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Christ is risen, but she is not

April 24, 2011

A friend has e-mailed to complain of a splitting headache, vodka inspired, and I am too far away to be of much solace. There was an article in the New Yorker a couple of years ago tracing the history of hangovers, suggesting that they are one of the great banes of human existence, and also lamenting that science has yet to figure out a cure (or even palliative care, really). So, on this Easter Sunday, I would like to solicit hangover remedies (please, no menudo–unless you are planning to deliver it pre-cooked. Wrestling with tripe is too much to ask of anyone whimpering under the covers and hiding her eyes from the light).

Consoling-windows friend’s sister-in-law is Swedish, and claims there is a miracle drug in Sweden that vanquishes all hangovers. The trouble is that one is so seldom IN Sweden when one wakes with pounding head, uncertain stomach and existential angst. (The existential angst has become the primary symptom of all my hangovers as I age. We call it The Fear and it is worse than any physical symptoms by a factor of ten. At least.)

So please, please, for the sake of humanity, what do you do the morning after to make it through the day? I will relay your suggestions to the Jaywalker, who is suffering, poor dear.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2011 12:56 pm

    Poor Emma! I find a steady infusion of Coke and crisps helps, or maybe Chinese noodles. If the stomach element is too bad for that, only sleep and time will do the job, and maybe angostura bitters and soda (great for nausea) sipped slowly in the dark.

    I am intrigued by your mention of the hangover angst, which is also a fabulous new feature of of my middle-aged drinking, and can follow consumption of only a single glass of wine. Even when I know I have behaved with decorum, I wake with the nightmarish feeling that I have done something terribly shameful and damaging. Yet another pleasurable and civilised activity slowly being ruined by an aging metabolism.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      April 24, 2011 1:23 pm

      Without question, it is the worst part of middle age so far. Nausea? Fine. La Nausée? Pas du tout. What, do you think, is the physiological cause? I always wanted to be an aged souse, but I can’t handle the dread and despair that seems to come with the territory.

  2. Praxidike permalink
    April 24, 2011 1:43 pm

    The night before, I always take two multi-vitamins and drink a big glass of water. When I wake up, I immediately take some aspirin and a Zantac (or similar). And then, assuming I’m not so hungover that I’m vomiting, I go to the gym and force myself to sweat it off. Usually feel great within an hour.

  3. April 24, 2011 4:00 pm

    Bacon. Add eggs, buttered toast and grapefruit juice as needed. I avoid caffeine so I can then take a nap, which helps with the angst.

  4. DeirdreMarie permalink
    April 24, 2011 11:07 pm

    Frozen grapes and Gatorade. When I need more heartier sustenance, a “McDouble” and a coke. Never diet soda as that was part of the reason I am hungover.

  5. Sara permalink
    April 25, 2011 12:44 am

    I have the following advice…

    Eat before you go drinking… say around 6pm if you are going to leave at 9pm. doesn’t need to be much but EAT!

    Stay away from dark liquor and red wine.

    After drinking, on the way home drink a 20 oz bottle of water and take a multivitamin preferably a chewable or a gummie cause they are fun to eat.

    Plan to sleep at least 8 hours.

    I follow these and NEVER get hangovers anymore…. even when I did shots all night (17!)

  6. Eileen permalink
    April 25, 2011 7:15 am

    Three advil upon waking, as much orange Gatorade as you can cope with and then back to bed. A shower and a bacon sandwich also helps but I am continually distraught to learn that it’s really time that does the trick. Some exercise a day or so after an especially bad one helps sets me right too.

    Also, I find the words of Kingsley Amis to give me comfort:

    “When that ineffable compound of depression, sadness (these two are not the same), anxiety, self-hatred, sense of failure and fear for the future begins to steal over you, start telling yourself that what you have is a hangover. You are not sickening for anything, you have not suffered a minor brain lesion, you are not all that bad at your job, your family and friends are not leagued in a conspiracy of barely maintained silence about what a shit you are, you have not come at last to see life as it really is.”

    Spot on, Kingsley.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      April 25, 2011 8:53 am

      Indeed, that is a brilliant description. Thank you.

  7. Kellie permalink
    April 25, 2011 9:05 am

    I too have found the feer of a hangover keeps me up night before a big night … so many reasons to be afraid of the hang over, my kids, work, house guests, tidying, losing a day etc. I also found that as i age my recovery is MUCH slower.

    Night before I have a glass of water two tylenols and a Zantax (tummy medicine) throughout the night i sip water, in the am i have a huge icy diet coke and some really bad fat (McMuffin sandwich, french toast , bacon or my favourite, toasted bagel lots of butter , tons of bacon, runny runny egg and a tomatoe sandwich)

    I also find if your going to throw up have a full stomach it helps instead of that horrible stomach acid. I usually feel much better after throwing up or eating (or both) 🙂

  8. SarahB permalink
    April 25, 2011 12:52 pm

    Late in the game now, but take an Alka Selzer before you go to bed and eat some saltines or dry cereal before you take the inevitable Tylenol in the morning.

  9. Linda V permalink
    April 25, 2011 2:07 pm

    Before you go to bed at night, take 2 aspirin. Shouldn’t be a problem in the morning. Just remember to put the aspirin out.

  10. April 25, 2011 2:37 pm

    Thank you for your suggestions, you are too kind. It was the combination of the (medium, not earth-shattering) hangover with the 6am egg hunt that really did for me…

    In fact, it left me feeling quite fondly towards vodka. If I had drunk the same volume of alcohol in wine, I would have felt thirty times as bad.

    What I feel we really need at these times is a manservant to draw us a bath and make his patented remedy. Jeeves, basically.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      April 25, 2011 3:10 pm

      Yes, perhaps a digression about the specific hangovers linked to certain types of alcohol? I find that red wine leads to the three-a.m. heebie-jeebies like nothing else, and produces a hangover that increases as the day wears on (“in the mail”, it’s called.) I avoid gin altogether these days. Vodka, especially in Bloody Marys, is a loyal friend. Tequila, of all things, treats me gently (“it’ll either kiss you, or kick you,” says consoling-windows friend.) Beer is always lovely. Fact is, I drink much much less than I used to (thank goodness) in part because middle-aged hangovers are so dreadful.

      Alka Seltzer Morning Relief is Jeeves in tablet form, minus the bath…

  11. April 25, 2011 4:14 pm

    Imagine the most terrible hangover (including The Fear) that you have not even earned. Somehow, after taking a huge break from drinking when I quit smoking 10 years ago, my body developed a severe intolerance to alcohol much like (I have discovered, after research) what Celiacs experience when consuming alcohol . To wit, the only thing I can halfway tolerate is a gluten-free beer called Redbridge – but i don’t have Celiac disease. Case in point, I went out this Friday night and decided to try one Corona. I felt ok while drinking it but a couple of hours later I felt extreme sleepiness and slight dizziness. Then, when I tried to go to sleep, my heart started pounding and my mind started whirling. The next morning, after about an hour’s sleep, I felt like I’d been out drinking all night. I had an upset stomach and was extremely dehydrated. Fortunately, it only lasted a few hours, prompting me to say – and mean – never again!

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      April 25, 2011 10:04 pm

      Oh man. That hardly seems fair, does it?

  12. April 25, 2011 5:24 pm

    The only thing that has ever helped me with a hangover: Vitamin C (any form of it pill, tablet) and Coke (stirred flat if the state is extreme) and asprin or ibuprofen. Also, I love a wet washcloth on the head for a hangover. I know someone who swears by the taking-the-Advil-before-you-fall-asleep method which I think works like acupuncture; if you believe in it, the results can be nothing short of miraculous. Seltzer mixed with juice can work if you don’t have any Coke around and I agree with the other commenters who recommend something like bacon and eggs to get your stomach full of absorbent food. As for the angst, oh boy. I’ve never been able to figure how to chase that away with a raging headache…

  13. Libby permalink
    April 25, 2011 5:32 pm

    I read somewhere “The only 100 percent effective cure for a hangover is twenty-four hours.” Bingo.

    Personally, my lucky amount is 1.5 glasses of white wine doled out in 2oz amounts. Anal? Yes. But the perfect non-headache inducing panacea at the end of a very long day. And I generally don’t have the middle age panic on that amount, either.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      April 26, 2011 9:38 am

      I wish I liked white wine. I don’t, alas.

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