LAS VEGAS: It’s Sunday lunchtime in Las Vegas and Justin looks like he wants to curl up and die. He has a monster hangover after drinking for two days solid. But help, he hopes, is at hand.
The 38-year-old from Seattle is among the first customers trying out a new service, “Hangover Heaven”, which promises to “cure” his throbbing head, sweaty pallor and general feeling of death, all within 45 minutes.
Justin was speaking on board the shiny blue-and-white “Hangover Heaven” bus, parked outside the Mandalay Bay casino on the southern end of the infamous Vegas Strip.
From the outside it looks like any other tour bus. Inside, the vehicle is rigged out not unlike an ambulance: IV tubes, pulsometers, attentive nurses, and, if it all gets too much, soothing, darkened bunks.
The new service, which launched on August 14, is the brainchild of doctor Jason Burke.
The trained anesthesiologist — who still works in hospitals locally in his “day job” — came up with the idea while working with patients in recovery rooms, after qualifying in 2001.
“Watching patients in the post-anesthesia care unit, I noticed they had a lot of the same symptoms that people with a hangover have: the nausea, the headache, aches and pains, disoriented feeling.
“And I thought maybe these medications that I’m using to treat them in the recovery room could work for a hangover,” he said.
Happily for him, he lives in the Nevada gambling capital — internationally renowned as a center for heavy partying and intoxication of all kinds, and, of course, the setting for the first of the blockbuster “Hangover” movies. What’s more, “when people come to Vegas and drink, they’re much more prone to get a hangover because of the time span over which they drink, it’s much longer and they get more dehydrated because they’re in the desert. “So it’s the perfect set-up for hangovers,” he said.
The service offers to “cure” shell-shocked morning-after revellers of their hangover using a combination of anti-nausea and rehydrating drugs, as well as vitamins and other medicines.
The bus promises an “ultra-smooth ride” to spare queasy stomachs, a mid-section with four bunks, a rear lounge, a bathroom and a “private interview room for people who have sensitive medical issues they wish to discuss.”
Debbie Lund, one of his nurses — she is a trained emergency medical technician (EMT) — said the first weekend went well, with over 25 customers in Vegas.
All of this care does not come cheap: there are two basic packages, “Redemption” and “Salvation”, offered at the introductory prices of $90 and $150 respectively.
Both provide drugs by IV, but the premium option includes intravenous hydration, anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory medications, as well as vitamin supplements.