I'd say it's no different from other luxuries like cosmetic surgery or Botox. Though the service was effective, I don't know that I would do it again. It made me realize how much of a toll a "crazy" night can really take on my body, and how drastically different I feel when I've had the proper hydration and nutrients. Rather than encouraging me to have another chaotic 19-hour day (that included alcohol), Dr. Nadelson's treatment reminded me of how wonderful it is to feel recharged. As New Yorkers, we allow these insane hours to become the standard of our everyday lives — and it can really change our bodies. So, instead of using his service as a backup plan, I used it as a gauge for how I'm spending my time. Let's just say I'm looking at a lot more 10 p.m. bedtimes these days and I feel like a new woman — no needles required.