“Nasal cannula” are not by any means my favorite words. But said by a nurse scampering off to fetch one so she can hook me up to a tank of 85 percent oxygen rings like a siren song the day after some serious drinking. This is the game of chasing hours of [fill in your preferred alcoholic beverage], smoky air and lack of sleep with medical care as detailed as if a hangover were an acute medical condition—because it is. Veisalgia is the sum total of the physiological and psychological effects of too much alcohol: nausea, headache, dizziness and other fun maladies. The rise of daylife, coupled with our city’s impressive nightlife offerings, means that there are now 24 hours a day in which to bring on the pain. And this is how to stop it in its tracks.
Hangover Heaven founder Dr. Jason Burke—a Duke University-anointed and board-certified anesthesiologist—perfected this industry with the arrival of his treatment bus, in-room triage team and his clinic, ever-so-conveniently located near Spearmint Rhino. Using the same small-gauge IV as would be used on a toddler in the emergency room, former ER nurse Julia administers the Rapture treatment ($239), which includes 30 minutes of oxygen, a suped-up vitamin B shot and IV delivery of a proprietary blend of fluids, antacid, antinausea medication, anti-inflammatories and other goodies, such as the antioxidant glutathione. (Other packages include the Salvation for $179 and Redemption for $99 or $129.) While I availed myself of Julia’s deft vein-poking skills the day after my recent birthday, she pointed out that pre-treatment before the big night out can also do wonders. “Hey, this is a great pre-emptive strike,” she said before injecting my vitamin B shot. (Travel, too, can take a toll on the body, producing symptoms similar to a hangover. Recently, before embarking on an arduous trek in South America, I pre-gamed at Reviv Wellness Spa in MGM Grand, where the cave-like individual treatment rooms, massage chairs and cushy blankets help make the best of what is likely not your finest hour.)
Sunday is a big day at Hangover Heaven, with zombie clubbers stumbling in as early as 8 a.m. to get bagged while 25 to 30 nurses and paramedics pay calls to hotels and houses ($200 extra during business hours, $300 after). “It really is something that will creep up on them,” Julia says of the vicious nature of hangovers. She wraps a pink bandage around my elbow and sends me into the world to do it all over again.
Burke is counting on this, as well as on our inability to always get to his services. So he also developed his own oral hangover supplement, which he sells along with other vitamin “cocktail” services from Hangover Heaven’s more optimistic-sounding twin, Vita Heaven. (all of Dr. Burke’s receipts come from here, so your boss is none the wiser.) “He’s definitely a geek, loves being in the lab,” says Burke’s colleague, strategist Vera Alexander. She adds that the brand is expanding out of state to four locations this summer.