Next stop: Hydration station

Elective IVs for athletes and overindulgers
The author visits Hydration Station

The IV in my right arm pumped in liters of needed fluid, along with some Toradol anti-inflammatory medication, while a nasal cannula provided a steady stream of cool oxygen. This was a Sunday morning, after a nine-mile run from Decatur to Buckhead left me particularly tomato-faced, parched, and pouring with sweat.

Though I’ve found myself in a similar predicament before, this time I wasn’t sick and sitting in urgent care.

I had elected to visit Hydration Station, a new business in Buckhead that offers intravenous fluids to the over-exerted, the stomach-bugged, and the hungover.

Founded by businessman Keith McDermott and board-certified physician Dr. Thomas C. Roepke, the Hydration Station offers a menu of services with names that must be read aloud by a movie voiceover artist in order to do them justice:

From the people who brought you “the Baptism” and “the Rip Curl” comes a hydration adventure unlike any you’ve experienced before. Get ready for a crushing rush of fluids with … “the Tsunami!”

The treatments range in price from $29 to $99 and can include any or all of the following: two liters of hydration fluid, oxygen, a Vitamin B12 shot, multivitamins, and medications to combat nausea and inflammation.

The Hydration Station is modeled, somewhat, on the Hangover Heaven bus in Las Vegas, a “45-foot rolling hangover treatment clinic” that provides “first-class medical treatment while simultaneously offering resort-style comfort.” That basically translates to IV fluids and medication for the strip’s overindulged. The company also offers in-room preventative care and claims to have cured more than 10,000 hangovers.

The Hydration Station, located on the top floor of the Shops of Buckhead strip mall, is licensed like a doctor’s office but on a Sunday morning has the feel of a very social, spa-like and upbeat chemotherapy room. Customers lounge in black recliners while technicians in blue scrubs set up banana bags on IV poles and hook up oxygen tanks. Flat screen televisions play ESPN’s SportsCenter and regulars—the place offers $39 monthly memberships—high-five each other and recap the previous night’s debauchery.

I was the only one in soaking-wet workout attire during my visit, but the place frequently draws triathletes the night before a race or runners who are under the weather and need a boost before they hit the road. Customers also use the place as a substitute for urgent care (puking in the garbage cans is not prohibited).

Typically I end up with exertion-related migraines after a long, summertime run. No matter how hard I try, I can never seem to hydrate myself properly before or during the workout (despite the fact that I carry two bottles of water on a belt and try to lower my body temperature with a handheld icepack from Cool Point).

After a 35-minute visit to the Hydration Station, I felt great: no headache, no muscle aches, no nausea, no need to take my expensive migraine medication. An IV drip may not be a realistic part of my weekly training plan.

But the next time I have a big race or a big migraine coming on? Hook me up!