Neurointensive care unit nurse-turned-hydration entrepreneur Christie D’Arcy could not have started her new venture at a better time. Founding and opening Philadelphia’s first IV therapy lounge, 13th and Walnut’s City Hydration, at Thanksgiving – perfect for over-indulgers of that holiday, to say nothing of Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve and other sundry events – is certainly a plus for this town’s revelers. But D’Arcy is adamant that keeping one’s body well-oiled and fluid-filled is necessary year-round for proper, fulsome health and well-being.
“I worked at Jefferson in the neuro ICU for seven years before I began travel nursing,” said D’Arcy, a 12-year nursing veteran from North Hanover, New Jersey. “I branched from ICU and started working in ERs and surgical recovery, too. Dabbling in all realms of nursing kept my brain stimulated."
D’Arcy claimed that nurses and paramedics are the “front line of IV hydration lounges.”
“Working in a hospital, it was obvious that everyone who came through the doors suffered from some level of dehydration,” she stated. “We all blame things like feeling weak, fatigued and headaches on day-to-day life — which is absolutely the case — but sometimes something as simple as hydration can help those symptoms.”
Travel nursing exposed D’Arcy to the wealth of cities with hydration bars, how each one operated and what their clientele was like, and how Philly needed one. She did her research, went for legal guidance, gathered her medical directors and pharmacists with whom she concocted mixtures for the solutions (“Together we created safe dosages and made sure everything was compatible.”) and opened City Hydration in an office shared with her sister’s Luminous Chiropractic practice.
Are people afraid, at first, to get needles stuck in the arms just to ward off a cold or cure a hangover? “People are always afraid of IVs,” D’arcy said with a laugh. “But a majority of the fear of an IV is what comes with it. Usually you're in a hospital or doctor’s office. Everything is cold and hard and plastic or metal. I removed that. City Hydration is a calm environment with candles and lounge chairs. I have eye masks so people can take a nap and heating blankets to lay over you while you sip hot tea. I love when people fall asleep and say they don't want to leave.”
On the menu at City Hydration, there’s the “Cold and Flu” (normal saline, vitamin C, zinc, glutathione) the “Jet Lag and Fatigue” (normal saline, B-12, B-complex, vitamin C) and the “Health Maintenance and Energy” (normal saline, B-complex, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C), which have become best-sellers. “A most specialized infusion is the athletic performance infusion. It's awesome for muscle recovery and energy. It has been so great having athletes come in and give such positive feedback on it.”
Then there is the perfect for holiday excess “Hangover Relief” featuring normal saline, B-complex, glutathione, Zofran (for anti-nausea) and Toradol (for anti-inflammation). She laughs when she calls that cocktail the one to get the most attention. “That’s because it produces the most drastic results. It's most effective after a night of drinking. People come in feeling absolutely awful and leave feeling, in some cases, completely better. The anti-nausea medication is fast and effective. The anti-inflammatory medications ease those aches and pains and the B-complex and liter of saline rehydrate your body quickly. So overall … it’s quick and it works. It's awesome.”
While D’Arcy said the need for hydration varies (“I don't suggest people seek IV hydration more than once a week”), she also does not think visiting her lounge will fade away like just another health trend.
"People actually see significant results,” D’Arcy said. “People feel better. That should speak volumes.”
City Hydration is located at 1315 Walnut St., http://www.cityhydration.com.