Full disclosure: I recently woke up in a ball gown. I was parched, my skull was throbbing, and the room was spinning. Hello, darkness, my old friend... Blame it on the strength of Le Colonial's Moscow mule(s). By the time I roused myself (at 8:30 p.m.) for a cheeseburger, it was message—my body simply cannot metabolize alcohol like it used to—received. Loud and clear.
Anyone who's suffered similarly, be it from the flu, food poisoning, or Grey Goose, and then received IV fluids can attest that there's simply nothing better than the near-instant relief of intravenous hydration. To get it, Houston has options that don't require an unnecessary ER trip—in fact, I live just steps away from one of several "drip spas" that have popped up around the city in recent years. The problem, though, was that I couldn't stand, let alone walk steps.
Enter The I.V. Doc, an on-demand luxury service used by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Audrina Patridge, and Neil Patrick Harris, that brings the drip—via a licensed medical professional—to you. Think of it like the Postmates of hangover cures.
Except it's not all about hangovers, especially not here in Houston, where the company (which already offers services in 25 major worldwide markets) has recently expanded. Founder Dr. Adam Nadelson, a New York-based surgeon, said most people here are, by-and-large, more focused on wellness than recovery. "There's a lot of health-conscious millennials" in the Bayou City, Nadelson tells us, and the I.V. Doc's tracking system showed many of them already making requests for its vitamin drips while visiting other cities (we're gonna go ahead and guess Vegas). "Through the journey we realized there's this whole preventative role out there."
The journey began back in 2013, which makes Nadelson a pioneer of the now-trendy health service. "I think we set the curve, actually," he says, partly due to timing—namely the explosion of smartphones and convenience-based apps—and "the urge for a lot of our practitioners to leave hospital settings."
It was a hospital setting where Nadelson, then a surgical resident, first had his lightbulb moment: Struck swiftly and mightily with food poisoning one night, a nurse set him up with an IV drip that restored him enough to complete his rounds without calling in back-up. "I felt just remarkably better; a 2 to a 9 in a matter of 30 minutes," he says. "I knew there was something really important there."
Nadelson knows plenty of others have jumped on the "IV bar" bandwagon since then, but he says the commitment to professionalism—and, of course, the in-home experience—still sets The I.V. Doc apart. Sure, it may go down in your hotel room, but it is still a medical procedure, so Nadelson employs only physicians and registered nurses with a minimum of two years' experience in the ER or ICU. "We are a private medical practice—it's not a business providing that IV," he says. "We are not going to provide something that's not needed. We want to do well by our patients and we want to make sure our patients are feeling fantastic afterward."
That's why a doctor will follow up with patients, and there's "oversight by a lot of different people" to ensure no one slips through the cracks, he adds. An added bonus: Nadelson hopes having a qualified practitioner set up the drip in a comfortable, private space will even help alleviate some peoples' needle fear.
Of course, it'll cost you (Gwenyth Paltrow does this, remember?): The least expensive menu offering—"Cleanse," the basic dehydration treatment of fluids and electrolytes—is $199. Costs increase from there depending on your cocktail (sorry, too soon?) of choice, from the $299 "Migraine Relief" to the priciest $399 "Beautify." There are tailored drips for food poisoning, jet lag, flu, and general detoxification, plus non-IV treatments (delivered intramuscularly) and boosters ranging from a $75 Vitamin B infusion to a $150 dose of skin-saving antioxidant Glutathione.
Each mobile session, offered from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, is about a half hour, and an "ASAP" scheduling option ensures a nurse arrives within two hours. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's getting hard to type with this tube in my arm.