It’s St. Patrick’s Day 2017, and I’m on a mission: to get really, really drunk.
Not to honor my Irish heritage — my red hair is a dye job. I have to get drunk… for journalism.
A few hours before I set off on this noble quest I had my first visit to Hydrate Me, a new IV hydration spa which opened in February. I volunteered my veins to test if their “pre-party” hydration drip was effective in preventing a hangover, and later, if their “post-party” treatment could cure one.
Co-owner Lon Hogan explained he and his partners decided to pursue the business after waking up to hearty hangovers while on vacation. With hiking plans they didn’t want to postpone, they decided to try and treat their symptoms at a local IV hydration clinic.
“A few hours after my first IV I was walking back to the hotel and it was like somebody hit the reset button,” said Hogan. “I knew the effects of it at that point.”
When he and his friends arrived back in Columbus, they wondered why there wasn’t a similar service offered locally and decided to fill the niche. After interviewing several physicians, they partnered with Dr. Brian Seifferth and located a suitable space in Grandview to begin the buildout.
“We didn’t want it to have a old, clinical feel, so we tried to use warm colors and make it more spa-like and inviting like a place you’d want to hang out,” said Hogan. “I think a lot of people have anxiety about getting an IV because they don’t want to go to the doctor, so we don’t want to feel like a doctor’s office. Just come in, get comfortable, don’t worry about the needle. It’s a split-second and it’s over with.”
While Hydrate Me offers nearly a dozen different IV therapies, including drips for pre- and post- athletic competition, anti-aging, and immunity, in the few weeks that Hydrate Me has been open, Hogan says about half of their customers have been in to treat — or prevent — hangovers.
“I think that results because everywhere else people have heard of [IV hydration] that’s kinda what all of these other clinics focus on — that’s how they advertise themselves,” said Hogan. “There’s one in Key West called, ‘The Hangover Hospital.’ We’re not necessarily about that. I think everyone knows that you can get an IV and it’s going to help your hangover. We want people to see the other benefits of everything that we offer here.”
The pre-party IV ($79) which I was tasked with testing includes saline for hydration; Toradol for pain and inflamation; pepcid to block acid production in the stomach; and a mixture of B vitamins for energy and immune boosting. Hydrate Me offers several available add-ons, including supplement shots and oxygen masks, as well as a line of hydrating hand, foot, eye, face and lip masks which you can purchase to apply during your drip or take home to use later.
David Willman, the nurse practitioner who administered my IV, recommended the B12 injection ($25) and a second saline bag ($25) as the best upgrades for those planning to party.
“I think the most effective add-on is the B12 injection because it is longer acting and gives you more energy so you can party harder,” said Willman. “The second bag is, I think, the biggest thing you can do to prevent dehydration because that’s what makes you feel so bad the next day, because alcohol dehydrates you. It’s a diuretic, so it dries out your system. ”
I asked Willman if the pre-party or post-party was the better way to go for occasions when you are likely to over-indulge.
“I think it’s definitely a good idea to do it beforehand to minimize how bad you feel afterwards,” said Willman. “You may need to come in afterwards anyway regardless, but you certainly are going to feel much better when you get here if you’ve done the pre just because your hydration status is so different.”
I planned to track my alcohol intake that night to show that I had definitely consumed enough to induce a hangover, but after beer six or seven I sort of forgot. I do recall slurring to my friends around 2am that I wasn’t sure I was really drunk enough (I was) so I decided to drink one more beer! For journalism! I estimate that I knocked back around a dozen 7-9% beers throughout the night, which I don’t recommend doing ever, by the way, IV or not. Please drink responsibly, et al.
To my amazement, I woke up Saturday morning without even a hint of a headache or nausea.
The following Saturday I was scheduled to go back to Hydrate Me to test out the “post-drip,” which means once again I had to devote my Friday evening to imbibing in excess. After several Curio cocktails and quite a few Platform pints, I woke up Saturday morning with a throbbing head and a thoroughly upset stomach. This might be the first time in drunk history that someone has WANTED to have a hangover — I was eager to put the post-party drip through its paces. I dragged myself to Hydrate Me, where the nursing staff led me to a couch to lie down, tucked me in with a super soft blanket and hooked me up to an IV. In addition to the Toradol, B-Complex and Pepcid found in the pre-party, the post-party drip also includes Zofran, an anti-nausea medicaton; and magnesium to regulate metabolism, blood sugar and calcium levels. Within 20 minutes, my nausea and headache were gone, and by the time I left I felt fantastic.
If you accidentally over-indulge and need to get back on your feet, the post-party will do the trick, but if you KNOW you’re going to over-indulge (bachelor party, New Year’s, Thirsty Thursday?), save yourself some misery — and twenty bucks — and plan ahead with a pre-party appointment.
Hydrate Me is located at 955 West Fifth Avenue in Columbus. The spa currently offers an “IV League” rewards program where customers can earn points towards future therapies for every dollar spent, and is looking into adding a monthly membership. More information at hydrateme-columbus.com.
photos by Taylor Williams
full disclosure: Hydrate Me provided their services to me at no charge for this feature. Opinions are my own.