Fourteen hours of solid drinking gave Adam Lijewski one of the worst hangovers he has ever had.
On a scale of 1 to 10, "it was a 12," he said.
Yet the first thing Lijewski, 30, and his buddies wanted to know, after spending $150 each to cure the side effects of their all-nighter?
"When can we start drinking again?"
After 90 minutes on the Hangover Heaven bus, Lijewski's headache was practically gone. And even though Dr. Jason Burke recommended a 12-hour break from imbibing, Lijewski was having none of that.
"Alcohol is my friend," he said.
It is precisely that frat boy attitude that might help Burke, a local anesthesiologist, become a successful hangover guru for tourists who are looking for a fast, easy way to overcome those pesky side effects of drinking too much: headache, dehydration, nausea and vomiting.
On Saturday, Burke rolled out the first Hangover Heaven bus on the Strip, less than a week after news of its debut went viral. Something about the idea of providing a hangover cure in this fashion resonated with the world. For days, Burke has had to contend with calls from media outlets, would-be customers, hopeful franchisees and even reality show producers.
Everyone wants a ride on the Hangover Heaven bus.
"We couldn't believe there was something like this out there and we decided we had to try it," said Lijewski, who was in town with co-workers for their Wyoming company's sales meetings and awards dinner. Their boss paid the bill for his group's hangover treatments.
Seven people lounged on white leather cushions in the front of the Hangover Heaven bus, a 45-foot-long tour bus converted into a comfortable office lounge. The outside is wrapped with a heavenly scene of white clouds and blue skies and the hangoverheaven.com logo.
Inside, bags of intravenous saline solution dangled from hooks on the ceiling; the cabin was filled with the raucous laughter of people who were clearly having a good time. Few emergency rooms are that jovial.
Two emergency medical technicians, Stacy Kreitlow and Debra Lund, moved between patients, taping IV catheters, giving post-treatment instructions and ensuring the patients were comfortable.
Wearing a white, sexy nurse costume with white fishnet stockings and white knee-high boots, medical assistant Crystal Willis added a real Vegas touch to the atmosphere.
She ran the cash register, served refreshments and assisted the others. Burke monitored the group, which received the Hangover Heaven treatment called "Salvation."
Regular price is $200, but Saturday's patients were charged an introductory rate of $150. It included two bags of saline mixed with vitamins and two prescription drugs, ketorolac, an anti-inflammatory also known as Toradol, and Zofran, a medication often prescribed to pregnant women and chemotherapy patients for nausea.
Burke regularly uses both drugs on patients after surgery. Once, when he had a hangover, he tried the mixture on himself. It made him feel so much better, he wondered whether there was a way to market it as a hangover treatment.
About six months ago, Burke began formulating his business plan for Hangover Heaven. While the majority of responses have been positive, Burke has faced some criticism for his treatment.
Prescribing "banana bags," or saline bags mixed with vitamins, is not a new way of treating patients suffering from hangovers. But mixing in the ketorolac and Zofran is not common, says Dr. Daliah Wachs, a local family practice physician and radio talk show host. Ketorolac can cause kidney failure in people who have poorly functioning kidneys. Zofran also has side effects, including irregular heartbeat.
"When I was an ER physician, we were really nervous about giving people Toradol if we didn't know their renal status," Wachs says. "Dr. Burke, he's kind of gutsy to do this. If the Toradol and Zofran weren't in it, this would be a heck of a lot more safe."
However, Dr. Timothy Beckett, owner of Valley Anesthesiology Consultants, says both drugs are safe and present little risk to people receiving them for hangovers.
Hangover Heaven is offering a service that can potentially help crowded emergency rooms, Wachs said. When she worked in the ER, she often treated people who came in with nothing more than hangovers. Those people take up time and space that could be devoted to true emergencies, she says.
But the amount of time it takes for a Hangover Heaven treatment concerns Wachs. It usually takes a couple of hours to administer a bag of fluids, Wachs said. Hangover Heaven cuts that down to about 45 minutes. The body can become overloaded on fluids, which can cause heart failure or cause fluid to fill the air sacks in the lungs of at-risk patients.
Burke said his intake questionnaire screens for patients who are not appropriate for his hangover treatment, including pregnant women, people with high blood pressure, kidney problems, diabetes or other metabolic conditions.
Only one of his first nine patients expressed reservations about the treatment.
"I wondered about that," Lauren Grove, 25, said of the safety of receiving an IV treatment with prescription medications. "But they're all wearing scrubs."
"We assume this is a legitimate business," her boyfriend, Elliot Byrd, 26, said.
The North Carolina natives arrived Friday at 2 p.m. They did not binge, but they consumed quite a bit of alcohol over 12 hours. When they woke up Saturday morning, Grove felt ill.
"We woke up dehydrated, nauseous, and we didn't want to eat breakfast," she says.
So they called Hangover Heaven.
"I didn't think I would do it," Grove said. The idea of the needle wasn't inviting, even though she gives a lot of blood. "I wasn't interested and didn't think the experience would be worth it. But it does work."
They had the treatment called Redemption, normally $130 but on sale for $90. It came with a bag of saline fluid, the anti-nausea medication and some vitamins.
There are a few bugs to be worked out on this roving medical practice. When they were receiving their IVs, the motion of the bus caused the bags to sway, hitting Grove and Byrd in the face.
And the bus drivers are still learning their routes on the Strip and how to turn into hotel driveways. On the way back to drop off Grove and Byrd at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a screeching noise could be heard as something scraped along the outside of the bus.
"We just hit a yield sign," Grove says, looking out the window.
Still, their experience was overwhelmingly positive. They planned to tell friends about it and even return for additional treatment today .
"You kind of don't want to be first," Grove said of their first-customer status. "But this was definitely exciting."
Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4564. Follow @StripSonya on Twitter.