Illustration by Pablo Lobato
Illustration: Pablo Lobato

Honestly, I didn’t think the Big Energy IV drip that I received at Lume Wellness in River North did anything at all until I found myself — quite unexpectedly — having vigorous sex with a new date at 2 o’clock the next morning. Coincidence? Or did injecting vitamins directly into my veins actually restore my joie de vivre?

Sixteen hours earlier, I strode into Lume thinking it strange anyone would willingly get an IV. I’d only had them while giving birth and undergoing a bunionectomy. Both unpleasant but necessary. And covered by insurance. My best friend, Jena, assures me over text that this $165 indulgence will leave me feeling great. Jena is into things like jade eggs for one’s vagina, pricey supplements, and testing her poop’s “levels.” I’m skeptical — isn’t “wellness” just diet culture with a better marketing plan?

You can’t wear shoes at Lume, which is how you know this is more “spa” than “medical office.” There’s an awkward moment when I’m taking off my boots while precariously holding on to the reception desk and trying to decide which nutrient-filled cocktail  to inject into my bloodstream: one for hydration, muscle health, immunity, skin, or brain power? I choose the energy drip because it’s “ideal for anyone who’s feeling rundown from their day-to-day life. Travelers, workaholics, moms on the go — we’re looking at you.” I feel seen.

My nurse, Suzie, takes my vitals and then pokes around in my arm with a gigantic needle for approximately 18 years, and I do not like it one bit. Finally, she secures the needle, and a small tube fills up with my blood. She transfers me to a cozy cubicle to IV in peace. There are a lot of pillows, a shelf for my Starbucks, and a plug for my phone. While Suzie secures my IV bag on a tasteful wooden pole, I kick back with Little Women. But then reading Little Women while receiving a spa IV makes me feel guilty — I hardly think the pious March sisters would approve of something so Kardashian — so I check my email instead. My arm feels cold and like there’s a big needle stuck in it.

After about 45 minutes, my body is done sucking up its new resources. Suzie claims I’ll feel the effects immediately and, depending on my metabolism, they’ll last two to three weeks. As if some vitamins could kick this hard-earned middle-aged malaise. I leave Lume with a bloody bandage taped to my arm, and by 2 p.m. I’m tired. By 3 I’m stopping at Starbucks. By 7 I’m wide awake — have the vitamins finally hit or is it the arrival of my new beau? By 9 I’m laughing more than I have in months, by 11 I’m enjoying late-night tacos, and by 1 a.m. I’m taking my clothes off with the zest of a 25-year-old SoulCycle instructor.

Afterward, I ask him if he thinks the IV contributed to our success as first-time lovers. He says he thinks he definitely benefited from my spa experience, and we both sigh, content. With my time as a Gwyneth Paltrow cosplayer over, we make plans for another all-night party, and because he’s perfect, he understands that means from 7 to 9 p.m., like normal people who have to work in the morning with only a trenta unsweetened black iced tea to get them going.